December 31, 2009

Love Finally

I didn’t even realize we were ushering in a new decade until last week or so. I think the toxic fumes from Charlie’s poop have stolen a few of my brain cells. Or perhaps he pulled them out during one of the million times he’s yanked on my hair. Whatever the case, I kind of crapped my pants after realizing that 2010 marks the beginning of a whole new decade. (That’s a metaphorical pants-crapping, folks.) And then I seized the opportunity to mark the occasion Leslie-style (ie, writing a really long emo blog post about my feeeeeeeeelings).

When NYE 1999 rolled around, I was a 20-year-old skinny train wreck of a girl who’d done a great many things to fuck up her life.

I was single (with a penchant for emotionally unavailable men) and living alone. I liked to smoke cigarettes and drink Dr. Pepper and drive around late at night doing both while cranking my tunes. I spent hours listening to the same songs over and over, dancing around my apartment, and hanging out online. I had stopped taking college classes for the time being, because it felt like too much and all I wanted to do was write and shut the world out. I had stopped talking about what was hurting, because all I really wanted was a good nervous breakdown that would land me in a mental hospital, far away from distractions and expectations and noise and men. There was either a lot of sleep or not enough of it. There was a lot of writing: streams-of-consciousness, poetry, journal entries, attempts at stories. There was a lot of smoking. A lot of confusion. A lot of tears. And regret. That was my life. Completely unbalanced and precarious. I was desperately depressed, lonely, scared of the world. I wanted nothing more than to have a life of my choosing. And to be happy.

If I can remember correctly, I spent NYE 1999 out at a party for awhile, but when it came time to ring in the New Year, I decided I wanted to be home alone where I could be all depressed in peace and silence. At that time in my life, I was hung up on yet another guy who just wasn’t that into me, so of course we weren’t spending New Year’s together. All I really wanted that night was to welcome the new millennium knowing I was truly loved. I had serious doubts that anyone would ever love me the way I needed to be loved.

In 2000, I finally moved away from the place where I grew up. My primary goal was to just get the hell away from everything that had plagued me for so long. (When you live in a small town, everyone knows your secrets. Or it feels that way, at least.) After a year of living in an even smaller town (and what a year that was), the summer of 2001 found me moving to southern California with my new boyfriend. I didn’t think we’d be together forever, because I didn’t believe in that sort of thing, but I also knew that I needed my life to change and, in order for that to happen, I needed a change of scenery. (Not to say that I didn’t love him, because I did. But that love was limited, because I was, and because he was, too.)

I had been in California for less than a month when 9/11 came swooping in and changed the world.

And that was the catalyst that swooped in and changed me. I was no longer the only person in the world who suffered. Right in front of my eyes, I saw people suffering. Dying. It was the most awful thing I’d ever seen, but at that point in my life, being a witness to that horror was necessary. It brought me out of my sad little self and into the world at large.

And so I woke up. I worked. I went back to school. I wrote. I submitted my poetry for publication and some of it was actually accepted. I went to poetry readings and plays and other cultural things. I made friends. I maintained a four-year relationship that was good most of the time. I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but I was getting there.

And when my relationship fell apart, I was able to pick myself up, find a therapist, and move on in a mostly healthy way. At the beginning of 2005, soon after the breakup (too soon, I felt at the time), I met Roy. (He did take his time asking me out, though, so that helped with the time factor.) After our first date on March 14, 2005, we fell in love hard in a matter of weeks. Seven months later, we moved in together.

On May 14, 2006, Roy asked me to marry him, and of course I said yes.

On July 14, 2007, we were married. It was perfect. Family, friends, promises, sunshine, blue skies, music, love.

On September 24, 2008, we found out we were having a baby. I will never forget my pregnancy, the ups and downs of it all. The pregnancy test coming up positive. The first time we saw Charlie on the ultrasound screen. The ultrasound we had that confirmed he was a boy. Feeling him move around inside me. It was all so, so amazing.

On June 8, 2009, we welcomed our first child, Charles Jacob, into the world. And let me tell you that nothing I have ever experienced in my life could have ever prepared me for the knock-me-off-my-feet love that I have for my son. And nothing could have prepared me for the total mindfuck that is motherhood.

Charlie’s birth was, without a doubt, the event of this decade that changed and shaped me most. Much of what happened that day is a giant painful and devastating blur. But I remember coming up from the darkness and seeing Roy holding Charlie. My husband. My son. Together for the first time. The picture is blurry, but it’s there. It’s mine. (i carry it in my heart)

And now I sit here on the last day of this uproar of a decade as a woman, a wife, a mother. Three things I wasn’t when 2000 showed its face. I was remarkably deficient (or so I felt) when we rolled into this new millennium. I couldn’t imagine a life where I could be happily married with a child. I wasn’t sure where my life was headed. I still have no idea what’s in store for me. But I have been happily surprised at the way things have turned around for me, that I’ve done some things I never thought I could.

I am proud of myself for the things I’ve accomplished. Getting my BA, getting published, learning photography, going to grad school, going to therapy, banishing toxic people from my life, making room for the good ones, adopting three kitties, quitting smoking, getting a real job, quitting the real job, maintaining a good marriage, becoming a mother, becoming someone who is happy, building a life for myself. And conquering darkness.

It took a long time, but happiness, that elusive bitch, eventually found me. Or I found her. Or maybe we found each other, because we were destined to be together. I don’t really believe in destiny, but sometimes it’s the only answer. Or maybe change is the answer. Me, I’m a big believer in making changes. And trying new things. And embracing fear. But then letting it go.

Because it’s only in the letting go that you find the change you need to make your life a good one.

But really, with how much I’ve changed in the last ten years, I’m still remarkably the same. I still long for an authentic and creative life. I still am plagued by doubt and low self-confidence. I still turn to the written word as my primary way to understand anything and everything. I still mourn for my dad and how nothing about his illness has been fair to him. I still have no idea how to do my hair or how to put on makeup effectively. I still wear blue jeans, T-shirts, and flip flops. I still can get drunk off one apple martini. I still hate shaving my legs. I still love blue toenail polish. I still love Tori Amos. I still hoard office supplies. I still love to be silly and watch thoughtful movies and listen to music while driving fast. I still resort to sarcasm because it’s still who I am.

And most of all, I’m still here - a 30-year-old woman-child. I’m welcoming 2010 with the knowledge that I am truly loved, but more importantly, that I finally know how to truly love.

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I see a whole world looking back.

But deep down I know it’s just a girl.

I know it’s a human being.

I know it’s me.

Happy New Year!

2009 in Pictures













December 30, 2009

Congratulations are in order...

My blogger/Facebook buddy Sue just got engaged! Wewtsies! Congratulations, Sue! I know you and SexyBeast will be very happy together.

And now I'm going to steal Sue's thunder (sorry 'bout that) because I'm gonna get all nostalgic on you guys.

I loved planning my wedding. Yes, it was a complete and total pain in the ass at times, and I really had issues with several things that happened, but at the end of it all, I had the wedding I wanted and the husband that I wanted.

My wedding taught me who my real friends are, and I had the pleasure of meeting some mighty fine women on The Knot, many of whom I still count as my friends today.

And family. I really didn't understand the importance of family until Roy and I were preparing to form our own little one. (I actually think that marriage makes a family and kids just add to it.)

There were a lot of things that I didn't understand until I got married. Making that commitment has changed me. I'm not the same girl who cried over how stupid her florists were.

Oh wait. Yes, I am. I most certainly would cry this very night if I had to deal with what Leslie the Bride had to.

But seriously, it was one of the most wonderful days of my life, and yet I don't think about it much anymore.

Because it's only a day. And once the wedding's over, you leave that princess dress behind and go about being a life partner to your spouse. There's dirty dishes and smelly cat boxes and trash that needs to be taken out. Not to mention getting to work on time. And trying to understand each other even when you really, really don't. And once you add a kid to the mix, forget it. It becomes even harder to be able to connect with the person you married.

But you know what?

I love my husband even more today than I did on our wedding day. I'd marry him again in a heartbeat. And actually, every day, just by being his wife and being present in our relationship, I am marrying him again and again.

And Sue, on this occasion of your engagement, that's what I wish for you, that you are marrying the man that you would marry over and over again. Congratulations, woman!

December 28, 2009


This is my better-late-than-never big fat Thanksgiving post. I am a total slacker who sits around eating bon bons and watching soap operas and just finished editing my turkey day photos last night.

First of all, let's talk about caramel apples. I had every intention of making these kick-ass candy apples that I saw on Amber's blog. We bought all the ingredients and were all set to go...

When it came time to melt the chocolate, it ended up being a giant FAIL. We got water in the chocolate, which apparently is a big no-no, thereby learning the reason behind the title of Like Water for Chocolate.

Peeps, please learn from our mistake. Don't ever think that adding water to melting chocolate is a good idea. It just isn't.


And please don't try to put caramel-coated apples on wax paper. That doesn't work.


The candy bags I bought from Michael's ended up not working out, so we stuffed each apple into a Ziploc bag and called it a ghetto-fab night.

Chuckles was pleased when we finally gave up trying to be Martha Stewart.

The next day was Thanksgiving. After taking a ridiculous amount of photos of Charlie in his Thanksgiving sleeper, we headed over to Mandy and Paul's, who were kind enough to host Thanksgiving this year.

For some reason, I didn't take a wide variety of photos. Instead, I have a crapload of pictures of me, Charlie, Roy, and Charlie's uncle Jake.

Oh wait! My nephew Merlin snuck in there...

...and so did Uncle Paul...

...and Cerby made an appearance as well.

Dinner was great, and even though the caramel apples were a ridiculous amount of work for ultimately something that ended up being stupidly simple, they were very tasty. Charlie even gave his own seal of approval.

And that was our Thanksgiving.

(I'm going to try to put up a big fat Christmas post before the end of the year. I have about 1500 photos on my camera from the entire month of December that I'm going to need to go through in order to make that happen. You can go ahead and make bets on whether I'll actually get the post done before New Year's. My money's on hellz to the no.)

December 23, 2009


We've returned from Texas. What a surprisingly fantastic whirlwind of a time, complete with lots of driving, family, small Texas towns, and found photographs. I feel immeasurably fatter and have a couple of pimples decorating my face, but I feel that I've grown so much (and not just in the waist) since we left.

I have a lot of pictures and stories to share, and I'm not sure when I'll get around to that. I don't think I'll be doing a detailed recap of the trip, but there are a few big things that happened that I'd love to write about. In the meantime, though, I'm going to enjoy our broke Christmas and spend some time catching up on what you guys have been up to.

Merry early Christmas! I love this time of year, and our trip served as a much-needed reminder about what's important to me.

December 20, 2009

Broke Christmas/Rich Christmas

I'm writing this in the upstairs study of my mom's house in Texas. I find it truly amazing that after more than a decade of urging, she's finally got an internet connection.

However, I have something more amazing to share. Our visit to Texas has been superb. Last year I was so excited about our Christmas trip but was really let down (read my archives from December 2008 and January 2009 if you're curious). While I was really looking forward to this trip, it really has exceeded my expectations. I can't wait to talk about some of the things that have happened.

This year we are very short on money. We decided not to get each other gifts, nor did we buy gifts for any of our family members (except we still have yet to buy for our gift exchange with Roy's family). We've bought Charlie a few things (all on sale), but this really is the definition of a broke Christmas. As a matter of fact, when people ask if everyone's done with their Christmas shopping, I find it to be a sort of alienating question, because this Christmas just hasn't been about that. I really like what the holiday is for us - no gifts, just experiences. Just people.

At this moment, sitting in my mom's house far away from home, Charlie snoring in my old bedroom, I feel very blessed. I'm coming home with countless treasures. My memories from this trip will last me a lifetime. I don't need anything else.

We're leaving my mom's tomorrow and headed back to San Antonio for a couple of days with my uncle Charles. Since he has yet to stop being stubborn about not being online, we will lose our internet connection for a couple of days (again), but as usual, I'll be on Twitter since I'm able to update via text. I feel completely disconnected from my regular online community as well as everything back in California, but I'm loving the break from reality.

Hope you're all doing well. See you soon!

December 17, 2009

But I've got to get to Texas...

Hello, internet! This morning we leave for Texas. Are you going to miss me? I bet you are!

Here, have some Christmas merriment.

Well, I may check in here while we're gone. My mom is finally getting internet access after 87598479 years! Finally, the ability to obsessively check my email while on vacation.

However, you can always check me out on Twitter if you would like to stalk me.

I'll miss you guys. We'll be back in California on December 23, just in time to celebrate Charlie's first Christmas.

(I stole my post title. Yes, again.)