January 31, 2013


Holy moly, shits been heavy.

With my beloved Aunt's passing and my baby brother leaving for more training and Afghanistan, I have spent the last few weeks letting everyones emotions pack into mine as I've struggled through the tears and stoic smiles. It's been a burdensome trial that has actually left me feeling more blessed than ever to have such a close, amazing family to stand beside.

To outsiders, it is so hard to explain how or why I feel so obligated and attached to my family. It seems that most people can only handle their families in small doses while my family is always figuring out when we can get together again.  To know that, is a very nice feeling.

Tragedy brings people together and makes a person stronger.  In it's wake we watch the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, or Chris Farley's best of Saturday Night Live.  We laugh, we tell stories, play games, crack cases of beer and pop bottles.  In tragedy, we celebrate our family, our love, our memories.

Today, I finally feel lighter and what can be better than that?

January 18, 2013

Jacob Ross.

The most awful kid to babysit.
A wirey and scrappy little punk. 
Smart mouthed.
A white Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. SERIOUS.
Always trying to prove that he is not in anyone's shadow.
Quietly thoughtful.
Sweetly emotional.

That's my little-brother, Jacob, and there is one more week until he leaves for Texas, and from there to Afghanistan. It's a time when everyone keeps saying, "I thought we were bringing them home." So did we.

When he told us a year ago that he would be going, we grappled with anger first. Anger at him for joining the Army Reserves, for volunteering his life, for believing that he didn't think of all the hearts that would break because of the hold he has over us. It was a selfish hurt that I think we were entitled to carry for a few moments.

When we were little, our brother and sister would team up against us for every game or vicious fight, but Jacob and I were naturally close and just as tough together. We always had people to play with, there were four of us and we did almost everything together (our parents really did give us the best childhood).

Jacob (who hates when I don't call him Jake) has always understood what I was trying to be about. When I fought, when I cried or screamed at my family, was tormented by shitty boyfriends, struggling with the competition that happens with a twin in high school, or when I made stupid mistakes, this little brother of mine always made me laugh and asked for advice. As we've grown up, I still feel protective over him and I still love that he tells me his secrets and fears. 

But, I've also seen what a wonderful man he has become; a wise, disciplined and intuitive husband and Sergeant.

And while my fear hasn't faded and the tears sprout a few times a day, I think that I would add to the list; admirable, proud, strong -- alongside my overwhelming sense of love and protectiveness.

So, we are having a party to showcase all the people that will miss him while he's over in that thousand degree shithole. Food, booze, barn-style cornhole, laughter, and all the necessary means to make sure he knows how loved he is. Something to take with him, and protect him.

Thank you Troops, for all that you have done and continue to do for us.

January 17, 2013


I used to feel obligated to keep up with 15 people, all truly my best friends. They are split into groups of friendships that have been built at different stages of my life. I've carried these friendships on for years, making myself sick if I missed anything that was important to anyone of these 15 people. I made it to almost every birthday or bachelorette party, bridal and/or baby showers, theme/keg parties, good ol' wine times, and just traveling anywhere to be in the company of my best friends.
I have the most insane, balls-to-the-wall memories with these people, which Facebook has documented very well. But over time, people have fallen off the face of the earth and through the cracks, and they just don't reach out anymore. I admit that I also quit reaching out when I became to overwhelmed with filling my schedule with my own events, and even developed a bit of the "if you don't care, why do I" mentality. But really, all these people just became too much to keep track of as we've grown, started our own families or careers, and have began reaching out to other circles that seem more relevant to my life at the time.

But isn't that what builds a friendship? Each relationship should hold a charming slice of quality in them, something that you need or love, and it links you together.
It seems so cheesy to use that term, "my best friends." But many of them have been my best friends at one time or another, and for one reason or another we were bonded by something extraordinary, or even tragic.
The tears and swearing that have come with fading friendships weighs heavily in the pit of my stomach. But I've realized that you can't truly value those that are truly closest to you while keeping up with so many distractions.  Everyone can't be everything in every moment that you need it. The best thing to do is to honor those memories, and know that true friendship always picks up where it left off, if and when, the paths meet again.

January 16, 2013

Way too effing early.

Ding ding ding. I finally figured out how to get into bed for the night at a blissfully early time.

First, a little background.

I get up at 4:40am to be at work by 6:06am every day. It is a torture that I encourage you to try for my sympathy. The best part of this is that I sit in front of a computer for 9 hours a day and have to read press releases with red, watering and burning eyes. I'm only half complaining -- I know the lack of sleep if my fault.

But it is also my husband's.

Going to bed is a process that I get anxiety about every night at 7:30 when I realize that I should be going to bed in an hour. Every evening I say, "Son of B, it's already 7:30." And every time, Ryan says, "Can you stop it already?" But I can't. I daydream about sprawling under the covers, sliding my legs back and forth, snuggling with my body pillow (and various other pillows), relishing in the sweetness my bed. Such a good daydream. I think that I actually spend most of my daydreaming on getting into bed. No joke.

So the guy gets home from work late, I  play sports, I make dinner. Then, because we should probably have a little conversation/snuggling/down time at the end of the day, we hang out.  And then it's 10 o'clock and I freak out because I'm not in bed. I don't know where I ever got the idea that being married meant going to bed together. (Note: I really don't mind going to bed by myself, it is my time.) But, I also have to read my book for a half hour before the lights go out and I fall into a coma that can't even be disturbed when he finally crawls in too. It is wonderful. Until my annoying-ass alarm goes off -- and I swiftly hit snooze, probably 3 times.

Then I whimper, moan, groan, stretch like I know yoga and sit on the bed hating life.

An no Ryan, there is nothing you can do to help me while you get to stay in bed and I never see the sunlight on my way to work.  

But, I've got it figured out now.

I've learned to tease and please at 8:30 and it puts a smile on his face and double smiles on mine when I think how amazing I will sleep now and how rested I'll be tomorrow. He even folds the covers down and tucks me in. If that's all I had to do to get some sleep... holy shiz, I'm in.

January 12, 2013

Riding the wave.

You know that solid ache in your throat that you can't swallow around, that blocks your breath, makes your heart beat deep in your eardrums and through the depth of your soul, that piece of yourself that you didn't even know existed?

A freaking ocean that pounds you against it's rocks and you don't know how to stop it.

 And it always catches you off guard.

When I get like this blood rushes through my chest, up my neck and through my face. I get bright red and choke. I choke on the pain I feel for everyone around me, fear for myself, fear for the silent drops of love and craziness floating down my cheeks.

Have you ever loved someone so much that to accidentally envision them gone gave you hiccups because you stopped breathing? Have you ever thrown yourself at a wall and fallen down looking for support in your hysterics? It's the soul-control battle and you can't always come out on top.

It's the sort of beating that I have endured a few times in my 29.5 years and I still don't know how to manage it. Though I know that it does not compare to so many other stories, the torment should not be diminished. We all have those up and down waves, the direction-altering and humbling stories, but we so often bury them far far away.

I tend to bring them up and blow those feelings out of the water before I drown and sometimes it gets me into trouble.  But, usually it saves me, and it saves others.  I've always been one to share too much, as I've said before, but I know that this has been my saving grace. I believe in driving compassion and finding the calmness in the symmetry of soul-control and hysteria.

I just spent a week with my family on vacation in Florida.  My parents (married for 36 years), my twin sister and brother-in-law, my two brothers and sisters-in-law, and my 6-month old niece... and it was blissful mayhem and madness. Nothing feels better than getting along and feeling so good about being who you are with the people who have helped build you. I know how blessed I am to be able to laugh and love as much as I do. In light of the deaths, and near-deaths, my family has faced we have pushed ourselves closer and closer together. Sure, we get pissed or annoyed with one another, but we wouldn't have it any other way, and I am amazed at how much we have grown.

So mostly, it is these experiences that move me and catch me off guard these days. I get that solid ache in my throat and have to swallow so hard it hurts, to endure the love and thankfulness that crashes me into the rocks and allows me to keep my head up through the low blows.

Is there someone you can reach for that steadies your trembling fingertips?  Where do you look for comfort? I guarantee that steadiness will find you easier than you think.

January 11, 2013

Taking one for the team.

Time and time again I become frustrated with people's lack of "taking one for the team." It makes me crazy that the same people with the able-personalities are always giving, giving, giving, while others take, take and take and have no regard for the willingness of others. 

Being the planner means that I always take the back seat and try to graciously offer up prime positions on the limo bus, sleep on an air mattress, spend the night drunk-sitting, meet people halfway when doing favors for them, stoically mediate drama, receive unhelpful feedback in details... you get the picture. 

Now, I promise that I really do enjoy taking care of the details and creating something fun for my peoples to take part in. It gets me all warm and fuzzy to make people giddy with thoughtfulness. I get a kick out of getting everyone together...and really it's also selfish because I love laughing my ass off (who doesn't), and these events create love and laughter, and these things benefit my soul. 

But, I wonder if my craziness over others lacking in this personality trait means that I am really not as generous with my time as I lead myself to believe. Maybe I am really just a selfish biotch begging for recognition from event attendees. In my heart, I don't think that is true, but maybe there is something about to it.

Maybe those that lack the personality trait really just choose not to have it.  So if they choose to go about life that way, what does that say about someone like me? I'm not sure why I'm afraid to find out.

Either way, you should check out this hilarious blog about being a planner.

January 2, 2013

2013: Saying "no" but with love.

In an attempt to slow down, I am refusing to fill up my 2013 calendar and bracing myself to decline a few events here and there and cut down on traveling and obligations.  My 2011-2012 planner was so laden in color-coded pen scribbles, white-out and post-it notes, that I would begin the anxiety-stricken weeks with a deep sigh and work on excuses to try and get out of things that I would never actually get out of.

Many things I plan myself -- road trips to see friends, weekend get-aways, concerts, football tournaments, and everything fun under the sun (though you may or may not see a bikini wax scheduled, which is not fun).  I'm a planner, and everyone expects this of me. But no more.

2013 means that I'm giving us some room for impromptu plans and letting go of the reigns. I'm going to learn how to say "no" to people and let go of making everyone happy. I'm going to let others do the inviting and hold off on the planning.

I'm going to do it, rather I'm not going to do it, but I still love you.