holy crap, i’m engaged!

Whoa!

Even when you know it’s coming, it’s still a shock!

My own personal Romeo and I have been designing a ring based on a Mark Schneider design I saw about a year ago, and after three months of planning, it was finally cast and ready, but I wasn’t allowed to see it in real life until he decided to give it to me at the time and place of his choosing.

Well, he chose last week, Friday evening, on Sunset Cliffs, the place where we decided we were in our relationship for the long haul, where I realized that I would never want to be with anyone else.

It was freezing! my eyes were already watering from the cold, and he took my hands and told me that I’ve seen everything he has to offer, that he knows all he needs to know about me, and then he got down on one knee, and presented me with a box. A box containing a ring that I had helped design, that I knew exactly what it would look like, and it still floored me! I was so overwhelmed I had to cover my face with my hands for a moment, as I started crying, not from the wind, but from the tsunami of emotion that threatened to sweep me out to sea.

I had known pretty much all week that he was going to propose on Friday, I had been following an intense skin regimen to make sure my face was blemish-free and the bags under my eyes would be all but gone (for the record, it worked, I don’t know what in particular worked, but I used cucumbers, regular tea bags soaked in milk, and retinol cream, and my eyes looked crazy bright!) so that in the event there were pictures taken, I wouldn’t look like a zombie with bad skin. When we left on Friday, the poor guy forgot how to get to Sunset Cliffs (when we got on the 8 West though, I had a pretty good idea of where we were going once we passed Mission Valley, lol), and apparently so did I, because we took the longest route ever through Ocean Beach, and wound up at the Cliffs about ten minutes past sunset.

None of that mattered, however, as it was so cloudy, you could barely tell where the sky met the ocean! It was so gray and bleak, but when he got down on one knee, everything just kind of disappeared, I didn’t care that it was cold, that it was such dreary weather, and when he opened that box and I saw the ring, there was enough light sparkling off of it that I was afraid to touch it at first. Sometimes I’m still afraid to touch it, I’m constantly wiping it off to keep the center stone bright and unsmudged, and I can’t stop looking at it!

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I couldn’t be happier, yes, the ring is a beautiful piece of bling that I get distracted by when the light hits it; yes, I want to wave it around and show it to everyone, but what it stands for is the most beautiful thing of all, I feel so blessed that Dave picked me, I could not be happier right now. ūüôā

… Well, maybe if this wedding would magically plan itself and be exactly what I envision, that might make me a little happier… ūüėČ

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the true role of a mother

One of my favorite books is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (most of you probably recognize it from the movie with Sandra Bullock that came out in 2002.  While I also love the movie, and thought it was a fantastic adaptation, they missed one key aspect which I found to be as important as it is mysterious: the way Siddalee idolizes her mother, Vivianne.

Vivi and Sidda during their reconciliation in “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”

Now Vivi, while obviously loving her children, was an incredibly selfish woman, and most likely would have done best without having had them in the first place.¬† This is partially due to the loss of the love of her life, Jack Whitman (Teensy’s brother), during World War II when Vivi was an adolescent.¬† Losing a love like that in such a horrible way would make anyone turn inward and only show darkness to the world.¬† But because it was 1950’s-60’s America, she was still expected to marry and be the perfect wife and cook.¬† So though Shep Walker loved his wife dearly, and though Jack’s death was no fault of his, Vivi came to resent him, and at times, the children they had together.

Sidda, the eldest, worshipped Vivi.¬† She wanted to be just like her mother, and thought that all of the “vivi-” words in the dictionary were coined specifically for her mother’s existence (in fact, I seem to remember a part in the book when Sidda proudly spouted this childish¬†belief to a friend at school, who told her it wasn’t true, and promptly got in a fight over it, she believed it¬†that deeply).¬† The one term she couldn’t understand was “vivisection,” and it frightened her that such a thing could be named after her mother, so she asked Vivi about her relationship to vivisection, to which she replied, years later:

“Do you remember how horrified you were as a little girl when you found the word ‘vivisection’ in the dictionary?¬† Came running to me in tears, remember?¬† Well, I’m not a Goddamn frog, Sidda.¬† You can’t figure me out.¬† I can’t figure me out.¬† It’s life, Sidda.¬† You don’t figure it out.¬† You just climb up on the beast and ride.” – Page 47

Now I don’t know if I simply have a lot in common with Siddalee, or if every little girl goes through this phase, but I worshipped my mother, too.¬† I wanted to be just like Mumma.¬† She was smart and funny, and even though I don’t think she knew it, she was (and still is) absolutely beautiful.

Her skin was always dark, dark.¬† I never understood how a white person could get so dark, but in the summer, she looked so out-of-place in Maine, where the only tans people got were from working outside all day.¬† But Mumma worshipped the sun.¬† As much as Vivianne was the Moon Lady’s daughter, my mother was the daughter of the sun.¬† To this day, I really can’t understand why she ever left California.

That was another thing about Mumma, she had been everywhere.  I think that was part of the reason I grew up to join the Navy, I wanted to see the world, like my mother.  I just wanted to be her.

She had a million friends, most of which she would meet down at the Readfield Beach with kids in tow, and we would all swim in the lake and hunt crayfish, dig up clay for sculpting on the little docks, and when we were old enough, we would swim out to the big floating dock with all the “big kids” and try to act like we belonged there.¬† My brother was always with me, he would play “shark,” grab my foot underwater and scare me, and when we got into splashing fights, he would surrender by showing the white bottom of his foot (I remember one time when he stepped on half of a clam shell and got a nasty cut on that soft white arch, and I was scared by the way the blood turned the water red).¬† Only once, the whole day we were at the beach, would my mother go in the water, and that was to swim the perimeter of the swimming area, marked off with¬†orange buoys.¬† When Nick was old enough, he would swim with her, and they would race around the swimming area with long, sure strokes and powerful kicks (Mumma always said Nick and I inherited her “soccer thighs,” but her legs were beautiful).¬† I would watch from the beach or in the shallow part and just stare, wishing so badly that I was big enough to swim with them, jealous of my big brother and the fact that he had known my mother longer, knew her better.

I was terribly jealous of Nick.¬† He was older, and therefore better at everything, which was especially hard because there was no competition: I was more than 6 1/2 years younger than he.¬† We never even went to the same school, though there was at least one year when we rode the bus together; and while I tried to act tough and cool, I was terrified, all I wanted was to sit next to my brother and be safe with all those “big kids” all loud and rowdy.¬† But all Nick wanted to do was get away from me.¬† He would sit down, and I would sit next to him, so he would get up and move, and I would follow him that way until the bus had to leave, and I was stuck all by myself.

It seems like I was usually alone.¬† It still seems that way.¬† I don’t have my mother’s way with people.¬† My expectations of my friends are just as high as my own expectations, and no one seems to be able to take it for very long, though it certainly isn’t their fault.¬† I had a few friends, but I was never anyone’s best friend.¬† The two that came to my house most often came for the horse barn, I now know.¬† My mother told me this when I was older, and it crushed me.¬† No one wants to hear that their company is only appreciated for the things they have.¬† Mumma never had that problem.¬† She was always the life of the party, and she was the best hostess.¬† She wouldn’t rest until she knew everyone had everything they needed, and then she would join in enthusiastic, raucous conversations that always left people rolling with laughter.

The stories she had!¬† Her father breaking his shovel on the igloo she and her brother built for an entire winter, winning her first dog at a fair, her first job cleaning coffee urns, when she thought “scratch” was an actual ingredient and her roommate had to teach her to cook, living in Canoga Park (when I found out that’s where The Runaways got started, I flipped out, I was so excited), her pregnancy with Nick (in bikinis until 9 months), her pregnancy with me (gained almost 60 pounds and couldn’t reach the keys on the register at Mario’s).¬† I love listening to my mother’s stories, I still hear a new one from time to time, and the old ones are still just as amazing to me.¬† I wish my mother would write a book.¬† If I thought she would sit still long enough to give an interview, I would write it myself.

Everything about my mother is greater than I.¬† She’s just too big, not physically, God no, she’s a tiny little thing, I’m always frightened of hurting her when I go to hug her.¬† No, her personality is just too big.¬† It was impossible for me to grow in her shadow, so I would try my darndest to reach the light, usually to a glare, or, on occasions when I tried too hard, a swift crack in the mouth.¬† It wasn’t my fault, but neither was it hers.¬† It’s just too hard to be a baby sapling in the shade of a massive¬†Redwood, I just couldn’t keep up.¬† Nothing I did was special, either because Nick did it first, or because it just simply wasn’t special to begin with.¬† I know my mother loved me (loves me), but sometimes I look back and sigh at the amount of energy I expended trying to get her attention.¬† I think that’s why I try too hard now, and why I’m so hard on myself.¬† And why I get hurt so easily.¬† I think my baby sapling wounds are too deep, and refuse to heal.¬† I don’t know if it’s because I needed more attention than the average child, or if it was because my mother couldn’t spare the attention of the average mother, but I always wanted more.¬† I would have followed my mother anywhere, I just wanted to be in that warm glow that she always had, even on her bad days, when she had no idea.

My mother’s favorite color is orange, but her color, her actual color, is a warm yellow, just before it gets to orange.¬† My mother is the color of the sun.¬† The sun on the cool waters of the beach.¬† We live on opposite sides of the country now, but we talk weekly on the phone, sometimes for hours.¬† I miss my Mumma terribly, but I know that if I ever need to feel her hand on my cheek, I have only to drive down to the beach on a sunny day, and feel the dichotomy of the sun and the sea breeze on my face, and I know she’s there.

when people use “God bless you” to tell you to f*ck off…

Preface:¬† I want you all to know that I’m supposed to be writing a 12-page Labor Relations paper on unions right now, but I’m so

PISSED OFF!!!!!

that I can’t concentrate.

So.

This whole “God bless you” thing.¬† Saying it when someone sneezes, cool.

Saying it when someone makes a gesture of kindness, cool.

Saying it in church, obviously cool.

SAYING IT WHEN YOU’RE USING IT AS A PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE, NARCISSISTIC, INSULT IS NOT OKAY!

OKAY???

When someone disagrees with you, or is expressing opinions different to yours, or just plain annoys the crap out of you with their “godlessness,” don’t fucking tell them “I’ll pray for you,” “you need Jesus,” “God bless you,” or any other backhanded Christian “blessing” that you guys toss around.

It makes the rest of us hope to death that you’re wrong in your entire eschatological belief, and that there’s some way we can point and laugh at you in the Afterlife.

Oh!¬†and quoting frickin’ Bible verses, too!¬† Why don’t you just meander on over to Matthew 23:12:

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Yeah.¬† Remember that one?¬† Oh, you don’t?¬† Is it possibly because you use a 1,500 year old book to your own ends, and just ignore the parts you don’t like?

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing!

Personally, I think Jesus’ overall message was spot on:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

But you guys, as his followers, have missed the entire boat, and are now treading water in the river “Douchebag”…

I don’t know where this holier than thou thing came about, because the basis of the Christian religion is in all of the vagrants, the poor, and the¬†hated, and I’m pretty sure all of those people who actually walked with Rabbi Yeshua probably want to smack the hell out of today’s Christians.¬† Sure, there are genuinely compassionate, sweet, and well-meaning Christians, but the ones that insist on being total jerks are messing up your message guys.

So if you’re a Christian, and you do crap like this, remember that God knows your thoughts and intentions, and “blessing” someone just to incense them, incenses Him.

And if you’re a Christian who doesn’t do crap like this, tell your douchebag friends to knock it off, because most likely all I’m going to get here is a string of “God bless you” and “I’ll pray for you” comments…