Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bloggiest Blogger in the Entire Blogosphere!

...I just wanted to say that, as it seems I have really turned a corner when it comes to updating my friends and family. Its a veritable cluster of the carnal knowledge variety!

Anyway, I just HAD to share my Tuesday night with you all. As a part of my birthday, Tony bought us tickets to the Police concert (that's right...the Police). Last night was the show and IT. WAS. AWESOME. Next to U2, probably the best show I have ever seen (and for those of you who know me at all, that's saying A LOT). Every great song, I don't think there was a single one that I didn't get to hear (that's because Sting loves me and didn't want to disappoint his biggest fan).

The best part of this entire event however, was our location. Our original seats were somewhere in the far west valley (seriously, sooooooooo far away). My super rad husband, however, worked his job mojo and managed to score us seats at the last minute maybe, oh I don't know, 20 FRIGGING FEET AWAY FROM THE STAGE!! Sting could have spat on me if he wanted to. I think he did, and I might not ever wash that spot on my hair again. :-)

The 700000000000 pictures and videos that I took on my camera phone ('cause I'm that fancy) are pending. Just have to send them to my computer. Well, that's about all I have to share. Anyone jealous yet?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dacodah and Drew...

No, I'm not starting an online dating service. I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on our Memorial Weekend events. First of all, my friend Andrea's son made it through his surgery on Friday. He's doing pretty well. There have been some ups and downs, but from what I can tell, nothing cataclysmically major. He's still in the hospital at Stanford, and is still intubated, so Andrea's fam has a while yet before the big homecoming. For those of you with a relationship with the man upstairs, keep Andrea and her family in your thoughts and prayers, please. For updates, you can take a look at her blog. Andrea has been really good about keeping everyone updated.

In other news, Tony's and my niece delivered a BEAUTIFUL baby girl on Saturday evening (which, coincidentally also happens to be Tony's mom's birthday AND the new mommy, Jessica's, birthday...that's one hell of a birthday gift!). Tony, his parents, and I literally had just pulled up in front of the hospital when Tony's brother, Darryl (the new grandpa), called to say that Jessica had delivered. That's my kind of wait time! Jessica and Dakotah are both doing well, and went home today. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that I am a great aunt before becoming a mom, but I guess stranger things have happened. :)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something that isn't About Me...

So a very dear friend of mine has a four year old son. Big deal, right? Not so much. Aside from the fact that Drew is a pretty incredible 4 year old on a regular basis, Drew also happens to have a congenital heart defect. I could try to explain the details, although I would probably just end up confusing you and myself. If your interested in reading up a bit more on Drew you can take a look at Drew's slide show to get his back story.

The reason why I bring this up is that Drew is having his third open heart surgery this Friday. His surgeons are going to finish a repair on his heart so that it will, more or less, pump like a normal heart. His heart won't look like a normal heart, however, and he will need other surgeries as he gets older, so he certainly isn't out of the woods. Andrea and her husband, Dan, are two pretty amazing people. Drew is incredible, as well, considering what he has endured so far in his life. No one deserves to have obstacles like this thrown at them, least of all such a good friend as Andrea, and her incredible son.

All I am asking is that you check out either the American Heart Association website, , or the congenital heart defect site, and consider making a donation to one or both. There are SO MANY families who cannot afford the necessary surgeries for their children, and there is light years of research that still needs to be done to make defects like Drew's not nearly so life threatening (or even better, nonexistent). I know that many of you don't know Drew, or Andrea for that matter, but all of you can understand how serious heart disease and defects are.

Consider donating, please. Whether or not you know Andrea, or Drew isn't necessarily as important as working to find solutions and/or cures to these debilitating health conditions.

A Whole New Level of Ridiculous...

I have to share this story, simply because it is the most RIDICULOUS experience of my entire life (seriously...I can't think of another moment to top this in my entire 30 years of existence).

So...I did a little moving this weekend. I was helping out some family, and extra muscle is always appreciated when it comes to moving. You guys've all been there at some point, right?

Tony took Saturday off work, and headed out to house A at 7 in the morning (where the moving started). I took my time, and enjoyed my morning of freedom, which was my first since my semester started at CSUN. I met up with the rest of the posse at around 11:30-12 at house B (where the moving ended up) to help unload the 30 foot van. Keep that number fresh in your mind, folks. 30 foot van.

Tony and I and about 1/2 dozen others unloaded the van until maybe 3 that afternoon. The first point of note is that 2/3 of the 30 foot van (30 feet, remember?) was items from the movee's garage. Stuff sealed in boxes. Some (many) items that hadn't EVER BEEN OPENED. The group of us unloaded these boxes into a storage shed at the back of the new property and almost filled the space. With unopened, never opened, boxes.

We head back to house A to fill up again with the next load (that's right. 2 loads in a 30 foot van. For the mathematically inept, that's 60 feet of crap). I arrive, and find Stella (the names have been changed to protect the innocent), who is 9 months pregnant, standing in a sweltering 90 degree house wrapping items to pack. The poor woman looks like she is about to explode, or melt. It was hard to tell. What all of you might have missed in this so far, is that Stella is STILL PACKING for the movee. The rest of house A is not packed up yet to be put in the truck. So, we start hustling...what else can we do? We throw stuff into boxes. We ask the movee what items in each room are ready to be thrown out. Because, come on. Who DOESN'T throw out stuff while they are packing/moving? Its inevitable that we all find weird, useless crap stuffed into a drawer, or closet, or under a piece of furniture that has no useful purpose on the planet. And we throw it out, right? Francesca wants nothing thrown. Nothing. Everything is relevant. Everything is important. Everything is necessary. Down to the weird crap we were finding in the aforementioned spaces.

So we pack it. All of it. We pack it until 7:30 that night, when we realize that if we don't get back up to house B, we are going to be unloading in the dark. We hustle back up there (an hour drive), 2 men short, to unload the second vanload of stuff (60 feet). And we unload. We unload everything, in the dark (and its REALLY dark in the mountains), until 10:30 that night. We unload so much that a couple rooms are stacked floor to ceiling, wall to wall, front to back with stuff. Not just any stuff, mind you. The weird crap that has no useful purpose. By 11 we are back home, having a couple beers, eating cold rotisserre chicken, and trying to ignore the GOD AWFUL SMELL that is emminating from our bodies (to be clear, we failed at ignoring the smell). By midnight(ish), we have all crashed...

Cock crows at 6:30 Sunday morning. We are up and some of us are out the door by 7:30, others by 8:30 (I was a part of the 8:30 crew). With stars of idealism in our hearts and souls, we drive back down to house A. We believe that it will only be a matter of throwing the last of the boxes and the bedroom furniture into the van, pack up the movee and her cats, and ride off into the sunset. We were fools. Upon our arrival, we find the rest of the house STILL NOT PACKED (despite the fact that Francesca insists that she was up all night packing). So we pack. And load. And pack some more. We pack and load until 6:30. In 90 heat. Still 2 men (and pregnant Stella) short. We pack 30+ boxes of shoes. We pack 20+ sweaters still in their shipping packaging. We pack broken dishes. We pack 20+ large garbage bags of clothes.

We also argue this day. Argue and cry, actually. Argue, cry, and fume, to be clear. Argue, cry, fume, and scream, if we are really going to be honest. Argue, cry, fume, scream, and find our souls crushed. If you have never had a crushed soul, you should really look into it. Trust me. At 6:30, we are finally packed. Remember the van? The 30 foot fan? It is stuffed. Literally. The kind of stuffed where you have to throw bags of clothes over the wall of stuff, and hope it lands in such a way where it won't knock something else out, or over, or break an invaluable piece of crap. So what does that bring us to now? That's right. 90 feet. 90 freaking feet of stuff packed from a small 2 bedroom house and crammed into a 1 1/2 bedroom house. What should also be noted is that for this final trip, we have also (over)loaded 2 pick-up trucks with more stuff. Another 16(ish) feet of space packed with every item that Francesca has ever owned.

We unpack the van well into the night. We unpack so much that house B will have to be unpacked before Francesca can even begin to unpack. Seriously. There is not a single square inch of space to unload a single box. We unload load 3 until 11:45 that night. That brings our grand total to: Tony at 36(ish) hours, and myself at 31(ish) hours of moving. 106 feet of crap. 6 broken spirits. 5 new bruises (on just myself). 6 personal hygiene violations (seriously, we were FUNKY), 7 missed showers, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The moral of this story? I am not sure there is one. Run for the hills if ever you are asked to move again? Never make a bet with a Sicilian when death is on the line? Remember to lock the garage when your '61 Ferarri California is stored inside and Ferris is looking for a ride? Hmmm...that's a thinker. In any case, its been a pleasure sharing this experience with all of you. I hope your weekends were much more enjoyable than mine. Oh! And Happy Memorial Weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life in the Trenches

So its May. Its been about a thousand years since I last bothered updating anyone on, well, anything. I don't know how my other blogger friends keep up (Andrea, Genna...this means you!). I have the best of intentions of keeping everyone up to date. But you know what they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Enough with the pity spiral. These last few months have been nothing short of BUSY!!! I might have experienced a moment of temporary insanity thinking that I could pull off two classes and still work full time. Life has consisted off working, reading, writing papers, and if I have time, sometimes I eat and sleep also. Whew! The upshot of all of this is that one of my professors asked me to submit my paper (an eco-critical analysis of TS Eliot's "The Wasteland"...I know, it confused me also) to a couple conferences. His request blindsided me a bit, as the night I had to present my paper to the class, my professor dissected the other two papers completely. I was sure that I didn't have a leg to stand on (I wasn't even finished writing the thing, not to mention I had NO idea what I was talking about. Who writes on "The Wasteland"?!). Anyway, I finish presenting, and my professor proceeds to tell me that he was impressed with my work, and would I consider submitting it to a conference that he heads up? Heck yeah, I would!!! To be honest, this is only partially intended to be self-glorifying. I've worked hard this semester, and its just nice to know that some of the hard work has paid off.

Tony is still plugging way at Razorgator. He's busy as ever, and is neck deep trying to find a couple new hires to relieve some of the work load for everyone. Hiring, apparently, is easier said than done. Many of the interviewees have nothing more than "respiration" as a job skill on their resumes, which makes Tony's job difficult, needless to say. Aside from the nightmarish hiring process, he's still liking his job. I think both of us are starting to feel the strain of his crazy hours, and his lack of weekends (He still works on Saturdays. Bleh.). Its hard to recharge your battery when you only have one day off at a time, and you are working 16-17 hour days. A new hire will hopefully alleviate some of Tony's stress, and he can start to function like a human again.

In the in-between-times, we have had lots of other exciting news to keep us busy. We are going to be an aunt and uncle again, as Tony's sister is expecting in October(ish). In addition, our niece, Jessica, is due any day now, which will effectively turn me into a great-aunt before I am even a mom. How weird is that? A old friend of mine gave birth in February to a beautiful baby girl, AND one of my very dearest friends in the world is also due in September. If there were ever a baby coming out of the proverbial whazoo, this would be it!!

Our families are doing well. Tony's dad had some heart work done earlier in the year (February-March ish). Dad is doing great, and is out riding 20+ miles on his bike again. My sister, Amy is starting the credetialing program at Cal State, Northridge and is intending to start teaching special ed as soon as she can find a job (the job market for teachers right now is a little squeezy, so she might have her hands full). The last bit of news was my 30th birthday, which I celebrated in March. I still can't believe that I am old enough to be 30. Your should need a special permit for that! All in all, its been a great Spring. Hope all of you are safe and well. Take care and I will talk to you soon (ish!)!