Category Archives: Holidays

Meaning of Love

Below, is my entry for Real Simple’s Fourth Annual Light Lessons Essay Contest. I didn’t win. It was a lot of fun to write, though.

Here’s the prompt:

When did you first understand the meaning of love? Maybe you were a child, witnessing a generous act by your father or mother. Maybe the lesson came later, as you grappled with the challenges of being a friend, a spouse, or a parent yourself. Whatever made you understand love—and yourself—better, tell us about it.

This is for my mom, on Valentine’s Day – one of her favorite holidays.

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A Whole New Meaning of Love

It may be surprising to learn that I did not understand what true love was until my nephew was born in December 2010. No, I am not referring to the love I have for my nephew Buddy, although it is overwhelmingly blissful; instead I learned what true love is by watching my mom.

Every person who comes in contact with Buddy swoons over him. He is a magnetic, happy, friendly, and beautiful baby. The interaction he has with most people is typical. People (myself included) love to hold him and be around him because of the way he makes them feel.

My mom, however, interacts with him like no one else. She loves Buddy completely, wholly, without expectation. My mom loves Buddy without expecting him to love her or reciprocate in any way. She doesn’t give Buddy attention or nurture him to gain his love.  She doesn’t give him attention or nurture him because “it’s what you do with babies”. She doesn’t give him attention or love to impress anyone, or to show anyone what a fantastic grandmother she is. My mom gives Buddy her undivided attention and undying love solely because she loves him.

In the months after Buddy was born, I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with him. And, a lot of the times I have seen my nephew, my mom has been there too. My mom and I have spent hours laying on the floor, singing nursery rhymes, playing with and caring for Buddy. Over these months, I’ve felt my love for my mom flourish.

I love my mom. I always have. But, like typical mother-daughter teenage relationships, ours greatly deteriorated during my teen years. Our relationship wasn’t helped by my parent’s divorce. It’s taken eleven years to rebuild the connection and love we once had.

Before Buddy was born, I thought my relationship with my mom was great. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and loved each other. I didn’t realize I could love my mom in this new way; loving her through her love of Buddy.

I see the way my mom looks at Buddy and any annoyance I have with my mom washes away. I watch the way my mom holds Buddy and past grudges vanish. I observe my mom comforting Buddy and all negative thoughts leave my mind. I see my mom love Buddy as she loves me.

I thought I understood my mom’s love for me years ago; I love my family and friends deeply. I love all the children in my life; I act like I’m the mother of my dog. What I know now is that my mother’s love for me is so unique, so special and indescribable. It must be witnessed, experienced to truly comprehend.

Thanks to the birth of Buddy, I finally understand that I do not love anyone like my mother loves me.

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Filed under Family, Holidays

Things I like this week (vol. 8 )

So many things I like this week, I don’t know where to start.

1. Girl’s night. I haven’t had a real true “girl’s night” for as long as I can remember. Usually the “girl’s nights” I’ve had in the past revolving around bars, and trying to meet men. Or, my friends ducking out early to meet up with their man. Anyway you sliced it, it always about guys. My sister, my roommate and I had a fabulous girl’s night on Friday night. We even had our own private hotel room and room service. There was no make up or heels, instead there was pajamas, wine and champagne. Of course, men were discussed but not our focus nor the purpose of us getting together. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long, long time. It was really fun.

The girls (my sister, me, my roomie Ann Marie)

We kinda sorta went on a mission. Don't worry about it.

Giddy from a successful "mission"

At brunch Saturday "morning". What? You don't eat brunch at 1pm?

Yep. That's a December afternoon and we're eating oustide, in the warm sun. I LOVE SAN DIEGO. (Sarah is wearing a scarf b/c of a breeze).

2. Oliver. After quite a night Friday, I decided to stay in Saturday night and take care of this little guy:

My roommate's son

Oliver was the BEST date I’ve had in weeks. It was the perfect night.

3. I can’t remember where I found this post, but it’s super great about doing more by doing less.

4. Remember how I raved about Angela from Oh She Glows?  Specifically her Butternut Squash Burritos? Well, I made the burritos for two manly, MEAT EATING men this weekend and they loved them. Success! Next, I’m making her Naughty and Nice Vegan Enchilada Casserole – but I probably won’t make it vegan, just vegetarian.

5. I am going home for a week for Christmas!! Remember how I told you I was flying home 4 times from November to December? Well, it’s a long story but instead of flying home and being home for just over 3 days, I’ll be driving home and be home for just over 9 days!! I feel like singing Christmas Carols. That’s probably why Kelcey’s post about Christmas brought a tear to my eye, even the T-Mobile ad she has at the bottom of her post. Normally I would think the T-Mobile ad was super cheesy, but in my festive mood I just loved it.

Happy Holidays, guys.

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Filed under Family, Food!, Friends, Fun Things, Holidays, Things I like

Home for the Holidays (and other special events)

(image source)

From November 19 – December 26 I will have traveled from San Diego to the Bay Area four times.

FOUR TIMES.

Three of the four times will for sure be by flight. I may drive the last trip.

I know what you’re thinking: “Why!?!?” Well, I went to home (the Bay Area) last weekend to celebrate S2‘s graduation from her master’s program, I’m in the airport tonight for Thanksgiving, in a couple of weeks I’ll be going home for Buddy‘s first birthday (Can you believe it has already been a year?!?! Buddy will be one year old. Seriously, so amazingly exciting). Then, for Christmas. I may drive home for the Christmas trip, but it has yet to be decided.

I got a late flight out of San Diego today. I did this for two fold: 1) I didn’t know what time I would be off work and I didn’t want to risk missing my flight. 2) I didn’t know what the traffic would be like and I didn’t want to miss my flight.

Even though I was home um, TWO AND 1/2 DAYS AGO, I didn’t want to miss a single second at home.

And although my sleeping situation this Thanksgiving is a little, well I guess I’ll say nomadic, (Of the four nights I’m home I’ll be sleeping in four different beds in two houses. It’s complicated. Never mind) I am thrilled to be on my way home.

Again.

Last weekend was sort of a blur and I imagine this weekend will be too. I try to see so many different people, and spend lots of time with this special girl:

Oh, Tahn

She is just as sweet as I remembered.

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I hope everyone has a great, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Filed under Crazy Dog Lady, Family, Food!, Friends, Fun Things, Holidays, Tahnee, Vacation

Happy, Happy Halloween!

This post was originally posted last Halloween. What’s really interesting to me is that a year ago today I was also living in a temporary place waiting to find my own apartment. Although, this year, I don’t have Tahn with me or as many trick or treaters. Like three. Happy Halloween.

________

I love trick or treaters. In my new (temporary) home, I live in a great neighborhood full of kids. I was so excited to buy candy today and I hoped I’d have at least a few.

The first trick or treater came a little before 7pm. By 7:30pm, I was out of candy.

I loved seeing all of the little ones all dressed up. It was the first time in my adult life that I actually had at least more than one trick or treaters and passing out candy brought me back to great memories from my childhood.

My dad would take us out every year and my neighbor best friend and her dad would join too. We carried pillowcases because having a basket or a Halloween-themed tote was really un-cool. My mom would stay at home and hand out candy and I was always a little sad I didn’t get to see all of the costumes. At the end of the night, we would dump out all of the candy on the floor, and my dad would inspect it to make sure it wasn’t tampered with. For some reason, the Reese’s and Snicker’s almost always were potentially poisonous, so my dad kept those.

This year, I had my dog Tahnee and my roommate’s dog at home with me. Every time the doorbell rang, Tahn would jump up, so excited to greet her guests. Every time I wouldn’t let her come to the door she would be very upset. She desperately wanted to greet the tricker or treaters.

Finally, Tahn got her wish. My friend brought her adorable little girl dressed as Jasmine by and they came in. Tahn was thrilled!

I hope everyone had a safe, and Happy Halloween!

Baby's Tahn's first Halloween. As a Bumblebee.

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Filed under Friends, Fun Things, Holidays, My Apartment, Tahnee

Happy Cesar Chavez Day

Since I am an employee of the state of California, (aka a Civil Servant – actually not because I am a contractor and not a permanent employee because of the damn hiring freeze… okay, don’t get me started) I have today off. Not tomorrow. Just today. A Thursday. You would think they would give us Friday off so we could have a 3-day weekend. But, I guess that is not the point. The point is to celebrate Cesar Chavez. (Who I actually think was rad, but I still want Friday off).

All week, I have had ambitious plans of what I was going to do on this day off. So, on Monday I created this list. Tuesday, I confirmed it. And Wednesday, I was actually looking forward to it. Here was the list:

  • Walk Tahn to the dog park, let her play for at least half an hour
  • Vacuum and mop the floors in my apartment
  • Do all my laundry
  • Go to the noon spin class at my gym
  • Shower, then since it’s suppose to be 80 degrees today (I freaking love California) walk Tahn to a nearby park and lay on the grass reading
  • Come home and get ready for happy hour
  • Attend happy hour with my friends, enjoying the 80 degree weather

Now, it is Thursday morning approximately 9:30am. This is what I now want to do:

  • Drink another cup of coffee while watching the last episode of “Californication” on my Netflix DVD
  • Drive Tahn to the dog park, let her play for a half an hour
  • Put some clothes in the wash – but only things I really need for the upcoming week
  • Walk Tahn to a nearby park and read
  • Go to happy hour

Sigh. At least I had good intentions.

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Filed under Holidays, My Apartment, Tahnee

A Thankful Heart

I am truly thankful.

This week was Thanksgiving, known for Turkey, friends and family. For many, Thanksgiving can be very stressful. Family can be tough. Although you love each other, spending time with family can be quite challenging.

I’ve a few stressful and challenging holidays in my life (especially since my parents got divorced). And holidays tend to be a nerve-racking event for me. “How will this one go?” I wonder. “Maybe this year will be really great” I hope. But, sometimes, the holiday seems to be less than desired. I’ve tried to lower my expectations for all family holidays, and just try to have a good attitude. Every year, the planning of which parent we see when can also be very stressful for my siblings and me.

To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to Thanksgiving. I have had a lot on my plate, and I just didn’t want to have a stressful holiday. Often, when I predict the holiday will be good, it tends to be bad, so I tried not to make any predictions.

Tahn and I saddled up and drove home to celebrate the weekend. I had two Thanksgiving dinners planned- one with my dad and one with my mom. And this year, both Thanksgiving dinners were fantastic. Not only was the food unbelievable at both, but, I really enjoyed myself.

Then, last night, I was invited to a third Thanksgiving dinner hosted by some of my wonderful friends – and it was also a blast and the food was delicious.

Here I am thinking, how many people get to go to three great, fun, and delicious Thanksgiving dinners? How many people have great (and sometimes flawed) loving families as well as amazing friends?

Although my immediate family is far from perfect, they are pretty fantastic. I had a moment this weekend of being extremely grateful for each of them:

-My dad: always my best friend and dedicated, devoted supporter. He bends over backwards to make my siblings and me happy. I had so much fun cooking with him and just “being”.

-My brother and sister-in-law: wonderfully supportive, loving and inspiring. Also, they are expecting their first child to arrive very soon, which bring so much joy and happiness to our family.

-My mom: always supports and loves me unconditionally.  This Thanksgiving, I really enjoyed talking with her about my life and hearing her thoughts.

-My sister: although she lives further away and did not make the trip this year, I feel so much closer to her than I have in a long while and it is so incredibly wonderful.

Often I think, “The main reason I have such a fantastic life is because of the parents and family I was born into”. And this year, I have to say that I am even more grateful than ever.
I am truly thankful.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, too.

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Filed under Family, Food!, Friends, Holidays, Love

Happy Halloween

I love trick or treaters. In my new (temporary) home, I live in a great neighborhood full of kids. I was so excited to buy candy today and I hoped I’d have at least a few.

The first trick or treater came a little before 7pm. By 7:30pm, I was out of candy.

I loved seeing all of the little ones all dressed up. It was the first time in my adult life that I actually had at least more than one trick or treaters and passing out candy brought me back to great memories from my childhood.

My dad would take us out every year and my neighbor best friend and her dad would join too. We carried pillowcases because having a basket or a Halloween-themed tote was really un-cool. My mom would stay at home and hand out candy and I was always a little sad I didn’t get to see all of the costumes. At the end of the night, we would dump out all of the candy on the floor, and my dad would inspect it to make sure it wasn’t tampered with. For some reason, the Reese’s and Snicker’s almost always were potentially poisonous, so my dad kept those.

This year, I had my dog Tahnee and my roommate’s dog at home with me. Every time the doorbell rang, Tahn would jump up, so excited to greet her guests. Every time I wouldn’t let her come to the door she would be very upset. She desperately wanted to greet the tricker or treaters.

Finally, Tahn got her wish. My friend brought her adorable little girl dressed as Jasmine by and they came in. Tahn was thrilled!

I hope everyone had a safe, and Happy Halloween!

Baby's Tahn's first Halloween. As a Bumblebee.

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Filed under Friends, Holidays, Tahnee