Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meditations for My 24th Year

Love myself without apology or fear of being selfish all the time

Let it go


Better posture

Be happy at work

Keep up the Colin Firth dreams

No more rushing (no speeding tickets) take my time

Be kind, from the heart

Tell it like it is

Keep car clean

Write more often

Give back

Make someone's day

Do nothing

NEW mother-loving job (Please Lord!)

And always, deep breaths

Thursday, May 26, 2011

One for Whitney

Sorry I have been MIA this week, my people. I've been in a depressive slump ever since Brian Ganey said that he didn't read my blog I realized that I can't eat pancakes and sausage for breakfast anymore. The funny thing is that I never ate pancakes and sausage for breakfast, but now that my medicine restricts me from calcium/iron intake in the mornings, I have a fierce hankering for all things breakfast. In other news, I am a weird, confusing freak.

But that'll have to be for another day. Today, I am here about my girl.

To be clear, there are two Whitneys in my life.

The first (and best) is my sweetest, littlest, fastest and preciousest sister, Whitney. Here she is:
Hi Whit! Isn't she a beauty—isn't she just divine?!

Anywho, there will be many many posts devoted to my Whit-Nosh at a later date. So I'll just get to it: my other Whitney is this wonderful, wild thing:
Hello lovely!

Ever since I was a little girl, (read: ever since I was in, like, elementary school and someone said "Is your sister named after Whitney Houston?" And I was like "No, she is the original Whitney." (Just kidding, I wasn't that sassy at age 9). But I was probably really like "Who's that?" And this super sassy 9-year-old, channeling Lindsey Johnson, was like "That's my GIRL, she is my favorite singer. I can't believe you haven't heard of her. Especially since your sister was named after her." This girl probably flipped her hair at me right then and there—just a guess.) I have loved Whitney Houston. I have loved her soulful ballads, her sparkling white smile, her laugh, her TO-DIE-FOR ringlets, her eyebrows, her high notes, THE BODYGUARD—omfg, her powerful bring-the-house downs, her fashion, her general glow. It was Whitney that I sang and swung my hips to, and whose voice I failed to emulate time and time again in my bedroom.

Given that I always idolized her, it has been difficult in recent years to watch her steady decline. There have been high points—see the FAB pic above—amidst all of the low ones, but they always seem to come back down.
(0:13) This is in my file of quotes that I will say forever and ever with the same tone/inflection that she uses that in turn causes people much alarm and confusion. Also fear.

And while she always manages to make me laugh, no matter the situation, I feel for her. I can't imagine what it must be like for amazingly talented people to rise so high, to reach out and touch the face of greatness, to only end up falling and losing it all. It's heartbreaking, especially because Whitney wasn't about the gimmicks. She didn't need to bare all, or hatch from an egg or have the highest Twitter following. She was an inspiration, a role-model, a voice for those without one.

I will always love her—pun intended—and I've found in recent days that my musical taste continues to stand beside her as well. FOR SURE, the following songs would be included on my playlist for a.) my last day on earth (Oct. 21, 2011?) or b.) the one CD I could bring along to a remote dessert island where I would be stranded until the end of my days.

You're still #1 on the charts o' my heart, Whit. Stay strong, my girl.

A few things: LOVE this movie, Kevin Costner is a heartthrob and this ballad will stand the test of time.

There isn't much else to say other than, my girl is right: I DO.

I try to hold it together every time I listen to this song but I just cannot.control.myself. I lose it. I twirl around, I unabashedly belt out the high-notes and even the squeals. I don't pay attention while driving. I bang on the steering wheel. I make coy smiles at invisible passengers in the car. I croon into the rearview mirror. It's a sight to match what is surely the most epic song of my existence. If any of you are reading this, pay close attention, because I mean this with every fiber of my being: I WANT THIS JAM PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL. At every single service—and loud, too.

P.S: I also have a sister named Mariah. More on that in the future.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cappuccino Thoughts

Today I enjoyed lunch and coffee with a old close friend of mine. It had been a while since we'd sat alone and talked, and the small buzzing Italian restaurant we selected made the perfect setting. Food, caffeine, energy, lots to talk about, lots to say to one another. We settled in, ordered quickly and got right to it.

It's such a natural thing, falling back into conversation with an old friend. No over-involved explanations needed, no drawn out ramble about who you are and where you come from: we already know. It's the Who/What/Where/When of now that we're not so familiar with it. It's a nice reward for being friends for over 15 years, you don't always have to start at the beginning.

Long overdue for a catch-up, we sat there, two mid-20-somethings, carefully plucking out the words to describe just "how things are going." Just what life looks like, how it feels now, what's been on our minds. Colorful, hazy, bright, dreary, good, relaxing, exhausting, scary, exciting, unnerving, confusing, politics, marriage, religion, friends, relationships, parents, education, money, travel, the job market, the golden road ahead. It didn't take long at all for that spark to ignite, either. That hopeful, wishful spark of ambition, of wide eyes turned upward, wondering and waiting for the next big thing, wanting more—the hint of promise in the air that tells us something better is out there. And we are hungry for it.

I am constantly told "you're so young, you have so much time to worry about things like that." But I don't subscribe to that way of life, and neither does my bright-eyed friend. No. We want more, and we don't necessarily want it all right now, but we can see it/smell it/taste it, and we want to do what it takes now, to have it then. We want to plot each step, to guess and check, guess and check, fall down, get back up, reassess, plot and plan, take deep breaths and start over again.

It's not just about money, success or wisdom, but a coveted balance of life. A level in which, even when the world is spinning around you, you have a constant foothold. You have a safety net that cannot be explained in dollars and cents, but instead by a thick web weaved of communications, faith, emotions, relationships, triumphs and failures, loved ones, memories, bits of knowledge, a personal truth.

A balance, like in nature, we tell each other, nodding in acceptance. It's about that push/pull, it's the give and take, the two-way street, the bottom of the food chain providing sustenance to the top, the small giving in to the big, the unsure, the wobbly cub growing into the strongest member of the pack. That's "it." That's what we want. A reflection of that inverse fairness, that "it's just right"-ness that cannot be explained, only felt. Only believed in with every fiber of your being.

We will never be the perfect ones, we know this. We may never find the perfect thing, but we will find what is right. The blessing of our shared faith—a faith that raised us from infancy—is that, while we maybe be seeking, questioning, misstepping, getting turned around, moving, bending, getting mixed up: we are never lost. There is always a ladder hidden somewhere in the depths of the proverbial well. And when the timing is right, maybe when the sun hits it in just the right way, we will begin our upward climb, closer and closer to that light we've been searching for.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Battlefield: Body

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the ear...

OK, not that far back, but a long, not-that-long time ago—brace yourselves—I was born. I was a healthy not-so-lil' girl and I had a lot of hair. I know you are probably going to expect a baby photo here, I'm not giving it to you.

After all, people, this is your very first installment of "battlefield: body." There is no time to get cutesy.

OK, fine here I am (with a lil' rabbit friend):

I have always been fine. I never had cavities, I never broke any bones, I rarely even ever got a cold or the flu or any old thing. Great health, no complaints, nothing to report to the doc however few and far between I saw one.

But then, "they" lowered the BOOM on me. (Movie credit: Father of the Bride Part II)

There is a battle taking place, a fierce bloody battle with swords and evil little men, and it is taking place inside of yours truly. Other people's bodies give out, give in, tire out, get confused, but not mine. Mine turned up and on itself. This is what it looks like:

Actually, it really looks like this:

For the past forever, no matter what I ate, how much I slept, what medicine I took, how much water I drank, how much I exercised I have felt: sluggish, starving, tired, achey, I've had dry mouth, dry scalp, dry skin. I have had the general feeling of running on empty. No matter what, vacation or 10-hour work days, I have longed for sleep and just another bite of food. It's like my body is stuck in overdrive (thanks college) and just can't slip back into a normal gear. It's like there is something wrong with me.

A-HA! There is something wrong with me.

This old bag o' bones has been under attack, by itself. Dignified, right?! Confirmed today by my great doctor, my immune system has been attacking my thyroid, leading to major jack ass-ery of the thyroid gland, also known as Hashimoto's disease, or chronic thyroiditis. Who knows how long this has been going on, but the good news is that, with this war at least, there is an end in sight.

Tomorrow morning I will begin taking a pill that I will likely take everyday for the rest of my life. It will, hopefully, make me "feel young again," meaning make me feel 24, rather than 52 like I usually do. It should make me not so hungry, so dry-skinned, not so sluggish. In my signature dramatic way, I imagine it will be a total rebirth of the mind, body and spirit. I don't mind if I do play this up as a way to rejuvenate these not-old-but-feel-that-way bones! And while I wish this pill could also make me: petite, cute, a normal feet- and hand-size, I will take what I can get. (Which I hope is: being able to stay awake past 10 p.m. on weekend nights, wanting to go out and party in the USA, settling for just one piece of chocolate, no more sixth, seventh, eighth meals, no more dandruff?, fewer pimples and greasiness, more calm, a better memory, a slimmer waistline, a better attitude, the will to have and create fun!)

I will take an end to beating myself up (literally, ha!) and getting to meet who I really am below the exhaustion, the hunger and the confusion. I am hoping it will make me a better wife, friend, sister, daughter, coworker, employee, writer, etc.

But I can't promise you anything. If my blog starts to suck after this—unless you think it sucks now, in which case: get off of my page—you can blame it on a little thing called Levoxyl.

Catch you fools on the other side!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Not-So-Fine Line Between Here and High Fashion

Good morning, students. Please pull out your textbooks and open them to page 74—chapter 12, wonderfully titled "The Not-So-Fine Line Between Here and High Fashion." Today we will be discussing why, even if your super-spectacular-dream-world scenario of looking like this:
(TMZ photo)
This is three-months, I said THREE, trois, tres months after having a baby, folks.

... (fragmented thought).

Sorry, I slipped into a hyperventilation and jealousy-induced coma for a moment, but I am back. Where was I? Oh, OK, so yeah, even if you looked like this (she is 39, people!), on a good day, when your hair was obeying and your face was very bright and fresh, you could not pull this off:

(becauseimaddicted photo)
Why when I see this photo does "California, knows how to party..." instantly come into my head?

Gather your tears thoughts and stick with me. You could not, even if you wanted to with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, pull off a tangerine orange floppy hat with some same-color corduroy/polyester bell bottoms, a slouchy cream peasant top and some clunky brown disco shoes. If you were seen walking down Main Street USA in this, people would stop to ask you: 1. If there is a disco tonight at the local VFW or 2. If there is a 70s-themed Live Action Roll Play Convention in town. You will be publicly shamed, for sure.

But wouldn't you believe it that any stick-figure celebrity can slip on some Aztec-hieroglyphic designed shortie shorts and wrap a thick skunk-scarf around her teeny little neck and the fashion heads will roll. "*Gasp* She is SO FABULOUS."

The arses.

Not you and I, kids. We are normal everyday folks who consider dressing up to be a simple, black cocktail dress or a Ralph Lauren dress shirt and tie. We are simple people, who shop in malls and clearance racks to piece together our everyday attire. "Risky" means putting a belt around a cotton dress, or wearing just leggings and a t-shirt to the grocery store. (Note: Celebrities look great doing this, but when we do it, we look like lazy, off-duty strippers.)

THIS is a hat—a body-topper, a personal statement without words, a piece de resistance:

But we common folk can only go this far—a drab, slouchy thing we use to cover up a bad hair day:

On the field of frumpy vs. fashion: Red rover, red rover, send Lia Dee right over!

Why can't we break through to the other side? Is it money? Connections? Resources? A personal shopper? Exposure? Free stuff? that keeps us on our side of the field? That keeps me from being able to wear this, or this:
(becauseimaddicted photos)

And, oh how badly I want to wear these things. I could do one million sit ups to get rock hard abs of steel and sexiness, run one million miles until my legs are chiseled pillars of stone, and I could not wear those damned shorts. Even with all of my sass and lankiness, I could not wear a dangling skunk from my neck and get anything but concerned stares and calls from my mother.

It is a lot of things, there's no way money and exposure, etc., don't play into it, but I think a lot of it has to be confidence. Most of those broads are probably just as paper thin emotionally as they are physically—they can't be the most grounded, confident things ever—but they do have the spotlight. It can be cold and cruel, but it can also be the source of these things being attached to your name: gutsy, unique, fashion-forward, breath-taking, mature, evolved, role model, perfect, stunning, chic, fab. And to be honest, if I got one of those on national television every once in a while, I don't think I would care that much if Joan Rivers feels it's necessary to rail on my Grammys dress, or if US Weekly decides that "Beyonce wears it better." I would hold that one "fab" close to my heart forever and ever, wear it like a badge of honor everyday, and I would let it manifest itself as courage to wear even more gutsy, crazy things more often. (See: Paris meets the bird's nest, above.)

As always, my conclusion comes down to a series of "sweet little lies" we tell ourselves to get by—or at least just I do. Maybe, when we're in the department store, or shuffling through the even-more-discounted rack at TJMaxx, we should tell ourselves that everyone IS watching, that at the party tonight there will be a bright spotlight, just waiting for each of us to step into it. That, no matter who wears it better, at least we showed up, got noticed, got photographed. Why are we so afraid to be the celebrities of our own lives? What's stopping us—other than fears of being thrown in the nut house? I say: buy the bird hat, get the pixie cut, hold your breath until you're blue in the face getting into that painted-on pair of yellow skinny jeans, buy an imitation skunk scarf and wear it proudly. What's the worst that could happen?

I don't know about you, but I've got to stop being so afraid all the time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What If...

Today I had an ultrasound of my throat/thyroid and I found out that there are no growths (nodules) on my thyroid that would imply cancer, therein: surgery. Praise God, right?! In a strange, dramatic way, I feel like I just escaped a death sentence! I cheated death by a hair! ...when, in reality, I was never facing imminent death in the first place.

The time spent awaiting diagnosis can be a scary time, though. The face can maintain the look of calm, while inside you are anything but composed. You are frantic, desperate, scared, wired, exhausted, hopeful, discouraged. A strange mixture of emotions to juggle.

I'm still not exactly sure what's wrong; I'll find that out (hopefully) on Thursday. Until then, there will be more nerves—though less-severe—difficulty concentrating, lots of time spent "off in space." And also this:

If I had not in fact "cheated death" today, and had somehow, in an amazingly speedy and impossible way, found out that I was dying of cancer in ______ days, I would do following:
  • I would speed—at least 15 over the speed limit—to the ole work place where I would burst through the doors, singing the liberal rally cry "Working On a Dream" by Bruce Springsteen—Oh, you didn't know that? Well, yeah—and then I would stand on top of my desk screaming "I'm leaving, and I'm taking Danielle with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and P to the S: I heart GUN CONTROL." Then I would grab Danielle by the arm, and also my computer because in this world I am a daring robber, and we would dash out of the building while "Brooklyn's Finest" by Jay-Z and Biggie rang out behind us.
  • I would drive to Wilmington and fill a tub with pad thai from Indochine and eat until near-death, and then head over to The Little Dipper and dip miniature pastries and bite-size fruit into chocolate until my heart almost stops. Lots of wine is inferred here.
  • I would call Sallie Mae up, give them my account number and all and TELL.THOSE.ARSES.OFF. Once and for all. "You are dirty, rotten, scoundrels and you deserve a slow, painful death!!!!" (That is just an excerpt of my very effective speech.)
  • I would IMMEDIATELY go get a Pixie cut, and then call Lin and squeal about it for about 15 minutes, and then probably tell her to come over.
  • I would lay in bed for at least 3 days rolling around with the pups, letting them lick my face with as many kisses as they wanted.
  • I would have a FULL-FATTY Caramel Macchiato and a toasted everything bagel with regular cream cheese for breakfast every morning.
  • I would drive up to visit Shauni and Al whenever I wanted to. (A bagillion miles?! NO PROBLEM.)
  • I would hold David's hand a lot more than I do which is not a lot.
  • I would be "up in the bed" with Emily watching Say Yes to the Dress and eating cookies until the sun came up.
  • I would be rapping with Aidy Mac, as his YouTube career takes off.
  • I would color with crayons.
  • I would be brave enough to tell the people I love that they deserve better.
  • I would throw an embarrassing number of parties in my own honor, dance parties WITH KARAOKE
  • I would make my first and only pair of jorts and wear them proudly.
  • I would get an AmEx and take everyone I know on a shopping trip.
  • I would get on a plane without an itinerary, just go and figure it out when I get there.
  • I would eat McSkillet burritos without shame.
  • I would register for a marathon and walk/juggle the whole thing.
  • I would dye my hair blonde, then red, then maybe green.
  • I would play with babies.
  • I would take voice lessons, and then have a concert, making it open to the public. I would then perform a variety of ballads, golden oldies from Celine Deon, Mariah Carey and Diana Ross, and even new hits from Katy Perry, Beyonce and Rhianna.
  • I would sit in one room with my siblings as we all shouted and interrupted and talked over each other, as is our signature, and I would not feel bad about it or even loud.
  • I would take my mom to get a massage, and buy my dad something nice.
  • I would write a novel, poignant and rambling and devastating and hopeful, and I would dedicate it to everyone in the whole wide world.
  • I would find a way to hug Barack Obama. And Michelle and the girls, too.
On second thought, maybe I would like to rewind, go back to that small, dark office and get different results. Riskier ones, scarier ones that would push me to my Type-A limit, causing me to spring off of the ledge on a moment's notice, plunge myself into free fall. And for once—just see what happens.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Do you remember when you first learned about pride? I do. For me, it was in elementary school, around the time I learned what adjectives were. My teacher would hand out colorful pieces of construction paper and tell us to write the letters of our names down the left-hand side of the paper and to match "an adjective" that describes us to each letter. I was "L-ong, I-ngenious and A-mazing." (And I still am.) Even now, I think it's the best way to show how great someone is, and there is no one greater than my sweetie pie. So, after much anticipation, I give you:

I just saw this picture for the first time yesterday. I feel it is necessary to tell you that I screamed so loud when I saw it that I almost made the subject of this post (and picture) wreck our (rental) car. This dashing young man is David Louis Dangelico, born October 23, 1986. (Maybe 3 days before this photo was taken.) From the shape of his head, to the ever-flared nostrils, to the squinty eye, this is, undoubtedly, my husband. And the only way he could be any better is if I could cradle him in my arms as he is being cradled here. (I am a freak.) Just like a baby, David is funny, sort of wrinkly, open, hungry, stinky, friendly, curious and a big sleeper. Unlike a baby, David is independent, brave, creative, considerate, humorous and a Steelers fan. (Contrary to what David believes, babies and dogs don't have preferences when it comes very much, especially when it comes to the NFL.)

David is a wild-man at heart. As seen in the photo above, he spent many years going through the rigorous Boy Scouts of America program where he learned valuable survival skills like how to shimmy into the window of your house when you lock yourself out, how to avoid being killed by a crack addict (this is really what he was, so don't call the PC police) and how to survive a summer head cold while hiking Macchu Piccu in Peru.
  • One time, we locked ourselves out of the house, and by the grace of the good Lord, we had left one window open with just the screen on. So David stood on top of his dad's shoulders and pulled himself up to the second-story window and shimmied his way in. I am STILL beating myself up over the fact that I was too busy "spotting" in case David fell one floor to his bloody, horrible death, and worrying about what would happen if David fell one floor to his bloody, horrible death, to take a picture or video of this happening. One time, we locked ourselves out again 3 weeks later...
  • One time, David was driving back to his apartment in Wilmington, NC from babysitting his cousin. It was the middle of the night. He stopped to help an old, disoriented woman who was standing in the roadway, and after seeing how upset she was, he offered to give her a ride. (Note: If there was an S in David's name, it would be shown here as S-weet, because he is so sweet. Sometimes too sweet...) So, after driving this woman "just around the corner" which turned out to actually be across town, David pulls up to "her friend who is really really sick's house" and the woman hops out without saying a word to him. Before he can even put the car into drive, a bunch of people swarm the car, and one guy jumps in. As a cop car cruises down the street, the guy yells "DRIVE" to a shocked and terrified David. Other necessary details: David was forced to drive this man around at sort-of gun point. The guy showed he had a gun, and then told David that if he knew what was good for him he would just drive and not try anything. He then proceeded to ask David if he thought Heaven was real, and if he believed in God. David thought this was really the end. Until finally, they pulled up to the last stop and the guy got out, leaving David very happy to be alive, and also leaving a cup full of liquor and a flyer for an Easter Revival church service. I cannot tell a lie.
  • One time David went backpacking through Peru and I was really worried about him, and he got this really bad cold, and he got altitude sickness, but he survived and he made it to the top of Macchu Piccu because he is awesomely adventurous and brave.

One of the first things I noticed about David and liked about David is that he tells it like it is. Sure, he may tell a fib once in a while about having taken out the trash when really it is sitting in the rain getting soggy, but when it matters, David is unafraid to tell you what he thinks. I admire that about him. He doesn't worry so much about what the other person will think about him, or what the negative repercussions might be, he just speaks his mind—but pretty much only when its asked for. David also wears his emotions on his sleeve, which is why this conversation happens almost once a week in our house:
Me: What's wrong?
David: Nothing.
Me: Are you sure?
David. Yeah. Why?
Me: You just seem weird.
David: I'm not weird, I'm fine.
Me: I'm your wife, I know what you're usually like.
David: Do you wanna watch a movie?
*Two, three, four hours later*
David: I'm sorry, but it's just really bothering me that...

Maybe it's necessary to include that David's truth comes out in his own time, but nonetheless, I am always eager to hear what he has to say.

My man has the moves—what else can I say? (OK, well the only other thing I can say is that it also appears he has very few bones in his hands.) But other than those TWO things, I cannot say anything else about him. Oh, except that he looks SO CUTE in suspenders, and he loves beer, and also his thick-framed black glasses, and also my cousins. That is my cousin Forrest, stage left. (Hi, Forrest!) Also, David always knows the best up-and-coming musicians and bands, so he always knows the perfect song to play for any mood. He also knows pretty much any and all music trivia, even about the silly ones like my girl Katy Perry. Lastly, ever since we started dating David has made me these mix-CDs, they are always entitled "Love is a Mixtape: ______." The _______ is for whatever the particular mix is called. I have at least 10 of them. I still listen to them all the time. They are such good encapsulations of each different stage of our life together. They always make me happy, and there's always a good dance track or two on there, because, like I said: my man has the moves.

D-evastating(-ly cute)
Not surprisingly, I have a very similar reaction to this photo as I do to the first one of him as a three-day old. I live for that smile and those squinty eyes. It is in them that I find so much comfort, humor, warmth, kindness, support, trust and love. There is only one David. He is my best friend, my personal movie reviewer, my muse, my lover, my dog walker, my music critic, my murse, my coach, my teammate, my stand-up comedian, my breath of fresh air. He is a daily reminder of how blessed I am, how proud I should be and how precious life is. Last night we sat at our teeny kitchen table, drinking beers and eating tacos and talking about what comes next: the work-week, doctors appointments, movies, the summertime. With our chairs shoved closely together, we sat in our little townhouse with our knees pulled into our chests like two little children giggling over some secret joke. Blissfully unaware of the future, the unknown, just living for this one evening—because if it were all that there was, this one evening would be enough.

It's nothing fancy or overblown, it doesn't need explanation or excuse or alarm, it just is. Simple, happy—perfect. As right for me as any old thing could be. It's just D-A-V-I-D.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Words on...getting deleted.

An open letter to blogger:

Dear Blogger,

Thank you for shutting down for, like, 72 hours. Thank you for ruining my blog-reading schedule for the week. I have lots of reading to catch up on this morning. Thank you for revealing to me that over 50% of the blogs I read are hosted by Blogger. AND LASTLY, thank you for deleting my whole entire post written on Wednesday—it was a long, long, long passionate post on writing and a current political controversy. I put my heart and soul into and you erased it ALL! OK, not all, but this is all that you DID save, even after I continued to save throughout the writing process:

"It wasn't long after I arrived in Wilmington, NC for college that it hit me: I was born to write. I wasn't born to look good in a bikini, or..."

I'll just let the rest of your imaginations run wild with this one.

In the meantime, I need to hop to writing that blog about David, otherwise he is going to tear up all of my Colin Firth posters (and pillows).

Angry in Aquamarine

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Few Notes for Wednesday

One. 2003 was timid little thing that began, simply enough, on a Wednesday. It was deemed "The International Year of Freshwater." On March 19, the Iraq War began with the invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces. June Carter Cash passed away, as did Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope. But, that year, eight years ago today, something magical happened: This little sweetie pie—Aidan Michael Hoffman—was brought into the world.
It was a crisp Mother's Day morning, I was the ripe age of 16. Little did we know, it was the beginning of an incredible adventure for our family. Before Aidan came along, the youngest child, my brother Cullan, was 6. (Please give me a minute, I have fallen out of my chair due to oldness and I cannot get up.) OK. Sorry, so there was a 6-year age gap. My oldest sister Ashleywas 21.

How would we manage to start all over again? How could we backtrack into baby talk, talking toys, diaper changes and cartoons? The answer, as it turns out, to all of that was: swimmingly so. Overnight, simple everyday words and names were instantly transformed: the X-Box controller became "chade," Cullan became "bi-low," Aidan was called anything from Woobie to Aidy-Mac, Aidy Muckle, Schwabynab, Pudgey Lumpkins, Chooks. Spongebob Square Pants became a household staple, as did the short and stout bundle of blonde-haired, blue-eyed love and—energy—his little feet could be heard zooming in circles around the house at all hours. I have become an old sap today since he is no longer easily cradled in my arms, and he went off and had to turn 8. Thankfully, I still know his weaknesses: Slurpees, shooting hoops and cold hot dogs.

Two. Please be sure to check out the following things:

the novel, "A Single Man," by Christopher Isherwood (or the film)
(Oh, hey there suga' lips)


the film, "Coco Avant Chanel"

Three. (See above) I have, after watching "Coco Avant Chanel" last night, decided that I missed my calling as a fashion designer. I want to break gender rules, define a generation (or twenty) and inspire women all over the world to express themselves through their fashion. First step: buy a sewing machine. Second step: Throw away clothes with holes in them, and actually make some semi-decent fashion decisions. Third step: Change my name to LiLi or Lolo or something catchy with which to brand myself. (Please note: LiLi has already taken off in several of my relationships.)

Four. What's for dinner? If you're looking to spice things up the kitchen, give this tasty, healthful recipe a try. I spotted it on SkinnyTaste.com, my go-to website for recipes for any occasion. I made this dish the other night, and it was so delicious. It would be a tasty, cost-effective way to "wow" dinner guests at your next dinner party, too.
Five. And lastly, have you heard this song? If not, give it a listen or two. If you have heard it already, give it a listen or two again. It has a tendency to put me in a good mood, no matter what's going on. Also, I think it sounds like summertime. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Crash of '11

We all know about The Crash of '29, but do you know about The Crash of '11? No? Then gather 'round children to hear a tale from a land far far away, with a prince, three fat fairies, a few dwarfs, a dragon, a witch and... OK just kidding. (Sort of.)

Remember how I was committed 155% to posting here consistently, daily—when possible? I was all "never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you?" Well, I'm sad to report that that—along with all of my Rick-rolling—came to a screeching halt last Tuesday night.

It was just after 10 p.m., and David and I left our friends' house to head home for the night. It is important to note that we live a mere three minutes from said friends. David was in the driver's seat and I was in the passenger seat, keeping up my usual routine of talking a mile a minute, while also texting (therein annoying David.) Anyway, David sees a car speeding up behind him in the right lane, so he turns his clicker on and gets into the left lane. About 30 seconds later—CRASH heard 'round the...county.

Me: *Screams* Oh my god, wh-what happened?! *Hyperventilates*
David: It's OK, It's OK, are you OK?
Me: *Crying* What? No? Yes? Yes, I'm OK.
David: *Superhero Mode* In a flash of light, he speeds to the other car, and pulls the driver out of the window of his now-obliterated car. Suddenly, Super David is in costume, cape and all.* (Despite the craziness, I was able to capture a photo of him in action:)
(In case you were wondering, his secret super powers are: caterpillar eyebrows and a scepter that shoots out poisonous stale Halloween candy from 1989.)

So I called 911, and after being asked 20 questions (which made me wonder, if my arm was falling off, would he do the same? Asking me how many drips of blood are falling per second, and which way the wind is blowing?) the operator said the police and an ambulance were on the way.

It's strange how emergency situations mess with time; somehow it seemed both in slow-motion and speeding out of control. (Oh wait, that was the other guy.) Before I knew it, my neck was being stabilized by a studly EMT—I'm talking Boris Kodjoe, here—and I was being put in a neck brace and transferred onto what has become known as "the board" in our house. The same was done to David, and in the pouring rain we were loaded into one ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital.

Aside from the EMTs corny jokes and unsuccessful attempts at keeping me calm, my favorite parts of the ride include: one of the EMTs declining his girlfriend's call on his cell phone and saying, "It's OK, when I tell her I was saving a husband and a wife, she won't get mad at me." And the other EMT finding out that I love to read and urging me to check out the latest collection of fantasy novels he's in to. And then the two of them telling every person we encountered once at the ER that we were husband and wife and HAD to be kept together.

Those boys didn't have much sway, because after being wheeled into the ER, I didn't see David again until almost 2 a.m.

What would follow included at least 4 hours strapped down to "the board." A word or two on "the board," is now needed. Have you ever been on the board??????? Who designed the board?????????? Has he/she ever been on the board?????????? Why is it legal?????? Does anyone really think that after falling, getting hit, passing out, etc., the board is going to KEEP you from being injured further????? It was by far the most uncomfortable experience of my life, and it should be known here that I had to have a catheter put in while in the ER. 'Nuff said. I would have done anything to get off of there, I would have even told my sweet Colin that we were living in a fantasy world and I could never see him again. I would have punched a puppy, maybe... OK probably not but I might have like, put it in its bed for a really long time with no snuggles. The board was death, and I soon understood torture and immediately respected every person who had ever lived to see life on the other side of the board.

We had CATscans and I had xrays, and we waited and waited, mostly we spent our time waiting, and then finally we were told we were all right, and were taken off the GD board, and taken out of the GD collar and we were semi-normal again. Aside from the fact that the driver who hit us was: not only going twice the speed limit and was under the influence BUT he had no insurance, and was an arse of epic porportions. (They didn't have to tell us that last part.)

What would follow would be pain killers, two days off of work, motrin motrin motrin, Rooney eating one of my motrins, emergency vet appointment, so.much.vomit, lots of sleep, lots of take out for dinner and PAIN. Mother-loving pain.

So, here I am, one week later and my shoulder is still sore, my neck is tight, the back-end of my car is basically being rebuilt, insurance is covering everything (Big Ups to Progressive!) and I am being tested for thyroid problems because the ER called me back on Friday and said the Radiologist spotted inconsistencies in my thyroid in my xrays. Grand. At least after The Crash of '29 they still had Jay Gatsby and flapper dresses—oh and everyone looked good with bob haircuts. I have a sore shoulder and no clean clothes.

Did you ever read my post on Murphy's Law? I wasn't kidding.

Tonight David leaves again for a quick trip down to Wilmington, and I venture to small group alone. Here's to hoping I make it there and back in one piece. But, Lord, if I don't and something else happens to me, at least send Boris Kodjoe to my rescue again. That's all for now. Please and thanks.

P.S.: After my Colin Confession, I promised David I would devote my next post to him in all of his wonderful glory, but then all of this happened. So, even though I do highlight his courageous superhero-ness here (This is not the first time David's Spidey senses have emerged. In college he pulled a woman from a burning car, and also survived being car-jacked at gunpoint. More on that later.) please expect to see a fitting post on my wonderful hubby soon. <3

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Colin Confession

OK, it's time to get real. Real Talk with Lia Dee. (Maybe I should have gone with that for my blog title? Probably not. Here is why:) I have been keeping a huge secret from everyone for many years. Most of you know I am married. Very happily. But I can say, with much confidence, that very few of you know that I am really married to this man:

Hi, honey! (No need to get up, we're good here.)

I'm sorry that I have been keeping such a big secret, especially from my real-life (read: fake) husband David. For my "real husband" is none other than the foxy, the humble, the intelligent, the British-accented, the lean, the tall, the curly haired, the dreamy, the causal, the dimpled, the understatedly elegant, the masculine: Colin Firth, also known to me, personally, as sugar lips.

To clarify: Sugar lips is my "real husband" because if he were only my "fake husband," then that would mean my current conscious state is my "real world" and that just simply cannot be so because: 1. I am sitting at the NRA 2. There are fat rolls on my stomach 3. I am sitting at the NRA and finally, 4. Celery is my lunch today. Medical clarification: Firth, Firthy, the Firthinator is my "real husband" because I am in denial about the few depressing aspects of my life.

When I need to burn some cals—even though I really want to be stuffing my face with creamy pasta, or steak and seasonal cocktails—I've been forcing myself on walks, lately. So I trudge this big ole' body on up sidewalk, and I slip into my "real world" where sugar lips and I live for half of the year in a villa in the Italian countryside and spend the other half jumping back and forth between the different Greek islands. In case you were wondering, he looks the exact, perfect same way he always does and I look something like Penelope Cruz with normal-size hands and feet, standing on my yacht, holding my toy poodle, Marlee. (I could use my terrible photo-editing skills to show you just what that would look like here, but I'm too scared to take that giant step (down in my spiral).

On my walks, I talk and laugh with my "real husband" who thinks I am witty and adorable and sweet, and I let the wind blow my hair in a "dream world" free-spirited, beautiful way, that, in the "real world" makes me look like a crazy person who is in desperate need of a hair-tie. Talking to myself? Check. Laughing to myself? Check. Hair blowing in all different directions around my face so I can hardly see, as I stumble and huff my way through a less-than-half-mile walk? Check. Are you starting to pick up on my real world/fake would problem (read: delusions)? If you saw me walking like this, talking to myself like this, with a crazed look in my eye, would you call your local police? It's probably likely. But, I'll have you know that Colin and I don't care about that.

Nope. This kind of love is worth it, and anyone who doesn't understand us has never REALLY been in love in REAL life before. So you will just have to live with that, or we will. Either way we will continue to live together.

Before I go, I thought I would share one more photo from my private files. Here it is:
Jump in, the water's fine (and so am I).

I don't know what it is, but lately I am starting to enjoy "exercising" more and more. What a mystery.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Feel Freely, Freely Feel

Given the sobering events of last night and today, there has been so much talk, so many facts to process, such intense emotional fall out, it's hard to make heads and tails of things. We were all affected by bin Laden's death, whether you're happy, mad or indifferent about it. Tragedies stick with us. Everyone remembers where they were during the 1998 Embassy bombings, and of course September 11th. I was in 9th grade. I remember feeling scared and hopeless and yet—united. I felt an overwhelming sense of being "a part of." I had never felt something so strong; I had never so deeply felt that I, as an American, was one small part of a greater whole. I was connected to those on the TV screens, scrambling from dust-covered fire trucks, to those gasping for air between choking sobs in the streets, to the others, like me, permanently affixed to living room couches, trembling fingers bent over their mouths wet with tears.

While we all remember where we were during tragedies, we all respond differently. Just like today. There are feelings of triumphant joy, vindication, concern, anger, confusion, apathy, judgment and much more. All of these things floating around in the air above and among us, bumping in to one another. We have to see and hear and process these differing feelings. We may be angry, but we have to witness someone else's joy. We may feel vindication, but have to read about how all that bin Laden's death does is beget more hate and evil and destroy any glimmer of hope left for peace. We may be reminded of the sacrifice or the loss of a loved one, while someone goes on about how they don't see what the big deal is. It's unsettling. It's not easy to juggle along with all of your own feelings.

So many times throughout the day I found myself shaking in anger over a post, a comment or a news headline that I just couldn't comprehend. How could that be your response to this whole thing, I found myself asking over and over. How is that your solution to all of this? How misinformed, insensitive can you be?

It just kept hitting me over and over in waves. I would swallow my pride and gather my wits, and go about my day only to be totally derailed again 20 minutes later. I thought we were part of a whole, I thought. How can we both have experienced x, y and z and come out of it feeling so differently?

I'm not on point here, I don't have a crushing blow to dole out, some poignant statement to tie all of this together and prove that I'm right. I'm only here to say that I was smacked in the face with a harsh reality today: I care way too much what other people think. (David will laugh when he reads this because he tells me this at least 5 times a week.) But it's so true. And it's never hit me so hard. Why do you care, Lia? What do you gain from caring? What do you lose? If this is a close friend going through a hard time, THAT is a perfect time to care "too much." But not something like this. A differing of opinions. A misinformed person. An accusation from an enemy. An attack on your character, your President. Shake it off like a rainy afternoon that cancels your plans.

I spend so much time and energy carrying the worries and thoughts and fears of the people I am connected to. I let their words creep under my skin, and work their way up to my head where they blast on repeat over and over for hours, days. I am mentally editing their words, their actions—striking through self-proclaimed mistakes and scratching bold red lines through patches of words. What a waste of time. I can't change them, I can't change their minds.

Starting today I am going to start pulling the attached wires off, disconnecting myself from negative connections. There is positivity, inspiration, motivation out there waiting to be grasped. And I am am eager—my mind open, my hands outstretched—poised to take hold of the real meaning of life, and let the rest of it slip right down off of my skin. And whatever you feel about today, and everyday: Let yourself feel that way fully, without embarrassment or condemnation or concern. Don't feel like you have to explain yourself all the time. Just freely feel. Accept it, accept yourself, stand firm on your own two feet and you can't go wrong.