Friday, January 30, 2009

The Problem with Pyjamas


I am by no means a fashion guru. Nor am I a person who regularly knocks clothing choices, no matter how much I would never make certain choices for myself. You wanna wear socks with sandals? Be my guest. It is not a pet peeve of mine. I couldn't really care less.

And I'm all about lounging around the house in pyjamas. Lots of Saturdays I will stay at home in my PJs all day. Come on, admit it - it's nice to let yourself go once in awhile. Trust me, I do it all the time.

That's why it's odd that I am about to go off on a rant about how much I detest seeing people over age 6 wearing pyjamas in public. I can't help it, it really bothers me.

I remember in university I would be sitting in class and these frazzled early-20ish girls would regularly burst through the door ten minutes late wearing huge, fuzzy slippers that neatly matched their flannel pyjama pants. Their hair would be in a messy bun and they would be donning a neon lanyard with several sets of keys attached. The attire sent an intended message loud and clear: "Oh yeah. Look at me. I'm a residence chick."

It wasn't the bun or the lanyard that irritated me. It was the laziness; the atmosphere of inertia and lethargy that they brought to the room. Some of us were there because we had paid large sums of money to learn a thing or two, which would in turn (hopefully) guarantee us a job in the future. Let's face it, looking at a bunch of young adults who can't even get themselves dressed in the morning doesn't exactly scream to the world: "We are the future." And if it does then I envision a pretty bleak future.

I enjoy a lackadaisical dress code policy here and there. When I taught in Korea, I wore basically whatever I wanted to school. At my new school, us teachers can wear jeans if we feel like it (provided they are not ripped to pieces and aren't our "painting jeans.") I believe one can still look professional in jeans; after all, it's just another material. Freedom of fashion!

Flannel, too, is just another material. The difference, though, is that pyjamas are intended for sleep. Sleep and lounging. It's a true story, just check here.

The thought of rolling out of bed and right into class kind of makes me cringe. I could certainly be more industrious, but come on, I am not that indolent. I can dress myself in the morning. My mom taught me how when I was oh, about four.

I guess I shouldn't let it get to me. To each his own, I suppose. And we did have pyjama day at my school on Monday. I admit, I loved it. So, maybe the solution lies in my primary school. Maybe the solution is in a day designated as: "pyjama day." There you go, "international pyjama day." It's not a bad idea. It could work. And if it wakes the world up and forces them to dress themselves for the other 364 days of the year - I say we make it a law.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FYI


As I'm sure you're already aware,

newspapers have ADD. They cannot focus on one thing for too long. That's why we love them. My article was in there one day and out the next. SO if you're clicking on the link I posted a couple days ago- you're being taken directly to some other person's article. To get to mine (all old and archived) you can click here. Let's hope that helps to avoid any further confusion. I don't know how much longer the piece will be available for free though. Apparently these articles are like Disney movies and they go "back into the vault." But they can be revived, for a price, of course.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Chronicles of Korea (Part III: I don't wanna be an Ajumma)


One of my favourite songs as a child was: "I just wanna be a sheep" (baa, baa, baa, baa). Daddy would sing it with Lesley and I and we would eat it up. It had the catchiest little tune and we somehow managed to always make it obnoxiously high-energy. After the sheep line was over, the song got more personal with lines like: "I don't wanna be a Pharisee, I don't wanna be a Pharisee, 'cause they're not fair you see, I don't wanna be a Pharisee." Or, better yet: "I don't wanna be a Sadducee, I don't wanna be a Sadducee, 'cause they're so sad you see, I don't wanna be a Sadducee." See? Catchy.

Now whenever I think of that tune and my brain inevitably hits the replay button up there somewhere, I forget about the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Instead I take a mental vacation back to Korea and my thoughts conspire together like mashed potato to form a different version of the sheep song which goes something like this: "I don't wanna be an Ajumma, I don't wanna be an Ajumma, 'cause they're so cruel, oh yeah... I don't wanna be an Ajumma." Okay, so I'm working on that last part.

Now, most of you are probably wondering what on earth an Ajumma is. Google it. I dare you. The literal translation of the word actually differs quite a bit from the images that the word conjures up in my mind. When I think Ajumma, I think over-55 Korean ladies with short hair (permed, obviously), floral-print shirts, bejeweled sun visors (complete with side-shields), dishing out nasty looks to "foreigners." (Yes, I know all too well what it's like to live life under the F-word umbrella).

When I think Ajumma, I do not think nice lady. I think tainted cornflakes and self-righteous entitlement. Apparently, my definition is screwed up because "Ajumma" has more to do with age and marriage than personality. And there are loads of wonderful non-Ajummish, over-55 Korean ladies to be sure. But for all intents and purposes, let's go with my definition right now. Because if anyone deserves to be labelled, it is those with crappy personalities.

Just to give you a little idea, integrating the word Ajumma into the sheep song wasn't the first attempt I've made at demonstrating my disdain for these ladies; get the tune of: "Mary Moon, she's a vegetarian, Mary Moon Mary Moon" in your head. Now replace it with this: "Ajumma, please don't push me on the bus, Ajumma Ajumma." Craig and I made up this song (with several verses I don't even remember) one day when we were walking to school. It was towards the end of our stint in Korea when we were so fed up with being pushed around by Ajummas that we would just steamroll through them before the thought of pushing us even had a chance to creep into their minds.

Yes, we should respect the elderly. Yes, yes, I know. It's probably a cultural thing to put them on such a pedestal. I get it. I gave up my seat on the bus numerous times to older women who were hanging on for dear life as the crazy Ajoshis swerved around like 12 year old boys on a joyride. But those women were different. They were different because they did not expect it. In fact, they were entirely surprised when I offered my seat. Some were even sheepish and bashful. All were grateful.

But then there are those who give all the older women a bad rap. Those who will dig you, jab you, literally shove you out of the way to get to a seat that you've been standing by for the last 20 minutes. I don't know if people really don't understand the unwritten rules of public transportation etiquette, or if they just don't care. I'm gonna take a stab in the dark and go with the latter.

Not only that, but lineups are a big problem too. The whole first-come, first-served mentality that we operate by goes something more like this in Korea: first-come, first-served-unless-you-are-an-Ajumma-because-Ajummas-can-just-do-whatever-the-heck-they-want-and-are-exempt-from-the-categorical-imperative. Ajummas, though often discriminatory, didn't just push us F-worders around. There were several occasions when I witnessed an Ajumma jumping in front of a Korean teenager. I suppose Koreans are taught to let it go because Ajummas have that right. Come to think of it, that's pretty mature and benevolent behaviour for teenagers to be exhibiting. But seeing those teenagers let someone get away with doing that to them really bothered me. I guess because I kind of live by the notion that we're all on equal ground here; no matter what age, race, gender, class, etc. Can you imagine if 60 year old women kept pushing teenagers out of lines around here? All hell would break loose!

Then there were the constant stares. Of course, we were a minority in Korea. We were visibly different. The little glances were expected. The gawking and the full-body checkouts - not so much. This behaviour extended beyond the scope of Ajummas, though they were still the major culprits in the crime. Some people would actually turn their heads toward us, look down at our feet and slowly move their eyes upward absorbing every inch of us that they could and examining us in great detail. I'm pretty sure they were unlocking our genetic codes with their eyes. It was extremely uncomfortable and incredibly rude. Sometimes we felt obvious animosity (again, particularly from Ajummas) and contempt at the fact that we would be so brash as to come to their country. After all, who did we think we were teaching their children how to speak English, how to count, how to read and how to communicate if they ever want to travel to other parts of the world?

To switch gears and go into glass-half-full mode here for a moment, it's imperative to include that these negative kinds of people were invariably balanced out by some of the kindest, most generous, hard-working and helpful people I've ever met. And though we got a little bitter about being shoved around and stared at by the end of our time in Korea, when I think back, I always remember the kind ones first.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Linkage

Click here: Globe & Mail article

Of course, space constraints forced the editor to cut out bits and pieces that I would have preferred to have kept, but c'est la vie! She was actually very nice about the whole thing. Besides, the reality of the situation is that no amount of words could ever truly convey the kind of person that Daddy was.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Things

I love writing. Hence the blog. Since I was old enough to learn the alphabet I've had an intense passion for stringing words together.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this new blog. I've had others before- in fact I'm kind of a blogging ho. I've done the LJ thing, the Xanga thing, the Wordpress thing (which was a VERY brief love affair, more like a close-mouthed kiss really), and now Blogger is the new flavour of the week. Except more like the flavour of forever, because I'm sold on the fact that this is the best free blogging service out there! But I digress.

So, naturally I was excited to receive this award from the One-minute writer: My one-minute writing of the day.
Thanks C.Beth!

Also, awhile ago I wrote an article about Daddy and sent it into the Globe & Mail. I got an e-mail back last week stating that they'd like to publish it in the Lives Lived section of the print and online editions of the paper. The Globe & Mail! Of course, it's sort of bittersweet. I'm excited that so many people will have the opportunity to read about the wonderful person my Dad was, but I really wish it was something I didn't have to write. Either way- it's in the Globe & Mail tomorrow. I'll post the link then.

Stay tuned, I'm constantly searching for new ways to do what I love.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Puppy-shaped therapy


Do therapists ever recommend that their patients invest in a new puppy? If I were a therapist, I'm pretty sure I would. Winston has been so good for my heart. I'm happy we made the decision to add to our family in this way. (Read: I'm happy Craig finally allowed me to add to our family in this way).

Now I remember why I have always been such a big dog lover. I love my feline friends, too, and I hope to extend our family even more with a couple cats in the future. I miss my Oreo everyday. The thing is, the human-feline relationship has a completely different dynamic than the human-canine one. Dogs work in packs. They crave companionship. Whereas cats can work alone and they're quite content with that thank you very much.

Winston just wants to be with us all the time. He adores us. There's a huge floor he can lie or sit on but he chooses our feet. There's a big couch he can sleep on but he chooses to curl up on our chests, our legs, or anywhere that presents the possibility of snuggleage.

He is incredibly intelligent and picks up on the vibes we send out. We play chase or hide and seek one minute and in the next we are cuddling. He is distrustful of strangers but quivers with excitement when he sees Craig or I. I've already seen his loyalty in action. Even though he's tipping the scales somewhere between 2-3 pounds I feel safer with him around. Mostly because his bark is a LOT bigger than he is!

Of course, like everyone, he has a character flaw. He's a licker. He licks in excess, and we're trying to teach him that one kiss will do. Hey, no puppy is perfect.

I think everyone should have a dog, but especially those who live alone or need a little lift. Dogs show more affection than most humans and the innocence in the unconditional love they have for their owners is pretty amazing. I think it's ridiculous to assume that animals do not feel emotions. I have proof to the contrary.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My crystal ball

I wonder....

Where will I be this time next year?  What will I be doing? Stability is a buried treasure that I'm not sure I want to find. I kind of enjoy my up-in-the-air-ness. My nomadic personality likes to have options and craves adventure. I'm lucky enough to be partnered with someone who shares my sentiments.

Lately, more than ever in my life, I am enjoying the thrill of a good challenge. I think it happened since Daddy passed away. They say such raw tragedy can cause you to do and feel things that are quite out of character. One of my friends told me that after her mother passed away she did things that were just not her. She picked up smoking, for example. Pre-October, I was ambitious and had dreams, but lacked a drive so intense that I would push those dreams into fruition. Now when I come to an obstacle or something that initially appears daunting I just want to run into it head-first and tackle it to the ground. Maybe it's because a big part of my brain now constantly reminds me of how short life is. How uncertain and fleeting our physical time on Earth is. You just never know.

I'm making plans that I won't even call tentative. I'm making plans a, b, c, d, e, f, and g. And I'm determined that wherever I go, whatever I do, I will make it work. I'm not content to coast along in life anymore. I want to make my Dad proud. Though, I know he already is. He told me so - several times.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural musings


It was a good day.

The political race that I've been following for over a year is now finally, officially done. Today, January 20th, 2009, was a historical day - not for Americans alone, but for the world. 

I had the opportunity to talk to my students (from grades one to three) about black history and people like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and now: Barack Obama. I explained to my students why today was so significant and then we proceeded to watch live coverage of the inauguration. I told my students that Barack Obama is now the most powerful man in the world. Sorry to any of my fellow Canucks who may believe that Stephen Harper is the man in charge. He really isn't - I know, tough pill to swallow.

I talked to the students about slavery and how far North America has come. I talked about how when they become adults they will read about this day in history textbooks, and their children will too. They were genuinely intrigued. So I put all my plans and lessons on the back-burner. It just wasn't as important.

After discussing how black people and white people could not drink from the same water fountain, I went on to explain to the kids that it would be like after a long gym class where they were doing lots of exercise, if I said: "Okay... people with brown hair you have to drink at this water fountain, and people with freckles you have to go down the hall to the other water fountain." The kids did not look impressed. I said:  "Would that be very nice?" 
One student replied immediately: "No! And my mom says that if I'm not nice I have to pay the consequences!"
Then another student pipes up so matter-of-factly: "NO! You don't have enough money to pay for that!"

... I love my job.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The consummate professional


This week in the world....
I'm sure you've all heard about this story by now, so I won't delve too far into the details. If you haven't heard of it, remember: google is the world's best friend.

I've been thinking about it all day. What an amazing story of heroism and bravery; a picture-perfect display of professionalism and not succumbing to panic.

I'd like to think that I would be as calm and collected as the passengers on this flight were as the plane went down but I know I'd probably just pass out. Quite frankly, I am entirely impressed with the description I've heard of how the passengers kept their cool throughout the whole ordeal. 

And the pilot. My gosh, I wish that every time I stepped into that oversized piece of aluminum my pilot would be someone as competent and qualified as Chesley B. Sullenberger. I've recently become a nervous fly-er (which makes no sense since I've flown more in this past year than I have in my life and all my flights were smooth). I always wonder about the disposition of my pilot. Is he/she rash? Reckless? Tom Cruise a la Topgun? I'm sure there are irresponsible passenger pilots out there. I keep thinking that if the plane is going to crash the pilot would know before I would and maybe he/she would parachute to safety as I plummeted to certain doom.

I saw said pilot's wife on the news. She told the media that she was not surprised in the least about how her hubby reacted to the situation. She referred to him as "the consummate professional." He is being hailed a hero and I would have to agree with that label. He is a hero. He could have lost his head and sunk with his ship but he kept doing his job and not one person was harmed as a result. 

Now there's a story for the grandkids.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We're all in this together

How strange. How very strange indeed. This awesome song "magically" appeared on my playlist. I sure didn't add it there; I had never heard it before. Either way, I love the message and it has absolutely nothing to do with High School Musical (hallelujah):




___________________________________
We're All in This Together - Ben Lee
I woke up this morning, I suddenly realized
we're all in this together.
I started smiling, 'cause you were smiling
and we're all in this together.
I'm made of atoms, you're made of atoms
and we're all in this together.
And long division just doesn't matter
'cause we're all in this together... yeah.

I saw you walking in the city-
we're all in this together.
The city's changing 'cause we are changing
and we're all in this together.
Every twelve seconds someone remembers
that we're all in this together.
In the kitchen of your rent control apartment
we're all in this together.

Come on baby I don't want to rush you.
I only wanted to reach out and touch you.
I've got to start to open my heart.

I know you think about jumping ship before it sinks
but we're all in this together.
Ask a scientist, it's quantum physics
we are all in this together.
And on the subway we feel like strangers
but we're all in this together.
Yeah I love you and you love her and she loves him
but we're all in this together.

You know baby there's never been protection
and all the history of human connection.
Come on darling, it's alright to show me.
You don't ever need to be lonely
once you start to open your heart.

I saw you crying, I started crying
'cause we're all in this together.
And then religion is a big decision
but we're all in this together.

We are all in this together.

___________________________________

I just love those lyrics. It reminds me that as individual as we are, we're really not all that different. Most of us will, at some point, experience the same kinds of ups, downs, and in-betweens as the rest of the human race. We all feel like strangers to one another, but what it boils down to is that we're made of atoms and we can all relate to each other on some level. I like to think of us all as characters in a big mystery novel. Despite our differing beliefs and convictions life is still a massive conundrum; a puzzle that has yet to be solved. The fact that we're all here trying to figure this out is a pretty big piece to have in common.

I have this feeling that if more people thought of the world as a community there would be a lot less hate thrown into the mix. If I could look at the most annoying person in the world and see past all the surface behaviours to discover a person who's just trying to make it the best way they know how- maybe I'd have a little more empathy. A little more patience. A little more tolerance. A little more compassion.

The more I think about it, the more it seems so odd that people should ever run out of things to talk about. People always say: "We have nothing in common, therefore nothing to talk about." I'm starting to realize that being human is a big deal. A big thing to share. Truth is - we have way too much to talk about.
The bottom line is that we're all siblings to a certain degree. You're my brother. You're my sister. (Except you, Craig - that would just be gross).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Delurk 2009

Did you know that today is a very special day in the Blogosphere?

No? Well, neither did I. Not until I read several blogs telling me so. (All of which I commented on, might I add).

Today is Delurking Day 2009. Here, I'll prove it: 


My hit counter informs me on a daily basis that a heck of a lot more people drop by my blog than are commenting and making themselves known. And I'm okay with that. I get it. I've lurked on several blogs too. I was always taught that if I don't have anything useful to say - don't say anything at all.

But what blogger doesn't want comments? An audience? To know about their readership? Let's be honest here. We all want a little comment love.

Lurkers: today is Delurking Day '09. Perhaps I missed the mark by a few hours, so for that reason let's start now and extend it into tomorrow, shall we? Remember, I have that power because this is my blog and there's no copyright! I have other powers too, super ones, but let's save that for another day.

I'd love to know who stops by and reads, or just who stops by in general, or even who thinks about stopping by really. Not because it will make a difference to my life, but just because I'm nosy.

"But I don't want to go through all the trouble of making an account just to comment! My time is precious to me you know! I cannot think of anything more ridiculous that I could do with my time. Gosh, you're such an idiot!"

Ahem.... sorry, just had to clear my throat there. First of all, that's harsh. Secondly, account-less guest comments are permitted on this blog. Next excuse, please!

You could just say "hi." Or even "." for that matter, as long as you tell me who you are!  And if you don't feel up to it because you have to go get the ice-cream out of the oven (never gets old) that's okay too. Thanks for stopping by anyways! 

Happy delurking!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Favourites of 2008

Here's my version of Oprah's Favourite Things.


Category #1 - Favourite TV show




I've been watching this show for a few years now and it remains numero uno on my ever-growing list of must-see TeeVee. I can generally tell how compatible I am with a person based on whether or not they enjoy the humour of this show. It may not have won a Golden Globe but there's no doubt in my mind that it should

have.



Category #2 - Favourite movie






Okay, okay, so this is a movie of '07 not '08. Sue me. I saw this movie while I was in Korea and I think that the simplicity of the plot coupled with the fantastic acting made it one of (if not THE) best that I saw in 2008.












Category #3 - Favourite book







I read a lot of great books in 2008. A lot of classics. The Life of Pi, the Alchemist, Catcher in the Rye, and the list goes on and on. Basically I bought all the books that I heard were supposed to be amazing and read most of them in a short amount of time. 1984, as expected, was a real treat. The more I read of him the more I realize that George Orwell was a brilliant man.









Category #4 - Favourite album





Jack Johnson can do no wrong. This album was a staple of my time overseas. It's so versatile that I used to play it to my 4-5 year old students. I love the whole cool, relaxed vibe Jack always exudes. I also love the fact that he's a great lyricist as well as musician. Listening to his tunes make my heart smile!






Category #5 - Favourite food







I'm not exactly sure of the degree to which this qualifies as "food", but if you have not yet tried Lindt chocolate, be prepared to live my friend. Lindor chocolates are little, compact balls of pure magic.





Category #6 - Favourite catch phrase




Honestly, I can't see the phrase: "That's what she said" going out of style. It is a great ice-breaker; a way to inject humour into any situation. Not to mention that you can apply it almost anywhere and it will still, somehow, manage to be completely suggestive.








Category #7 - Favourite clothing colours





When people ask me what my favourite colour is, I often say: "rainbow." I honestly love all colours. When it comes to clothing, I like to mix it up a bit, but up until a couple months ago the primary colours in my closet were probably natural beiges and browns. I still love the naturelle, but I am on a huge gray and black kick these days. It's almost overkill. Right now my wardrobe is seriously lacking brightness. It's okay though because I'm just loving the classiness that is gray and black paired together.





Category #8 - Favourite travel destination




Thailand. Chiang Mai, Phi-Phi, Phuket, Railay, and all the magnificent places/beaches in between have stolen my heart. It's difficult for me to choose Thailand over Malaysia, Cambodia, Japan, Cuba, or even Korea for that matter, but I spent a lot of time in Thailand and I remember it so fondly. The sunny, naturally beautiful daytimes coupled with the relaxed, hippy-like atmosphere of the nighttimes has been the subject of several recent daydreams of mine.




Category #9 - Favourite news channel






I've been addicted to CNN for quite some time now. Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Jack Cafferty, Campbell Brown, Erica Hill- they're all favourite personalities of mine. I preferred CNN World as they actually reported on other countries as well as America, but I'm not gonna lie- I'm kind of an American political junkie. It's like watching a good hockey game a mon avis.



Category #10 - Favourite clothing stores















Gone are the days of my American Eagle obsession. AE, Abercrombie, Hollister (one in the same at different prices) are a dime a dozen, but I love the unique styles of the clothes I find at Urban Outfitters and H&M. It sure pays to live near a big city!











Okay I hate to break the "list-of-ten" rule, but I have to add it:

Category #11 - Favourite display of justice






No commentary needed.














Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cuteness makes the world go 'round

Ladies and gentlemen,
Before I begin I deem in necessary to forewarn you of the dangerous amounts of adorableness you are about to witness. Please take the appropriate precautions before viewing.

Thank-you,
Laura


I am pleased to introduce you to Sir Winston Churchill the Second -my puppy- and the beautiful Issac Jamie (the first) - my nephew.

















































































Overwhelming, isn't it?


Thursday, January 08, 2009

The secret lives of Wal-Mart employees



The other night I went into Wal-Mart about 15 minutes before it was set to close. I can't help it, that's just how I roll. If I worked at Wal-Mart, I would hate me too.

As I walked down the near-empty hallways an eery feeling came over me. I believe it was intuition.

Is there any place creepier than Wal-Mart when it's closed? I'm about 99% sure it's haunted at night by the ghosts of a million unhappy customers on a quest to deal with their "unfinished business."

As I neared the electronics department about 10 different men appeared out of nowhere and nearly ran me down as they wheeled these huge.... um... 'wheely things' down the aisles. That's when I realized just how little I actually know about what goes on at Wal-Mart when the doors are closed.

I've heard stories before about the chants the workers are forced to participate in. The only thing creepier than that is when you ask a worker for help to find something completely random and they automatically know exactly where to find it. The following is a true story.

Laura: "Hi, excuse me, do you know where I can find a clothes lint shaver?"
Wal-Mart employee: "Yes, go down this hallway and take the first right. Keeping walking straight then go left, then left again. It will be in the same section as the mops and brooms."

I'm sorry, but with all the products available for puchase at one of the world's most ridiculously popular franchises, one person who works on the other side of the store, just should not know where to find a clothes lint shaver. It's creepy. It's professional, but it's creepy.

I would love to be a fly on the wall in Wal-Mart after hours. I don't have any friends who have had jobs there and can fill me in on the inner workings of the place. I also have absolutely no idea why I'm so interested in what happens there, but you have to admit, it's pretty mysterious.




Wednesday, January 07, 2009

For Daddy - January 2009

Dear Daddy,

So it's 2009. I can't believe that the new year is here and you are not. It breaks my heart.
When I allow myself to think about all that has transpired I literally feel sick to my stomach. Sometimes I get caught up in the busy cycle that has become my life only to be hit in the face with a thought that feels like a rock. I think disbelief is a coping mechanism and that's the only way I know how to deal with something so tragic. When the thoughts come I feel overwhelmed.

Christmas was just non-existent without you. And of course what was already going to be an unimaginable holiday was worsened further (I had no idea that was possible) when Nanny Burton had a stroke. To celebrate Christmas without the both of you was unthinkable to us. So we didn't. I mean we went through some of the motions, opened presents and whatnot, but nobody cared. We only tried for Isaac. But Christmas is over now and I'm so glad. Nanny Burton is brighter, but it's still very sad as she cannot even talk or move much.

I've recently come across a few things that you've written; a letter you sent me on my birthday and some paperwork that you were helping me fill out when I got the job here. In finding that I was reminded about how much you did for me. Seeing your handwriting, for some reason, makes me miss you even more. You knew how to do everything, how to fix everything. I depended on you. We all did. You were everyone's go-to guy.

I just miss you so much. I would give anything to be able to talk to you- see you. I guess I'm feeling frustrated. Frustrated because I know there's supposed to be a solution to every problem. This problem is an exception. I am utterly helpless. No amount of persuasion, charm, begging, or laying it all out there will bring you back to be with us here on Earth. I guess all I can do is find a way to accept that and believe that you are happy.

Craig and I got a new puppy the other day. His name is Sir Winston Churchill the Second (or Winston for short) and he is an adorable 12 1/2 week old Maltese. You'd love him. I'm sure that if you were around you would have him made saucy by now. I've grown up a little since Oreo, and I think Winston actually likes me. Probably because I'm not torturing him like I know you would. :)

I love you with everything I have! Thank you for being the best father a girl could ever ask for- I truly believe that's what you are. I know you're still with me.

Love,
Your baby girl XOXO

Monday, January 05, 2009

Oh look, it's Christmas eve....

It's official, I've become an impulsive person.

2009 began and Craig and I did the natural "new year" thing: buy a new puppy.

It all happened so fast. I had been thinking for quite some time that I'd like an addition to our family, but not a child. So clearly a puppy is the next best thing. We named him Winston (or as I like to call him, Sir Winston Churchill the Second) and we're in love with him. He's a Maltese, 12 1/2 weeks old, and basically just a ball of white fluff. Pictures to follow for sure.

On Christmas eve, I wanted to write a post but obvious circumstances prevented that. So this is my pseudo-Christmas eve post. Can I do that? Sure I can! It's my blog so every day can be St. Patrick's if I want it to be! Oh, the power! (Cue evil laughter).

Really all I wanted to post about was the difference between this year's Christmas eve and last year's for us. Last year on Christmas eve, we were in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We did a Jungle Trek complete with white water rafting, bamboo rafting, an elephant ride, a visit to a tribal village, and a trek to a beautiful waterfall to eat phad thai from a leaf. Our guide's name was Woody and his legs are a really vivid memory of mine. He was a tiny guy with these mammoth calves and he could hop through the jungle like he was raised there. Oh wait, he was! I know that's a ridiculous memory to have but if you saw his calves you would be remembering them right now too. Make no mistake about it.

Want proof that my stories are not fabrications? Here we are; Christmas eve 2007:




It was an enjoyable time in our lives, that Christmas.

Friday, January 02, 2009

See ya later, Christmas!

It's finally OVER.

I'm typically like a child at Christmas. As I've gotten older I haven't lost the excitement that goes hand-in-hand with that time of year. It has become a little less about presents and a little more about people over time, though.

This year was different for obvious reasons. I woke up on boxing day feeling oddly relieved that Christmas was over. And I ignored New Years Eve like the plague, treating it just like any other day.

We couldn't pretend. It wasn't possible. It was a non-Christmas for us because there were just too many important people missing. Christmas day consisted of first going to the cemetery and then making our way into the hospital. We were at the hospital every day except Christmas eve.

As for my grandmother, she has had strokes before, albeit much more minor. This one was massive; it affected about 70% of her left hemisphere. The left hemisphere contains the language centers so she can't speak and we don't even know how much of what we say to her she can understand. The left hemisphere also controls the right side of the body, which is my grandmother's dominant side. Well, it used to be. She has a little feeling in her right foot (I know this because she has ticklish feet and I did a test), and maybe an even smaller bit in her right leg, but other than that.... I don't know.

My grandmother means SO much to me. She is such a consistency in my life. The matriarch of our entire family. I've always been very close to her, so what promised to be a crappy holiday turned out to be even crappier than I could have imagined.

Christmas day was a flurry of chaos. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a snowstorm in white-out conditions. It's a blur. I remember very little. I know we went through the motions: opened up our gifts, ate dinner, and then immediately left for the hospital. Any details are lost on me.

Now I'm back out West and feel even more helpless than ever. It's hard to know what to do when I'm right there with everyone, even harder when I'm all the way on the other side of the 2nd largest country in the world.

I want to thank everyone who has shown concern during this time. I realize that people want to help and that people do care. If you believe in prayer, please pray for a miracle for my grandmother and peace for my family. Please pray for less upheaval in 2009. We're all still very much struggling with the loss of my father. We do not need any extra layers added to that, it's just too much. And my poor mom, in just a couple months she's lost her mother-in-law, husband and in a way, her mother. You can't get much closer than that.

I genuinely hope that your holidays were happier.
Here's to hoping for an easier year ahead.