Posts filed under Livin la Vida Loca

NKOTBSB Part 2- Please Don't Go Girl

Originally I was going to be the picture of restraint with these New Kids posts."Don't bore everybody Em, not everyone is obsessed like you" I told myself but as you'll soon see I have no restraint. My deepest apologies.

I think you'll forgive my fan-girling though because there is another back story to that concert that I wanted to share and I think you'll all agree that it's far more important than a childhood dream come true.

We went to the New Kids concert at the beginning of July but we bought our tickets last year. At that time Renee, my friend and one of my best NKOTB-partners-in-crime had been recently diagnosed with lymphoma. It was a scary time. It wasn't clear what her diagnosis meant. What stage was her cancer? What would it mean for her quality of life? The length of her life? It was a time when I  kept all your questions on the inside because it was really scary to talk about them out loud.  News would come back and it wasn't good; lymphoma in the marrow, chemo and more chemo.

Things didn't seem hopeful and I desperately wanted to imagine a hopeful future for Renee. I wanted something for her to look forward to, so when Lisa put out the call for concert tix, I told her "I'm in, get me two tix, one for me and one for Renee".

If you knew how infamously tight-fisted I am and how expensive concert tix are you would know how desperate I was. I called Renee with the news all fake-cheerful "I think you'll be done with chemo by then and we'll go and have SO MUCH FUN!" Ever-positive I could hear her grinning through the phone "Of course we will! I don't care if I have to go straight from chemo on July 2nd, we're going to rock it." In my head I prayed silently "Please God, let her be well by then." Out loud I said "Of course we will!"

Obviously though, all the magical thinking and concert tix in the world do not make cancer go away. You know what does? Months and months of enduring chemotherapy. Renee finished her last round in June and as I was editing this post I found out that she is now officially in remission.

So now you know that the concert was about so much more than childhood dreams deferred, die-hard fandom or even simple escapism. For me it was about celebrating my friends' triumph in a first-round well fought. Last fall I honestly didn't know if we would be able to go to this concert together. I bought those tickets as an act of defiance in the face of an uncertain future.

You can only imagine my joy to be there with her when Joey Mac was hitting the stage crooning "Please don't girl". Normally I love to tease Renee, I like to wait until she is totally blissed out and then roll my eyes dramatically while simultaneously poking her in the ribs ( I mean before joining in myself, of course!) But this time when I looked at Renee's enraptured face lit up with unfettered devotion for her childhood love I felt totally overcome with gratitude for every moment I've gotten to spend with that goofball. So I skipped the teasing just that one time. I closed my eyes, looped my arm through hers and hugged her tight because I am so incredibly thankful that she is still here.

Posted on July 17, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca.

Emily makes a plan

Ha ha! Got you again. Today I am talking about myself in third person, because it's fun, and catchy and reminds me of that 90s show Clarissa explains it all which I never got to watch because we didn't have cable.  :( But as usual. I digress.

So on Monday I was talkin big about my BIG dreams and my BIG plans to be stupid-fearless and I alluded to a plan. As you all know well, I love plans, checklists, spreadsheets and things of that nature so when Jenny suggested the following simple plan I was all over it.

Why don't you just use your blog and write one short story/essay a week. At the end of the year you'll have 52 and you can pick out the themes and form a short story collection.

I know! Jenny is quite possibly a brilliant, mad genius! Even better? I've essentially been writing a short story once a week or so for most of the past year so my current plan is to KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! At the end of the year I should have about 50 stories and then you guys can help me sort out a theme and we'll have a real-life little book sketch that we've done? Right? I love it.

And I love you guys too. Just thought you should know, in case I hadn't said so lately.

Okay, now it's time for you to help me write my short-story book. What makes the best short stories? Musings on my courtship with Arnold. (I assure you this story is ca-razay). Life lessons? Like "How I learned to not just be a geek." or the "Naturally a Disaster" variety like "When appliances attack". Let me know. I'll do my best to acquiesce to your excellent judgment.

Eternal Love,

Notoriously dumber and less fearful MLE

Posted on January 12, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca, Nothing to Do with Anything.

Emily Explains it All

Ha ha got you! I bet you thought I was going to talk about how wise and deliciously intelligent I am, but I'm not! Today, I'm going to tell you about the wisdom of another Emily. Specifically, Ms. Emily Henderson, who won last years Next Design Star competition.

As you know, I am a big supporter of Emilys so when one of our kind won a Design Show I was psyched. Obviously I immediately had to start following her blog and sending her lunatic tweets. I can't help it, I have to be me! Anyways, last year she did a post about a decision she made in early 2010 that led to her auditioning for the show. You can find the post here. I could give you my summary of my favorite parts but instead I'll use the magic of cut and paste to share it with you in quote format.

So what was different about 2010, eh?  Well, for starters i woke up January 1st, and was all, 'ok, life, fine, you asked for it, Emily Henderson is about to care less about what people think and take a few risks'. Cause, you want to know the real truth?  I was sick of people that are less smart and less talented being more successful because they have less fear. You heard me, and you know what I'm talking about.  Big words from a little blond, i know.  I hope that doesn't come across boastful, cause I'm not saying I'm the smartest or most talented, but I kept seeing the same thing over and over, and was a little tired of wondering why it wasn't happening to me. -Emily Henderson

Uh, does that hit any of you between the eyes? Cause it sure affected me. Maybe it's cause she's an Emily, or maybe it's because I  see so many  dum-dums getting ahead in life because they don't know they're stupid. C'mon, I know that you are all thinking of the dum-dum you know that is wildly successful despite being an idiot. They are out there in droves.

Don't worry, this is not going to be a blog post that rails against stupidity. I like to keep it positive. In fact this is actual a pro-dummy post. I've really been thinking about what she said and it's time for me to be more fearless. Sure, I'll probably make some spectacular mistakes but if you've read this blog for any length of time you'll know that it's not like I'm currently mistake free! Please! In the words of Cher Horowitz, "as if".

So I decided this is the year to stop  mulling/thinking/half-wishing that I was a professional writer, blogger, creative-person and instead take steps to make it happen.

Enter Jenny, a friend of a friend who is an actual writer. She is currently finishing a young adult novel that will be published. Obviously she is awesome. We went to dinner last Friday and I was talking to her about writing and she said "Would you like to write a book?" and I was like, uh, I don' know? To which our mutual friend Char replied "Of course you would!" with an astounding amount of confidence.

You know how sometimes people outside you see you more clearly than you see yourself? I think it was like that but I wasn't convinced yet. After all Char did once convince me to see Scream 3 in the movie theater. I still haven't recovered.

In reply to Char's assertion I began listing all the boring and practical reasons I don't have time to write a book. My full-time job, my child, what would I write about?, blah, blah, blah.

Mercifully Jenny interrupted me "Okay, pretend, I'm a publisher and I said 'I will give you $20,000 to write a book, but you have to tell me in 2 days what it's going to be about.' What do you say?"

"I would write about Elian's adoption, or a series of short funny stories" I said with about 2 milliseconds hesitation.

Uh... speaking of dummies. What kind of person thinks they don't want to write a book but can spit out an answer like that instantaneously?

I think, quite possibly a person that might be dumb enough to write one.

Jenny also helped me formulate a plan. More on that later this week.

Posted on January 10, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca, Nothing to Do with Anything.

Friend-tervention

Last October I went to Seattle with a bunch of my friends. We ate insane amounts of pizza, it was heaven. Another thing that happened on that trip is that my friends gave me a mini-intervention.

'You have to go out with Arnold once in awhile' they said. 'It's important for your marriage.' There are four of us here and we can all help babysit.'

This might not be a terribly remarkable conversation except that they followed through. Since that trip Arnold and I have been out about once a month courtesy of my friends. Even more amazing? My girlfriends are not sympathetic fellow-moms, none of them have children, yet they are my family's enthusiastic advocates.

I hear so many horror stories about women who lost their friends after they became mothers. The constant exhaustion and gap in lifestyles breaks the bonds that once seemed unbendable. I was very afraid of this happening because my friends are like my family: without them I would be lost. I was reassured and reassured, but still the fear was there, festering in my belly, making itself a comfy home with my other many neuroses.

I really shouldn't have worried because here is a list of things my friends have done in the year since I became a parent:

  1. Called me to arrange play-dates between themselves and my son.
  2. Bought toyboxes and baby-proofed their homes.
  3. Purchased a baby-pool so Elian can swim at their house.
  4. Listened and reassured the Mommy-angst. Over and over and over again.
  5. Planned events around my son's bedtime schedule.

This is a short list, with vast gaps. We all should be so lucky and yet even when I am blessed with an embarrassment of generosity my friends still have the power to bring me to tears with their kindness. Yesterday I received the following e-mail from a friend.

I read on your blog that a goal for 2011 was to have a date night once a month.  On behalf of helping you reach that goal, I would like to extend the offer to be your babysitter should you need one.  This is a standing offer until Elian no longer needs a sitter.-Lisa

I don't even have words for how that e-mail changed my day. It is so hard for me to ask for help. I feel guilty asking people to babysit. After all I'm the one who decided to become a Mom, how can I shirk my responsibilties off on my friends? And yet, time and time again my friends have been God's grace to me, blessing me in ways I would never dare to ask request. I pray that each of you are lucky enough to have the same.

Pssst-Tomorrow is List Love Book Club Day 2 - The Topic is Books that have made you Cry. I'm hosting the Link Up so get your list ready!

Posted on January 4, 2011 and filed under Livin la Vida Loca.