Archive for ‘Sweet Sweet Memories’

January 11, 2012

2011: The Misses

So, as many good times as 2011 held, there were also some bad ones. For me, they were mostly internal … disappointments and struggles I had with myself. But, as we tend to do when we need comfort, let’s share:

 

1. Health/Fitness

I had such good intentions. Such great intentions. But, damn it, working out is HARD when you haven’t in so long. Combine that with The Fear, and you have a long, disappointing Sarah’s-being-lazy cycle. I had MONTHS to prepare for the 10k, and didn’t make it (finishing is good, but running it is BETTER). I could give myself the benefit of the doubt and say I tried, but really? I was lazy. Working out hurt, took effort, and made me get up off the couch. Therefore, I didn’t do it. 6 months worth of gym fees, wasted.

Health-wise wasn’t much better. Though I DID finally get myself to a dentist (LOOOOOOONG overdue), it took massive pain to get me there. Everything else fell by the wayside. I should really be seeing an orthopedist and chiro for my back (not to mention normal physicals/exams like a responsible adult) … but my insurance company is giving me hell about a pre-existing condition clause (the old insurance company keeps ignoring my requests for proof of coverage) … and so it’s MUCH easier to not fight it and just stay home. An all to convenient excuse.

This, my friends, is bullshit, and I need to STOP IT. I’m only doing myself damage.

2. Headspace

You’d think, with so much good going on, I’d be in a better place mentally. If only it were so easy, right? One positive thing I learned was that I need something to look forward to in the immediate future … weekend trips, visits from friends etc, each month or two … to keep myself going. Easy enough to do, when NYC (and the friends there) are only a few hours on a bus away. But when I don’t have that, it’s super easy for me to fall back down into depression.

It doesn’t help that I’ve realized I don’t want to stay in DC, but don’t really have a choice (unless I’m being SUPER selfish … husband’s work is here, to leave would force him to switch career paths COMPLETELY). And while I’m so, so thankful for all of you … it’s really hard to have been here for three years now, and still not have any close friends. Sure, I have friends here … but no one I can call at last second to go grab dinner, who I can just sit and giggle with over absolutely nothing, or who’ll come over and eat ice cream and give me a hug while I cry. Those people are still in California. Everyone here seems to fall into two categories: 1. they’ve lived here (or close) all their lives, and all their friends have, too. So they’re reluctant to let anyone new into their group. Or 2. they’re migrants (like us), but are so career focused they don’t have time for anything but the quick dinner date. It’s good, but sometimes, I just really need someone to come kidnap me and make me watch Muppets From Space, just to get my head back in a positive way.

I don’t really know what I can do to fix this one … other than getting myself to a damn therapist already. But anyone who’s dealt with depression knows that can be terrifying. And 2011 was full of fear for me. So I did nothing. NO GOOD.

3. Our Marriage

I don’t mean to imply that something is terribly wrong. We, as a couple, made some great strides in 2011. But there were things we promised each other we’d do this year and just … didn’t. Things like making more time for each other. Getting out of the house and into the sunlight on weekends, together. Planning better. Remembering to be considerate at all times. And so on.

I know it happens to everyone … and I know it doesn’t mean anything’s WRONG. But I’m still disappointed that we looked back at 2010, said “Let’s be better this year”, and then … weren’t. ::sighs::

 

So yes, some big disappointments. And on all of them it comes back to me getting up and DOING something about it.

Guess I have some goals for 2012 already set, hmm?

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January 10, 2012

2011: The Wins

So, let’s start on a high note, shall we?

While the past year was definitely a roller coaster, there were high moments! Let’s work our way through:

Over Valentine’s, the husband and I took our first (well, my first) trip to NYC to visit a few friends, and see a show. Coming in on the heels of a blizzard was maybe not the BEST plan in the world … but we managed it. It also set the stage for several more NYC trip (hop a bus! So easy!) throughout the year.

 

In March I started working for a national commercial real estate company.* It’d taken me almost 4 years (from the market originally crashing and my lay off) to get back into that position, in my field. My second day was the “all company meeting” for the DC area … and it felt like coming home. My place, within the business world, is in a corporate environment. Small companies, while lovely, leave me feeling like I’m not being productive. Take that for what you will, but that’s how it’s worked for me. CT isn’t a Fortune 500 company the way CB was/is, but it’s getting there.

April had me flying home to California for my sister’s baby shower … and what a shower it was! Never have you seen a couple more loved. They literally DID NOT HAVE ROOM for all the gifts they got. Craziness!

 

That same trip I was able to visit the Renaissance Pleasure Faire … and play a bit with my old guild. It’s amazing how easily you can slip back into the fabric of something you’ve been missing from for so long. And! One of my favorite people at the faire snuck up to surprise me while I was there! I may be guilty of squealing, leaping over the hay bale in front of me, and tackling him. MAY be. ::grins::

May saw me back in California for the birth of my nephew, Noah. Much cuddling and cooing occurred during this trip, lemme tell you! Too. Much. Sweetness.

I also got to spend some time with my godson (who’d just turned 3!) and best friend during that trip … always always always one of the best parts of any Cali trip. And at Disneyland! Can’t beat that!

 

PLUS! Having a long weekend at my disposal, I hopped a bus and made it up to San Fran to visit Lauren and Kamel! We laughed, we bounced (HOUSE OF JUMP! YAY!), we drank cheap wine and watched terrible addicting television. Plus, we got to meet Sharon & Jason as well! Not to mention delicious dinner. IT. WAS. PERFECT.

 

 

July 1st was the wedding of one of my very best friends. He’s so dear to me that I flew TO TEXAS IN JULY. I wore a fancy dress (and forgot to take photos until the end of the night!), flirted with old college friends, taught a buddy to moonwalk, and charmed the bride and her family. Mission accomplished.

 

While in town I got to spend some time with Rachelle (Pedicures! Delicious lunch!) and Alyssa (Terrible addicting TV! Theatre talk! Puppy snuggles!) … really, I got spoiled a bit this year with all the ladies I had a chance to visit. ::grins::

August was our 1st anniversary … so we ran away to a bed and breakfast in a tiny North Carolina town. Tiny is totally an understatement. It was quiet, well … except for the storm … and it was LOVELY.

I also really got down to work on Jenn’s beautiful wedding gown. Color me EXCITED.

 

At the very end of the month I was back in NYC for YayNY! … and managed to get stuck thanks to Hurricane Irene. There, I learned there’s nothing a little wine and an uproarious round of Phase 10 can’t fix!

 

 

And in September … Alice joined our household!! Nothing else needs to be said to express my glee. ::grins::

My 28th birthday was in October. I wore another fancy dress (NO pictures this time, SAD), drank wine in a dark bar, and celebrated with friends.

 

A week later, I ran my first race … ever. While it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was an accomplishment … one I sincerely hope to build on. Plus, cheering my husband on as he finished a marathon … AWESOME experience.

 

 

And then it was December, and I gathered up my courage and went to a Master Class with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. A long wished for dream come true. And worth every pain and emotion involved.

Plus … Christmas!

 

I know there are things I’m forgetting. Who can help me remember? But, you know … all in all … 2011 wasn’t too shabby a  year!

 

*Said company does not like their name to be published on personal blogs/social media etc. I’m sure with a little sleuthing you could figure it out, if you’re so inclined. ::winks::

October 24, 2011

Now We Are 28

And so, another birthday passes.

This year, the birthday passed with a lot of reflection. I’m 28 … officially closer to 30 than 25. Going into my third year living outside California. Third year as a godmother. Second year being a wife. And 10 years under my belt living as an adult, supporting myself.

The funny part is, I can look at that list, and not understand where in it I grew up.

I noticed early last week that my best friend had friended someone new on Facebook. Said new friend happened to be a mutual friend … and mutual ex.* So, as you do, I proceeded to FB stalk him.

While reading up on his business and flipping through photos of his family, I kept being struck by how ODD it all is. These are people I partied with 10 years ago. Who, in our early twenties, flirted with everyone around us … and each other** … and usually got what we wanted. Who navigated the shallow end of the “adult relationship” pool, hand in hand. Who stayed up all night, laying on the floor singing (true story), and got so giggly drunk we could keep someone entertained for hours. Who went to concerts and hockey games, and were the hottest things around … just by virtue of believing we were.

And here we are, reinvented as wives, husbands and parents. No less hot (of course), but a bit more mature. At least one of us is a homeowner, another owns his own thriving business, and yet another has been divorced. Three of us have gotten engaged in the last 3 weeks. And when we’re together, we complain about work over our drinks, instead of boyfriend drama.

Age is a sneaky thing. It creeps up when you’re not looking and BAM one day you’re expected to be the adult/wife/husband/mother/father when you still feel like the wildly fabulous 21-year-old you swear you were, just yesterday.

Which makes me wonder … when our mothers were spending so much time embarrassing us by “trying to be cool” … just maybe it was that they still felt the same way they did when they were young and nothing could touch them.

Skye and I are totally going to be those mothers. ::grins::

 

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes … it was a great day. Much love to you all. ::smiles::

 

* Her high school boyfriend, who I ended up dating at 22. Interestingly, this was not the first time this has happened to me … of the three closest girlfriends I’ve had in my life, we each have one ex in common … separated by enough years that we aren’t pissed off about it. I suppose this is the power of staying friends with your exes.

** Like I said, mutual ex.

October 20, 2011

Haunted

So, let’s move on to something lighter, shall we?

We’re does everyone stand on hauntings? There was a conversation on Twitter a few days ago, but there was no real consensus.

As for me … I’m a big chicken. I HATE “haunted houses” with a passion. Just ask my friends Joel and Jamie … both have (multiple times) had the unfortunate pleasure of accompanying me through haunted houses. Both have (multiple times) emerged with little rivers of blood running down their arms, from my nails digging in. Really, it serves them right … they’re the ones that make me go.

Now, “ghost hunting” I get a kick out of. Make of that what you will. Skye and I have been known to dig around anywhere we can get to, with our cameras a-flashing.

 

She’s in San Diego, and luckily for us, Old Town San Diego has their very own haunting.

The Whaley House is first and foremost a historical museum. During business hours they do tours where the share the house’s history, and then let you free to roam about. It’s a modest (for its time) manor house … with 2 stories. It also includes courtroom, and public meeting space – complete with stage and podium.

 

But, every October, they change-up the tour. Instead of the innocuous historical facts, they start telling  you the tales of the reported hauntings. Of the little dog kids tend to see running around, the small child in a pinafore, the woman’s face that appears on a wall and of Yankee Jim … a man executed on the property who was just flat-out too tall for the gallows and slowly strangled, instead of breaking his neck.

Lovely bedtime stories, right?

 

Well, several years back, it just so happened that I was dating the docent. And with that came some perks … including being allowed in the house after business hours (while they were closing up). And over the course of many visits, we had some fun.

Now, I will be the first to admit that most reports of hauntings are people’s imaginations running away with them. In this house, in particular, each room is sealed off with plexiglass. 99% of the time people claiming to have a photo with a figure in the room actually have a photo of their reflection in the plexiglass.

That being said … let’s share some stories:

** It should be known, most experiences we’ve had in the house are common ones. Having never seen the Halloween tour, neither of us were aware of anything specific having been reported previously. Imagine our surprise when the response to our report was “Oh yah, that happens all the time.” **

 

1. Let’s start vaguely creepy, but not all out. The stairs are apparently built on the spot where Yankee Jim was hanged (before the house was built). One night, after I’d been standing on the stairs taking photos,  I had someone ask me what I’d done to my neck. I looked in a mirror, and had a thin red welt going all the way around … as if there’d been a cord around my neck. It didn’t hurt at all, I hadn’t felt it happen, and it lasted for about 2 hours.

 

Apparently, this is something that happens to several tourists each day. The workers look for it, but don’t mention it often, as it generally freaks people out. But they do keep a tally. ::winks::

 

2. Same night, while outside, waiting for the boy to grab his jacket from the office, I was wandering around, shooting the outside of the house (the creepy misty shot of the back was from that night … the mist was a low hanging cloud … being not far from the ocean, it’s ALWAYS foggy.) The house was locked, and all the lights were out. In one of the upper windows, I noticed movement … like something moving back and forth across the bottom of the window repeatedly. The longer I watched, I realized it looked like a rocking chair. So I quickly shot 3 photos.

In one photo, the window is dark … as it should be. In one photo, the window is very bright, as if a light is on just inside. And one picture looked like this:

 

I have to tell you … we blew that picture up as big as it would go. (I was using a film camera, so that’s pretty damn big.) Behind all the color, you can vaguely see the outline of the building … and the window, faintly lit. And we checked to see if it was just something with the film … nowhere else on that roll were there even similar anomalies. Or that bright of colors, for that matter.

As for what I’d seen … the boy later told me that a rocking chair had been next to the window for many years … but had recently been relocated to the other side of the room. There was only a table there, now.

 

3. This one wasn’t my experience, but I witnessed it. During normal tours, they take everyone into the meeting room and tell you about things (historical events) that happened during the time it was in use. One afternoon, the guy (a stranger) sitting next to me was taking pictures of the tour guide, up on stage. At one point he started to review them, and yelped. Most of his photos were of the tour guide, podium, and 3 chairs. But one photo (in the middle of others) was of four chairs, a different podium (in a different place on stage) and no tour guide. The poor tourist was shaking. I was super intrigued.

 

4. This one was creepy. You’re forwarned.

The night the photo of Skye (all the way up top) was taken we’d been out at dinner in Old Town. Knowing they’d be closing up as we were finishing, we went in to say hi and see if we could poke around. That day they’d unveiled the restoration of the kitchen … back to the original from the time the house was built. Previously it had been preserved as it was left, still old, but not original. As we were about to leave, we decided to take one last swing through the kitchen (the lights were now off). As Skye stepped inside after me, she started hyperventilating and just generally freaking out. So we left, and went to the courtroom (still lit) to sit down and make sure she was ok. She said she had been hit with a wave of severe anxiety and confusion. (Not typical for her.) But, being Skye, she wanted to go back. So we did. She barely got in the door before collapsing to the floor sobbing. (ALSO not typical.) I dragged her out into the hallway and then ran back to snap a couple of photos … to see if I could catch anything.

 

So, some things to be noted about this photo. It was one of 5 or 6 I shot … the 3rd or 4th in, I believe. The only source of light in that area of the house was my flash. There was no light behind me. NOTHING that could cast a shadow. And again, it only showed up in one of the photos (notice a trend?) … the rest were completely normal.

The thing that creeps me out the most about this photo are the little things. Like the fact that in the middle of the darkness you see my flash reflecting off the stovepipe, and the wall paper. And that while there is a sharp edge on the left side of the shadow, the right side curves around a bit.

We’ve tried over and over again to try to recreate this photo, with no luck. The only thing that comes even close was by having me crouch down, and have a piece of cardboard blocking the entrance … the shadow was about right, then, but you also couldn’t see the whole room, as I was too low to shoot over the cardboard. That night there had been nothing between me and the room … at least nothing that could be seen. Someone mentioned (about a year later) that it looked like a door was being shut in my face. Any other opinions?

Skye later said that when she started crying she’d been flooded with overwhelming sorrow and a sense of “Why did you do this?” She speculates this all had to do with the renovation of the kitchen … but who knows.

 

5. So now that everyone’s thoroughly creeped out, I’ll end with a less-intense story. One afternoon, about a month after the night in number 4, I stopped by to take the boy to lunch. He was in the middle of a tour, so I wandered around waiting. Upstairs was a mother with several small children who were running around. I stopped to talk to her, and felt one of the kids tug on my long skirt. Looking down, I saw that one of the little girls was smiling at me. She took my hand, and started to swing it back and forth … as small children tend to do. I went back to talking to the mother, and the little one kept swinging my hand.

After about a minute of this I looked down to smile at her … and there was no little girl. But I could still feel the little hand, and my arm was still swinging back and forth. I looked at the woman I was talking to in shock, and felt the little hand give mine a squeeze and slip away. Sounds terrifying, but really, all I felt was fascination.

A couple of days later, the boy showed me a picture the workers had taken at closing, the same day I’d been there. (Before cleaning any of the plexiglassed rooms they take pictures, to make sure everything is put back in the same spots.) In the nursery there is a cradle holding a baby doll. In the photo, there was a little girl peeking over the edge of the cradle, smiling at doll.

It was the little girl I’d seen, and played with.

Of course, I told the boy what’d happened to me (for some reason I hadn’t when it happened … go figure). He told me that visitors wearing long skirts regularly report having them tugged on … like a small child would. But to his knowledge, no one else had ever reported having the child actually touch them.

And all I could think was COOL.

 

So … those are my stories. Anyone else have any?

October 19, 2011

Healing Hands

I know many of you don’t share my faith, but I’m posting anyway. I’m a Christian. On the way home tonight, I was listening to this. And sobbing by the end of it. I feel better now than I have all day.

     When I was young the smallest trick of light
     Could catch my eye
     And life was new and every new day
     I thought that I could fly

     I believed in what I hoped for
     And I hoped for things unseen
     I had wings and dreams could soar
     I just don’t feel like flying anymore

     When the stars threw down their spears
     Watered Heaven with their tears
     Before words were spoken
     Before eternity

     Dear Father, I need you
     Your strength my heart to mend
     I want to fly higher
     Every new day again

     When I was small
     The furthest I could reach was not so high
     And I thought the world was so much smaller
     Feeling that I could fly

     Through distant deeps and skies
     Beyond infinity
     Below the face of Heaven
     He stoops to create me

     Dear Father, I need you
     Your strength my heart to mend
     I want to fly higher
     Every new day again

     Man versus himself
     Man versus machine
     Man versus the world
     Mankind versus me
     The struggles go on
     The wisdom I lack
     The burdens keep piling
     Up on my back
     So hard to breathe
     To take the next step
     The mountain is high
     I wait in the depths
     Yearning for grace
     And hoping for peace
     Dear Lord increase

     Healing hands of God have mercy
     On our unclean souls once again
     Jesus Christ, light of the world
     Burning bright within our hearts forever

     Freedom means love without condition
     Without a beginning or an end
     Here’s my heart, let it be forever Yours
     Only You can make every new day seem so new

– Five Iron Frenzy ,”Every New Day”

 

The version that got me sobbing (I was listening to the recording of their final show):

The record version, sans emotion (and screaming):

 

Have a good night, everyone.