Otis Day

Today our little meatball turns one.

A puppy is not for the faint of heart. Or the busy. Or the ones who have nice stuff and don’t want it ruined. Since Otis came into our life, we’ve ridden a roller coaster. From those first few nights where we took turns sleeping on the couch with him on our chest to the teething period that seemed to go on forever and our arms and legs looked like they had track marks to the destructive phase of acting out by eating books and holes in the carpet, we have loved this now-not-so-little puppy.

baby otis

He’s such a sweet pea. At the dog park he often runs up to other humans to say hello. He loves kids and just wants to lick them when they pet him. He’s gentle with the cats and Dash has come around to the point that we have caught him licking Otis’s head which is ridiculously adorable. Dot, on the other hand, has her moments but mostly steers clear of him though recently she’s deigned to lay on the couch while he is in the same room.

otis at shore

Our lives are definitely ruled by King Otis. We schedule our time differently so that he’s not alone too much. We pour money into doggie day care, a dog walker, toys, treats, training classes, and the vet. Our vacations are planned with him in mind- can he come with us or can we find a trusted dog-sitter? (And no, he’s not coming to Hawaii with us.)

g and o in car

Otis brought us out of a dark time in our lives. He let us love him when we didn’t feel capable of taking care of ourselves, much less a helpless 7 week old puppy. Bringing him into our lives made us a family as we learned to slow down, enjoy life’s little moments, and cherish small victories (he didn’t pee in the house- hooray!). Every day, I’m so grateful he’s in our lives. He’s the most happy when we’re all together and, you know what? So am I.

happy family

Happy birthday sweet boy! Thank you for being.

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8 Will Be Great

Dear Finn,

Today you turn eight. Oh how the time has flown. Weren’t you just this little bundle?

babyfinn

You’re eight going on fourteen. You’ve got smarts and attitude in spades. You swim like a fish, spending so much time in the pool you get prune hands. You’re great with animals. Otis, in particular, really loves you.

g and baby o

g and o in carWhether we’re doing yard work or watching movies, whatever we do together we have fun. Making you laugh is one of my greatest accomplishments.

yardworkI hope your next year is full of adventure and laughter and wonder and friends and love. Everything good in life for you, sweet boy.

I love you.

Your Tee Tee

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Boy

Today you turn seven.

G 7th bday

Seven is full of sass and remote controlled toys and swim lessons. It’s cartoons and video games and being outside in Grandma’s pool until you turn into a raisin. It’s giggles and a kid’s version of truth or dare and waking up too early.

You have a great sense of humor and love to laugh. I see the hint of a teenage you when you pout or throw attitude our way and I think “oh boy, we’re in for it.” You will always be loved though even when you’re being a punk. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation you throw out, “AWKWARD” which often makes no sense but is always hilarious. You say it like, “awwwwwwk-ward.” I can still get you to do silly things with me like put baskets on our heads at Target and take a picture of it. I know it won’t always be like this so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

us hats

I hope you know I will always be there for you. You changed my life by being born. I wouldn’t be in Seattle or have met Mr. Darcy or have any of the countless wonders that make up my life without your existence. You’re a bright light, my little love, and I hope you always let it shine.

I love you so much,

Your Tee Tee

Celebration Hangover

Is it possible to have a celebration hangover? Luckily, I’m officially done celebrating turning 40. I spent over a week connecting with dear friends in California and Seattle. I love birthdays because it’s an opportunity to show up and celebrate people. Sure, we should do this every day but let’s get real, some days you’re more concerned about getting through the work day and not eating cereal for dinner. That chance to say, hey! I’m glad you were born and are in my life! is one I don’t like to miss. I am so grateful to all the folks who came out of the woodwork to help me ring in 40.

Mr. Darcy, a man who shies away from planning most anything and who is not a party person, stretched outside his comfort zone to throw me a birthday bash. I could not be more touched or more proud. So many of my close pals showed up to partake in cupcakes and beer and a pinata (yes, I love pinatas!). Here’s some photos from the party:

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Love hug! Me, my sis, Jeni Angel, and Finn

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Favorite people! My bro-in-law, sis, husband, and BFF Meghan.

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I’m pretty sure my nephew was more excited than anyone for cupcakes & singing.

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Lovebirds C & S.

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BFF Jenny Two Times drove all the way from Portland for the party. ❤

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Hand sewn garland and happy birthday sign thanks to my talented sister.

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Me & my pinata before I whacked it open.

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Meghan handled the meat (tray). There are many jokes in that statement but I’ll refrain. I love her.

Heather & Aimee (former college roomies!) stopped by to celebrate with me.

Heather & Aimee (former college roomies!) stopped by to celebrate with me.

2 friends both named Jen gave me the same awesome card. How cool is that?

2 friends both named Jen gave me the same awesome card. How cool is that?

Friends from work came by to partake in the fun.

Friends from work came by to partake in the fun.

Our wonderful moms. Mr. Darcy's parents flew in from New Jersey earlier in the week. How nice is that?

Our wonderful moms. Mr. Darcy’s parents flew in from New Jersey earlier in the week. How nice is that?

My nephew makes any party fun.

My nephew makes any party fun.

Surprise of the weekend? Tomato flew up from LA to be there! 23 years of friendship.

Surprise of the weekend? Tomato flew up from LA to be there! 23 years of friendship.

I always say this but I always feel it: I am so lucky to be so loved.

I already am convinced 40 is going to be fantastic.

Hello 40

Today I turn 40.

How did that happen? I can blink and picture myself on my 30th birthday tipsy and laughing at party with my 50 closest pals, thinking forty sounded so far away. It’s amazing where life can take you and how quickly time passes the older you get.

My thirties taught me a lot about risk and faith and trusting myself and being brave. They taught me I am stronger than I thought and that being strong doesn’t mean being hardened to life, to being vulnerable, or feeling all the feelings. In fact, doing all of those things makes you strong. During the past decade I have made peace with parts of myself and parts of my life that I always wrestled with- my relationship with my father being the biggest one. I packed up my entire life in Santa Cruz, CA to move to Seattle where I knew 3 people and didn’t have a job and in that leap of faith, I got to experience living in a big city, being a single woman in a hip part of town, going on some good and some (very) bad dates that eventually led me to Mr. Darcy, and finding a life I wouldn’t trade with anyone.

In my 30’s I not only found my person, I found myself. I found a woman I am proud to be. Ten years ago I was in therapy writing out lists of qualities I liked about myself (the list was short and difficult to write) and a list of qualities I’d like to possess- the woman I’d like to be. It’s safe to say that I’ve spent the last ten years becoming that woman I dreamed of but didn’t think was possible. I’m imperfect but my flaws give color to my character and I’m okay with that. I make mistakes but I no longer shy away from trying out of fear of failing because I know that the attempt is sometimes as meaningful as the success. I no longer feel like I have to constantly be doing something, to be busy, to have plans. I don’t strive to multitask every aspect of my life. I relish in a day with nothing on my calendar. Who? Me? YES ME. I don’t give everything I have to everyone I know because I have finally learned that I don’t have to prove my worth, that I don’t have to be everyone’s friend, that (and this is a big one) people don’t need rescuing. I’ve retired my cape.

I’ve gotten more and more okay with people not liking me. I’m still flummoxed when it happens but, fuck it, that’s life and it doesn’t mean I am a bad person just because someone doesn’t find me delightful. I’ve learned that you can be hurt or hurt someone and repair the relationship if you’re both honest. That fighting doesn’t mean the end. That the people meant to stick around will stick it out with you even when it gets messy. I’m grateful to all the people who have lead me here, even the ones who broke my heart or made me cry, because all of it shaped me. I can now write a list about all the things I like about myself. I wish I could call up my therapist from when I was 30 and having a mini nervous breakdown, falling apart in her office on a weekly basis, and read her my new list. I’d like to say thank you to her for helping me when I felt like no one could.

And thank you to YOU. Ten years ago I didn’t know what a blog was but now I can’t imagine my life without this space and without all of you. I appreciate you reading, commenting, and supporting me through the years. You’ve cried and laughed with me. Today, let’s celebrate! I’m forty, damn it! In honor of my birthday and my journey to self-acceptance, I want to hear from you- what’s something you really like about yourself? And if you feel like it, what’s something you like about me? Let’s blow up my comment section with a lovefest, okay?

Here, I’ll start: I  like my honesty and my sense of humor. I really like that you show up for me.

Your turn. . .

Sunshine Celebrating

I spent the weekend in California, soaking up the sun and the company of old friends. There’s nothing like spending time with people who have known you for years, who you fall easily into conversation with as if no time has passed, who you can fight and make up with like siblings, who you can be completely yourself around. What better way to kick off my birthday week celebration than that?

It was great to see RaeRae and RunRun who graciously hosted me in their lovely Oakland apartment, to finally get to dine at my friend’s very popular and deliciously successful restaurant, State Bird Provisions, to meet up with Supple in Napa, and to enjoy a sunny brunch with James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Bird.

I could have tacked on a bunch of meet ups with other friends but I made the hard choice to keep this trip simple instead of shoving people into slots of time, running from cafe to bar to restaurant in an attempt to make everyone feel included. I always end up exhausted and I hate rushed visits with people I care about. I will be back in August for a family wedding and reunion so hopefully I can fit in get togethers with folks I didn’t get to see this time around.

Two days until I turn 40. . . I think I’m feeling okay about it.

Almost 40: A Retrospective

It’s funny to think that as a teenager the thought of turning 40 sounded so old and yet here I am, weeks away from it, and I only feel slightly old. I’m reminded of my age at work sometimes as I eat lunch with friends who are in their 20’s who don’t get my pop culture references and me, theirs. As I hear about their late night adventures or group trips with pals, I nostalgically recall the time in my life when that was my reality. They share their dating stories and I’ll chime in with one of my old tales, “I once went on a date with a guy who unhinged his jaw as we ate sushi.” There’s entertainment in having lived a life. I’ve got the stories to prove it.

I can look in the mirror now and see what time has done to age my face. I can feel the creakiness in my knees and my hips as I take the stairs. After a few cocktails, I wake up with a slight headache and severely dehydrated after a night of fitful sleep. I prefer to go to bed at 10 because I will inevitably wake up before 7am whether I want to or not and I somehow need 8+ hours of sleep now to function. I don’t want to go to a concert if the main act starts at 10pm or if I am forced to stand in a crowded room of drunk people vying for a good position to see the performer. I don’t want to wait an hour for a table at a popular restaurant. I don’t care about having a lot of friends but rather, a small crew of A List friends suits me just fine. I live in suburbia and prefer it. I have a husband, a house, a career, a 403b, and a savings account.  I’m kind of a grown up even though I often feel like it’s still the 90’s and I’m still in my 20’s.

My teens were tumultuous: Alcoholic dad in a dysfunctional home. All girls Catholic high school education. Driving around in cars with friends with nothing to do but hang out, sing along to the radio, and dream. Delaying a four-year college for a two-year to stay closer to home. And then on the cusp of turning 20, my dad passing away.

My 20’s were marked by grief. I was angry and wrote a lot of mediocre poetry. I spent my free time in thrift and record stores, palling around with Jenny Two Times and Tomato and other friends, hanging out around the pool at my mom’s house, drinking wine coolers and sneaking smokes of clove cigarettes. I’d wear thrifted housecoats with Converse or mailman pants with bowling shoes. We were called “alternative” just like the music we listened to.  I lost a bunch of weight and spent a few years that way then gained it all back. I moved to Santa Cruz and eventually graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Women’s Studies & a minor in Literature. I went there with the intention of studying creative writing but the most I’ve ever done with that dream is become a blogger. I dated a series of guys who taught me a lot about love and heartbreak- they are a post or two unto themselves. I made friends and lost friends and smoked a bunch of weed. I became a women’s self-defense instructor which was probably one of the most pivotal experiences in my life. I worked a bunch of jobs: Michael’s Arts & Crafts, a pottery painting place, housing and admissions offices at UCSC, read books aloud for a blind girl, office administrator for a group home, volunteer coordinator for a youth empowerment organization, community educator for a sexual assault/domestic violence non-profit, and a development director for an AIDS organization. I had roommates, good and bad, and for the first time in my life, lived all alone.

In my 30’s I felt dissatisfied. Wasn’t I supposed to know what the fuck I was doing with my life already? I moved to Seattle and in doing so, everything changed. I learned to be an urbanite and a Pacific Northwesterner. I got lost a lot but now I know my way around pretty well. I came here with no job, just enough savings to get me through 5 weeks. I went on many interviews and turned down a bunch of jobs until I was offered the one I still have, almost 7 years later. I dated some guys, some good, some bad, and even had a few boyfriends. I lived in apartment for the first time in my life. I became an apartment manager which taught me a lot and helped me pay off my debt and save money for the first time ever. I met Mr. Darcy and our first seven hour date turned into moving into together, to getting married, to where we are today. I got through cervical cancer. I paid off my student loan debt and my car. I did a lot of grown up things, some of which sucked. My adorable nephew whose impending birth was the impetus for my big move, is going on 7. He likes to play Mario Brothers, and soccer, and have nerf gun fights, and would live on cheese and nut crackers if he could. I am forever indebted to him for being born and giving me the gumption to change my entire life. Seattle has been good to me and my 30’s allowed me to finally settle into myself. It’s where I found home, and love, and ultimately, the life I dreamed of.

What will my 40’s bring? I’m hopeful it will just keep getting better.

A Letter to My Lover on His Birthday

“All I want is love eternally/with your heart facing me” –“To Travel & Trunks,” Hey Marseilles

Dear Darcy,

Today is your birthday. I just wanted to tell you how very happy I am that you were born and made your way into my life. I wondered if I’d ever meet you, my Mr. Wonderful AKA Mr. Darcy. And here you are, my dream come true.

I love you for so many reasons. Because you are genuine, sentimental, hilarious, handsome, and sweet. Because you work at our relationship with as much care and focus as you do those tiny little men you paint (nerd alert!). Because you make me laugh every day, and get my jokes, and tell me I’m beautiful even when I just woke up from surgery and have dried spittle around my mouth and eye crusties. Because you care about your friends, are close to your family, and love our cats even though two and a half years ago you proclaimed you weren’t really a cat person. Because you take out the trash in the rain, watch TV shows along with me that you hate just to spend time with me, and hold the cat so we can clean his poo-butt.

I love you and this little life we have created and the journey we are on, hand in hand. I can’t wait to marry you. I am grateful every day that Al Gore invented the internet so we could post on line profiles and find one another. I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else- even when I’m mad at you, even when your farts stink up the place, even when the pungency of your morning breath almost makes me pass out.

Thank you for catching me when I fall, standing strong when I’m crumbling, cracking a joke to make me smile, holding my hand, looking at me with adoration, putting up with my flaws, and being my partner. Thank you for being you.

Happy birthday, my love.

xoxo,

Sizz

39: A Sweet Celebration

Thanks to everyone for making my birthday so extra special. I felt the love pour in from all parts of the globe and even got sang to by more than five people!

My family took me out to breakfast and Finn was excited to show me his new yo-yo skills.


I love that kid. He even drew me a cupcake on a card and wrote his own name. Quit growing up so fast, buddy.

I love this kid with all I got.

I treated myself to a massage at this local place I love. Massages are $30 for an hour. Sure, you’re in a big room full of recliners while the flat screen silently flicks shows in another language. It hurts so good. Mr. Darcy calls this place “the kimchi fart place” because the one and only time I took him there he swears the guy massaging him farted and it smelled like kimchi. He claims he’s an expert in recognizing this odor because an old roommate used to eat buckets of kimchi.Needless to say, I go there alone or sometimes with girlfriends. I also got a mani/pedi because I like to spoil myself.

I capped the beautiful day off with a delicious meal with my love. The restaurant Mr. Darcy took me to was in walking distance of our apartment and had half priced bottles of wine on Wednesday so . . . we indulged. The kale salad was delicious and the chocolate, salted peanut ice cream sandwiches made my life. SO GOOD. There was a guy playing the piano at the restaurant, lots of jazz standards which are my favorite. At the end of the night as we were getting ready to leave he started playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and we danced in a tiny corner of the restaurant. And I know my grandma smiled down on us from heaven.

I was going to make a 40 Before 40 list but honestly? I don’t need a list to live my life to the fullest. I’m doing it already which blows my mind in a really good way. People keep saying that this is going to be “my year” and I get why since there is so much big stuff on the horizon. But, I feel more focused on how tremendously grateful I am that I am here, in this magical place, surrounded by love (including love for myself which was not something I could say 10 years ago). From the deep down reaches of my soul, I’m thankful.

Cheers to living out loud!

A Letter to Myself on my 39th Birthday

Dear Self,

Today you turn 39. Can you believe it?

As a child you thought that number sounded ancient. You figured by this age you’d be a mom, already owning a home and a mini van. You didn’t realize that you wouldn’t FEEL 39. You didn’t know you’d still think the 1990’s happened 10 years ago nor did you believe that time really does speed up as you age. You didn’t believe people when they told you to embrace your youth. You had no idea back then that when people would tell you today that you look ten years younger than your actual age, you’d relish in it. (Luckily, you listened to advice to moisturize and wear sunblock.)

This is your last year in your 30’s and it’s going to be a huge year- moving from the only Seattle neighborhood you’ve known, leaving the apartment management gig, launching Jubilation Wedding & Event Management, owning a house with and getting married to an amazing man.

Take a deep breath.

Take another.

What I want you to remember is that: you deserve this. Every single good thing? You are worthy of it. You’ve worked so hard to get to this place- please do not discount that as you are wont to do. You have immersed yourself in years of therapy to grow emotionally stronger, worked two jobs for 4 years to pay off your debt and save money, dated a lot of not-it’s to find IT. You still work every day on yourself and on your relationship. You are always working to better yourself.

You’re relentless like that.

So can you please explain why you still beat yourself up when it comes to you looks? I happened upon a folder full of old photos the other day. The pictures spanned from college days to current and in every one, no matter if you were bigger or smaller than you are right this minute, you were pretty. I think about how many years (a lifetime!) you’ve spent not feeling good enough because your body does not fit some societal perfectionistic ideal of beauty and it breaks my heart. All that time! For what?! So what if you wore a size 22 once? Or for that matter, a size 9? So what if you are chubby? HOW DOES THAT DIMINISH YOUR WORTH? Whomever taught you this lesson was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Remember when you turned 30 and you gave yourself the gift of quitting smoking? How that internal resolve and commitment came from a place of self-love? It was the Best. Gift. Ever. Until now. Because now, today, on your 39th birthday, you’re giving up the body hatred and the self-loathing and the not-feeling-good-enough because you are not thin. You’re not going to berate yourself into submission. You’re not going to starve yourself or eat your feelings or wallow in guilt and shame. You’re going to exercise because you like it and it’s good for your health. You’re going to eat well because it tastes good and fuels your body. You’re going to BE NICE TO YOUR BODY because it will keep you around for a long time and you have a lot of living to do, so much to look forward to.

I know there will be days that you will screw up but just remember that in this life where time is fleeting, there is so much more to give your energy and attention to. You deserve to be happy, to be free from this negativity, to put all that freed up mind space to better use.

Let it go.

You don’t have to carry it. All the hurtful things people have said to you over the years? Leave it in the past. It does not serve you. All the times you succumbed to peer pressure and let yourself feel inadequate? Forgive yourself. You did the best that you could at the time.

Happy birthday, beautiful. Go live out loud.

Love,

Me