Friday, December 29, 2006

And they lived happily ever after, without end, Amen.

I'm very happy with how the pictures of the wedding turned out. There's a bunch of them, so dial-up beware!

Getting ready -- Mimi did a great job on the makeup!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I think Elisa looked amazing in her dress.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Stephy, my flower girl/niece, spent most of the pre-ceremony time admiring her "pretty princess" dress in the mirror. She also called me a pretty princess for days. She's smart; she knows to butter up the adults right before Christmas!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She also spent a lot of time cuddling "Baby Duck".

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The girls posed and looked pretty and helped me get ready:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And the guys tried to help Dave keep his rose on:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

But John spent most of the time before the ceremony begging Dan, his 'heterosexual life partner' to not abandon him:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then they all laughed and fenced with roses. Ahem.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Alex managed to take some good pictures of me (a rarity for me, I assure you):

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And I showed off the pretty back of my dress.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Also, here are Min and Caleb. Aren't they cute?? They actually matched my color theme, so extra credit for them.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I managed to get up to the altar without falling flat on my face. Go me!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We prayed, took communion, listened to a mini-sermon and did the old Spanish arras tradition. My favorite part was when the minister improvised the sermon and based it on Dan's bad knee, and likened marriage to joints and ligaments and cartilage. So is he saying that all you need for a successful marriage is a good joint??

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then he let us kiss:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And we're finally a Mr. and Mrs.!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We recessed, followed by the others. Christopher, my "ring man"/nephew, picked up all the petals my niece had thrown on the way in. What a tidy little guy!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Corey and Chris looked especially spiffy:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Then we celebrated the fact that we made it back down the aisle without tripping over each other:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Dan took pictures with the guys:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I took pictures with the girls:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And it was hectic and we were being pulled in 50 directions, but we never forgot what this wedding was all about:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(Just a tip: The title of this post is usually not a good way to end your history final's essay, even if you DID run out of time. Its perfectly ok for an entry with wedding pictures, though.)

I love Christmas cards!

My sister gave me a Christmas card the day of Dan and I's wedding. I threw it in a bag and didn't think about it until I started to unpack last night. I found it, opened it, and "awwwed" at the cute picture of the kids that graced the cover of the card. I also thought it was really cute that my sister used both Spanish and English in the text of the card, since her husband is Cuban. I read it once, stopped, and read it again. Apparently my sister forgot that I'm a bilingual editor; and I know next year she'll ask me to read over her card before printing them up and mailing them out to everyone she knows. This year's card read:

Merry Christmas and Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Apparently the card place wouldn't let her use foreign characters. The difference between "n" and "ñ" in that sentence is crucial. So...

Happy New Anus to you too, sis!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Wedding checklist

How important is it to have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue? Because my dress is new, my Grandmother's jewelry is borrowed AND old, but is that cheating? And I have nothing blue. Maybe I can get new cute blue undies? I've no idea. And I have two weeks to figure it out. Hmm.

My wedding checklist:

Venue - church booked
Officiant - booked (old friend!)
Dress - bought and being altered as we speak
Shoes - bought
Necklace - arranged to borrow my Grandmother's jewelry for the wedding (so is that something old or something borrowed?)
Makeup & nail polish - bought
Dan's suit - arranged
Wedding rings - bought and paid in full (YES!)
Flowers - decided upon (roses and poinsettas. Yay!)
Invitations - never got sent out. Oops. People will show up, though.

And most importantly, I have the groom. In the end, that's all that matters :-)


Because I'm still astounded by the stuff snow does after a week of it, have some pictures!

Weird tree things. I bet an alien will pop out of them one day.


Snow gets caught everywhere!

And my kitties are prepared!

Luther in a hat. HEEE!!

Luther chillin'

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fly-by update

Things have certainly been busy since moving to Cleveland! Work often keeps me twelve hours (or more... eek!), and then there's that whole "getting settled" thing, which never seems to end. We're down to just a handful of boxes, though. Yes, I know we've been here a few months, but you have NO IDEA how much stuff we came out here with. The fact that everything else has been taken care of is rather impressive. So there.

Dan and I moved up our wedding, and it is in three and a half weeks. ACK! Most of the planning is done, though. And my dress? Gorgeous! I love it. So that's going well, though it has been hectic. We were going to get married in 2007, but a variety of factors came up and we decided to go with December 23. A Christmas wedding! Yay! It will be down in Miami, so I get to see all my Miami-based friends again, which is much-needed and I'm looking forward to it.

My best friend (Elisa) came to visit for Thanksgiving and it was lovely to have her here. Dan and I were both ready to adopt her. Or kidnap her and force her to live with us in Cleveland. I haven't given up that plan yet, actually!

So life is good. That's about all I have to report.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dan is back in Cleveland after being gone nearly a month!

My world is right again :-)

Minus the fact that President Bush is still in office and the Pope is a moron, but I'm not thinking about that right now. Argh.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I never knew I had such power!

I just want to say that I'm terribly amused at the idea of someone I know downright detesting me. Not that I'm unhuman and haven't done my share of pretty shitty things, but I'm overall a good human, so the shitty things I do usually affect myself, not others. Even acquaintances describe me as "such a nice girl," or, barring that, "such a nice girl with such thick hair!"

I always knew this person acted very strangely and artificial towards me, but then, she acts that way towards everyone. I always felt that it was more pronounced towards me, but would dismiss that idea as crazy because honestly? I never spend time with her and in the grand scheme of things, barely know her. She always comes off as trying to act tougher and more out-there than she is, or could ever possibly be, so it seemed impossible to get to know her, and I gave up trying after awhile.

But now I know I was right, and she DID treat me differently. Because now I've been told that, to her, I am one of the most frustrating people on earth, and she just lets out a great "HARRUMPH!" whenever my name is mentioned. And why? Because the person she's now been dating for years had a week-long schoolboy crush on me before they started dating. I guess he never told her how I turned him down. Again and again. And again. Because frankly, he's a little on the gross side.

Perhaps I'm being hypocritical; I get that same reaction when I see Dan's ex, but there ARE a few differences. Namely, she actually dated him, and she also happens to be a lying bitch. And I don't let her existence make me feel insecure about my relationship; I felt the same way about her before Dan and I even thought of dating.

I always thought I was too nice and bland in some ways to have anyone hate me, but this girl does! And in a weird way, maybe that is a good thing. Can you truly live a full life, packed to the gills with sheer living, without having a single person resent you? Because if you can do that, you probably never said a bad word about anyone in your life. And probably nothing else worth listening to, either.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The big arms thing

"All right, lads, Leonardo da Vinci's painting the picture, so everyone get your positions, here we go."

"Jesus, why are you doing the big arms thing?"

"Well, I don't know... I just thought I'd do a big arms thing, I don't know."

"Well, I'm going to do a big arms thing as well."

"Yeah, me too! I'll call that the big arms..."

"Look, we can't all do big arms! We'll look like a squadron of Spitfires, for fuck's sake! I'll do big arms and you just look at me and go, 'Ooh, he's doing big arms.'"

Somehow, this is even funnier when there is an actual squadron of Spitfires outside your office window flying around in formation.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Florida sucks.

I hate you, Florida.

Apparently God does, too. Because you, counfounded Florida, have another hurricane coming. Or maybe God just hates me. Yes, I know I'm in Cleveland. I'm in Cleveland and I'm LONELY because Dan? He's in Miami. And now it looks like his return will be delayed because of stupid Ernesto. Because Ernesto isn't going to be a considerate hurricane and just crossed the peninsula the short way -- or better yet not hit at all -- Ernesto is going to be a catheter for America's wang. So every conceivable highway out of Florida will be covered with debris. Thanks, Ernesto. FOR NOTHING.

I've been counting down the days to Dan coming back to Cleveland. I like Cleveland so far, but its an awful lonely place when your fiance is 1500 miles away and the only people you know here always have schedules that don't match up with your own. It was almost time for Dan to come home, and Florida had to give me this one, final punch.

Oh, and one final laugh? We packed up the hurricane supplies a couple of weeks ago... and took them to Cleveland.

Florida's an asshole. So is Ernesto.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Almost home?

Dan and I are safely in Cleveland, despite all of West Virginia's efforts to kill us. But more on that later.

We got a late start when leaving Miami and ended up spending our first night on the road in Ormand Beach. Because do you know what its like to drive a 17-foot U-Haul that has a trailer with a car on it attached to it? Its like driving 30 feet of junk behind you, except that 30 feet of junk happens to be all of you material possessions. No pressure, or anything.

We discovered something important this first day: the U-Haul radio is possessed. No, really, it is. It won't turn off, first of all. You can turn the volume all the way down, but it will randomly decide to turn it back up again. And sometimes, when you go to turn it down again, it just gets louder and louder. And then your eardrums explode and blood leaks from all your facial cavities. Well no, not quite, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

We stayed with John and Lisa our second night on the road, and it was really, really nice to see them again. Lisa and I knitted, Dan and John oogled over ammo, and we all ate and laughed a lot.

So far so good. Right?

We left John and Lisa's and drove through the rest of North Carolina. That was fine. We got to Virginia, which at first was fine, too. Then we hit the mountains. They're not fun to drive through. Well, actually, I'm sure they can be, assuming you aren't hauling 30 feet worth of all your material possessions. But even so, while it wasn't enjoyable, it was ok. Until the Virginia/West Virginia border. We stopped to get gas in Hicksville (no, I did NOT make that up. Really.). In the station, this older man with missing teeth and a long, grizzled beard told us that a big storm was scheduled to come through shortly, and that we'd better get as far as we could go before it started. Dan and I promptly got into the U-Haul and starting driving at an impressive 40 miles per hour (Apparently 30 feet of crap makes it really hard to accelerate up a mountain -- who'd've thunk it??).

The hours after that were the scariest driving I've ever ridden through. Dan gets MAJOR admiration from me for geting us through that. You see, Hicksville (I can't help but snort when I write that) roughly marks the beginning of THE MOUNTAINS. Those things we'd seen up until then? HILLS IN COMPARISON. Really, at one point there was a sign telling us how high up we were and I freaked out. We were WELL over 3,000 feet. By that point, the air was so thin that I got a nosebleed and was getting dizzy. Because I suck like that. But Dan trucked onward, and I'm greatly in debt to him for getting us into Ohio, when the landscape slowly started to become a little more flat (but nothing like Florida. These people who told us Ohio was flat? THEY LIED.) Oh yeah, and that storm? We drove through it. There was no place to stop, so we had no other option. Because I take back anything I've ever said about Alabama. West Virginia IS the armpit of the United States. No town, few people (and all related), and just lots and lots of mountains. I'm sure its beautiful when you're driving through without a U-Haul in a horrible storm. I wouldn't know, though.

We drove that night through and got into Cleveland at 6 a.m. And then we collapsed for a couple of hours, got up, and went to go find a place to live. We're turning in a rental application today. Because no matter how nice this hotel is and how nice it is to have a bed so big and soft that I can jump up and down on my side without waking Dan up, we're not millionaires and can't live here. And I wouldn't want to; I want our own little space, with our own familiar furniture and knick-knacks. I can't believe how much I miss my old home. I want to start setting up a new one.

Almost home?

Dan and I are safely in Cleveland, despite all of West Virginia's efforts to kill us. But more on that later.

We got a late start when leaving Miami and ended up spending our first night on the road in Ormand Beach. Because do you know what its like to drive a 17-foot U-Haul that has a trailer with a car on it attached to it? Its like driving 30 feet of junk behind you, except that 30 feet of junk happens to be all of you material possessions. No pressure, or anything.

We discovered something important this first day: the U-Haul radio is possessed. No, really, it is. It won't turn off, first of all. You can turn the volume all the way down, but it will randomly decide to turn it back up again. And sometimes, when you go to turn it down again, it just gets louder and louder. And then your eardrums explode and blood leaks from all your facial cavities. Well no, not quite, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

We stayed with John and Lisa our second night on the road, and it was really, really nice to see them again. Lisa and I knitted, Dan and John oogled over ammo, and we all ate and laughed a lot.

So far so good. Right?

We left John and Lisa's and drove through the rest of North Carolina. That was fine. We got to Virginia, which at first was fine, too. Then we hit the mountains. They're not fun to drive through. Well, actually, I'm sure they can be, assuming you aren't hauling 30 feet worth of all your material possessions. But even so, while it wasn't enjoyable, it was ok. Until the Virginia/West Virginia border. We stopped to get gas in Hicksville (no, I did NOT make that up. Really.). In the station, this older man with missing teeth and a long, grizzled beard told us that a big storm was scheduled to come through shortly, and that we'd better get as far as we could go before it started. Dan and I promptly got into the U-Haul and starting driving at an impressive 40 miles per hour (Apparently 30 feet of crap makes it really hard to accelerate up a mountain -- who'd've thunk it??).

The hours after that were the scariest driving I've ever ridden through. Dan gets MAJOR admiration from me for geting us through that. You see, Hicksville (I can't help but snort when I write that) roughly marks the beginning of THE MOUNTAINS. Those things we'd seen up until then? HILLS IN COMPARISON. Really, at one point there was a sign telling us how high up we were and I freaked out. We were WELL over 3,000 feet. By that point, the air was so thin that I got a nosebleed and was getting dizzy. Because I suck like that. But Dan trucked onward, and I'm greatly in debt to him for getting us into Ohio, when the landscape slowly started to become a little more flat (but nothing like Florida. These people who told us Ohio was flat? THEY LIED.) Oh yeah, and that storm? We drove through it. There was no place to stop, so we had no other option. Because I take back anything I've ever said about Alabama. West Virginia IS the armpit of the United States. No town, few people (and all related), and just lots and lots of mountains. I'm sure its beautiful when you're driving through without a U-Haul in a horrible storm. I wouldn't know, though.

We drove that night through and got into Cleveland at 6 a.m. And then we collapsed for a couple of hours, got up, and went to go find a place to live. We're turning in a rental application today. Because no matter how nice this hotel is and how nice it is to have a bed so big and soft that I can jump up and down on my side without waking Dan up, we're not millionaires and can't live here. And I wouldn't want to; I want our own little space, with our own familiar furniture and knick-knacks. I can't believe how much I miss my old home. I want to start setting up a new one.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I'm thinking a lot about Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect these days. Why? I wish I had a cover to my to-do list that said DON'T PANIC in nice, friendly letters. It would be a good reminder. I've just been working so many long days and then going home to try and be useful in packing that I think I may have lost my mind. On the bright side, at least I don't have to worry about a hurricane anymore, since Tropical Storm Chris is deteriorating.

Its everything else to worry about that is the problem. Finding a place to live, packing up our current apartment, getting boxes I still have at my parents' farm seven hours north, finding time to see my family and friends before leaving for the figid land of Cleveland... and now fixing the ever-growing amount of problems with my car.

There are plenty of things to look forward to in Cleveland, and I'm trying to keep my mind set on those so I don't just sit in the middle of the floor, curl into the fetal position, and go to sleep for a long, long time, and hope the magical packing fairies finish for me before I wake up. For example, we get to have a kitten up there. Definitely a plus.
Emily is up there. Another fantastic plus -- the one that actually makes the idea of moving to Cleveland more tolerable than any other. I don't have to deal with Miami drivers up there. Anyone who has had to get behind the wheel in Miami knows what a benefit that is.

Moving will be a nice change, and I know that -- its just the process of getting there that I hate.

So of course I find extra ways to stress myself out, such as looking down onto my hand and seeing... nothing! As in no engagement ring. As in it dropped off because we've known that I need to have it resized and haven't had the time because of the move.

Commence the panicking. I frantically began to look around, as Dan walked in to see his betrothed suddenly certifiably insane, crying, and scolding herself for being THE BIGGEST MORON ON EARTH. I sobbed out what happened, and he kept telling me to calm down, because he plans on marrying me even if I DID lose the ring.

We found it half an hour later; it must have gotten snagged on something when I'd gone into the computer bag earlier that evening. That half hour was NOT one I'd ever like to relive. And my ring? I took it to the jewelry store the very next day to be resized. I don't get it back from them until next week, so a few times during the day I'll suddenly have a shock as I see my bare hand, and for a split moment I think I've lost it again, until I remember otherwise.

Thank God Dan can put up with spazzes, because he's sure as hell getting married to one!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Good Life

We've told as many people in person as we can, so now is the time for the general announcement for those we haven't been able to reach: Dan and I are engaged! Yes, he's finally making an honest woman out of me... or will when we eventually have the wedding in a couple of years. We haven't started planning it yet, since time is consumed by a monster called Moving to Cleveland. Actually, after he proposed, I suggested we just elope in Vegas, but he wants the big wedding and party, complete with friends, family, music, dancing, and midgets. Well, not midgets in particular, but I know Dan. Midgets always make his day a little (no pun intended) brighter. Personally, I hate being the center of attention, but it would be nice to have a big party anyway. Though maybe he'd go for the Vegas idea if I told him we could be married by a midget dressed as Elvis... after all, I firmly believe compromise is the key to any good relationship.

I find all this to be almost too good to be true, but when I look at this sparkling ring on my finger, I know I don't have to pinch myself. This is real, and this is great. Not just the engagement; how great Dan just IS, and how grateful I am to have him with me for the rest of our lives... even when he's being deliberately annoying and threatening to lick my eyeball, or any other way he takes advantage of the fact that I'm easily grossed out by anything having to do with eyes (I mean really, contact lenses anybody? Gross! WHY would anyone voluntarily stick a plastic disc into their eye?? But I digress. Ahem.). The point is, I wish everyone the luck I've had -- to be able to find someone who loves you for who you are and want to be, whose strength you can count on when times are troubled, who believes in you when even you are having your doubts -- and still be a human, complete with faults and cracks and an almost too devilish sense of humor.

To me, that is what the good life is all about.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Say it with me now: Awwww...

Reason # 5,376 Dan is awesome
He just dropped off two dozen yellow roses at my job -- for no reason whatsoever.

I feel so loved :-)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

After the rain

I woke up at 5 this morning to the sounds of earth-shaking thunder. Car alarms were going off, and lightning was flashing through the heavy curtains in my bedroom, lighting up the entire room. It is that time in Miami, when Mother Nature gets temperamental and disagreeable, like a small child who needs a nap. The day did little to improve, except for a short, considerate respite coinciding with my morning commute. From then up until ten minutes ago, it seemed as if a hurricane was brewing outside my office window. The world outside is wet, even flooded in places, but the sun is starting to come out, slowly drying things off in nature's form of damage control. Today, this is my favorite part of the storm: the aftermath. Other days it is the crashing thunder and blinding lightning. But today, seeing the world so fresh and new (the Miami version of new snow, I suppose), it is easy to have hope that your troubles will evaporate like the puddles in the street below, to think that tomorrow is a day without mistakes or pettiness in it yet, and that life is a precious gift, meant to be held and loved, cuddled and cherished.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

It has started

What has started, you ask? The insanity. The questions. The doubts. The panic. The moving.

My car is filled to the brim with collapsed boxes garnered from my sister on Sunday, who just finished moving to Florida herself. It has been raining (storming, really) almost nonstop since then, so I've been unable to get them OUT of my car, which is smelling more and more like cardboard and dust every time I climb into it. Dan and I are continually discussing the merits of renting versus buying. Feelings of sorrow are already starting to wash over me as I realize things that I take for granted in Miami (knowing how to get places, knowing what places there are to get to, etc.) will be thrown out the window in two months.

I have lived in Miami my entire life, as has Dan for the most part. We don't know how to live in the big, bad Winter. I don't know how to drive in snow or sleet or anything other than rain or sunshine. Ice on roads? What? Winter clothing? HOW? Explain to me the mysteries of layering! I can do anything in photoshop with layers, but show me long underwear, shirts, and coats and you'll see me with a blank face. I sometimes grab a blanket when I get chilled watching TV with Dan when our AC is set at 70. I can't help but think "Can I REALLY survive up north? What am I thinking!" I've already had one Cleveland-related breakdown, resulting in crying on Dan's shoulder, brokenly asking "What... *sniff* if we *bigger sniff* HATE IT?? *snuffleBAWL*"

There are times when I think of the Impending Move and realize what a great opportunity it is. A new environment, a new city, more to do and learn, and, most importantly, NOT in Miami: the city I've learned to hate.

Then there are the times I think of it and wonder what insane whim prompted me to tell my company I'd move? Ack! A new environment! A new city! So much I have to do, and I don't even know how! And, worst of all, its not in Miami! How could they EVER think I'd move to Cleveland?? Its taken this move to make me realize, after years of hating Miami, that it does have a few good points.

In my honest moments, not enough good points to make me want to stay here, but more than I've given it credit for since staying here for college. There's just so many things we'd said we were going to do in Florida and haven't... waking up early one morning to go to Miami Beach to watch the sunrise over the ocean and then driving across to the west coast to watch the sunset in the Gulf. Visiting Saint Augustine, or the Dali Museum, or countless other places. We have precious few weekends left here in Florida, and many will be taken up by packing, family, and friends.

I can be the world's #1 worrier... and now I can't tell if I'm kicking into overdrive, or if my concerns are as valid as I think they are. I know Emily and her Hubby the Great will be a tremendous help -- in fact, they already have been! And I'm certainly looking forward to being in the same city as Emily; we haven't been since we met in that summer we interned together in Chicago. But I'm also certainly going to miss my friends here, the easy access to my family in other parts of Florida, and more. My sister and her family just moved to Florida earlier this month after being in North Dakota for six years, and now we're moving. If something were to happen to my parents, I'm a terrible entire plane ride away, instead of a short road trip.

I just feel so conflicted. I know this can be great, and I'm doing my damndest to make sure it will be, and it is exciting and new... but part of me is terrified at the thought of exchanging the comfort of where I've grown up for excitement and newness, and especially change. I have my good days and bad days thinking about all this. And I know I'm going to unashamedly waffle back and forth until we're up there, and perhaps even for a time after that. Today I'm sort of in between.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Judgment of Six-Year-Olds

I saw my sister's family this weekend. It had been a year since last seeing the little ones, and they were enormous! Christopher is 6, Stephanie is 3, and Anthony is 1. Though if you ask Stephanie how old she is, she says 2, because my sister has her trained to get into Disney for free. But that is a whole other story. Ahem.

As you all know, I wear glasses because I'm practically blind in one eye. Christopher has a fascination with them because, in his words, "WOW! When I wear your glasses, my hand looks as big as yours does without them!" Thanks, Chris. Rub in your good eyesight to your poor Tia. This time, however, he reached a new high (or low?)...

Christopher grabbed my glasses and put them on. He actually looked really good in them; I'll have to post a picture once I get it off my phone. Immediately, he started shouting "I'M A NERD!" and making farting noises with his armpit. I'm not sure why this is funny, but to six-year-old boys, this is like Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Eddie Izzard all bundled up into one hilarious joke. He proceeded to do this over and over for about 5 minutes, in between insane gales of laughter.

At that point, my sister walked in, wondering what it was all about. Christopher got a bright idea: "Hi Mommy! Try these on!" and handed her my glasses. "Wow, you look like a grandma!" he giggled. Kelly gave them back to me, and I put them on because you get to miss depth perception after awhile.

Here is where I made my fatal mistake. "So if your Mommy looks like a grandma in these glasses, what do I look like?" I asked Chris.

How did that litte imp respond? "Like a nobody... just like yourself, Tia."

...Ouch! I tickled that little bastard until dinner time to make up for it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

It's official

I know, I am a horrible person and don't update as much as I should. But I have VERY good excuses. Between internet problems at home, continual traveling, and sickness, I haven't had very much time at ALL.

Oh yeah, and we're moving to Cleveland. AAHHHHH!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where there is love there is life. -Gandhi

Dan and I have drastically different sleep schedules. It drives me INSANE. I miss having him there while I sleep... there's something about the unconscious cuddling that does my soul a great deal of good. I hate it when I go to bed a little after 11 with promises from Dan that he'll be in bed soon, only to wake up at 4 am to an empty bed. I go into the living room, and there he is reading or on the computer. He'll then promise to be in bed soon and send me back to bed, and at 6 he'll try to sneak into bed without me waking up. It never works. I sometimes try to get him to go to bed WITH me instead of 7 hours after me, but it is only sometimes successful... the rest of the time its like trying to hold a cat in your lap and pet him against his will.

We had a crazy thunderstorm last night that was at LEAST 7 hours straight of thunder, lightning, wind, rain, tornado warnings, and flooding. It was awesome. Even our doors were rattling. Something in me needs weather like that every now and then. Dan was awake all night because he couldn't sleep, and I woke up at 4:30 because of a particularly loud clap of thunder and didn't go back to sleep for an hour; instead, Dan and I curled up together on the living room floor, opened the curtains to our sliding glass doors, and watched the storm rage outside. It was one of those hours that seems to last forever, yet only moments at the same time. We talked, we were silent... we were together. Spiritually as well as physically. It was wonderful, even though I'm entirely exhausted today from it. To me, that is part of what love is all about.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I've thought of the perfect way to entertain myself at my parents' farm.

There are 8 cats at the farm. I want to stage a bunch of pictures to submit to Stuff on my Cat

Suggestions, anyone?

Forgive Me!

I know I've been terribly neglectful of this blog in the last couple of weeks, and do apologize. But I happen to have a great excuse: about a gazillion (give or take a few trillion) hours of overtime at work and putting 2000+ miles on my car in 2 weeks. Which will be 3000+ by Sunday night. Yes, this weekend will be the third weekend in a row that I've driven back and forth to visit my parents. I leave tomorrow morning and get to enjoy another seven hours on the Florida turnpike to enjoy all of its ugliness, flatness, and roadkill.

But the good news is that my dad is recovering WONDERFULLY and can already start to do minor farm work again! This is all very exciting, as my dad happens to be the most impatient person in the world when it comes to staying sitting for longer than five minutes.

In other news, I'm going to Chicago in a few weeks! Chicago is a city that always feels more like home than Miami, where I was born, raised, and still live. Chicago people are just My Kind of People. Like
Emily, who I will get to hang out with for those days. Emily and I actually met in Chicago 4 years ago (Can you believe it, Emily!!) when we interned together. We were dubbed the Intern Goddesses by the rest of the staff because, well, we're goddesses. And happened to be interns at the time. Chicago is going to be a much-needed vacation after all this work and driving and surgery-related activities. I'll be sure to bring back lots of pictures!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why I Love My Friends...

Friend 1: Hey, since I've never *heard* someone say "machinations" aloud, do you know if it's pronounced "mashinations" or "makinations"? Just out of curiousity.

Friend 2: A handy note: if you go to Yahoo's dictionary and type in a word to look up, they have a feature where they let you hear how the word sounds. It's pretty nifty.

Friend 3: pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Friend 4: I believe that's pronounced yôr mä-mä.

Monday, April 24, 2006

More About Dad

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and drama. Frankly, I'm exhausted. And my dad called last night to say that he is having a lot of trouble breathing.

Cathy: Umm... shouldn't you go to the hospital?
Dad: Nah, I'll just wait until tomorrow and call the doctor.
Cathy: How long has this been going on?
Dad: Oh, a couple of days.
Dad: I'll be fine, I'll just call the doctor tomorrow.
Cathy: Well, other than that, how are you?
Dad: Tired. I didn't sleep last night.
Cathy: That's very unlike you... why did you have trouble sleeping?
Dad: I was scared to go to sleep.
Cathy: ... Why? Aren't you a little old to be scared of the dark?
Dad: I couldn't breathe. I was afraid if I went to sleep, I wouldn't wake up.

He's driving ME to a heart attack, I think. I know one of the side effects of a major surgery like this is depression and extra emotionality, but it breaks my heart to hear him talk like this. I know he's bored, I know he's depressed, and I know that all I can do for now is call him a couple of times a day to try entertaining him. He's not even halfway through his confinement period yet. Dan is going up there on Wednesday or so to stay a week, do farm chores, entertain Dad, and take advantage of as many Red Sox games on ESPN up there as possible. I'm going to try going up for the weekend myself, but am not sure I can yet.

I just feel so useless to him down here, but can't take more time off right now to go up to be with him. And I know its stupid, but I feel like I should be able to do more... to keep Dad happy and healthy by the sheer force of my personality or something. And that's a ridiculous expectation for both myself and for my dad. But there you have it.

In other news, I experimented with a new setting on the exercise bike last night and OH MY GOD MY LEGS HURT. But no pain, no gain, right? I want to get rid of the disproportionately flabby thighs I inherited from my mother. I told my Dad, who has total chicken legs, that I would trade with him; he wasn't amused, because he remembered me telling him he has hot legs when he's in a dress (really the hospital gown). He wasn't too amused, but his nurse sure was. I thought he was too hopped up on medication to remember me teasing him, but it just goes to show: Dads will ALWAYS remember when you pick on them, even if they are under general anaesthesia and morphine. But it is true... my dad has legs that would make an 18-year-old prom queen proud. Those of you who knew him when he was in Miami wouldn't recognize him; the farm work has made his already chickeny-legs skinnier, his gut has actually turned into pure muscle, and his arms are gaining definition.

Its a little disheartening to have a 68-year-old father who is in better shape than you.

A little story for you all that Dad recently told me.

Dad did a stint in the Army when he was 18. His sergeant couldn't stand him -- probably because my dad was (and still is) the biggest smartass in the world -- and repeatedly chose him to stay in the barracks while the others were in the field to clean everything. With a toothbrush.

So Dad behaved at first, and scrubbed everything until it gleamed. The sergeant came by, said it wasn't good enough, and ordered him to do it again. Dad resignedly did. Again, the sergeant said it wasn't good enough. Dad mutinously cleaned everything a third time. The sergeant came by and told him to do it again. Dad refused. The sergeant ordered him again, and Dad told him to go fuck himself.

I'm sure you can imagine how well THAT went over. He ordered Dad to meet his team in the field. He responded that he'd been forced to clean so long, he didn't even know where they were anymore. The sergeant said he'd take him there, but he'd have to go double time.

Dad was a strong, lean guy in his teens and twenties... he'd been on the track team every year of middle and high school, but his sergeant didn't know that. They took off running, hauling all their gear. About halfway there, the sergeant started to get tired and told Dad to slow down. Dad, being the crotchety old man he is even then (which I say in a loving way, because it is one of my favorite qualities in him), "No, you mother fucker, you said double time and we're DOING it double time!" ... And then he sped up and ran even faster, much to the sergeant's dismay. He wasn't supposed to lose face and get there minutes after my Dad, you see.

Dad got in a lot of trouble for disrespect to his sergeant, but he never had to stay behind to clean the barracks again... over all, I think HE won!

Friday, April 21, 2006

I am a bad person

I should have updated long before today, but things have been a bit hectic in the CakeorDeathery lately. Much of what I wrote about in my last post is in the process of being carefully mended. It will take time, but since all parties involved have agreed that it is worth the effort of preserving the relationship, it will be done. When writing that last entry, my emotional reservoir was full of quick-drying cement, to use Mrs. Kennedy's analogy. It won't be easy, and I'm sure things will relapse a couple of times in the process, but at least my reservoir is more of pancake batter this week than cement.

I honestly don't know how things went from the blackest of black to a mid-grayish so quickly, especially because I thought it was impossible. I'm unspeakably glad they have, though.

On the the lighter and brighter side of life, I got an interesting phone call the other day. See, some of you don't know this, but from the age of 5 to 20, I was a stage performer. Musicals, plays, choir performances... I did it all. Just before my 20th birthday, however, I overdid things. I was conducting a children's choir, member of my university women's chorale, member of my church choir, and singing in a wedding -- all in one month. My voice crashed on Christmas after a month containing over 30 rehearsals and performances. I was plagued with sinus infection after sinus infection, cold after cold, and continual laryngitis. I had to quit all my choirs, go on moderate vocal rest for 8 months, and haven't sung since then.

So anyway, this call was for an audition... for a professional-grade community choir. I'm seriously considering auditioning. Its just a matter of deciding if I want to spend countless hours this summer getting my voice back into shape and refreshing myself in sightreading (which I was never really good at, actually). It will also require some minor lifestyle changes if I'm really going to be serious about this -- things like drinking a LOT more water, cutting down on soda and coffee, no raising of my voice anymore (like at baseball games, etc.), and just getting over the fact that I'd have to sing in front of Dan when practicing. I know, I have a weird complex about practicing in front of people. I don't like them to hear me when I sound bad, but I can't exactly kick Dan out of the apartment for an hour or two a day.

I'll probably change my mind six times a day until the audition, but as of right now, I think I'm going to try it. I miss being part of something that makes good music... knowing that you're creating something of beauty is a release of sorts, and a spiritual balm of sorts. Not in a religious sense, but in a personal sense. I've always felt that pushing myself as a musician was a way of pushing myself as a person. I've never outgrown a bit of stage fright, but music pushes me to get over it enough to get on with life. I've never liked being in large groups of strangers, but musicians working together have a certain solidarity to them that helps me get over that, too.

Yes... I think I'll do this.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Kindness of Strangers

One day, sometime last month, Dan and I had an argument. I was upset and left the apartment to cool down a bit, so we could discuss things in a calmer frame of mind. I stopped at a red light, and a homeless man, selling Miami's homeless newspaper (it is written and run by the homeless to earn money for the bread bank... similar to StreetWise in Chicago, if you are familiar with it) came up to my window, which was already open. I handed him a dollar, and he saw my red eyes and asked if I was alright.

"I'm fine, just a rough day."

"Honey, everyone has rough days. The trick is to remember that you're healthy, have friends, and are happy overall. Look at me; I'm homeless, but I find happiness, too."

I was touched by his words and concern, and told him so, thanking him for his kindness.

"Let me tell you honey, there's nothing stranger than kindness and no one kinder than strangers . Have a blessed day."

And the man walked off to the next car, seeking his next dollar, with a happy grin on his face.

This encounter has stuck with me, because of the open kind-heartedness this man had towards everyone, even a stranger with red eyes in a car stopped at an intersection. His simple words calmed me down more than anything else could have, and have come back to me since then when in similarly stressful situations.

Sometimes, however, it is hard to remember that my health, friendships, etc. are intact. Now is one of those times. I don't want to go into specifics right now, because doing so will make everything seem so real and close, and I like the distance I temporarily have from my own feelings. Just let it suffice to say that it was made apparant yesterday that a relationship close to my heart has failed, and I am lost, hurt, and in a very, very bad place.

On top of this, my dear friend's father was found dead today after being missing for a couple of days. She needs me, and doesn't know of the emotional trauma that came to a head yesterday in my life. And I'm going to be there for her, dammit, even if it means putting everything going on in my life on hold. I know I'm not able to postpone the overwhelming feelings of hurt and lost from these events in my life very long, and that I probably shouldn't, but I can't face them. And while this death in my friend's family isn't a welcome relief by ANY means, it is a personal reprieve from myself.

So, Internet, I turn to you, and the kindness that strangers bring to each other. While nothing I can do or say will make everything better for my friend, what can I do? We're going shopping after I get out of work to get her some black clothes, because she doesn't have any. I'll go to the funeral to be there for her. But what else?

And for me... how do you endure the agonizing feeling of your heart breaking into millions of pieces? I'll post again in a couple of days saying what happened. It is too close to the heart right now.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Seven days, five bypasses, and approximately 23 galloons of dog poo later, and Dad is out of the hospital! He's home, and doing well, especially considering the nature of his surgery. He went in for triple bypass surgery, but the surgeon found two more bloackges during the surgery, turning his triple bypass turned into a quintuple bypass. Did you know that could be done? Because I surely didn't until the tired, sweaty surgeon came out to tell us how the surgery had gone. Dad is recovering wonderfully, but he can't do any farmwork for at least two months, and I know it is already driving him crazy. Dan and I are going to the farm for a weekend soon to help with the chores that are piling up. I'm so glad he's home; seeing him hooked up to so many tubes and needles was one of the hardest things I've ever seen. Though I knew it was going to be hard, I wasn't prepared enough to see him unconscious with a breathing tube the first day. All my mom and I could do was blink back our tears and take turns holding his hand and talking to him, letting him know that we were there and that he was going to be ok. I hope I never have to go through that again, not just because I don't want any of my loved ones in that position, but because putting 200% of your energy, time, and self into someone else when all you really want to do is crawl into their arms and cry is the most exhausting thing I've endured. But if the occasion called for it, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Having us there helped my dad's immediate recovery so much that I'd never be able to deny someone my presence if it would help them like that.

In non-parental news, I've been home since Tuesday night and haven't really stopped working since; catching up on missed chores, working overly-long hours at work, etc. I'm collapsing this weekend and treating myself to a whole day of fun and relaxation.

Emily tagged me for a meme, so let the memming begin!

Accent: Nondescript, nonspecific, generic American accent. I live too far south in Florida to be part of the South, so I was spared that. However, I do start talking strangely when I visit my parents. As in, I caught myself saying "That sure ain't like the taste of sugar!" And I cringed, slapped myself, and vowed to return to civilization as quickly as possible.

Booze of Choice: Usually something fruity with a kick. Or Alien Secretions, a drink Dan made up. Even proportions of Malibu, Midori, Triplesec, and a splash of sour mix. FANTASTIC shot. Try it sometime.

Chore I Hate: I HATE LAUNDRY. I'll clean the toilet any day, just don't make me haul basket after basket of laundry to the washer! PLEASE!

Dog or Cat: No pets in Dan and I's apartment, but the animals at my parents' farm are partially my pets, and there we have 8 cats, 6 dogs, 1 immortal rabbit (seriously, it's 11 or 12 years old now. DIE ALREADY!), a couple of birds, and several fish tanks.

Essential electronics: My Precioussss... aka my PowerBook. I love it.

Favorite perfume: I don't wear perfume, but I use sweet pea and violet shower gel and that does the trick.

Gold or silver: Silver. I think gold looks weird on people with my complexion.

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Insomnia: A bit when the seasons change, but that usually doesn't last too long because I am NOT a nice person when I don't get my 7-8 hours.

Job title: Assistant Editor, Latin America. How exotic sounding.

Kids: Maybe one day, but not for sure and certainly not anytime soon.

Living arrangements: I rent an apartment with my boyfriend, Dan.

Most admired trait: I admire people who embrace change. I'm not exactly one of them.

Number of sexual partners: Just one. And yes, he's Dan. Some people have encouraged me to branch out, experiment with other guys, etc., but I'm just not interested. The same people tell me that I need some basis for comparison, and, honestly, I don't. Dan certainly keeps me satisfied, and is an incredible guy in other ways, too. Why the need to keep looking? Whatever, I just don't get some people. Why ruin a wonderful relationship just to sleep around? Makes no sense. I'm not that kind of girl anyway.

Overnight hospital stays: Only after birth, which is amazing given my record for clumsiness.

Phobia: Failure. Change. Loneliness. Grasshoppers. The usual.

Quote: "I hate quotes." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Religion: I used to go to church regularly, but now I'm rather agnostic-ish.

Siblings: Three older sisters.

Time(s) I wake up: Anywhere from 5:30 to 7:15 on weekdays, depending on when I have to be into work, and usually 8ish on weekends unless I've been up until 4 am or something. Sometimes even then, and then I'm NOT a happy Cathy.

Unusual talent/skill: I can read Old English nearly fluently. And I mean OLD English, the kind that looks like a completely foreign language. Where "garden" is "neorxnawanga"

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Radishes. Total ew.

Worst habit: How to choose? I worry too much. I detest change and adapt badly.

X-rays: Dental and my arm, when I broke it at age 7.

Yummiest food I make: A pasta dish I learned to make in Italy... Rigatoni with zucchini, mushrooms, and fresh garlic, all mixed together with a creamy white sauce on top. YUM-MY.

Zodiac sign: Capricorn or Dog, depending on which calendar you're talking about.

Friday, March 24, 2006

So to respond to Chickin Noodle's question of I would like to know how long you have been with your boyfriend and if there is any plans for marriage in the near future? I love weddings!, I present this post of blabbering a bit about myself. Also, because blogging is such a narcissistic hobby, feel free to ask any other questions that cross your mind. It helps entertain me on slow days at work. Onward to my love life!

A sort of funny thing about Dan and I... we're both AWFUL at remembering dates. Therefore, neither one of us can really remember when we started dating. We know we're going on two years, though. We'd known each other for a year or two before starting to date, but having him in my life feels so right that it seems like he's always been there. I don't know what exactly took us so long; but it may as well have been that one day we looked at each other and said "Wow! We should date, because we're disgustingly perfect for each other!" Actually, I was a bit skeptical about Dan and Cathy as a couple actually working; it took me all of our first date to convince me that I wanted to spend my life with that crazy, lovable man. He took me out for Vietnamese food, and then we walked around and went into little area art galleries, had coffee and dessert and many laughs in an adorably tiny coffeehouse, and danced under the moonlight in an abandoned courtyard. I couldn't have imagined a better first date if I'd tried. I was hooked.

As for marriage plans, it depends on what you define as "the near future"... Next week? No. Next month? Nope. Beyond that? I can say that I'm sure we'll be married eventually. We moved in together over the summer of 2005, and neither one of us would have taken that step if we weren't in this for the long-term. And trust me, this is one front on which I'll keep everyone here updated, because Dan brings so much sunshine and daisies and warm fuzzy schmoobles to my life that I'm sure you'll eventually get tired of me mentioning his name. He pushes me to be a better person, to see the world through an artist's eyes, to be more spontaneous, and countless other things.

And because I'm a firm believer in visuals, here we are together. Feel free to admire how tall, dark, and handsome he is. I do all the time! I need to print this out and put it on my desk one day, because it is one of few picture we have together where neither of us is making a goofy face.

Dan and Cathy

Thursday, March 23, 2006

So let it rain

Right now, a thunderstorm is starting outside my window, and it is killing my sinuses (and my right ear, just to prove how long its been since we last had a thunderstorm and how out of practice my facial cavities are at dealing with them). It really makes me want to curl up and go to sleep under the covers in the comfort of my bed. I hope this rain stops for my commute home and begins again once I'm there. Then I get out of working out, too! Woohoo! I'm not in a working out mood today. I had salad for lunch. That counts for something! Besides, I'll be looking after 8,000 animals next week, including two VERY energetic puppies. I'll be getting my exercise, alright.

There's something about thunderstorms that makes me crave human contact and companionship. I don't know if it is some leftover herd-mentality from the tree-swinging days, or just the fact that rain can make you so lonely when you least expect it. It makes you realize how small you are in the face of the world; just one raindrop amidst millions of others, not a single one very discernible from the rest.

Or maybe I'm reading too far into it. But either way, the rain can bring out a certain melancholy feeling towards life, and in some very strange way it is refreshing; it is a reason, an outlet to be worried in the face of the "he'll be ok"s, or the "things will work out"s.

Because what comes after the melancholy of rain?


Getting to know you...

Part of me always feels so fake when I write in this blog. I don't really know why; maybe because part of me is always held back from the reader. I'm not the kind to reveal dozens of details of my life for the masses. I admit, part of me wants to. But I feel like I don't really know most of my readers. So step up, tell me something about yourself. I'd like to know. Conversely, if there is anything about me you'd like to know, just ask. I promise to be truthful about it; and if I don't want to be truthful about your question, I'll at least try to be funny with my answer.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I am a bad person.

I was on the phone with my sister (Kelly) on Friday when her oldest son got home from school.

Chris: Hi Mommy! My jacket broke!
Kelly: How did your jacket break?
Kelly: *sigh* Christopher, we've talked about this before. There are no such thing as leprechauns.
Chris: Yes there are! I can prove it to you!
Kelly: No, Christopher.
Chris: You just won't tell me there are leprechauns because you don't love me!
Kelly: (starting to get exasperated) You know what? Tia Cathy is the smartest person in the world. Ask her if there are leprechauns.

Christopher gets on the phone.

Chris: Hi Tia.
Cathy: Hey Chris, whats up?
Chris: Mommy is telling me that there's no such thing as leprechauns. Are there?
Cathy: Yes, Chris. Mommy just can't see them.
Chris: I knew it!

It is great being evil. I'm just waiting for him to be old enough for me to give him a drum set.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I swear a had a non-surgery post before I heard this.

My dad's surgery has been canceled. The hospital doesn't take their insurance. They said he can still have the surgery if my parents pay them $80,000. HA. Sooo... no surgery at that hospital. His surgeon works out of another hospital, so they're trying to see if it takes their insurance. If yes, they can probably schedule for early April. If not, he has to find a new surgeon. Most likely in a different city, because that town only has two hospitals to begin with. Which means that the commute from the farm to the hospital would be well over 2 hours. Its already an hour to the original hospital anyway. WHY did the hospital not realize this any earlier than THREE DAYS before the surgery?? We've had this scheduled for how long?? I'm so upset about it. I know he'll eventually have the surgery, but this whole situation is so stupid... we've all prepped for Monday, are ready for Monday, and its a bit of a let down to not have it happen. I feel like I'm back to the tenseness of waiting, waiting, waiting. I want to fly to my parents' defense, but throw something at the Big Mean Hospital and Insurance Company at the same time. And I can't do ANYTHING about this, which makes it worse. I'm so frustrated, and I feel like I don't really have any way to take it out. I have to be calm and collected for my parents, because this is far harder on them than me, but then all I do is take it out on me, and that's not good either. I think I'm going to take my iPod and go for a short, angry run tonight, which will last all of 30 seconds since I HATE running, and then walk off the steam. I'll milk the anger for all its worth, because it keeps me from getting worried. Worry is debilitating when taken to some levels. So is anger, but my anger never really reaches there. Worry? Easily, if I let it.

I need a hug.

I swear I had a nice, funny, non-surgery post written before Mom called with this news. Sorry, all 3 or so readers I have. One day, I'll actually write something that will entertain you. I promise. Until then, remember my new motto: Save a Patient; Kill an Insurance Executive.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Life, the Universe, and Everything... or at least Life.

With only five more days to my dad's surgery, my stomach is slowly starting to tumble again. I leave on Saturday morning for the farm for a crash course in the nuances of taking care of the animals -- the basics are pretty obvious and similar to babysitting. You know, don't forget to feed them, give them water, clean up their poop. My "vacation" will be glorious. It may not be the way I wanted to spend my vacation days, but I'm glad I can give a hand when my parents need it. Family is family... that's that. It comes first.

Dan knew that I needed a weekend of relaxation before the 9 days at the farm wipe me out, so he planned a surprise trip to Key West -- just the two of us. He even rented a car to make it more of a surprise, instead of having us sit in my old, boring car for a few hours each way. It was exactly what we both needed. We had fun, were silly, and carefree all weekend. We spent all of Saturday in Key West, exploring restaurants, candy shops, and the shops along Duval Street, all while laughing at the stray chickens (they have a problem with that down there), horrible wigs on transvestites, and catching some live music here and there. Dan made friends with a street performer, a tumbler, who later chose me out of the audience (Grrr) to help him. I ended up on a bicycle, head down, with another guy holding a VERY small hoop on my back. Then the tumbler (who calls himself "The Black Superman") took off running, jumped, soared through the hoop over my back like a diver, somersaulter in midair, and landed on the other side. I nearly had a heart attack. It was impressive, though. And the best part? He's 48 years old! I'm less than half his age and can't even do a cartwheel!

Talk about feeling inadequate.

Right now my life is mostly full of concerns about the surgery, stuff that can't really be written here, and work. Life is usually more interesting than this, but isn't it funny how a few things can drown out just about everything else?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My First Love

Many of you know my first love and may not even know it. He's an elusive partner, often requiring high maintenance and certainly a lot of planning any time you wanted to do something with him. His name? Travel. I discovered traveling early in life, and have luckily been able to do my share of it so far. A few of my trips stand out more than others:

Going to Mexico when I was 15 with my best friend's family and 5 other friends. It was my best friend's quince, and we were ALL treated like princesses. That was only part of it, though. Going to Mexico was my first time in Latin America, and I truly fell in love with the cultures and attitudes within it. I drank in the history of Teotihuacan, the sights of Xochimilco, and, unfortunately, the odors of the subways in Mexico City. I'll never forget that week. My first foray into Latin America shielded me from its negative aspects. It showed me what I had to see to appreciate it in a way that I'd never been able to from afar.

The next time I went to Latin America, it was far different. Skip forward three years, and you'll see an 18-year-old Cathy getting off the plane in Nicaragua to volunteer at a non-profit prosthetics hospital. Driving through Managua and the Nicaraguan countryside was a lesson in what real poverty is. Sure, I'd read about it and studied it and been horrified at the injustices resulting from it, but nothing you read in a book will prepare you for the horror of seeing it, and meeting those who can't get out of it. One of my unofficial roles in that trip was to serve as a translator for others in the group. Because of that, I was able to bond extra with the patients we interviewed, some of whom lost a limb to a landmine decades after the Nicaraguan Civil War. Years ago, most fields with landmines had been marked as dangerous, but Hurricane Mitch came along and shifted many in its torrential rains, category 5 winds, and catastrophic mudslides. In addition to helping at the clinic and meeting patients, we did a bit of sight-seeing. Not tourist-type, though. Real traveling. Talking to people, going to places most foreigners don't, etc. I feel like I became a world citizen on that trip. I'd never felt so close to those I'd just met before. The Nicaraguan openness and hospitality astounded me. Many had next to nothing, but were happy to share it with us, out of sheer friendliness and goodwill. I've longed to go back ever since, but it hasn't been possible yet.

Another 2 years in the future: something I dread to say aloud in Miami. I traveled to Cuba, on another humanitarian aid trip. People who have overheard me saying this in Miami have accused me of being a "dirty communist" or a "Castro lover," but I fail to see how helping people who are in need is catering to any political party whatsoever. And I'm certainly not a fan of Castro and definitely not a communist, so their accusations always made me giggle. Cuba was also a lesson in poverty, but different than Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the second-poorest nation in our Western Hemisphere (Haiti is the poorest). Cuba is a land of opposites, where newly-restored arquitectural masterpieces from the early XX century have dilapidated, crumbling neighbors. Where some people proclaim their dedication to the Revolution in the streets and others quietly criticize it in their homes. You can envision the Cuba of yore by sifting through its ruins. Yet according to older people I talked to in the street, their lives did not significantly change after the revolution. It was a thoroughly intriguing trip, especially for a Miami girl like me, and I still can't process exactly what I think of Cuba, even though I've been back for three years.

I think I'll post anecdotes rather than paragraph long overviews with some pictures later this week from each of these trips, and maybe some from Italy as well. I haven't been able to travel as much in the past couple of years, so reliving old experiences is soothing for my mind. I hope you enjoy my stories as well.

Its all making sense now

With a brigadeiro in one hand, a keyboard in the other, Audioslave playing on my iPod, and Dan coming home tonight, all is getting back to the way it should be.

Brigadeiro, for those uninitiated to the joy it gives, is the yummiest dessert in the WORLD. There are some pretty good recipes for it online if you want to give it a try. They're easy to make, too. They're all cocoa, butter, and condensed milk. And sprinkles on top. OH. MY. GOD. God bless the Brazilians.

Friday, March 03, 2006

But who will steal my covers this weekend?

When my mom visits my sister in North Dakota, she goes for 3-4 weeks at a time. Traveling there is quite expensive, so she can only manage to go maybe once a year and makes the most of it. Dad refuses to fly and has about a million pets, so he stays home on the farm. Dad gets so lonely that he usually calls me twice a day, just to have phone company. We once sent Dad on a two-week vacation to visit his best friend as a birthday present, and he came back a week early because he missed his family -- especially Mom. I think I've inherited this from him in some ways.

Dan is heading out tonight to Boston for a fun, well-deserved vacation to visit a friend. Its only a weekend trip, but since I'm a pathetic excuse for an independent woman (I'm really not, but I WILL miss the guy), I'm staying in Miami and being lonely all weekend. Well, being lonely ALL weekend won't do, right? Therefore, I'm having a girls' night at my apartment. Silly movies, food, alcohol -- three key ingredients in the cure for loneliness.

As long as Dan brings home a fulfilled wish of testosterone-driven fun and a new Red Sox hat to replace his old ratty one, this weekend will have been worth it.

Even if my bed will feel so empty.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Malapropism of the Day

I was talking to my dad today, who told me that he recently talked with the nurse from his doctor's office about farmland, etc.

"Yeah, she said her friend owns 10 acres and breeds Pakis."

*pause* "What??"

"She breeds Pakis."

"She breeds brown people?? I'm so confused!"

"You know, those animals like llamas?"


At that point we both lost it and started cracking up. My dad is awesome.

Monday, February 27, 2006


This weekend ended up being a bit of a disappointment in some ways. I hung out with a friend on Friday after work, and then came home and watched Ice Age with Dan. It is a surprisingly cute movie; I genuinely enjoyed it. I like how Dan has such diverse taste in movies; one day he's watching the Pianist, another and its Amelie on the TV screen, the next its Ice Age. Very nice.

Unfortunately, he took NyQuil that night and didn't wake up until 4 pm on Saturday. He needed the sleep though, to finally kill off his cold. We didn't get to run all of our errands that day because of it, but I got the chance to do something I hadn't done in too long: read a book from cover to cover in one day. This weekend's book: Marley and Me -- Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog." It was a lovely book. I laughed and cried and everything in between, punctuated by several "AWWWW!"s. It makes me yearn for a puppy. I should be careful, though. Puppyhood is only a step away from motherhood, and I'm definitely not sure about THAT. We then had a great sushi dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant (what better way to eat on a Saturday?).

We went to FLARF on Sunday (FLoridA Renaissance Festival) because a friend begged us to. Once we were there, we couldn't find her for a few hours. Once we did find her, it started pouring down rain. That, combined with the cold front that followed it, combined with the smoke, incense, and "privy-stench," I pretty much vomited the afternoon away, both in the car and at home. I should have known it all along: Renfaires make me sick. (For those of you who don't know, I'm a recovering Rennie -- and living with one as well) I miraculously woke up feeling good enough to go to work today, at least.

But overall? Life is good. I'm young, in love, and have someone to enjoy the world with. Does it get any better than this?

Friday, February 24, 2006

The little things...

I was just reading an article on about business-y stuff (I'm so technical, I know), and I read the following: "This trend – the emergence of smaller specialty sites – is expected to continue this year. In other words, there's a lot more to the Web than Google and Yahoo!" It reminded me of something that has bothered me for awhile, but I've never vocalized about Yahoo! Why! Do! They! Need! The! Exclamation! Point! You can't put it in the middle of a sentence, because then it looks like you don't know the basic rules of punctuation, and when my eye gets to it on the screen, they sort of cross a bit, trying to figure out why the sentence structure is so weird until I remember that it is Yahoo! who is weird (see what I mean about the eyes? Mine totally crossed just writing that grammatical drivel). And if you move the Yahoo! to the end, it looks like you are being way too enthusiastic. And sometimes that is entirely inappropriate. "The online site with the worst earnings this period was Yahoo!" You see? And I won't even get into the awful grammar behind trying to make Yahoo! possess something, because some things, like "Yahoo!'s" should NEVER be thrown against someone's hapless eyes.

Another problematic name: eBay. Little e, big fucking B, small ay. At least here you can assume that the "e" stands for something, and that it is a cute marketing thing. Like electronic. But electronic Bay? How the hell can a Bay be electronic? You see, it just makes no sense.

You can definitely tell that it is Friday from the randomness of my thoughts. At least you can expect that sort of thing in a blog, as opposed to the workplace, where your senior editor may look at you like you're insane for suddenly turning around and spouting off a rant about Yahoo! and eBay. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Onto something of more consequence, my sister's husband has gotten his new assignment (he's in the military), and *drumroll*... they are moving to Florida! They'll be within a few hours of me for the first time in almost 6 years, and I can't wait. That means that I can be near for the kids' birthdays, holidays, or just a weekend with the family. I've been bouncing around for two days because of this development. YAY! And who wouldn't want to be near cuties like this?

Meet Christopher:


And Anthony: (who really is a little boy, despite his amazing resemblance to an elf)

Christopher, the oldest, is 6 years old. Because of that, he thinks he is master of all that is cool and smart. Case in point: He dressed as Darth Vader for Halloween, but the picture I'd seen of him had him in an Anakin Skywalker outfit that he'd gotten for his birthday. So when he told me he'd dressed as Darth Vader and I told him I thought he was Anakin, he gave a world-weary sigh, as if exasperated with my stupidity, and said "No, Tia. They're the SAME PERSON. Don't you know anything?" Cheeky little brat. But I love him anyway (or because). Anyway, I talked to him on the phone yesterday and he only wants to hear knock knock jokes. Unfortunately I can only remember the banana/orange one. Can you readers help me out? Pretty please?

In other news, I actually get to leave work at a reasonable hour now, as opposed to marathon 10-12 hour days. I feel so spoiled, because I now get home by 7ish and have at least 4 whole hours to spend with Dan and STILL get a full night's sleep for the next day. I've cooked real meals and gone for walks and to the gym all after work -- something that has felt impossible for a couple of months. Having a normal work schedule is something I've missed.

So all in all, with the promise of my sister's family moving much closer and being able to spend real time with Dan, it has been a good week.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A happy tale with a sad ending

I once heard the saying "A dog is a happy tale with sad ending." And its true; today my sister called to tell me that our dog, Freckles, died today. Freckles was our family dog, and we'd had him since I was ten years old. While he was friendly to everyone, he was mostly my dad's companion. We always joked that my dad wanted a male dog to be his "son" after having four [human] daughters. I was strangely calm after talking to my sister. Freckles was over 12 years old; he'd had a good, long life, especially for his breed. I'll miss him, but I sort of expected this to happen soon. He was blind and deaf for the last year of his life, but had an impeccable sense of smell. As soon as someone entered the yard, Freckles would lift his head and sniff for a moment and inevitably trot on over, straight as an arrow, to say hello. He was just a cool, friendly dog.

What I wasn't prepared for was talking to my father. He is home alone, because my mom is visiting my sister in North Dakota. The one thing that will always get me upset is hearing my father upset. He's never hid his emotions, but he's never often lost himself in them. When I called him, he was crying. He sounded heartbroken, and he was alone. Under normal circumstances, I'd want to take a few days off of work and go up there to be with him right away, if anything to just keep him company. But I am already taking at least a week off for Dad's surgery in a month. And it kills me that he's grieving over Freckles with no one there to talk to. I hate not being able to be somewhere to support someone when they need it.

How can I help Dad handle all the surging emotions he'll feel after the surgery when it upsets me so much to see him like this? Can I really be strong enough to help him through this? Knowing myself, I'll push everything I feel aside until it is over, and then feel it all at once. (Like mother like daughter, really) I know this isn't the healthiest way, but what other way is there? The most important thing will be my father's recovery, not my temporary mental health. I'm just lucky to have the support of so many people on my end. My friends got together and bought me a phone card so I can call them when I go up for the surgery, because there is no cell phone reception on the farm. Emily has listened to any concerns I've told her, and has reasonable, supportive, honest things to say about them. Dan has been incredible; he's going up to the farm with me for the surgery, and I know he'll do a lot to calm me down during The Wait.

I just still feel unsettled about the surgery, and knowing how lonely and sad my father is right now somehow makes my fears about the surgery worse. Any reminder of mortality is unwelcome right now to anyone in our family. I don't want to think it anymore, or fear it anymore. I just want this whole ordeal to be over.

And it wouldn't hurt to be able to cuddle with my dog when I go to the farm. I guess my dad won't be the only one who will be missing Freckles. He's the black and white one in the front.
Image hosting by Photobucket

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Just call me "Casper"

I usually sleepwalk through my morning ritual of getting ready for work. I pick out my clothes the night before (usually) so all I have to do in the morning is stumble out of bed, get dressed, brush teeth, and head out the door. My system works well; I get ready quickly, everything matches, is clean, unwrinkled, and fairly nice-looking. Today, however, my system failed. Yes, I have one of my better-looking work outfits on. I even have new, nerdy, editor-y glasses. What my blurry eyes did NOT see in the mirror this morning is the giant WELT on my neck. I apparently live with a vampire. Which I don't mind (quite the contrary, really), but the marks usually aren't that... dark? visible? glaring from the opening of my collar? Either way, I didn't understand my coworker's horrified look until I went to the restroom and saw it. But I thought of a solution! While on my lunch break, I went to the drug store and bought emergency concealer and powder. As usual, I got the lightest shade I could find: Ivory. You know, the last color you can get on the pale end of the spectrum only because they don't sell "Corpse."

It was too dark. Not just a smidge too dark, but noticeably an entirely different color than my neck. Judging by this, I must make Snow White look like a California beach volleyball player.

At least Snow White lived in an undisclosed forest in a Europe-like region. A place where they saw snow, or else she's have been Cloud White or something. I live in Miami. The place that celebrates a groundhog seeing its shadow because it means six more weeks of tourist booms.

I am definitely the worst Floridian ever.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stuff 'n' Nonsense

I got my first official linking from my good friend Emily (Young, Married, and Stuck in Cleveland). Now I feel pressured to write something brilliantly funny. Unfortunately, I've had the work week from hell, so my brain is on the rather fuzzy side right now. I'll never write extensively about work, because, well, I don't want to be dooced. I actually love my job, and don't want anything to happen to it. Let it suffice to say that I edit Stuff that goes to Latin America. Which means that Spanish and Portuguese are my main specialties, so if I slip up on English every now and then, it can't be held against me. Okay, maybe it can, but I think that all people should be able to make up words now and then... even unintentionally.

Since I'm drawing a blank on the funny today, how about the mildly disturbing? At least, it is mildly disturbing for me. Others may find it funny. I know Emily did.

I can never go to the doctor without something horribly embarassing happening. When I went for my Special Girly Exam last year, I'm sure you can imagine my surprise and discomfort when the person who walked in wasn't my normal doctor. In fact, it was worse: it was my friend's MOTHER. I went ahead with the exam because my job at the time made it very difficult to take time off and no one else could see me. Besides, it wasn't like I knew her very well... just as well as you CAN know someone you've met a couple of times, is the mother of one of your better friends, and who happens to be looking into your cervix. That friend has luckily since moved to Scotland, so I haven't been over to their house since the exam. Because "patient confidentiality" means nothing to their family.

But I've since changed my insurance coverage and am going back to my old family doctor... which I'm happy about, because he acts like a human instead of an M.D. And then I remembered. It is almost that time of year again, so soon this man, too, will have seen my crotch. And he'd be the only man in the world to have seen both my cervix and my mother's. And I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I find that mildly disturbing. As long as he doesn't start talking about family resemblances or something, I think I'll be okay. Just a little weirded out.

Monday, January 30, 2006

This, too, will pass

This weekend was nice and relaxing. Which I think everyone needed. My office's holiday party was on Friday (haha, yeah, we apparently run on Cuban time for EVERYTHING here). Dan couldn't go, so I went after work (didn't leave work until 8... party started at 7). I circled for parking for THIRTY MINUTES without finding a spot. I even stopped at a valet place, and they told me they didn't have anything. So unless I wanted to park in Egypt and walk through Beirut, Venezuela, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the restaurant (its near Switzerland), there was no way in hell I was going to find a parking spot.

So home I went, and from there Dan and I watched a bit of mindless TV before going to Fritz and Franz in the Gables to eat dinner and have drinks with Lisa, John, Andy, and Kim. Good food there, too. Dan made me try this shot called a Killabisch (spelling off, I'm sure, but that is because German is stupid). It tasted like rubbing alcohol, but left a strangely refreshing taste in my mouth the rest of the night. And probably burned a hole into my stomach, too.

And on Saturday, Dan and I had a very small gathering at our place to welcome home John. It was pretty nice overall. I always enjoy an opportunity to show off our home. Even if it ended up smelling like cigar smoke at the end of the night from the men being Manly Men (but not in Tights) and retiring to the balcony to smoke cigars in a strangely 18th century manner. Of course, that left us womenfolk in the apartment with all the alcohol, Eddie Izzard, and cookies. Hmmm. Somehow I think we got the better end of the deal. Just saying.
I thought about heading up to the Boynton Beach festival to see various people perform, but, well, that was really far and it was a lot easier to sleep in late FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE and enjoy a lazy afternoon with Dan. I feel like I got the best of all worlds this weekend... went out on Friday, had people over Saturday, and had Cathy-Dan time on Sunday. It was wonderful. After all the weekends we've been spending lately on home projects, being lazy and indulgent for a weekend was exactly what we needed. Especially with both of us being so worried about my dad.

We still don't know when the surgery will be (it looks like it will be scheduled when Dad goes to the surgeon on Thursday). I'll admit it... I'm scared of what may happen. I just want someone to tell me that it will all be okay, and mean it. And know it, somehow. I know that my main problem is that I read too much, and Dr. Google is entirely too informative about all the weird things that can happen in surgery and recovery for me to rest easy at night with my overactive imagination. I want to be strong for my parents, because I know they're going to need me. I want to be prepared for anything that can happen, whether it be good or bad. I don't deal well with spontaneity and unplannedness, especially in matters such as these. No, dammit, I want everything to go perfectly, as accoding to schedule. I'm sure you can imagine how little this happens with anything in life. And oh boy, does it ever scare the crap out of me.

Right now the waiting bothers me more than anything else. This in-between state is terrible. I just want to KNOW what will happen and when, not this limbo stage. In some ways, I'd rather know the worst than imagine it. Knowing that my dad will be having open-heart surgery is heart-rending in some ways. I just feel lucky to have such a wonderful family and incredible friends who have already shown their support or asked if they could help. Even my coworkers are being great about this, telling me to not worry about work and just focus on helping my dad recover when the time comes. And I can't even find words to describe how awesome Dan is being about all of this, brainstorming how he can get time off of work to go with me to Lake City when the surgery takes place, etc. I don't know what I've ever done to deserve Dan in my life, but thank goodness he's by my side.

I just have to keep in mind that this, too, will pass.

Monday, January 23, 2006

For the sake of a good cause

Hey everyone...

Its time to plug a charity here. You should go
here and read what Mir said about the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Walk. She'll be walking 60 miles in three days to raise money for breast cancer research. Even if it is just a few dollars, donate and spread the word. And you have until August to donate, so no pressure.

You can also read more about the walk
here, and donate via Mir's secure donation page.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Because some things are too stupid to not share...

Last week at work, some woman wanted to send out a press release. I was contacted about the Brazilian portion of it, and its translation to Portuguese. I told the English editor that it was so late in the day that we wouldn't have the Portuguese translation back until the next day.

"Oh, that's alright," he said. "She thinks Brazil is in Europe anyway."

"Excuse me??" I said incredulously.

"Yes, she said she wanted to send the release to Europe. She asked if Turkey was in Europe, and I said no, that's in our Middle East package. Then she asked if Brazil was included in the European package, and I didn't quite know how to tell her no, other than 'Uhh... no. Brazil is on the other side of the world.'"

"WOW. That's special!"

"Yes... it gets better, actually. She is a certified member of MENSA!"

I am astounded. I can understand people maybe thinking that Turkey is part of Europe, because there has been debates over that in the past. But BRAZIL? Hard to mistake South America with Europe...