Treat Yourself!

My birthday is on the 18th of this month (in a week! eek!). The myriad of feelings I’m experiencing about entering into my last year of my 30’s is a post unto itself. Let’s talk about that later and instead look at pretty things I’d buy myself as a presents if I were going to treat myself:

A new wallet.

A new purse.

Colorful, dangly earrings.

A fun, flirty, Spring-time dress.

NARS Flamenco lipstick.

A new pair of shoes.

Another tattoo.

38 Reasons I Love Him

Today is Mr. Darcy’s birthday and in celebration of such a momentous occasion, I thought I’d make a list of 38 reasons why I love him (in no particular order).

  1. He is thoughtful and generous.
  2. He forgives.
  3. He has a great sense of humor and makes me laugh ALL THE TIME.
  4. He’s silly and lets me be silly. He actually likes it when I start dancing in public.
  5. He has a very strong character and lots of integrity.
  6. He is creative and a talented artist.
  7. He has a really cute dimple.
  8. His eye lashes are ridiculously long.
  9. He lets me make fun of him (and gives it right back).
  10. His friends like, respect, and care about him.
  11. My friends like, respect, and care about him.
  12. My nephew adores him.
  13. My Mom would probably disown me to adopt him.
  14. We travel well together.
  15. He watches the History and Military channel. I don’t get it but I think it’s cute.
  16. He gets really worked up when he talks about politics.
  17. He can’t tell the difference between “dad jeans” and “cool jeans”.
  18. He thinks pizza and a soda is a balanced meal.
  19. He makes the bed every morning.
  20. He misses the cats when we go on vacation.
  21. He’ll eat sushi with me even though it’s not his favorite.
  22. He calls his parents.
  23. He does the dishes and empties the dishwasher.
  24. He gets up to scoop Dash’s stinky poops when we are in the middle of watching a TV show, thus saving us both from death-by-stank.
  25. He is supportive and encouraging.
  26. He tries- whether it’s attempting to keep upright on a moving raft by balancing on the edge or tasting a new food or (most importantly) delving into emotional stuff in couple’s counseling, Mr. Darcy always tries.
  27. He is a very good sleeper. I hope when we have a baby s/he takes after him.
  28. He has pretty hazel eyes.
  29. He puts up with my crazy and sometimes even makes me lighten up.
  30. He gets on the ladder to change light bulbs in the building even though he’s afraid of heights.
  31. Even though he’s a homebody, he’ll go along with plans I make to socialize.
  32. He reads actual books.
  33. He can quote from movies like nobody’s business. Luckily we both can keep up with each other when it comes to Ghostbusters and Goonies.
  34. He treats me like a lady (even after I let out a huge belch).
  35. He is a very skilled relaxer.
  36. He’ll watch shows that I want to watch even though he thinks they are lame such as The Glee Project. Then he gets upset when his contestant isn’t picked. He claims he “gets invested”.
  37. He’s a good kisser.
  38. He’s got an adorable smile.

Mr. Darcy, you have my heart. I love you!

King Darcy: The Birthday Boy

 

 

Like My Mother

I have this memory of my Mom. I distinctly remember sitting outside in the backyard of my childhood house- it was sunny and she was laying on a lounge chair and I was sitting in a chair, poolside. I was talking to her about a project I had to do for school, a college writing course on oral histories, and mulling over ideas of whom I’d like to profile. My grandma? Mrs. Miller, the spry old lady who worked at our elementary school all those years? Or maybe, her? My very own Mother? As a Women’s Studies/Literature major, I wanted to focus on a strong woman and her story.

I don’t recall exactly how we came to discuss the next bit but I remember saying to her that I was a lot like her in personality to which she disagreed. She pointed out that I was brave and smart and strong, that I plowed ahead with my goals and was unstoppable. I tried to counter that all those things she thought I was, I learned from her. But she wasn’t convinced. That conversation has always stuck with me- how a person can’t see themselves the way the people who love them see them is one of the great misfortunes of life.

I will tell you this now- my Mom is the bravest woman I know. She is brave with love and gives everything she has to the people she cares about. Years and years ago she fell in love with a man who later would break her heart in a million pieces and yet she kept on loving him. She raised my sister and I amidst the chaos and turmoil of alcoholism. She worked two jobs to make sure we could keep our house and maintain a semblance of our lifestyle when my Dad could no longer work. She never stopped encouraging us to go to college and thanks to her, I was the first one to graduate from a 4 year university from my extended family. She was at her best friend’s side daily as she battled cancer. She quit her job and became a full-time caregiver of my Grandma when the Parkinson’s became too much. She packed up her comfortable life with a view of the Pacific, friends, and a house, to move to Seattle and be with us.

When I think about my Mom, I am struck by her dedication to the people she loves, her courage in the face of great sorrow, her ability to laugh at life and enjoy the little moments, her welcoming warmth that has made her a second mother to many of our friends, her big heart that makes her give and give some more, and her tenacity of spirit.

I am my Mother’s daughter and I could not be more proud of that fact.

Happy Birthday, Mom. You are beautiful.

I love you.

To My Nephew on His 5th Birthday

I’m sitting here typing this in the building you were born in five years ago today. It was hot that day like it will be here later. The sun is bright and the fans are whirling in anticipation. In a few minutes I will wrap your presents and later your uncle and I will drive over to your Grandma’s house for the birthday party in your honor. You’ll probably already be in your swim trunks, ankle-deep in the little pool, laughing with your friends. We will have cupcakes and sing and you will open gifts and it will be a lot of fun. It’s always fun with you.

You are a great kid. You make friends easily – you have a sweet openness, a friendly smile and adventurous spirit. You’re happy and loving and funny. You’re incredibly smart and insightful and inquisitive. You make us all better people just by being you.

There is no such thing as a bad day when you are around.

You will start kindergarten this Fall. How is it possible? It was just the other day I could pick you up and carry you around easily. Now you’re tall and lean and when you run to me for a hug I have to brace my muscles for the effort it is to lift you. You love superheroes and ponies and sometimes you quote Scooby Doo. Animals are drawn to you- you even learned how to take Tweety out of the cage and hold her. She likes you. But then, who doesn’t?

1st birthday, AKA The Year of Balloon Fascination

2nd Birthday and your first bike

3rd birthday, already upgraded from a tricycle

Now you can ride a bike all by yourself, no training wheels, no one holding on. Sigh. You are growing up so fast.

Finn's 4th birthday, AKA The Year of Superheroes

Mr. Darcy and I gave you that costume on the morning we left for New Jersey to visit his family and attend Dumpling & Jersey Girl’s wedding. You apparently wore it all day, up until you and Grandma were at a store and some bigger kids were making fun of it. You took it off and handed it to Grandma saying, “Here Grandma, hold this.” When she told me that story my heart broke. I wanted to protect you from the jabs and jeers of other kids who might squash your joy, your imagination and your free spirit. Don’t let anyone take away your uniqueness, kiddo. I will always remind you to hold steadfast to your joy.

You are fearless and love the water.

I bought you that robot t-shirt years ago but they sent the wrong size. Now you actually fit in it. Time flies.

You love to do anything athletic or adventurous. (Though your Pops is holding onto your legs out of sight of this photo, shh!)

You have awesome parents who love you with everything they have and who always put you first and a Grandma who moved her whole life to make you her life. And you have an Aunt, your Tee Tee, who loves you more than she ever thought it was possible to love another person and who would get you the moon if that’s what you wanted.

Happiest of birthdays, little blue-eyed wonder!

I love you,

Your Tee Tee

 

 

Celebrating My Tomato

Today is Tomato’s birthday. I can’t be in Los Angeles to help him celebrate so I enlisted some of his dearest friends to contribute to a little celebratory video in honor of his special day. I asked them to name just one thing about him that they loved and everyone had a hard time narrowing it down to just one. That’s how loveable this guy is.

(Please note: Each picture connects the friend pictured with him to the one thing they said they love about Tomato.)

Happy birthday, my friend.

I love you!

A 4 Day Celebration Worthy of Turning 38

Ringing in my 38th birthday was a lot of fun.  Here’s photographic proof:

Friday night date with my sister at a local wine bar, she shot this:

It was the end of happy hour so I had to double up. HAD TO. (No, that is not a young Gary Busey behind me.)

Saturday after getting my groove on at Zumba (no photos because that’d just be waaaay to sweaty and red-faced), Mr. Darcy & I drove up to see the tulips:

This is not a picture of tulips but rather the best part of the adventure which was NOT the tulips.

I had very much-anticipated seeing the tulips but sadly with all the rain and cold we’ve had, very few had opened and the fields were VERY muddy (re: slippery!). Plus, there were throngs of screaming, wild children running amok. SO! Mr. Darcy and I have now made a pact that we will not visit places with the word “field” or “farm” or “patch” in them unless we have children with us. We feel very good about this agreement.

Sunday was breakfast with my family at my favorite joint:

Entertaining the nephew while we wait for PANCAKES.

As we were eating our pancakes my nephew says to me, “After this we can go to your house and have your pancakes,” to which my heart melted a little bit because that boy sure does love my pancakes. He’s declared them The Best. And tells my Mom that her pancakes are the worst but she makes really good hot dogs. (Ha!)

Double B behaves while Supple doesn't.

Kaply came because, yes, she's part of my family. Plus, she really likes hollandaise sauce.

My Mom has adopted Supple.

My sister and I are big on self-portraiture.

Then I met my friends Aimee and Meghan for massages. They’d never been to this particular place but I go all the time. Unfortunately, the masseuse I got had hands that reeked of cigarette smoke and he wheezed like he was down a lung. It was giving me flashbacks. Uncomfortable flashbacks. Luckily most of the massage is focused on the feet (it’s a foot reflexology place) so I didn’t have to smell him for long. As Meghan was being massaged, the guy’s elbow working some magic, something popped in her back to which the guy leaned over and whispered in her ear, “Your rib.” Hey, now she doesn’t have to visit the chiropractor for a while!

Jen (pictured in the middle) met us later for Vietnamese food. It was a good girlie time.

Can you believe we’re just now getting to my ACTUAL birthday?

Mr. Darcy insisted on giving me his gift as he sat on the couch in his towel pre-shower. (Hubba!) And then I was off to Nia before meeting up with my Mom and nephew for “an adventure”. They came over with lunch and lit a candle in a homemade brownie and sang to me.

The sun was actually shining for most of the day. A birthday miracle!

Finn is sprouting like a weed. And he is very athletic. He prefers sports to the arts. I'm not sure my sister knows what to do with that.

Then Supple picked me up for a pre-dinner cocktail wherein we ate olives and talked about her inability to flirt. (I tried to give her tips- first one, Confidence with a capital C.)

I wore a new dress which fits great when I stand up but when I sit it feels too tight. Ooof! I wore it anyhow because what the hell, I'm 38!

Mr. Darcy took me to Dahlia Lounge which was delicious from start to finish. They even comp’d my half-glass flight of wine that accompanied each dish because it was my birthday. They also gave generous pours (so it is no wonder I fell asleep on the couch at 10pm- that was a lot of wine).

Making a wish on the most delicious coconut cream pie EVER.

My man sure does spoil me. I'm so lucky.

It was an awesome birthday from start to finish. From thoughtful friends calling, texting or sending gifts (you shouldn’t have!) to family going above and beyond to make me feel special, I loved every second of it. I can’t really believe I am 38 though the lines on my face remind me daily. I think 38 is going to be a really good year.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Where’s the Party?

You guys. I’m going to be 38 in. . . uh, 12 days.

And for some reason, I’m just not that inspired to plan a celebration. Or a week of celebrations (because true Aries like at least a week of birthday) as per my usual. Could it be that I am outgrowing the party?

SAY IT ISN’T SO.

I feel like I am waiting for 40 to have the big bash. Of course I’ve already started planning it in my mind. Whose blog do you think you are reading?

So far all I’ve come up with is- a day trip to see the tulips with Mr. Darcy (it was on my 37 in 37 list so I’m just getting it in under the wire), brunch at my favorite place with my favorite family, and massages & dinner with some girlfriends. All of that is over the weekend but that leaves Monday, my actual birthday, open. My mom and nephew have asked to take me on an “adventure” which could involve superheroes, animals, or cheese (if my nephew is planning it). And Mr. Darcy is taking me out for a special dinner. I took the day off work because they are notorious for not doing much as way of celebrating and frankly, that just depresses me.I’d rather go to Nia, get some tea at Remedy, read a book than wait for some confetti & a cupcake at work. Actually, that sounds kinda nice. I think I just made a plan.

Every year I get asked what I want and while presents are nice, they are certainly not a necessity. Sincerely! Recently Mr. Darcy and I took that Love Language quiz from the 5 Love Languages book and I scored zero in the category of needing gifts as a way of knowing you are loved. I did score astronomically high in the words of affirmation. No one is surprised. Well, Mr. D kinda was as he had pegged me for a quality time person. I also enjoy acts of service and peanut butter & chocolate concoctions. Oh wait, that last one is from a different quiz entirely.

I do have some wish lists (THIS IS NOT A HINT, please see paragraph above) at Amazon and Etsy (love!). This is for you, my friends who read my blog, so you don’t have to email me for them. Because that’s not very stealth, you know?

I guess I better get to writing my 38 in 38 list.

I’ll Always Be Older

On Saturday, I surprised Mr. Darcy with a gathering of his friends at a local watering hole in honor of his birthday. He didn’t think his friends, the majority of whom live on the other side of the water (East Side to the locals), would ever venture into Seattle-land. But for him they did. Because he’s the kind of guy you do that for. Because he is the kind of friend who would go above and beyond to help you or be there for you. He’s generous, loyal, easy-going and good-natured with a wicked wit and a sharp mind.

Even when he’s drunk.

You see, Saturday was the first time I had ever really seen Mr. Darcy hammered. His friends kept purchasing him rum & cokes and as the night wore on, he was six or seven in. As his designated driver I watched with amusement when he got up to say good-bye to departing pals and he would sway back and forth whenever he was required to stand still or upright. On the way to the car I proclaimed, “You’re drunk!” and he replied, “I’m not THAT drunk. I haven’t thrown up and then asked for another.”

Ah, this man of mine. He’s aces.

I managed to get Mr. Shmoopie home. On the drive back to our place he was proclaiming his love for me in various ways. This boy likes to talk when he throws a few back and his shmoopie factor skyrockets. “I looooooooove you” is said with half-closed eyes in my general direction. We arrive at the building and he stumbles out of the car and proclaims, “KISS ME!” from the driveway as our new tenants are struggling with boxes at the front door. Very sexy, indeed.

I get him upstairs and into bed and he’s chattering on about this and that but he’s whisper-talking even though I am right next to him. I wish I could upload the video I took of him. It cracks me up every time I hear it. Let’s just say, I am dating a very funny guy who someday might run for Crongress which is, by his estimation, a governing body run by Walter Cronkite.

I’m glad he had a good time and was surprised. He’s not used to birthdays being celebrated all weekend long (or week-long in my case) but that’s how we do it in my family. Last night there was family dinner at my Mom’s with presents, eclair cake and Finn wrestling Mr. Darcy on the couch not 2 minutes after he arrived. He’s very popular, this boyfriend of mine, with pets and kids and mothers alike.

And with me. I’m pretty much totally in love with him (understatement). But, I’m saving the sweet talk for his card.

Honoring

Carving his place in the world. (Picture courtesy of Weiss Eubanks Photography)

Dear Tomato,

When you asked for gratitude letters* I had, quite literally, just stepped out of a therapy session wherein I realized something quite profound about you. Right timing, indeed.

What I realized is this: Besides my father, you are the most significant man in my life.

When I think about all the big moments since meeting you at 17, you are there. You’ve seen me through: My high school graduation. Prom. Countless birthdays. Losing our virginity together. Moving away from home. Finding love. Losing love. Lather, rinse, repeat. Mini-breakdowns. College graduation. My sister’s wedding. My mom moving out of my childhood home. My grandmother’s passing. Moving out of state.

I remember you reading me “Freddy the Leaf” while we waited for the call about my Dad. I hold that memory dear to me- your kindness and friendship through my grief was a testament to your heart. There were three people in the room when I got the news my Dad had died and yours were the arms I fell into.

You are always catching me.

Thank you for that and for being in my life through all the highs and lows, the belly laughs and tears. For truly seeing me even when I could not. For always being my lighthouse, my mirror, and my best friend.

Go with happiness,

Sizzle

****

*I am sharing this letter I wrote to Tomato with all of you in honor of his birthday (which is on Sunday!). Tomato does a really fantastic weekly show called The Baub Show. It focuses on what’s right in the world rather than what’s wrong. He rotates guests and co-hosts (sometimes I’m one of them!) and lately has been sharing letters of gratitude on the air. This letter was one I sent in even though he was definitely not requesting letters written to him. I couldn’t help it though. I had something to say. It’s hard for me to keep my trap shut.

Do yourself a favor and if you’re not already a listener, check it out on Mondays at 7pm PST or download previous podcasts. You won’t be sorry!

Hey Tomato- Here’s hoping this year is your best one yet. I’m so damn proud of you for so many reasons and love you to the moon and back. Happy birthday!

Hello 37

I had a super awesome birthday. It’s okay to say “super awesome” at the ripe age of 37, right? Am I dating myself? Like how when Kaply and I were in MAC on Saturday and they were playing all this great music like The Smiths and we were singing along, remembering our youth, and the girl who was ringing us up wasn’t even 30 yet so she was giving us a look like “I’m humoring you” even though she was very nice and did a kickass job on my make over.

That keeps happening more and more. Ah, aging! You bitch.

Besides a make over, Kaply & I dined on some sushi and I accidentally bought myself an iPhone. I wasn’t planning on it but I walked into the store and was OVERCOME with the need for it. I also got a super cute owl hard case for it because I like my accessories to be cute. I am in love with my phone. Don’t worry, Mr. Darcy is already well aware. If people thought I was on my phone a lot before with the piece of crap I had then, woah! better watch out. It does allow me to take fun photos. Like this one-

Awww, love.

Or this one-

Have I mentioned lately how hawt my boyfriend is? He is.

My boyfriend spoiled me with a HUGE bouquet of gorgeous flowers and a lovely necklace plus he took me out to dinner after we went to the theater yesterday AND he’s coming with me to Vancouver next weekend and putting us up in a swank hotel near Stanley Park. I AM THE LUCKIEST. My friends took me out to Moroccan food which was yummy- you eat with your hands and share food. I loved it! And there was belly dancing which was very tantalizing. Ahem. After dinner we all sat around my apartment drinking wine, sharing stories and laughing while gorging ourselves on chocolate fondue. (Thanks Dokey!) It was a perfect evening in my opinion. THEN if that wasn’t enough, my family made me brunch the next morning and bought me gifts and sang me happy birthday. PLUS it was perfectly sunny in Seattle all day. I know some of you put in a good word with Mother Nature about that- thank you.

Everything was just. . . peacefully lovely and wonderful. Not to mention the outpouring of birthday wishes and love via text, calls, Facebook (what did we do before it!?), and Twitter. I felt very special and can’t thank you enough for helping me welcome in my next year of glory.

Because trust me when I tell you, it’s going to be epic.

I'm gonna rock thirty-seven.