A letter to my daughter on the eve* of your birth

*I’m using the word “eve” very lightly here as I don’t actually know when you will show up.

I’ve started this letter on the computer and in my head too many times to count. I don’t know the right way to start a letter to your child as you wait for her to be born. You’re three days past your due date today and I expected this letter finished long before now. I don’t even know exactly what I want to say, except that I want to say something. I don’t know how to fully wrap my brain around the fact that right now you are so small and snug inside me, but someday you will be able to read these words that I wrote down for you so many years before.

The first thing you need to know is that there are rules in this house. They’re currently posted up in the living room so if you ever forget them, you don’t have to look far for a reminder.

  • Be compassionate
  • Be kind
  • Be silly
  • Don’t be a dick

Those four rules identify what’s important in this house and this family. You don’t need to be the smartest kid in your class or the best athlete. You don’t need to be perfect or wonderful all of the time. But you do need to be compassionate, kind, and silly.

Help others when you have the chance to do so. Be kind to your family, friends, and to strangers. Laugh as much as you possibly can. You can be kind without being a pushover. You can be compassionate without forgetting yourself. You can be silly when no one else is. Your parents are weird. Sometimes you’ll like that, sometimes you might be embarrassed by it. We’re happy being silly and weird. We want you to be too, if that’s your thing.

And don’t be a dick. There will be times in your life where you will need to stand up for yourself or others. Do that. Speak up for those that need it. Defend yourself. Have confidence in who you are and what you stand for. But don’t be a shitty person. Bullies will not be tolerated in this house, nor will shitty attitudes, arrogance, or selfishness. We all have bad days and sometimes you might break this rule. In fact, sometimes your mom and dad might break this rule too. We promise to forgive you as long as you will forgive us. And after we’ve recovered from those moments, we can all hug it out and remind ourselves of the family rules again.


I don’t know what you look like, which makes it hard to think of you out here, existing in the world. Since you are a little girl and since I look so much like my mother, I imagine you’ll look a lot like me. Although I also imagine you’ll have your father’s blue eyes, fair skin, and freckles. And sometimes I imagine that you’ll have my brown eyes and some mix of reddish blonde hair that exists in both our families. There’s science that backs up the old wives’ tale that heartburn during pregnancy can be linked to the growth of baby’s hair in utero. I haven’t had much heartburn so maybe you’ll come out delightfully bald. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

  • I’m excited to meet you and to share my life with you.
  • I’m excited to play with you in your monster-themed nursery and dress you up in adorable clothes.
  • I’m excited to watch scary movies with you and your dad and to watch more cartoon movies with you than your dad could ever possibly handle.
  • I’m excited to introduce you to your family. The ones we like; not the other ones. So many of them are also very excited to meet you.
  • I’m excited to watch you grow and change. And then to watch you change the world around you.
  • I’m excited for all the things you’ll say or do or be a part of that I can’t even really be excited for yet because I can’t even fathom your beautiful little life.
  • I’ve wanted to be a mom for most of my life (there was some time in my 20’s where it was debatable) and I am so excited I am lucky enough to do that.

But I’m also scared. Really scared. I’m scared for us both.

I’m scared for me and how my life will change. It may not make sense to you when you read this, but I know it will someday.

  • I’m scared that I will lose sight of myself, that I’ll forget to take care of myself and be kind to myself. I’ve already gotten pretty lax about self-care during maternity leave but I’m trying to turn that around.
  • I’m scared that your father and I will struggle to parent cohesively, that this will change our marriage forever, possibly not for the better. We’re letting go of “just the two of us” and I worry that I will miss this quiet time of staying up late, frivolously spending money, and doing absolutely nothing more than I can imagine.
  • I’m scared that even though I’ve wanted this for so long that I won’t be any good at it. I’m scared I won’t be a “good” mom, and that I will let you down more than I lift you up.

I’m scared for the world you face.

  • I’m scared because you are a girl, and as a woman I know that you will face sexism in ways both passive and aggressive, conscious and subconscious, for likely most of your life. And should you share with us one day that you don’t identify as cis-gender and/or straight, I’m scared of how the rest of the world will treat you.
  • I’m scared because today our country is inaugurating an ill-educated narcissist to the highest office in the nation and it has already disturbed our society in so many ways. I worry what comes next here. I worry that the oppressed will not only remain so but that the oppression will worsen, which doesn’t bode well for your future or the future of your friends.

Thankfully, I know so many good and kind people that I haven’t completely given up hope on those last two bullets. Some experts say that this presidency will usher in a new wave of empathy for those of us feeling disheartened. I hope that’s true. I hope that by the time you’re old enough to learn about all of this in high school that you can ask me about what it was like living in a time when people were much less equal than they are in yours.

I hope that you can see that there were people that came before you that stood on the right side of history, that stood on the side of love, and because of them your life is better. I hope that you have more opportunities than I did and that you live in a society that is more welcoming than the one I am in. I see the people around me and I know it’s possible. You deserve more than the world I am bringing you into and I hope that it will become more like the world you deserve as you grow up. And I hope that you will do your very best to continue to make the world a better place.

I know that I am not a special snowflake. The fears I carry are not unique to me, nor are they rare. Expecting parents since the dawn of time have shared my worries (adjusting for cultural and technological advances, of course), but it’s hard to let them out. It’s hard to admit that I am scared because I want so badly to only be excited. I want to be as cool and confident as I was earlier in pregnancy, when your birth wasn’t so imminent.

I want to be a free spirit floating into parenthood with grace, joy, and nothing but the warmest and fuzziest of emotions. But that’s not real life. Real life is a little more confusing than that. Humans and human emotions are more complex than that. I wish I could be fearless, but I’m not, and I’m hoping that being honest about my fear as much as my joy will help me feel just a little more prepared to be your mom. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I have the whole mom thing figured out, so do me a favor and give me (and your father) some grace. I’m trying. I’m learning as I go. I’m imperfect. And I love you dearly.


On Mother’s Day, last year, after eight months trying to conceive, I was feeling a little down and a little overwhelmed. Your dad woke up early, went to the store to grab milk, and brought me home flowers. He said “Happy Mother’s Day to a someday mom. You may not be one now but you will be.”  To which I responded that it would be happening sooner than he thought, because I took a pregnancy test while he was out at the store and was elated to see two pink lines, one strong one and one faintest glimmer of a line. He stared at me confused for a second, but then came around after some more questioning. He was wary that morning because the line was so faint but with a digital test proclaiming “Pregnant” later that night, he finally came around. And I made him laugh as I danced around the house laughing and yelling that we were having a baby.

I want you to know that I have loved you since you were just two little pink lines, one faint as could be. We wished and waited for you and despite all of the fear and unknown, we’re very much looking forward to meeting you. We’re looking forward to holding your little hands, dancing around the room with you, and helping you grow into the person you are meant to be. It’s going to be tough for all of us at times, even scary, but I know in my heart that it will all be worth it.

We cannot wait to bring you home.

And I still have the flowers your father brought home to me on Mother’s Day. I think we might hang them in your nursery.

With all of my love,

Mom

Actual Real Life – Episode 4: Texts With Dad

Although we’re buds now, my father and I didn’t always have the best relationship growing up. In fact, I’m pretty sure I said less than two paragraphs worth of words to him from approximately 13 to 17. And yet, in spite of the lack of communication during my teenage years, I managed to turn into a person that, at times, bears a striking resemble to my dad. And sometimes, just in case I’ve forgotten, a moment comes along to remind me.

Suffice it to say, I get my overarching sarcasm from both of my parents, but I get my dry sense of humor and my deadpan from my dad.

For better or worse.

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Happy Birthday, Chewy: Another year of snuggles

I’m obsessed with my dog. I think he’s the greatest dog in the history of dogs. Even when he smells funny. Even when he eats my food I foolishly walked away from. Even when I’m cleaning his vomit off the carpet at 5:30 in the morning (oh hai, that morning was a blast). I just think he’s the bees knees.

He’s my sidekick. He follows me everywhere. He curls right up with me like a teddy bear whenever I want him to. Mostly he just waddles around the house looking all cute and shit.

As cute as my dog is, I’m fairly certain I see him differently than everyone else. It’s sort of like body dismorphic disorder except in reverse. Like in Shallow Hal where he only sees the best of her (or whatever that movie was supposed to tell me about society).

This is what the world sees when they look at Chewy (Princess Chewbacca Dalek Stinky Nugget Lovebug Floppy Ears Buddy Monster Derpy Bug Chunk Jess Johnson):

chewy

 

All regularly proportioned and junk. This is what I see when I look at Chewy:

 

chewycartoonf

 

You guys. He’s ALL EARS AND EYES.

That’s it. Just giant, suck-your-soul-out-of-your-damn-cranium puppy dog eyes paired with excessively large,  ultra floppy, soft-as-the-softest-cloud in Heaven ears. The rest of his body exists only to hold up his ears and eyes.

Sometimes I don’t even think he has a torso.

He’s just eyes attached to ears attached to snuggles.

And today he turns 7. According to one of the charts at my vet’s office (but not all of them) he’s now a senior citizen. He doesn’t have any gray hair and he recently lost two pounds so he’s doing pretty well for himself in his old age. To celebrate, I got my dapper little guy a new bow tie collar (I’ve been taking pictures nonstop) and I’ll be stopping on the way home to get him a special puppy cookie dessert treat. YES. I’M SERIOUS.

No shame in my obsessed-with-my-puppy game.

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My tiny house dream is dead

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I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year convincing myself and my husband that a tiny house was a the right move for us. I’ve been all over the Facebooks posting tiny houses and swooning over their adorableness.

Because minimalism! Because money! Because convenience! I dreamed of us having our adorable tiny home on a trailer with only our necessities and our dog. We would find a couple acres of land, throw our tiny house on it, put up a fence to let the dog run around, and maybe even grow a garden.

Living the hipster dream!

But then I visited some tiny houses this weekend and to use the phrasing the owners of the houses repeated many times, I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid anymore.


 

Logistics. Apparently the tiny house dream isn’t as easy to make happen as all the cool bloggers would like me to believe. And when cool bloggers post about the cool tiny house they built, many of them don’t explain exactly where they will be placing said tiny house and what sort of government nightmare choosing a tiny house is.

There are places in the United States that allow the tiny houses on trailers to be considered accessory dwelling units (ADU if you’re up on the lingo) but that means it has to exist on a property with another house. A real house. With plumbing and specific square footage, and safety measures. So if we went that route we wouldn’t be downsizing on account of that whole extra house thing. And we could potentially rent out the house to other people but then that defeats the purpose of getting our own land void of other people because we hate other people. Additionally, these tiny houses are often grouped in with your typical trailer park trailer and there’s about a million regulations on where those can and cannot exist on account of how ugly they are.

And also poor people. Poor people are great and all when you’re helping them from the comfort of your home but most people don’t actually want to be near poor people. Because cooties. And poor.

Oh and if you were thinking you can just slap your tiny house down on a concrete foundation and call it a day, think again. That requires your house to fall into previously mentioned zoning laws and regulations. Laws that dictate square footage, plumbing, amenities, safety features, etc. Your tiny house just got untiny.

FWIW – I have no idea what zoning laws exist outside of the United States so maybe it’s more possible in the UK or North Korea or something.

Space. Okay so this one is obvious but I don’t think I could have really considered the limitations of this space better than I can right now. David and I live in a two bedroom, two bath apartment and we already feel limited by the size. We used to rent a house which probably helped to change the way we view space too. We love that we have less space to clean these days but hate that we also have much less space to entertain. We also have less space for the three more dogs I want.

And really, our relationship is better when we both have space. I identify mostly as an introvert while David is mostly an extrovert, but he has his moments where he just wants to come home and hide. We both need me time and we need me space. When we lived in a one bedroom apartment we were easily frustrated by the lack of personal space. Now, when we need me time I disappear into the bedroom and he disappears into the office. It works for us. On top of that, the office is David decorated. It has movie posters and toys galore. It’s much more David’s space than it is mine and our bedroom is much more our space than it is mine. I want my own space. When we buy a house some day I’m getting my own craft/fitness/dog snuggling room. It’s going to be awesome.

Materialism. I’ve been considered this idea of a minimalist lifestyle for a while now and it always sounds so appealing but you know what? Fuck it, I like stuff, and I’m done feeling bad about it. We don’t have much money so we don’t run around filling our house with chotchkies on a regular basis which is helping for now. Because of an upcoming move I started going through our house room by room and decluttering to get rid of things we never use or don’t need.

We don’t have a lot of stuff but we have more stuff than we can fit in a tiny house. And I’m okay with that. I have sentimental attachment to some things. I like my bookshelf. I have way too many clothes but I wear them all. I love shoes. David loves movie paraphernalia. Stuff is fun. I’m done focusing on how many things we have, and I’m done feeling guilty for having it all.


I came away from the tiny house tour knowing that this was not going to be the next step for us but I also could understand the benefits of examining the tiny house movement more. The houses we saw were built on a fenced-in alley lot in the middle of DC. They took unused, wasted space and made it something appealing and livable. They also mentioned that they recently hosted council members in an effort to see if this could offer some sort of solution for tackling the homeless population in the area. There’s potential to the idealism in tiny homes, but it’s no longer appealing to me as a thing I need to keep trying to convince my husband is the best choice for us.

victorianhouseSo the tiny house story isn’t our story. We’re moving in with family for a while and after that, when it’s time to find a home of our own, we’re going to find a nice home with plenty of space to put all of our stuff in. And I’m going to go back to dreaming about my perfect Victorian home. The beautiful one full of character, with personal rooms for each of us, a massive master suite, a guest room or two, possibly a future child’s room, a game room basement, plenty of entertaining space, a wrap around porch, and a fenced in yard for my four dogs. Oh and a pool. Definitely needs a pool.

You know what? Make that five dogs.

And don’t forget the friendly ghost in the attic.

 

 

The paper anniversary

Earlier this month, David and I celebrated one full year of marriage together. A conversation the day before went a little something like this:

Me: So we’ve been married a full year now.

David: Yup.

Me: That’s pretty weird right?

David: Umm… no? It’s what I expected.

Me: Right. But. It’s still weird.

-crickets-

Me: Know what I’m saying?

David: No. I really don’t.

You see? Even though we’re married, sometimes David still doesn’t get me. WHATEVER, DAVID.

Anyway, to celebrate I made him the greatest print he will ever receive ever. As the first anniversary is traditionally the paper anniversary, I thought it only right to whip out my mad art skills and present him with a piece that will one day hang in museums to be sure. It’s a pretty accurate depiction of how things roll in our house.

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We’re pretty complex people.

Happy Anniversary (again) hot stuff. I look forward to annoying you forever and ever amen.

My healthy living story

This post was originally written for and posted on the Geeked Out Fitness blog.

Recently, someone on Twitter asked me how I got into living healthy and making my fitness a priority. I started to respond and then I realized that my story was going to take up much more than 40 characters so I wrote something to the effect of “Long story but started to hit rock bottom and changed.”

Worst storyteller ever.

But that really got me thinking about my story and all of the stories on the Geeked Out Fitness team and I think that it’s important that we share our stories with you.

I’m not sure at what point in my life I learned that I needed to be skinny or how I learned it or where I learned it. I just remember knowing it. It was a thing that was fact. I needed to be skinny. The oldest memory about my physical self that I can remember involves softball. I played softball in fourth and fifth grade and I remember shopping for softball pants being one of the most mortifying experiences of my young life. I remember trying pants on and telling my mom that my thighs were fat and that I was fat. I don’t know if my mom remembers this adventure, I’ve never asked.

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I look back on the pictures now and I can see that I wasn’t the same size as my very small framed best friend, but I wasn’t particularly fat either. My body image was distorted.

Throughout middle and high school I went through random bouts of not liking my body all that much – as I suppose young girls are unfortunately wont to do – and again now I look back on the pictures and think about how crazy I was. I was a tiny little stick person and I was convinced I was too fat. I had no real concept of exercising or eating healthy or anything. I didn’t know what a calorie was and I refused to run the mile in gym class.

When I got to college I met a boy who rode bicycles. I started riding bikes too and started to see my body differently for the first time in my life. I saw muscles in my lower half and I was proud of my curves. I was also eating ramen, chicken nuggets, and ice cream though so the change wasn’t overwhelming. After we broke up I continued to ride although not as much as before.

After my freshman year of college I left school and didn’t plan to go back. Then at the last minute I decided to go back anyway.  Sometime during my tenure at school I got a job as a waitress at Hooters (I was hired for my personality).  The tight uniforms only encouraged my self-judgment and I stopped eating as much and started working out. I was running and bought a ballet barre with an exercise DVD.  A guy I had been with off and on during my entire time at school commented on the change in my body and I felt that it was a win. I was looking good!

Fast forward to the beginning of junior year. I dropped out of school – for good this time – and stayed in my apartment with my friend. I had a job as a waitress at a small restaurant and I spent a lot  of time drinking. Sometimes I ran. Mostly I drank. And drank. And drank. The only time I remember being sober was between breakfast and driving to work.

Until one day two months after dropping out of school I called my mom asked her if I could move back home because I thought I was becoming an alcoholic. She said come on back but my parents were going to be out of town when I planned to come back so the only things I could bring back home with me were what I could fit in my 97 Pontiac Sunfire. It wasn’t a lot but that’s what I needed. It was the first step in letting go of a lot of physical and emotional baggage.

When I moved back home I started to search for a job and I didn’t have much to do in my free time so I started to work out. I started with Jilian Michaels DVDs and running and random weight lifting in the apartment gym. My mom joined me in working out sometimes, which I thought was fun. When she would join me I used to encourage her during our workouts. Helping her with her form and cheering her on. One workout she suggested I should become a personal trainer. Although I think she said actually said athletic trainer. I sort of took her advice and started looking into becoming a personal trainer (not a jock strap / athletic trainer).

Over the next six years my whole life changed. I started working in gyms. I completed my ACSM certification and later my NASM certification. I helped friends and family and strangers that became friends and family. I didn’t drink for a while after coming back home but eventually it snuck its way back into my diet.  I learned how to work out and how to appreciate my body for what it could do and not what it looked like.

I still struggle with my eating habits. I eat weird and sometimes like a bird but also sometimes I eat 20 chicken wings. I’m not always perfect. I don’t always workout and I don’t always stop at 1 piece of pizza and I don’t only eat unprocessed food. I’m still a work in progress. I would like to look back five years from now and say that Husband and I have enough money to eat only unprocessed, organic foods and that we are eating and living healthier than ever before.

Five years. That’s a long time. I’m not pretending that things are going to change over night. It took me a long time to really respect my body and stop judging it so harshly and I know my diet isn’t going to change overnight either but it’s about 400 times better than where it was before.

I work out and I eat healthy because I want to live a long and happy life. I don’t want the 1800 ailments that run in my family line on both sides. I want better for myself and I deserve better for myself. Living healthy is so important to me and I try to be there for anyone that is trying to make the steps themselves because it’s not an easy task. But it is so worth it. My resting heart rate and my blood pressure are low (in a healthy way). My body fat percentage is healthy.  I have trouble sleeping but that’s an anxiety thing and not a healthy lifestyle thing. I’m making these changes – these long-term lifestyle changes for me. Because I love me. And for the people that love me because I know they want me to stick around and bug them for as long as possible.

There are so many details and twists and turns in my story but I wanted you to understand at least from a big picture perspective where I come from. If you ever want to hear all of the sordid details I would be happy to share them with you over a cup of decaf tea sometime. In the meantime, I’ll just be here working on my own lifestyle change, helping people kick ass in the gym, and encouraging you to make the best of your own life too.

sabrinaandalex

Perspective – In memory of Poppa Les

A week ago my world got pretty dark when I found out that my Poppa passed away. Seven days later I’m not any less saddened by the news but I’ve gone through some moments that have helped me to see some things in a new way. Attending Poppa’s wake and funeral not only gave me more of an appreciation for the man but also more perspective on life in general. I learned a lot of things this past weekend – reminiscing with my family and going through photographs and trinkets – and I wanted to share them because I thought maybe, in my time of mourning, these ideas might resonate with someone else too.

 

Be kind. I heard and said the word kind in reference to Poppa so many times this weekend that I wish I knew a hundred more synonyms for kind. But that was the word I heard more than anything. Kind. He wasn’t perfect and I’m sure like many people he probably softened a bit with each new generation of children and grandchildren, but he had a good heart and that outshined everything. He was kind to others sometimes even to his own detriment. He genuinely cared about others and people knew that. We felt that. We will miss that.

Tell your stories. Tell them to everyone who will listen and never stop telling them. Going through some of Poppa’s things that my Dad had, I was surprised to find out so many things about him that I never knew. In a letter he wrote to his sister while in pilot training, he casually mentions that he saw Louis Armstrong play at a club over the weekend. This? This is a memory I would have loved to hear my Poppa tell me. My favorite song in the entire world is by Louis Armstrong and I never got the chance to talk to him about that. I never got the chance to hear a lot of his stories and he lived a pretty fun life. I wish I knew more. I wish I heard more. I wish that I could tell a million stories about his life, but I can’t. I have the memories we shared together and now, after his death I’m building a better picture of who he was as a person before he ever was Poppa. It’s a great picture but man, I would have loved to pick his brain about it all.

We all have stories and you may think that no one wants to hear them but trust me, someone does. Someone wants to know more about who you were as a person before you ever met them. Someone wants to know what made you who you are. Someone wants to know all of the crazy and wild things you did. Someone wants to have a million stories to remember you by. Someone wants to hear all the stuff you think is done and gone. Someone wants to know you for all of your pieces.

Keep mementos. I am not sure if the digital age is a blessing or a curse in this regard. Digitally, there is so much that can be stored and maintained for ages. But the physical things, the special little personal things, some day they will matter to someone when you are gone. Finding that letter hand written by my Poppa at least 40 years ago? That was fucking cool. Looking at his letters and pictures and newspaper clippings and being able to touch them, I felt so close to him. Once upon a time he wrote letters back home and I am so glad that he saved some of them. Having the opportunity to see those letters touched me in a way I could never possibly explain. I am glad he kept such records of his life for us to remember him by.

Appreciate your life for what it is now. I don’t think anyone questions whether my Poppa was a happy man – whether he enjoyed his life or not.  I’ve had a pretty stressful go around this autumn and I’ve felt incredibly overwhelmed at times. The stress has taken over and I’ve had a hard time appreciating the good. But I have to remember what is important. Life won’t always be sunshine and rainbows but life is a gift. I don’t want to look back in 50 years and think that I wasted my days with worry instead of appreciating them. I want to look back and say “Hey, my life wasn’t perfect and it may not have always gone as planned, but I certainly made the best of it all.” I need to open my eyes to the joy in the world more often. I need to breathe deep and let the frustration go. And so do you.

Love. If you do nothing else with your life, love. Do you know why there was so many tears shed at this man’s funeral? Not just because someone died and that is sad. There were tears because of how deeply he implanted himself and his love in our lives. Even from hundreds of miles away we knew he was still thinking about us. He was proud of his children and his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren. He loved us all openly. With hugs and kisses and “I love you”s and kind words and genuine interest in our lives when we sat down to talk. He loved us so much. He was so proud of all of us. He was happy just to sit and talk to us about our lives. And whether he was talking to my dad about politics until 3AM or talking to me for an afternoon about what’s happening in my life these days, he always did it with a smile. Because he was happy just to be there, talking to someone he loved.

I know that I said the physical mementos of him are special and that is so very true but what Poppa leaves behind more than anything else is a very large group of people that felt very loved. He made an impact in our lives just by loving us. It doesn’t cost any money to love someone but it will make a world of difference to them.

 

We didn’t idealize the man this weekend. We didn’t pretend he was never mad or angry or that he always did the right thing. We didn’t pretend he was perfect. We remembered the good times and we cried because the good man that shared those times with us is no longer around to make more.  Although he might have had different plans, I am pretty sure my Poppa was happy with the way his life turned out. He was proud of what he had accomplished and he enjoyed the moments he had. This past week has been sad and this past weekend in particular was not only sad but difficult too; but looking back on Poppa’s life and talking to the rest of his loved ones, I was able to gain something new: perspective.

My life isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. But life is precious and the tough time I am going through now (and will certainly go through again) is merely a blip on what could potentially be a really amazing life story. So I’m going to keep dreaming big and loving hard. I’m going to keep falling and making mistakes and getting back up again. I am going to keep feeling feelings so deeply that sometimes it hurts.

Then, at the end of the day, I am going to take a deep breath and try as best as I can to let all of the frustration go.

And through it all, I’m going to try to do what my Poppa did.

Leave behind a legacy of love.

 

 

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Last March 3rd was a pretty good day

chewyy2One year ago today the Johnson family got 40 pounds heavier when we adopted the quietest dog at the shelter.

He slowly got off of his cot and walked right up to the door of his cage, trying to lick my fingers each of the three times I walked by. My adorable friend Trish drove us to PetSmart and home while I tried to calm the quiet dog that turned into a tornado of squeals and hyperactivity. I am sure he was more confused than I can imagine. 

365 days of snuggles later I am so glad that I brought him home. He is such a sweetheart and he is exactly what I need on all of David’s second shifts and after my long days.

Apparently getting a dog together is a big deal in a relationship so I would like to point out that David and I have weathered this storm fairly well. We’ve had discussions on whether Chewy is allowed in the bed (I’m a firm yes on this one, David a firm not-ever), if he’s getting enough exercise (we try but we can do better), and when the time is right for him to get another fur sibling (need a fenced in yard). Nobody has lost their marbles and we’ve compromised pretty well through it all. And anyway, it’s just like having a baby, right??? So hey, it’ll be smooth sailing when that ship comes around! Easy peasy!

Happy Adoptioniversary Chewbacca Dalek Stinky Floppy-Ears Chunk Monster Johnson: apple of my eye, eater of all the things. Here’s a spoon full of peanut butter to celebrate – don’t get too crazy.

 

My parents made me do it

note: I have had serious internal struggles trying to decide if I want my blog to run titles using sentence case or title case and I’ve finally settled on sentence. This is a new take on capitalization for me so bare with me as I come to terms with the lack-of-symmetry feeling sentence case gives me. Also, if you have no idea what I’m talking about I forgive you; also, you can ignore this note entirely and it will never have any effect on your reading experience here.

 

I’ve had people ask me before why I feel comfortable writing and how I’m able to write about myself without feeling weird or self-conscious. Informal, personal writing is where I feel most comfortable. I write like I speak and for the longest time I didn’t think there was any magic in this until people started asking me how they too could learn how to write the way they converse. I have legitimately zero ideas.

Well okay not zero ideas, more like two really unhelpful ideas.

1) Type fast. I grew up around computers (Tandy, hollaback!) so I developed my own way of typing before I even set foot in a middle school keyboarding class. I was allowed to have a broke ass computer in my room when I was younger because it made me feel special and all it did was black screen/ white type word processing  I’m pretty sure it did more than that at one point in it’s  little computer life but my parents were smart enough to only give me the already broken computer to play with.

When I did reach that keyboarding class in middle school my teacher made me sit in the back of the room near the window so none of my classmates could see me. After the first week she realized that I had horrible and incorrect typing form but I was typing faster than everyone else in the class and with great accuracy. So she made a deal with me: I could type as wonky as I wanted as long as I didn’t point out to any of my classmates that I didn’t have to type properly and they did. With my equally as wonky and still accurate typing best friend Mikey beside me, we had our special secret and we gladly kept it. We also both got straight A’s in that class. Huzzah.

It’s easier to write conversationally when your hands can follow along. Typing fast allows me to get my words down almost as quickly as I can think them so everything flows together that little bit easier.

2) Just do it. I like writing so I’ve written for fun as long as I can remember. Short stories, crappy teenage poetry, diary entries, plays, crappy blogs, not so crappy blogs – I have always been writing. I still write letters to friends occasionally too; it’s a lost art and if you wrote me a letter I would jump to reply back in kind.

I also happened to have parents that encouraged me to write. I’m not sure whether they did this because they saw that I liked writing, because they thought I was good and wanting to encourage me, or thought I was bad and wanted me to get better, or just enjoyed the entertainment of it all – but they were always giving my opportunities to write.

myfamilyoldSomewhere along the line in my childhood my parents decided that if I wanted something they didn’t fully support then I needed to explain myself. I needed to write an essay; a convincing argument. Essay topics were far and wide including explaining how getting my belly button pierced would not make me promiscuous or make others thing less of me, and even one on why I should be allowed to study under a rabbi**. I’m sure there are examples of essays I wrote that did not persuade my parents to agree with me (or at least appease me for my hard work) but I can’t remember any. I have a selective memory in which I am a consummate rock star.

It also helped that I was a huge nerd too because up through middle school (not high school, I was too cool) I would randomly ask my parents to give me writing assignments on the books I was reading. Or I had to make a shoe box diorama about the book I was reading. Or I had to make a poster about the book I was reading. You guys, when I tell you that I am – at the very core of my being – a super nerd, this is not an exaggeration.

I don’t know if my brother had to convince my parents to let him do things via written word but I should ask him; although he might have been too busy being grounded all the time to really have a leg to stand on in arguing for things he wanted. He also has more of a strong suit in math so maybe he was secretly doing math textbook assignments for privileges and I never knew.  Or maybe he just wasn’t as lame as me and didn’t care as much.

I digress. The point is that I wrote a lot and when I was writing it was about how I felt 99% of the time. I wrote about my experiences and opinions. I became really comfortable with expressing myself if given a pencil or a keyboard and I don’t know for certain  because it’s been so long but I believe that this can be credited in large part simply to the volume of introspective writing I was exposed to.

Just try to remember: writing about yourself requires certain levels of introspection and narcissism that not everyone is capable of or comfortable with and that’s okay too.

I write about my life because it’s what I know. What do you know? Go on, start writing. Right now. Write now (ha!). Okay not right this second because there’s still more to this blog entry but maybe, ya know, when you’re done reading…

Do kids still write notes to each other or do they only text now? Note folding is a lost art form. I was a pro at the triangle but I also  liked the break out the fold that had the pull tab to open the note on special occasions. I’m going to start passing notes around the office, all folded up with hearts and stars decorating them so I can relive the good ol’ days.

 

 

In my life recently…
Now that The Hobbit is coming out I’ve finally decided to read Lord of the Rings. Yes, I’m aware that’s backwards but whatever, I do what I want. For example: I talk to my books. Or if David is around I’ll be like YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MY BOOK RIGHT NOW THESE PEOPLE ARE RIDICULOUS. I’m certain he finds it all sorts of endearing.

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Oh and if you’re not following me on twitter, you’re missing gems like this one, celebrating my 1,000th tweet:

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@fitlaughlove for all of your important Sabrina updates.

**Yes, in middle school I started studying religion on my own and wanted to find out more about Judaism so I specifically asked if I could find a rabbi to study with, to teach me. I studied with him for quite a long time actually and learned a lot but this is another [long] story for another day.

Okay, you’re free to go write now.