What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Quick Breath

It's been a crazy busy month for us that will continue into August. We have had good and bad, happy & sad. And the beat goes on...
Okay, enough with the song lyrics as cliches. What's been going on?
  • As you know, the beginning of the month was consumed with my dealing with MJ's death. I devoured the Internet daily looking for news of any kind and listening to his music endlessly. This is getting better. I still read whatever I can find, but I don't search for it as obsessively. I spent a small fortune on the tribute/memorial magazines that were put out, which are still in the paper bag I put them in after bringing them home. My emotions are much more under control now and although I dread the day the autopsy results are released, I think that I'm ready. I know that the findings won't be pretty, and I've resigned myself to that.
  • In my desperate need to listen to MJ's music constantly, I realized that I didn't own enough of his music catalog. Eric taunted me by letting me know that he was quickly accumulating gobs of songs via the Internet. So I downloaded iTunes and that addiction has taken over my home. It's bad. We are loving it, but it's taking a lot of time to try to find music that we've done without for years because the last time we owned it was on vinyl or cassette.
  • CASis, CANiece1 & CANiece2 (see bottom of this post for explanation) drove in last Tuesday and my sister spent some time teaching me the ins and outs of getting music online. We talked a lot and were up late for the 3 nights she was here. Our kids played together so great and we really missed them when they left Friday morning. They left to drive to my sister's house in Missouri (where my mom is already), then will go play tourist in St. Louis and Chicago. They're taking a side trip to Gary, Indiana to find the Jackson's home there, then back to drop MOSis & her kids at their house. My mom is driving up through Nebraska on her way home to see a friend who was a bridesmaid in my parents wedding. My sister and nieces will drive back here, after stopping in Kansas to see the OZ museum. I'm so jealous.
  • My kids will be 11 in 9 days. Wow. We are having a birthday party at the Rec Center this Sunday for them. They are so excited. They'll have cake & ice cream followed by swimming. Then we'll have cake and ice cream on their birthday with my parents and my sister & nieces (they won't be back in time for the rec center party). The next day (Friday), we'll be up bright and early to drive to South Dakota for the weekend. We're going to Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Bear Country USA and whatever else we can cram in. Driving back late on Sunday. My dad is going too, so it should be fun. My dogs will be staying with my mom at her house while we're gone. We've never done this before, but if it works it may mean that we can take more vacations as a family instead of splitting them up. This is very exciting.
  • Speaking of that, IF all goes well we MIGHT take a family trip to California over Thanksgiving week. This has just entered very preliminary discussions, so stay tuned.
  • My CASis is graduating from nursing school the week before Christmas and I am going. Unfortunately, flights there right now are costing about $400. I simply can't afford this. I am thankful that it is still months away, but very worried that it won't get much better before I have to purchase my ticket.
  • The fuel pump in my car may be failing and it's the car we are driving to South Dakota. The tags on both our cars are due.
  • Our air conditioner is not working correctly. For the last 2 nights it's been 84 degrees in my house when I've gone to bed. I haven't slept well. The kids and I are waking up cranky. The chinchilla's cage is now in the bathtub to keep her cool. The dogs just walk around with their tongues hanging out. It's miserable. Our neighber who works in HVAC is going to come over tonight and take a look. I'm not very hopeful. I'm very afraid that something is wrong and will cost a lot to fix.
  • Oh and our mortgage went up due to the amount of our taxes last year. It's only $40 a month, but still.
  • My best friend's birthday is in 2 days and I have nothing to send him. Can't afford much and that kills me.
  • We started back to school shopping over the weekend. Spent so much money and still have so much more to buy. They start school on August 18. My babies will be in 6th grade, that's middle school. It's just unbelievable...
  • *Talk of Sex Life Ahead-Enter at Your Own Risk* Shell & I aren't getting along very well right now. The stress of our money situation isn't helping, but it's mostly about sex. My sex drive is pretty amped up right now, which is really wonderful and very welcome. Typically when we have sex, she makes love to me first as it turns her on and gets her wet so that I can make love to her. Whatever. Saturday morning when she got home from work, I got my turn (as she puts it), but she was tired and turned down getting her turn. Saturday night we went to a birthday party and had a few drinks. The kids were spending the night at my dad's, so we were excited to have the house to ourselves. I got my turn and then fell asleep before she got hers. I felt really bad and she was a little bitter during the day on Sunday, but seemed to get over it as the day wore on. Sunday night the kids went to bed and we turned on a movie. A naughty movie. And...I fell asleep again. Needless to say, she's pretty pissed about it. I can't apologize enough. I swear I really didn't even feel that tired. But apparently I was and she's mad. It doesn't help that the last few weekends haven't exactly been prime for lovemaking. So we were looking forward to this one all week. The weekends are really our only days for it, since she works nights Monday through Friday. So yeah, the situation this weekend sucked. Add on the money situation and the broken a/c...and it's kind of tense in my house. It'll work out, it's just a bummer in the meantime.

I think that's enough catching up for now. I've been trying to keep up with all the blogs I read, but commenting is still suffering. Now that I've written this, I'm going to go comment on your blogs. Thanks for reading, as always!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gone 2 Weeks

~~This is a long post about my reaction to Michael Jackson's passing. Feel free to skip it if you want. It's mostly to help me remember how I felt.~~~

I have started and restarted and written and deleted this post so many times and it's just not going the way I had planned. 2 weeks ago Michael Jackson died and it rocked my world in a way even I couldn't have imagined.

I was at work on Thursday June 25, and had just talked to Shell because she was at the dentist for our boy to get his cavity filled and his last baby tooth pulled. The other line rang and I saw that it was Eric, so I hung up with her to pick up his call. He asked if I had seen that Michael (we always refer to him by just his first name. It's all that's necessary.) had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. I hadn't, but I quickly started combing the news sites for information. I was checking reputable sites like Associated Press, BBC, LA Times, NY Times, ABC, CNN and was finding that he was indeed taken by ambulance to the hospital after apparently suffering cardiac arrest. Still on the phone with Eric (thank goodness it was a VERY slow day at work), he told me that TMZ was reporting that Michael had died. I refused to believe that this tabloid trash gossip site was right. I mean, NONE of the other sites were saying that, so I held out hope. Dana called me to see if I was okay, as she was hearing that he was gone. I told her it wasn't "official" yet. Shell called me from the dentist to see if I had heard and I yelled at her that "only TMZ is reporting that and they aren't real news so right now all I'm dealing with is a report of cardiac arrest". By this point, I was shaking and panic started to set in. I still had Eric on the phone as we repeatedly refreshed pages and searched for new news. I saw it first and my heart sank. LA Times reported that Michael had died. I read it to Eric and started to cry. There was silence as we started to absorb the shock. We ended our call and it took everything I had to stay at work for the next 45 minutes. Shell called to see if she should come pick me up. I assured her that I could drive myself home. 5:00 finally came and I immediately found a radio station playing Michael songs. Tears fell from my eyes while driving home and as I sat in my car in the garage listening to the radio until Shell & the kids got home. I ate one piece of pizza and laid in bed watching coverage until late that night. Shell held me while I cried.
The next day at work was hard. Tears stayed in my eyes, ready to fall randomly throughout the day. I spent a large part of the day trying to stay composed, and failing for the most part. I was consumed with finding information wherever I could. Even reading TMZ, just because they had constant coverage. I listened to every Michael CD I had repeatedly. It felt a little manic, to tell you the truth. That still continues to some extent. That Saturday, Shell invited Dana & Jeannie for dinner. I think it was to distract me actually. Sunday was Pride, which helped get me out of the funk I was in. But then it started again on Monday. Shell said that she thought I was actually doing better than she would have expected. But I really wasn't "dealing" with it. It just didn't feel real yet. It started to hit me a little on Saturday the 4th when we went to the store for some stuff and found the first Tribute magazines. Holding those in my hands, I could feel my heart beat faster and felt the tears welling up. Shell redirected my attention before it went too far. The magazines went into a bag, and I haven't looked at them since.
The weekend was full of talk of the memorial service and the lottery to win tickets. Eric registered a number of times, but as we heard of the vast numbers of entries and that the odds were getting slimmer and slimmer, we lost hope. The winners were notified Sunday night and when I didn't hear from him, I knew he wouldn't be attending.

I spent Monday morning trying to figure out how I would be able to watch the service online and record it at home. Then Eric called. He was going after all! He had registered an entry for a friend and she was chosen. And she was taking him. I was thrilled for him and really I was thrilled for me too. Since I couldn't go, he needed to so I could hear all about it. I was really happy for both of us, but that was the calm before the storm. For the rest of the day, the reality of what was happening the next day started to hit and moments of lost composure became the norm. My Facebook status was "Monday has turned around for the better. I'm SO happy that deserving people are being rewarded today!" But when Eric commented with "although you know i wish you were here to go with me. i would give up my seat for you.", I lost it. I didn't WANT him to have to give up a seat to Michael's memorial service because I didn't WANT there to be a service. I didn't want Michael to be gone, to never again release records, to never see his beloved children grow up, to never tour again. I was angry and embarrassed and shaken. I was bitter that all these people were proclaiming their love for Michael now and it was too late for him to see.
I have been a "fan" for as long as I can remember. I listened to my mom's Jackson 5 albums growing up. She bought the "Off the Wall" and "Thriller" albums when they came out, so I listened to those too. This picture is me on my 10th birthday in May, 1984. I loved that shirt. The button I'm wearing says "I (heart) Michael Jackson". I changed my Cabbage Patch Kid's name to Michael Joseph Jackson (mylastname). Later that year, the Jackson's Victory tour was coming to Dodger Stadium and my mom went in with some friends to buy tickets (they were sold in lots). One of the people ended up not being able to go, so my mom told me that if they couldn't find someone else, that I could go. Soon after, my mom had a conference with my teacher who told her that I was very behind on my math homework. So my mom told me that I had to make up all the missing work, or I wasn't going to the concert. I worked my butt off, and did it. Unfortunately, I hardly remember the concert at all now. This kills me. And now there will be no "maybe he'll tour the U.S. again someday and I can see him again"...
This is me and my cousin on Christmas 1987. The "Bad" album was one of the first ones I owned. I can still remember studying the liner notes to memorize every word and reading the names of the lucky people who worked on the album. I was a full-fledged fan by now. My mom would even tell me, when I complained about having to do the dishes, "just imagine you are at Michael's house doing his dishes". Believe it or not, that's exactly what I did and it got me through A LOT of chores over the years. I used to keep my room clean, thinking that if he "popped in" (you know as mega-celebrities do) I'd want it to look nice.
I met Eric in the fall of 1988, and found a soulmate in our love of all things Michael Jackson. He was a reader of liner notes too, and we spent many hours talking about and listening to music. In May of 1989, my mom took us to Hollywood to follow the map of star's homes and check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was fun to see where the star's lived and wander around Beverly Hills and see Graumann's Chinese Theater. We found Michael's star and took pictures. We also found the Jackson family home in Encino. THAT was exciting! We were standing in front of where he lives!

When we went to see "Captain Eo" at Disneyland for the first time, I was captivated. I thought it was the coolest thing. I couldn't convince my parents to let us see it over and over, but did get them to buy me a stuffed "Fuzzball" from the movie. It was one of the few stuffed toys I kept over the years of moves and when my daughter was little, she loved playing with it. The tail started to detach from the body, so I put it up high so she couldn't reach it.
After I bought a copy of Captain Eo on eBay, her interest in my
Fuzzball was renewed. So for her 7th birthday, I found a Fuzzball on eBay and bought it. These pictures show her face when she realizes what's in the box and posing with her new friend.
She is a fellow Michael fan as well. For Christmas last year, she asked for her own Michael Jackson CD to play in her room, so she wouldn't have to keep borrowing mine. She watched a lot of the coverage and specials with me after he died and was a big comfort as well. She understood why I was sad.
So back to the memorial service. I decided to take the day off, knowing that there was no way I'd be able to watch coverage at work and not cry. And it wouldn't be an option to avoid the Internet either. So I stayed home. I'm so glad I did. The moment I woke up I turned on the TV and watched his family drive to the cemetery for their private service. I was okay until they carried his casket to the hearse for the drive to Staples Center. That wasn't easy. I talked to Eric briefly before he made his way there and then communicated via text until the service began. And then the tears started. It was the "ugly cry" at its worst. Reality hit me full force and I did not take it well. Every person who spoke or sang caused more tears to fall. I couldn't have stopped them if I'd tried. When his brother Marlon spoke, I felt the realness of it all sink in and then when his beautiful daughter stepped up to the microphone and told the world how she misses her daddy...well that just did me in. I was a wreck...
So now here I am, two weeks after. Every day since the memorial service has been a little better. My wife is relieved to see me finding my way back to normal. I still feel the pain from the loss very deeply, but it doesn't make me cry every time I think of it. But to be honest, I feel anxious thinking about the autopsy results being made public. Like I'm waiting for that shoe to drop before the next round of grieving can begin. Because I know there is more. Maybe there always will be?
I still haven't looked at the magazines I've collected so far. My girl wants to watch the end of the memorial service with me because she missed it, but I can't do it yet. I spoke to a friend the other night who lost her mom a month ago and while she was telling me about the days after, I found myself thinking "that's how I felt about Michael". It's not the same, but it's how I feel. I feel a little embarrassed by my depth of grief, but it is what it is and it's real to me. I never met him, I didn't "know" him, but my heart broke when he died. And little by little, day by day, it's healing. But not very fast...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Long Overdue

It's been a long time since I posted last (thank you Teaberry for the nudge I guess I needed). I had a post started last Thursday when the news about Michael Jackson hit and my world came crashing down. I am struggling to compose a post about what he meant to me and how his death is affecting me, but it's been very hard. There is so much to say and I don't want it to sound random. I'm trying to find photos to include in it, but most of them belong to my parents and going through their photos is a task, let me tell you! But it's coming along, slowly but surely. Just know that his death was a blow to my heart and soul and every day I've found myself either crying or near tears. I don't think it's completely hit me yet, and I am already a little surprised at how much it is affecting me. So please, be kind. If you are someone who doesn't think highly of him, that's your prerogative. I just ask that you don't comment with negativity. Thank you.
Even though it's been a couple of weeks since my cousin's funeral, I was just given this picture of me with my parents. Even though we are teary-eyed, it's actually a pretty good one. And I'm not sure when the last time was that I had a picture of just us.

In other news...
Seeing RENT was AMAZING! Our seats were great and I may have had my mouth hanging open for a large part of it. We truly love the movie and know the movie soundtrack by heart, along with our kids. But seeing the production on stage... I can't find words to explain it. It was just brilliant. It felt like a life-changing event. After the show, we headed around to the stage door and
were just in time to meet and get autographs from Anthony Rapp(Mark) and Nicollette Hart (Maureen). We were so excited! These pictures are from the national touring company we saw. It was so great. I wish we could have gone again while they were here.

My boy had his first cooking class last week. He is taking three this summer through our city rec center. His first was about pasta, and he learned to make homemade ravioli. It was so good. He had such a great time. He really loves to cook. I can't wait to have him make homemade pasta for dinner sometime.
Sunday was Denver Pride and we had been looking forward to it. The kids LOVE going and as an added bonus, Debbie Gibson was the main performer. We packed up the wagon & cooler and went with Dana & Jeannie and the kids. We were running a little late but got in place just as the Dykes on Bikes passed by. Phew! That's one of Shell's favorites, besides the PFLAG groups. We watched for a while, then let the kids play in the park. While we were walking through all the vendors, we found a face-painting booth. Thinking it would be a quick & fun thing for the kids and would kill a little time before we needed to find seats for the show, we got in line. Well, quick it was not. We were there for so long! Finally we were done, and headed in to the show. Debbie Gibson was really great. She sang "Out of the Blue", "Electric Youth", "Foolish Beat", a medley from the Broadway shows she's done, "Only in my Dreams" and a few others. She looks HOT! Oh my, she looked good. So to wrap this up, a few from Pride.
My kids playing in the trees

Shell & I and Jeannie & Dana

My Tiger boy and Bunny girl

For "Only In My Dreams" she pulled people from the audience to dance onstage with her