Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Am A Phoenix

I saw this billboard while driving down the freeway today and literally laughed out loud.
Sunday, January 4th, Dad was driving Tony Kyle and myself to Kaiser sac to see Uncle Frank. He would pass away the next day. Obviously we weren't in the best of moods. Tired, emotional, worried about our mom losing her brother, our dad having to care for our mom through this loss and so much more.
One thing my dad has passed on to me is his sense of humor. My mom says its because of the job he works he has to be able to stay light hearted and crack jokes. I've watched this technique of his growing up and I like it. Thats why I used to sing the words "I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE..." during communion every sunday morning to my mom. It made her laugh, I doubt God will be upset with me for trying to make her laugh. This is why I think this is so funny...
We must have seen a MILLION of this same bill board between vacaville and the hospital. Finally dad started reading them out loud.
"I am a Phoenix" he'd say out loud. then we'd see another one and he'd say it again. Finally, we saw one while leaving the hospital later that evening and he said, "you think they only let certain people into their school?" we didn't get it. then he followed, "Its just that it looks like they only let ugly people in. You don't think they could get someone a little happier looking to sell their school? look at her, does she make you want to be a phoenix?"
And once again, my dad, father joe, said a not so nice thing about another complete stranger that made all of us smile and laugh when we all felt like doing the complete opposite.
Today when I saw this poor lady on her bill board, I smiled and laughed and thought of my amazing dad who has ALWAYS been able to crack a joke to cheer me up no matter what.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just for Kicks

Kyle took me to his school today to record a couple of songs I've written. I didn't have any fun at all. Psh. Look at the picture!! Haha... Talented or not, I'm determined to go back! It was such a blast to watch Kyle set everything up and do his thing. This is what he lives for. He was in his element and I got to be a part of it.
I made Kyle block off a window so no one could see in while I was playing and got nervous to really sing out loud even if it was only in front of my husband. The whole time I couldn't stop thinking of my brother. In a real studio in Baltimore recording with an extremely talented engineer. (not to say my engineer isn't talented haha) And not just recording some songs he came up with, but is recording a full length with the rest of his friends and band members. I can't imagine the pressure and the excitement. Made me miss him thats for sure. As silly as it sounds, and anyone with an older sibling would know, you always try to impress your older siblings. After all, what they do is cool, where they go is cool, what they think is cool, you get the idea. I haven't grown out of that mindset yet so I'll be honest, being in a studio recording my own songs made me feel pretty cool too.
I'm excited to hear my songs after they are mixed. especially the 30 second jingle I wrote this morning about meeting the love of my life at baskin robbins. Watch out world, "the scoop" will be hitting the shelves soon. haha. oh my.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

What do you know, another sweet looking little girl thats got spunk and is, dare I say it, feistier than me. Who better to have sing at your 22 Birthday party!!!

April 4. Warfield SF.   


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Family Night

I was driving with Kyle today while we ran errands. We were turning right onto Orange Dr. and across the intersection growing along the side of the road and up the over pass were the brightest orange poppies. I immediately got a warm fuzzy and said, "mmm poppies!" Kyle just laughed at me but not to hard because he is getting used to the random thoughts and outbursts that I have daily. I tried not to take it personal when he laughed because I knew he had no idea why I loved our state flower, but really... it hurt a little. psh haha. :)

My family moved to Rockhurst Court in Fairfield when I was really young. I don't think Catie was even born yet. I remember the day we moved in, laying on the floor next to Tony in our empty but soon to be filled family room eating a McDonalds happy meal. One thing I clearly remember even that young was how much I disliked the rod iron railing dividing the kitchen and family room. It was the kind of railing you have next to stairs on your front porch, not in your kitchen. I did however LOVE the green carpet in my bedroom because it was like having grass under your bed. 
As I grew older I also began to fall in love with another part of our home. The Poppy field in our front yard. To be honest, I can't remember how large it actually was but as a kid it was HUGE! and gorgeous. Funny that our wedding colors were bright pink green and ORANGE. I guess I have always been attracted to bright colors. This field or patch for all I knew was almost magical to me. It was like something from a movie and I wast the main character. Catie and I used to lay down in them pretending to be Anne of Green Gables. I think it used to upset mom just a little that we were smashing her flowers, especially me. I've always been a chunky one. We used to take family pictures standing in the middle of them also. I can't remember one single worry or fear in those days. Not one. I always truly felt like the princess my dad always said I was. (still do unfortunately for kyle haha) but in a different way considering I don't stand in a patch of poppies with white gloves and a big easter bonnet on any longer.
We also had "family night" on the front lawn regularly. My absolute favorite memory as a child. It was always in spring/summer, my favorite seasons of the year. Mom and dad would put two lawn chairs on the grass and watch Tony Catie Kerrie and I play together. They never stayed sitting for long. Dad usually was up in no time playing football karate and wrestling with us. Never could take him down. Mom was back and forth between the front yard and kitchen because whats family night without ice cream sundaes or smoothies? She always has taken simple things like playing on grass and made them taste amazing. The ice cream, not the grass. Funny how seeing a group of flowers can bring to mind some of my favorite memories in a matter of seconds. 
I also love poppies because of my nana and poppies house. Every time we stayed at their house we would sleep in the guest bedroom. There was and still is an old oil painting of some bright orange poppies and the california brown hills in the background.  I can remember standing on the bed just staring at it as a little girl. So drawn to it, Maybe it made me think of home since I never could manage to go away over night without feeling homesick. When I go to their house to visit or whatever I always make a point to peek around the bedroom doorway and make sure its still hanging there.

I was so happy to see those flowers today! Especially after having some not so great memories flood my mind yesterday. There always has been more good than bad my whole life. After all, I'm a princess. haha psh!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3 Legged Disaster

Oh... The Relay. A 199 mile relay starting in Calistoga and ending in Santa Cruz filled with 5-8 mile legs that are all levels of intensity from flat across the golden gate or straight up hill getting into santa cruz. Family friend and coworker of my dads, mark s. thought up the idea of running it as a way to raise money for Batten Disease Research. The idea was so exciting! I should say, Is so exciting. The teams of runners have been growing each year since. There is even a team of girls walking this year. It went from Catie's Cops to another diagnosis making it Catie & Annie's Cops to more team members making it Catie & Annies Cops and Firemen and this year we have dispatchers and family friends walking. Maybe we should stick to something simple so we can actually fit the team name into the registration paperwork this year? like, THE RELAY haha.
Every year its so overwhelming to see how many people care. The group of people running and helping with driving, volunteering at different stops along the way etc. Its like getting a massive hug that squeezes so tightly that you feel as though you can't breathe. Every year! I love it.

The only reason I even thought about the relay was because Mom mentioned the dates to me yesterday. It has been on my mind for a while though thanks to my deep hate for craziness and lack of organization. The fact that the thought of driving down to santa cruz the saturday of the relay with all of my sisters, stressed mom, nonni and a car full of groceries makes my heart rate RACE might simply explain what the weekend is like without the need for details. It wouldn't be as crazy if the girls didn't have batten disease, but then we wouldn't be driving down anyway right? so this year in an attempt to simplify the weekend for everyone i suggested driving catie and annie down sunday for the end of the race. A brilliant idea if you've ever been a fly on the wall saturday night. I shouldn't care, but I do. Maybe its the control freak part of me. No I know there is more to it than that.

I'll back track since there is a reason for my anxiety and panic attacks over a trip to santa cruz.
I was 12 or 13 making Catie 10 or 11. She was completely blind and obviously slowing down but we didn't have her diagnosis yet so for all we knew she was JUST blind. psh. Being her sighted guide majority of the time(or at least in my world, it feels like it, i'm sure i'm wrong) I knew there was more to it. I didn't have a clue as to what but just cause your blind doesn't mean you can't memorize a song that you are singing. My mom paid to help her learn her songs, like a teacher ya know? and would get so frustrated because she couldn't memorize them and I didn't know how to help. Or her eyes. they used to roll and blink funny. No one else noticed it til months later when the became very obvious and she started having gran mals. anway, there was this event every spring with our homeschool group. It was called field day. A day that we all spent at a huge park in suisun and we'd all be divided into teams and play relay games and the winners would get a prize bla bla bla. I never told anyone but kyle about this day and how much it has affected me. I was so excited to go to field day, hoping i'd get put on the same team as my junior high crush and my closest friends. I did have a feeling I'd have to be caties sighted guide but hadn't mentioned it to mom. I had hoped that if I didn't say anything than I'd get out of doing it. I was always her guide at events, at least it felt like it. Church picnics and shopping trips. Sure enough, when we got there mom told me that she talked to Mrs Scwartzel and told her that catie could be on my team so I could help her. I was so angry, but felt so guilty for being angry that I didn't say anything other than "ok."
Now think of the last relay you played in. Not running relay but kid relay. It involves tossing water baloons back and forth to people, running through obstacle coarses with something in your hand, running through tires on the ground. How the HELL is a blind kid supposed to do that?! and how the hell does her sister who is her same size help her. Then throw in a bunch of controling and over competitive homeschool kids and you've got yourself a day that will scar you for life.
I did my best to get catie through the different obstacles but then finally we got to one that made me lose it. I still lose it when i think about it. You ever want to see me cry, mention the 3 legged race. They tied caties foot to mine and we had to race another team to a pole and back. I was trying so hard to explain to catie how it worked and what to do but she couldn't cognatively grasp it. "left, right" means nothing when you don't know the difference. We fell over a few times, and i couldn't even talk to her because of all the cheering, she started to just shut down from being overwhelmed. If you know batten kids you know that noise and craziness is too much for them. I remember looking at her when we were on the ground and she had the most determined face, like she wanted to keep going but didn't know how and you could see the fear and confusion in her eyes. She was squeezing my hands so hard trying to pull herself up. I can actually remember it hurting from her fingernails. I finally quit. I started crying and told one of the kids to go get my mom. I was done. it wasn't fair, she couldn't do any of it, i couldn't participate and the other kids were getting mad that they were losing. If only i could print the picture of her face that is embeded in my memory of the day. The thing that sucks is I still feel so guilty for being mean to her that day. for quitting and making her go hang out with mom instead of telling the other kids to go stick their fingers up their butts while we took our time.

Sometimes, when you try to save the world for a person that appears to need saving, you yourself are the one in need of a floatation device. Like when you're flying and they tell you in case of an emergency put your yellow mask on first. Every time they say that i think to myself, "are you crazy? what if catie was sitting here, she'd need it immediately!" EVERY TIME.

All that to say, the weekend of the relay can be rough for Catie and Annie. There is so much excitement and craziness. They don't do well when they are taken out of their normal world of eat, school, nap, eat sleep. The thought of them not doing well makes me not do well and that is why being the control freak that I am, offered to drive them down seperately on sunday so that they can enjoy the end of the relay with everyone without the 3 legged race-like day of driving.

I was asked to join the team of walkers and wanted to say yes so badly. I've always wanted to participate and always have the excuse of being too out of shape, or needing to help mom. Truth is I would feel like I'm not helping the girls by running. I'm gonna drive them down this year. Someday when they are gone though, I'm going to buy some running shoes and I'm gonna run it. For myself, not even for Batten Disease. It will be my "field day" or "homeschool relay" that I never fully participated in as a kid.

man the baggage. I'm almost positive that if I could let stuff go or at least talk to a professional that could teach me how to deal with it properly then I'd lose some weight without having to eat meat and veggies only.
I know that God gives us the life that we live, that He ordains each step even the ones that include others peoples feet tied to yours. It still hurts though and not because I don't have faith, but because God gave us emotions and He gave me ALOT of them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweet Tooth

One of my Valentine Cutie Patooties. I can't wait to open a bakery some day.
Love At First Bite Baking Co.
oooooh yeah baby

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Song for Anne Marie

Why'd you have to go so soon
Don't you know that I need you
And I miss you
Yeah I miss you
Scary thing is you're still here
But your souls been gone for the past few years
And I miss you
Yeah I miss you
You come around now and then
But when you're here I don't pretend
That you're here to stay
'Cause I know in moments you'll slip away
And I miss you
Yeah I miss you
I can see your smile in your blue eyes
And I can hear your laugh in between your sighs
I know you want to leave for good
If you had the chance I know you would
But I'd miss you
Like I miss you
Why'd you have to go so soon
I can't wait 'til I see you

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

Annie came home from school on Monday the 26th with a paper dragon that she had colored at school. She informed me that that day was the Chinese New year. We talked about our cousins that live in China and she told me all about the things they must be doing to celebrate. Then she asked me when our new years is.
quick back track: Uncle Frankie was in the hospital on new years eve this year. Anxious to catch a break from the stress of everything, Tony, Kerri and Amy all went to friends houses. Dad worked that night so an exhausted mom decided to go to bed at a normal time. Anyone in their right mind would put Catie and Annie to sleep rather than stay up all night waiting to watch the ball drop for so many reasons.
Back to the story. When Annie asked when our new years was I just told her its not for a while. She is way too smart for that. She was also VERY upset because the kids at school told her that we had already celebrated new years. The nerve. She could not believe they would say such a thing! She argued with them telling them it had not come yet and in her little world, it hadn't. Friday nights are sleep over nights. Annie either stays at our "hotel" aka apartment or I stay the night at the house. Trying to think fast I told her that New Years Eve was friday night! She was immediately excited and ready to plan. "We have to have shrimp with the red stuff, vegetables and ranch and toasting juice." She also made sure I had hats and poppers on the list. Pretty soon Catie was planning too. All throughout the week they would ask how many more days until the countdown and then finally it came. Mom continued to remind me that it isn't new years until the ball drops. How would we pull that off?? YOUTUBE.COM haha We watched a movie and ate all of the necessary new years eve junk food and then we watched the ball drop on the computer since the tv wasn't working all of a sudden. :) They were both in their beds and asleep by 8:00. Operation New Years Eve was a success!
It was a blast and I don't plan on ever forgetting it. I was reminded again of the beauty in their simple life. Its heart breaking to think of all they have to struggle with but nights like Jan 30th remind you that its not all bad. That sometimes they are better off not realizing they slept through new years cause their uncle was in the hospital but being happy to listen to someone countdown from 10 to 1 and blow some horns. Its simple happiness. I love it!