Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Break Up

I think blogger and I might be officially over. At the very least we're currently in a really big, ugly fight and we're not on speaking terms. Two hours that last blog post took me to write...TWO HOURS. And. Blogger. Deleted. It.

Stories of my trip to California (which included meeting eccentric fellows on the free bus system in Long Beach and finding free tickets to the aquarium and Shem pwning -that's right..I said pwning...-an interview AND GETTING THE JOB and going camping and creepy cabins and the best bon fire of all time and swimming a ton and the best baby shower ever and epic last-minute swim parties complete with s'mores) are all LOST. LOOOOSSST!

....but I'm not bitter.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Quoi?! (That's french for...What?!)

I know. French. Fancy. Try not to be jealous.

Anywhoo, I just thought I'd take this moment to let everyone in the blogger world know that my life is so ridiculously blessed that sometimes it makes me a little nauseated. Let me lay this down for you:

For the past few weeks, I have been a basket case. (Frequently I am a basket case, but for the past few weeks I have been showing extra extreme symptoms of basket case..ness.) The top two reasons were thusly:

1. We are moving to Bakersfield in less than two weeks. This has turned me into a hot mess of stress for the following reasons:
a) We are quitting a job and moving to a place where we have no job.
b) We are leaving my full medicare coverage just in time for me to start my bi-weekly pregnancy check-ups. This means that I now have to (QUICKLY) re-apply for Medi-Cal which is both tedious and complicated since we don't live there yet and the baby is supposed to come a mere 8 weeks after we arrive.
c) We are moving in with my parents only to have to turn around and find and move into an apartment and get semi-settled before the baby makes his grand entrance into the world.
d) We can't afford a moving truck. We have many possessions. This presents a problem.

2. For some reason that I could not figure out for the life of me, we somehow didn't have rent money this month.

For every main stress listed, there are sub-categorical stresses and for every sub-categorical stress, there are several branch-off stresses. But this blog entry is not about all the various stresses, it's about the miracles that have occurred and about the blessings that we've received despite completely not deserving them AND not being the most faithful ever about these various stresses.

Though not all of the sub-categories of stresses for stress number 1 have been solved, the biggest one seems to be almost solved because Shem just received a call about an interview for a position that we know he can get. It's not the most ideal situation for us, but it is something and at the very least, it will enable us to survive while he continues to look for his 'dream' job. Not only did he get an interview, but it just so happens that the interview is scheduled for Friday...which just so happens to be one of the days that we will be in Bakersfield. Quoi?! Miracle. MIRACLE.

The second miracle has to do with a long-forgotten check from my days at The Parlor. Short story...ready? So. The Parlor had a closing night party on April 30th which my husband and I attended in order to say our final goodbyes to the beloved pizza joint which was owned by my lovely cousin, Marie and which I had worked at until my morning sickness became unmanageable and my days were spent with my head in the toilet instead of flipping pizza dough and listening to music with Marie. Sad day. at this closing night party, Marie handed me an envelope and said, "Look what I found!" It was a long-lost check of mine that I'd somehow not picked up. I heard a little voice in my head say, "This is going to be a miraculous check somehow," But I kind of dismissed the thought by thinking, "YEAH it is. We always need money." Foolish me...I had NO idea what kind of a miraculous check this was going to be.

For various reasons, I kept forgetting to cash that check. By the time I finally remembered, I actually was needing to wait to cash it for an entirely different reason and so the check stayed un-cashed in my purse for weeks. Then, this month, I got the green light to cash it and that's when the miracle really hit me: If I had been able to cash that check right away, it would have been spent by this point in time. Because we had to hold onto it, we have miraculously scraped the last few dollars we needed to be able to send out our final rent check. QUOI?!

How is the Lord this good to us?? It's absolutely miraculous. And the thing is...I've been such a whiner about things recently. My prayers have actually been kind of ornery... "Heavenly Father, we're paying our tithing...why can we not afford rent this month??" As though He somehow owes me anything...sheesh...ungrateful child. But the thing is, after I'd pray I would always get this sense of comfort. I knew that because we were faithfully paying our tithing even though we really can't afford it, we would be blessed to be able to keep up with our other financial obligations, even though we really can't afford those. And sure enough, the Lord had been providing for us months before we even knew we'd be in trouble.

Things like this make me realize that I really don't need to worry. "All things are continually before me". He sees the future and the past and the present more clearly than I can and He knows what we need currently, what we'll need later and He often provides for us before we even know we need providing for. What a loving Father in Heaven! I can't believe how blessed we truly are.

So, even though a LOT of those categories are still flashing stressful, red danger lights in my head, I am so comforted and so at peace and I know that the Lord will provide for us.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Newlywed Moment wherein I Learn Valuable Lessons About Life

"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness."

That Ralph Waldo Emerson really knew what he was talking about. I stumbled upon this quote today and subsequently had a revelation of sorts which I will now share with you:

This morning, I got mad at my husband. I think it was the first time in our 7 month marriage that I've ever been really upset with him. At the very least, I know it was the first time that I've ever wanted to behave in a way that would hurt him so that I could 'get back at him'. The thing was, though, that it didn't start out as anger; it started out as hurt. Man, he hurt my feelings. And then I got embarrassed. And then I cried. And then he didn't apologize. And then he rolled over and fell asleep. And THEN...anger.

Interestingly, for some reason I was really in tune with my emotions during this entire fiasco. I remember very clearly the transition from being hurt to being embarrassed to being angry and, more importantly, I remember consciously deciding that I was going to say angry until he woke up so that I could 'show him'.

An inner battle began to rage as I went back and forth in my mind with myself about this decision:

The rational/reasonable part of my brain which ironically sounds a lot like my father:
This is ridiculous. He is sleeping. So literally the only person who is being hurt by your anger is you.

The emotional/dramatic part of my brain which is responsible for all of my mistakes, but which also gets kudos for many of my creative endeavors:
You're right. I need to let it go. *pause* No. No! He needs to make a mends for the mistake he made and for making me cry. He made me cry!

The rational part:
But you could be happy right now.

The dramatic part:
That's ridiculous. I'm not happy. He made me be not happy. I'm going to make him be not happy until he fixes things and makes me happy again.

The rational part:
You're not even comfortable on the couch.

The dramatic part:
What care I for such trifles as comfort?! (Told you she's dramatic) I'm taking a stand! I'm making a point! I want him to feel sad when he wakes up and I'm not there! *evil laugh* *bitter sigh*

The rational part:
Suit yourself.

So I stayed angry. To my credit, I didn't say anything mean to him when he got up and came over to talk things out. I didn't try to punish him or anything, I just talked to him and told him what had happened and why my soul had been crushed by his actions. (okay, I'm not gonna lie to you people, I rule at guilt-trips. Curse my dark gifts!) But I decided to stay angry because I wanted him to come over and find out what was wrong. I think part of the reason I chose to stay mad was because I just didn't know how else to be taken care of by him in the way I needed to be taken care of. *light bulb* Maybe I should talk to him about that, actually. Because honestly, I still don't know a more effective way to begin those kinds of conversations besides pouting until he asks what's wrong. But there has to be a better way. Hm. More pondering to come. But I digress.

The point is, that was one of the many times in my life when I made a conscious decision to choose a certain mood. I became very aware that I was choosing it and that it wasn't making me happy, but I decided to choose it anyway.

So then this evening, I stumbled upon the quote I referenced at the beginning of this entry and that's when it hit me: how sad is it that I gave up those few hours of happiness this morning? There aren't very many hours to live on this earth and I consciously chose to give away a couple of those precious hours to anger. What a dumb choice. There I lay, stewing in my own bitterness, just so that I could stay angry so that he and I could figure things out later. Miserable.

So. Lessons learned:
1. When that rational part of my brain pipes up, I should listen more frequently.

2. I need to find a different way to communicate what's going on in my mind to my husband other than pouting until he asks what's wrong.

3. I'm going to decide to be forgiving and happy in lieu of being bitter and angry. I'm not going to waste anymore seconds on anger! (okay...maybe sometimes I will...but I'm gonna try really hard not to. Especially not on purpose.) Who's with me???

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Voice

I'm officially in love.

Remember when I was in high school and I thought I was in love with American Idol? Me too. Oh how young I was back then. And foolish. And naive. I hadn't lived yet, really. ..hadn't really experienced enough to be able to consider myself to be 'in love' with a reality talent show. Ultimately, I'm grateful that my lack of cable television finally forced us apart because here's the thing: I just found my true love. And it's on Hulu.

It's indescribably beautiful and far superior to any other vocal competition show ever, ever, ever for the following reasons:

The talent is broader:
One of the defining moments of this show for me so far was the folk duet "Elenowen" who literally blew my mind when they sang one of my all-time favorite songs from "Once". I'm not gonna lie to you people, I cried. But, I digress. The point is that this competition draws some of the most diverse talent of any other show of it's kind. You know how American Idol singers all end up sounding the same by the end of the hour? That is highly unlikely to happen in this show which attracts in equal parts rockers, country singers, folk singers and pop singers. I wasn't bored once during the auditions and not a single performer was forgettable.

The judges/coaches are legitimately famous people:

Do you know how to pronounce the name Kara Dioguardi? Me neither. But once upon a time, she was a judge on American Idol. Had you ever heard of Simon Cowell before American Idol? Oh. Me neither. How about Randy Jackson? Kay. So one thing I enjoy immensely about this show is the caliber of celebrities they have involved with this show. The show also earns gold stars by having opened with an incredible performance by all four of the artists which show-cased just how deserving they are of being as ridiculously famous as they are. Say what you will about Christina Agulera, but that woman has got some serious pipes.

Competition amongst the coaches:
The selling point of this show lies in the competition between the judges to be the coach who finds 'the voice'. They each build a team of eight talented singers and their teams go head-to-head against one another. It's such an original lay-out. And it's highly entertaining to watch the judges fight over which singer they want to join their team.

Blind auditions:
This is an obvious selling point for the show and it's what initially at
tracted me to it. This concept works on an even bigger level than I'd anticipated. One of my favorite acts was a 22 year old guy who had one of THE most beautiful voices I have ever heard. Ever. I was blown away. When they introduced him to the at home audience at first, though, I knew that if he'd been auditioning for Star Search or American Idol, he wouldn't have made it far because of his appearance. It was so empowering to watch that over-weight man blow each and every judge away and then fight to have him on their team. This show is highly successful at making it be entirely about the voice. Which I love.

To Advance, you only need one vote of confidence from the judges:
You're automatically on someone's team as soon as one of the judges chooses you.

Blake Shelton:
He's already one of my all-time favorite country singers, so I was super excited when I found out he was one of the four judges. He opens a venue for country singers on this show which I find exciting, being as I'm a huge fan of country music. And to top it all off, he's absolutely hilarious.

You get to look at Adam Levine from Maroon Five.

They have already found legitimately talented people and you don't have to sit through the excruciating audition process where they weed out the weirdos.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all about the hilarious and sometimes painful American Idol auditions, but there's just something refreshing about knowing that the person on stage is probably going to blow your mind and that they probably aren't wearing a chicken costume.

The rejections hurt, but not in the "I'm going to wet my pants and then stab a potato repeatedly to relieve the tension" kind of way.
When the none of the judges want a singer on their team, it's really, really awkward, but nowhere near as awkward as some American Idol rejections I've witnessed over the years. That Simon sure knows how to let 'em down easy.

On top of all of this, on tonight's episode, they pulled a blind at-home-audience moment (which means that they're going to let you hear the singer before you see what he/she looks like) where a guy said his family was Mormon and then they showed videos of his very Mormon-looking parents. When he started singing, they continued to hide his face and my initial thought was, "Dang. That white guy's got a black guy's voice. That is awesome." And then...they unveiled him. Black as night. WITH an afro. And one of the best voices of the night. This show is just exceptionally well structured. I gasped, pleaded, cried, got chills and laughed out loud several times. It was just pure entertainment.

I am well pleased. And I highly recommend it to any and all who enjoy televised talent competitions. Well done, NBC. Well done.