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.