Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Do You Like Dem Apples?

Well look at me!

I come back from the brink of death, ok not really death, but Flu-like death and impending bed rest for the latter part of last week and all weekend, and I am showered with love and adoration.

Ok, again perhaps I jump the gun and you don't all actually love me, being a strong feeling afterall, but you like me! You really like me!

Nothing can perk you up faster while you are run amuck with phlegm and vomit (lovely visuals, don't I know it) than to awaken from your Sudafed slumber and see that you are not only featured blogger on For The Love of Blogs but also got nominated by two other fabulous bloggers for a couple of awards.

Now I know, to the non-blogger this makes absolutely no sense, but if you, like me (and heaven help you if you are anything like me...) have always wanted the masses to worship and adore you, I mean....people to read your wonderous prose, then well it's pretty much a big deal. (Like, smells of rich mahogany kind of big deal)

So the lovely Sunny over at Idyll Toast threw me a little crumb (Toast, crumb, get it??) for the "7 Facts" Award. (Just what you all need, more useless information about Yours Truly). But really, who am I to turn down an opportunity to talk about myself?

So along with my random factoids about Moi, I am to also pass the buck, I mean the honor to 15 other bloggers.

I also got some blog love from Blogs of Note honoree and blog pal, Suldog. A fellow Masshole with a view on life I love.

Apparently I am in his opinion, also a "Versatile Blogger". I guess this means that mentally I get around, but what can you do. So versatile as I appear, I am again supposed to share some facts and nominate blogs.

Guess who has two thumbs and is going to use that as an excuse to kill two birds with one stone? Yup, this guy.

So, here goes with some random things about me, myself and I.

1. I got laid off today. Yup, you read that correctly. Walked into work after yesterday's holiday and was told my position had been eliminated. (read: small company not making enough money and me getting the short end of the stick) So, back on the market. Just what I want to spend the rest of the winter doing, interviewing and applying for jobs in a stupendous job market. Good times.

2. I sneeze like Minnie Mouse. Not that I have actually heard the woman (mouse) sneeze, but if cartoon characters indeed got allergies or colds, I imagine she is who i would most closely resemble. I get made fun of for how I sneeze by anyone who has ever heard me.

3. I can touch my feet to my head backwards. I know, sounds thrilling and flexible right? It's probably easier to do than you think (and easier than i give myself the cool-sounding credit for). Lay on the ground on your stomach, arch back and see if indeed toes touch head. It's not rocket science, but hey a free drink's a free drink.

4. I eat Doritos and Lays Sour Cream & Onion chips together. Like together together. They get married in my mouth in a delicious combination that I can't recall how I even discovered. I assume one day at some sort of gathering, 2 bowls laid next to each other and I simply sampled both, but I will go to the store when the mood strikes and buy a $.99 Big Grab bag of each and mow down. Alternating them. Seriously, it tastes amazing.

5. I have had my nose pierced for going on 18 years. More than half of my life with a hole in my face, as my mother called it. I got it done behind my parents back (GASP!) when I was 14 in Maine. Now being in Maine and having boobs they indeed took me at my word I was 18 and pierced away. I got it done with a hoop, and my mother for months assumed for some reason (false hope I am guessing) that it was a fake or clip on. Once she started seeing me change the ring out, she realized it was real and then got mad. Cest La Vie. (I had it befor eit was "cool", way to go me.)

6. I love musicals and old movies. Old black and white classics and Technocolor gems. I think Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Rosemary Clooney and the like were all amazing to watch. The don't make movies like they used to that's for sure.

7. (Obviously) I am so f*cking fabulous I piss glitter.

Phew, now that that's out of the way, on to nominate some other fabulous people who are also pretty fabulous in my book. Enjoy. (I plan on meeting in the middle with the 15 and 5 nominations each award had warrented and I am going with 10. Get over it.)

1 Morgan at Living in That Blonde Moment

2 Nat at Nat the Fat Rat

3 Chrissy at I Should Have Been a Stripper

4 Princess Andy at Finding Fairytales

5 Melissa at So About What I Said

6 The Faux Trixie at The Faux Trixie

7 Robin at The Writing on the Wall

8 Janie at Philly Sports Chick

9 Lauren at Hipstercrite

10 Cath at Random Thoughts from Underneath the Table 3.0

Th-th-th-that's all folks!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cliches and Greek Mythology

Fate. Destiny. Happenstance. Kismet. Serendipity.

All words synonymous with things happening at no control of our own. Happy accidents, predetermined chains of events.

Do only rose-colored-glasses wearing holy-rollers fall prey to these definitions? Can former cynics and everyday realists slip into the hands of the elusive Moira as the ancient Greeks once believed?

There is that ever clichéd saying that "Everything happens for a reason". People use this ad nausea when things in life throw you curveballs. Good, bad or ugly, those idiom spewing people that surround you live by the phrase. They may or may not believe it, but they say it nonetheless. Possibly hoping that it's vague explanation helps ease the unexplainable.

And it covers a litany of things. Death, illness, heartache. It covers new jobs, loves and babies. It casts its air of possibility over all that you see, do and feel and makes an excuse that everything will indeed turn out ok in the end.

I am not the holiest of people. I think there is something out there that is far greater than I could ever care to understand sure, but I don't know that I think it's just one Head Honcho, macking out in Cloud City, making dreams come true and smiting the bad people. I believe in Karma and trying to do good things. I also think if you do bad things it comes back on your worse, eventually.

I suppose the word Agnostic pretty much can sum things up for me in the whole religion department. I am not one to judge those who believe what they do, but I don't know that I believe it either. Then again…

So in my on-the-fence take on spirituality, here I am being thrust into the hands of Serendipity (and not just one of my favorite John Cusack movies).

Trying to make heads or tails of the whole idea of things being fated. Of certain aspects of life being meant to be. Of happening for whatever the reasons.

As many hardships as I've been through I can probably say honestly (and in yet another over used clichéd way) that it has made me who I am. And not for nothing, but I think (most of the time) I am pretty freaking fabulous (enough so I piss glitter, obviously).

Am I perfect? Far from it, but as a whole I think I'm a pretty good person. I work hard; I generally put other's needs before my own. I don't like to lie (which is good since I pretty much suck at it), I don't cheat or steal. I have the world's guiltiest conscience. Although if someone hurt anyone I cared about, I would go to great lengths to make their lives a living hell, but I don't think that necessarily makes me a horrible person.

But then that whole fate thing.

You try to plan things, and random nuisances get in the way. Little obstacles that make you rethink the direction you were headed. Nothing crazy like a train wreck, but just small inconveniences.

That inkling in the back of your mind that maybe something somewhere is trying to tell you something. It makes no sense to you at the time. It could be the world's worst possible time for something, but yet some tiny modicum of that destinial feeling creeps in. Maybe this is supposed to happen? Maybe the unplanned is part of the plan?

There's a new movie coming out in a SciFi-esque manner that there are people controlling everything behind the scenes. That fate is ultimately up to these powers that be living in some sort of Matrix-like alter existence, pulling the strings of your life like puppeteers.

I wonder.

Friday, February 11, 2011

60 Would Have Been Fabulous

Today would have been my father's 60th birthday.


It sounds so young when you say it, even though I am sure anyone under the age of 25 thinks it sounds equivalent to 187. Makes the tender age of 55 at which he died seem like he was just a spring chicken.

He would have been able to finally sign up for all those AARP fliers that incessantly came in the mail. Usually to my house, which was weird since my parents had never lived with me once I moved out at 20. But still, at the two different addresses I held before my father passed away, I would get those red-letter envelopes, addressed to him and I would call and taunt him.

"Hey Dad, AARP is looking to sign you up again, you old bastard.", snickering.

My mother would always laugh too, although she was 4 years older than he was, she wasn't getting those letters sent to my house.

His salt and pepper hair would have likely been a few shades lighter by now. He had thick, thick blackish hair and it as well as his staple mustache was completely turning to silver. His face fuzz had beat out his hair in the race, but it was catching up quick. He often had the craziest bed head, his signature part that had been trained since the 1960's, sticking straight up on one side from sleep.

He would have likely had Dylan at his workshop every day. It was a week before his 2nd birthday when he left us, and he would constantly ask to take Dylan to the shop to "play in the sawdust". He wanted to show him all of his tools and get his hands involved in wood, as he had done and loves since he was around 11 and apprenticing for an Old Italian cabinet maker.

He would have been beaming with pride at my brother having Dylan help in the shop he took over. Sweeping up sawdust and helping move scrap pieces of wood; a little shop helper. Pieces he would take and use to make me my beautiful birdhouse this past Christmas.

He would be getting phone calls all the time from my Uncle Paul. He liked to chide him about all the snow we got in Massachusetts, and this being one of the snowiest winters in decades, I can only imagine the frequency of the calls. Two brothers, talking about woodwork and weather. My father answering the phone “Is this you?” (The majority of my family on my dad's side had moved to Florida in the mid 80's, so Massachusetts and its frigid winter's had been a thing they had escaped, and liked to joke about.)

I can still see him, leaning sideways in his favorite chair. He never sat straight. He always leaned towards one side. He did this so often, that he had a La-Z-Boy recliner he used to sit in. It was his favorite chair. When my parents moved, he of course brought his chair with him.

One day he was sitting in his chair, TV tuned in to This Old House on PBS most likely, and suddenly my mother sitting in the kitchen hears a loud THUD. She runs into the living room, and there is my father, on the floor, his chair blown out beneath him. Of course she bursts into hysterical laughter, as did the rest of us upon hearing about the death of the La-Z-Boy.

All the flea market trips we would have been squeezing in on weekends. The antique tools you would like to collect, the t-shirts embroidered with other people names that you would get for such a bargain. Your “slap-shot” (as you liked to call them) Velcro sneakers, worn out on the outsides from the awkward way you walked.

60 years old.

It would have been a great year for you, Daddy. <3

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Of Mice and Men and Hospitals

They say the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

I don't know how much mice plan for things actually. I assume that those lab rats and mice don't exactly plan to have miscellaneous antibodies and diseases injected into them, or plan on being held in cages until they are thrust into a maze to test their cheese-sniffing skills.

Then again, perhaps they are much like the talking characters in Ratatouille and live a completely fulfilled life of haggling food and avoiding traps like they are some sort of daredevil.

In any event, you know the saying.

Last year on Valentine's Day, such plans were made. Amazingly wonderful thoughtful plans.

Dinner reservations in Boston, a Broadway-esque (I say "esque" since it wasn't actually ON Broadway but in Boston, to me it's the equivalent nonetheless) show and a night with my Love.

And of course, good old Murphy and his Law things didn't go exactly as planned.

I ended up in the hospital.

What I was there for now, I honestly can't recall, but there I was, hooked up to machines and monitors in a hospital gown. Not made up pretty as I had wanted to be. Nope. So not attractive.

But my gallant Knight in Shining Armor headed to see me regardless, armed with a "Get Well" balloon and a pretty pink plant. Dinner had been obviously missed, and he was forced to give away the show tickets. His generosity had him give the tickets away to a nurse I think that was getting off shift.

So there we were, sitting in my little hospital room, white-trash TV on the tiny screen in the corner, awaiting hope of a quick discharge. All his well made plans, his hard work and effort, thwarted by whatever illness that had chosen to strike me.

Wouldn’t you know, it ended up being the best Valentine's Day of my life, despite the circumstances.

As I got discharged, we made our way home. I was to rest, take whatever medications they gave me, and blah blah blah. Wasn’t sounding like the makings of a great evening that’s for sure.

So there I was, home now and sitting on my couch. In he walks bearing all kinds of great things. A large stuffed frog holding a heart that said "Kiss Me" (I am obsessed with frogs, in case we missed that memo). 3 boxes of dark chocolate, because I don't really care for milk chocolate. A dozen beautiful red roses (which I still have, and not in some creepy Morticia Addams way, but dried nicely and hanging in my laundry room). Last but not least, a golden wrapped box, which I opened to find a Pandora necklace complete with heart charm.

It was like Christmas again and I was over the moon. I had never been made to feel like someone loved or adored me more. I was spoiled completely.

This wonderful man then told me he would drive to any restaurant I wanted to get me take-out of my choosing and then suffered through watching the DVD of the musical we were going to see. All while I probably looked like I had been hit by a bus.

A night that he had so carefully planned had been essentially ruined and yet turned into the most wonderful night ever.

So as Monday approaches, and yet another Valentine's Day nears, I can only hope that whatever plans are made (and will likely steer off their intended path since that's the story of my life) are as full of love as they were last year. Even though they may not be what were thought of in the beginning, I have no doubt it will be amazing, not matter what happens.

Thanks to the love of a man I can't imagine my life without. Screwed up plans and all.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rossi-isms: Family Dinners

It should come as no surprise that my mom is Dylan's daycare. He stays at her house with her during the week and catches the good old yellow school bus from her driveway while I am working my fingers to the bone (stop rolling your eyes) at the day job.

A couple days a week, I tend to stay at her house after picking him up so we can eat dinner.

Family dinner had been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. We all gathered together, my father at the head of the table, my mom opposite him and my siblings and I and whichever friends had weasled their way into one of my mom's home cooked meals flanked the table.

We never ate early, we were a 7:00pm kind of family. Everyone was home and we sat at the table, together. Talking, making snide sarcastic comments to one another.

My mother made some sort of meat every night, with a starch and two vegetables every single day. Sometimes she felt saucy and there was also a salad or some bread on top of everything else. This was every day. I mean sure, occasionally we ate out or had take-out, but 98% of the time we sat in the kitchen and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeapordy on TV and we ate, together.

The table was always set. Always. Matching plates with folded napkins to one side, fork on the napkin, and knife on the other side. Everyone had a glass. My father hated paper plates, so it was always plates. Real ceramic plates. (I know most of you are wondering what those are...)

Having moved out over a decade ago, I am sort of glad this is still a tradition. Whenever we are all there, we all squeeze together at the table in the kitchen, eating as a family. And still, Pat Sajack, Vanna White and Alex Trebek join us nightly.

No one takes their plates and meanders off into other rooms to eat. It's kind of old fashioned. It's nice. Whoever misses the meal, a plate is nearly always made up for them. My mom is a snarky June Cleaver.

Some of the most hilarious conversations I have ever been a part of in my life took place at these dinners.

Here's a few jems from the past couple of weeks.

Todd: "So a friends girlfriend said earlier it was a Depeche Mode kind of day. I told her she should listen with ice cream"
Mom: "Why?"
Todd: "So she could have Depeche ala Mode"
Me: *hysterical laughter*

*Right before the State of the Union Address
Katie Couric: "Now back to the nudes, news." (correcting her on-air slip)
Mom: "She's probably thinking about another story."
Todd: "She's probably still thinking of the First Lady's box"(Based on a comment about the First Lady's box said about the State of the Union earlier)
Me: *hysterical laughter*

*On the phone with my mother on my way to dinner from work
Mom: "You coming in?"
Me (on the phone): "Yes."
Mom: "Good that way you can look at his school papers and shit"
Dylan (from the other room): "HEY!"
Mom: "What?" (in response to Dylan)
Dylan: "You called my stuff shit!"
Me: *hysterical laughter*

Ahh, family.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mountains of Snow with 6 More Weeks of Winter

Everything is the same color. The sky grey, tree's once colored with bright greens that even cascaded into the warm glows of reds and yellows now barren. Their knotted limbs resembling the arthritic knobby fingers of a villain in an animated Disney film.

Mounds of white align the roadways, dusted with the grayish brown sludge of rock salt and sand that allows us New Englanders to make easier passes as we drive.

By mounds I mean mountains. The usual foot or two of plowed snow, pushed into banks as tall as the average man. My house, once visible from the busy road I reside on, now on the verge of igloodom.

Forecast after forecast, more snow. Not the occasional dusting as had been custom for much of the winters here. No. Forecasts bringing inches to feet. Seemingly without end.

School's closing upon hearing the weather, before even one drop of precipitation falls from the sky. The normal last day of school being pushed farther and farther out into the summer months to make up the time. Talk of some communities giving up a school vacation, or holding classes on Saturdays in lieu.

Icy conditions leading to accidents, frozen pipes and ice dams causing homes all over to flood, to lose heat (and this I know from my day job).

All this stemming from the first blizzard the day after Christmas. Storm after storm has hit Massachusetts. Everyday, social media posts and water cooler banter complaints of the snow. "Where will be put it?", "When will it end?"

Poor Punxsutawney Phil will likely be snowed into his hole tomorrow, unable to poke his little head out to give us hope that the remainder of winter will be shorter rather than longer. Or that even the sun would be able to be found beyond the storm clouds enough to cast even the faintest of shadows.

It's sadly looking like 6 more weeks of winter.

It's been a dark, cold winter thus far. And now February is upon us.

February; a month I have dreaded more often than not. My father's birthday falls in just over a week. A reminder of yet another year gone by without him. A reminder of how young he was when he was taken from me. He would be 60 this year.

It's hard to believe all he has missed in 5 years. Seeing Dylan grow up into a goofy and quirky little man. Seeing my brother come into his own as a carpenter and make some amazingly beautiful things, much like my father. Seeing me on the verge of happiness after so many years of hell. Even seeing my mom’s health decline when she once was his caretaker.

I wish he was here to comfort me when I don't know where else to turn. I wish he was here to give me advice, hell even to yell at me when he thought I was screwing up. No matter how angry he would be with me for whatever I had done, whatever bad decisions I was making, he was always there. He didn't have to agree, or necessarily believe it, but he could hold me and tell me it would all somehow be ok. As dark and dismal as I saw things sometimes, I could somehow believe him.

I mean sure I have my mother, whom I love with all my heart, but she never quite had the knack for making me feel things would be ok somehow. Perhaps her Debbie Downer demeanor was part of why. My dad made me fear change less. My mother on the other hand, feared change herself.

I wish right now I could talk to him. Have him fill me with courage, with the sanity I feel I am grasping at straws for some of the time. I wish he could tell my mom things would be ok, despite her blindness now. That he could tell me he was proud of all I had accomplished on my own whenever I feel like a failure. Because right now I feel as though I am being buried. Buried by mountains of snow and too many thoughts for my own good.
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