Monday, September 29, 2008

And then he kissed me!

SHAMELESS! That’s what I am for such a teaser title with absolutely no basis in reality.


Okay, let me back up a bit. Friday night was quite possibly one of the best nights of my life so far. That’s saying a lot, I’ve had some great nights in my life. But on Friday night I attended a New Kids on the Block concert with three of my girl friends, and we had the most amazing time. I’ll spare you the details of a concert review, but I have done a full review for your reading pleasure at Cafe Karina, so feel free to pop on over if you want to know more. Also…there are pictures and video (that's here).

However, besides the fact that the concert was fantastic, my girls and I had a great “girls night out”.
We started partying early on, getting ready together at my house, and kept it going until the WEE hours of the morning. Spirits were high, the energy was through the roof, and we were on cloud nine.

I had gotten all dolled up for the occasion, even wearing my contacts, which I only do about once or twice a year now, and was feeling good. Wearing my “hoochie” gold boots and skinny jeans, I figured I had the “groupie” look down pat. It was the first time in a VERY long time that I actually felt pretty good about how I looked.

The underlying plan, of course, was to somehow sneak backstage and make newly divorced Donnie Wahlberg fall madly deeply in love with me. The back-up plan was to have a kick-arse time and just enjoy the fact that I didn’t feel fat and old for a change.

Thank goodness for the back-up plan, because the Donnie plan? Yeah, that didn’t exactly go as expected. Sigh…

But you want to know about the kiss, don’t you? OH, you’re so going to hate me. It’s so not that exciting.

When we arrived at the concert arena we pretty much made a beeline for the bar, we needed to get our drinks before we took our seats, because we knew once the boys were onstage we would NOT be getting up again. Standing in line for our beer I look up at the bartender and HOLY CRAP if it isn’t a guy I haven’t seen in 10 years. A guy who was once a bouncer at a club I frequented regularly in my 20’s with BFF. A guy who I flirted with shamelessly all that time, even though at the time I was very much in love (and very faithful to) The Soulmate (who also happened to be a bouncer at the same bar). This guy, we’ll call him “Missed Opportunity (MO)”, used to always tell me I needed to lose “Soul” and get with him. We joked, because he was friends with Soul, and we never would have acted on it, but there was incredible chemistry between us always. Once Soul and I went our separate ways, I stopped frequenting that bar, so as not to run into Soul, and never saw MO again. Until Friday night. When I reached the front of the line, MO reached across the counter and gave me a huge hug and kiss on the cheek. Genuinely happy to see each other we chatted for a few seconds, before he invited us to another club after the show, where he also bartends. He gave us the “super secret password” to get on the VIP list, and said “I’ll see you later”.

Now, as I was well aware that Plan A of meeting Donnie wasn’t exactly full proof, I was excited at the prospect of a Plan B.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that after walking for about an hour, the girls and I were unable to find said club, and gave up and went to another bar instead. Yours truly is still pretty damn disappointed that I missed a chance to reconnect with MO. I’m a firm believer in the “Everything happens for a reason” phenomenon, so I believe that if I was meant to have re-connected with him further, we would have found the damn place. Yet, I’m still kicking myself. DAMN!

Still, it was nice to see him, and much much needed boost to my ego that he seemed as happy to see me, and even invited us out to come see him later. And it might have just been on the cheek, but he did kiss me. I didn’t completely lie to you, did I?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Photo Hunt #31 - View

The Photo Hunter theme this week is View. I could have gone in all different directions with this one, but since my girls and I just went to the New Kids On The Block Reunion Tour concert in Boston last night, and I haven't yet come down off my high from the amazing show they put on, I figured I'd give you all a few shots of our view of the show last night.
The main stage:
At one point in th show the boys moved to a smaller stage in the middle of the audience, so close we could almost reach out and touch them:

If you're interested in hearing more about this show, or seeing more photos, let me know in comments and I'll keep you posted because there is a concert review coming up, and I will share the 200+ photos I'm in the process of uploading right now with anyone who asks.

Also, if you're doing Photo Hunt, that means you love taking photos...I ask you to visit Creative Karina and check out the new meme I'm launching, I'd love for yout to be a part of it with us.

Happy Hunting Y'all!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Quick Update

Just checking in to give you all a quick update. I know I told you my first post would be up at Inspired Bliss today, but there's been a slight delay...I'm not exactly sure when it'll go up, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, you should totally still pop on over there, because my fellow contributors? ARE AMAZING and you MUST read what they have to say.

In the meantime, if you're looking for something to read, I will shamelessly self-promote and direct you to my 500th post here at Candid Karina, if you haven't read it yet...there are giveaways and I'd really like to reach 50 comments on that post...can you help?

Also, do you like photography? Do you like poetry? EITHER? Join me in launching a brand new meme over at Creative Karina, won't you?

Finally, tonight is the NIGHT for me and my girlfriends. It's HUGE! An event of monumental porportions! We've been waiting ALL SUMMER for tonight. What do I mean? Visit Cafe Karina and find out for yourself. ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Half-Way to One Thousand!!!

Hello everyone and welcome to Candid Karina’s 5ooth Post Celebration.

This is an event of monumental proportions, so we couldn’t let it go by without throwing a grand Gala in its honor. There will be something for everyone here tonight, so please, check your coats, grab a drink and take your seats, the evening’s festivities are about to begin.

I’d like to welcome you all, and take a moment to thank you for coming by. I didn’t want to forget anyone or anything, so I wrote a little something, and hope you’ll bear with me while I go through my thank you’s. I’ve got it here somewhere…ah, yes, here we go.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank God, because how blessed am I to be able to share a piece of me with all of you and have you come back for more? Trully amazing, I think. Next, I want to thank Wil Wheaton, because it was through his blog that I was introduced to the world of blogging. He most definitely does not even have a clue who I am, but it’s all his fault I do what I do here, so a big fat thank you to him.

Next, I want to thank my loyal readers. I’ll start with the ones who have been with me for quite a while now, who’s names I know as well as the ones of my IRL friends, and who have become true friends, regardless of whether we’ve ever met in person. To my “She Who Blogs” buddies, especially our amazing leader Frances, HOLLA! You girls ROCK and gave me my first sense of “community” within the blogging world. I’m so proud to be a part of the gang. I’d also like to give a very special shout out to all the lurkers, you know you’re out there. I know you’re out there because even though I don’t average very many comments per posts, my stats tell me you’re out there, reading. So, thanks, I’m glad you’re here. And finally, a warm welcome to my new readers. I do hope you’ll be back.

I’d like to kick off the festivities with a bit of a look back, a retrospective if you will. It might be fun for those of you who’ve been around to relive some of our best times, and for the newbies, maybe it’ll help you get to know me a bit better.

A quick note to the first timers, anything you ever wanted to know about me can be found in any of these posts (which are also on my sidebar under Candid Close-Up).

Let’s take a look at the highlight reel, shall we?

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? While I compose myself and wipe the tears from my eyes, let’s move on to the next part of the evening.

This is the part you’ve all been waiting for. It’s time for the games and prizes. I hope you will all play, it’s so much more fun when everyone participates. For you lurkers, this is your chance to come out of the woodwork, even if just for one night. And anyway, there will be prizes. Two of them to be exact. Here are the rules of the game:

For the first prize, a trio of Body Shop Lip Butters, in Mango, Grapeseed and Coconut, you simply have to leave a comment, letting me know you were here celebrating my 500th with me and answer me this question: How long have you been blogging? That’s it. I will pick a commenter using a randomizer, and they will be the prize winner.

The second prize, a nice gift set from Yankee Candle (with a Gingerbrad and a Christmas Cookie candle...yes, it's a Christmas set, you can start your shopping early), will be yours with a little more work on your part. Now, don’t get nervous, it’s easy enough. Leave a comment, letting me know you were here, celebrating with me, and then let me know what it is you like about my blog. This is important, because I’m fine tuning the way things work around here, so your input will help me tremendously. So, in your comment, I need some positive feedback about your favorite types of posts I do, or even a particularly favorite post, or I will take constructive criticism about posts I may do that just don’t strike your fancy. Tell me what you would like me to write more about, something you would like to know about me, or what makes you come back, or would make you come back more often. Give me ideas, suggestions, and friendly criticism, it’ll all be taken into account. For each “individual” piece of feedback you give me you get ONE entry into the drawing(meaning that if in your comment you give me three suggestions, etc. then you would get three entries. Get it?).

So there you have it…fun and games.

What a fun time we’re having tonight, I sure hope you’re enjoying yourself as much as I am.

Unfortunately, the evening is getting late, and soon it’ll be time to say good night and go our separate ways. But before we do that, it’s time to look to the future. I mean, 500 posts is incredible, no doubt, and throw in two other blogs, with Creative Karina, and Café Karina, and guests appearances at SheWhoBlogs here and there, and wow, I really do have a reason to celebrate. My career as a blogger has been blossoming rather well. I’m very happy with my limited success thus far, and just glad I’ve been able to share myself with you.

BUT, things are getting bigger by the moment. There are grand things on the horizon, and I can’t wait to share them all with you. So, I thought tonight’s celebration was the perfect moment to do so.

First up, a new meme is launching at Creative Karina next week. I’ve been neglecting that blog, so I thought I needed a little something to get the creative juices flowing. More info. will follow, but I hope you’ll join me, because I think it could be a whole lot of fun. It will be a photo and poetry meme all rolled into one. Click here for all the details.

Next, because Café Karina is also being neglected lately, starting next week I will be featuring more book reviews, movie reviews and now that the new television season has kicked off, you can bet there will be some tv show reviews as well for your reading pleasure.

And finally, the most exciting of all new ventures, is my involvement with Inspired Bliss. You can read all about that in this post, and click on the pretty little "Inspired Bliss" button on my sidebar to be taken to that site. My first post wil be up on Friday!

Sadly, we’ve come to the end of our program. The hour is late, and it is time to shut the lights. I do hope you’ve enjoyed yourself, and please, don’t be a stranger, the door is always open, and we are always happy to see you here. No invitation required. Bt wait, before you got...we have fireworks...

Okay, have a good night, drive safely...Until the next 500th, stay Candid!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Extra, Extra Read All About It!!!

I've got news. I've teased the news a bit here and there, but now I'm ready to tell you all about it. Are you ready?

I'm branching out. I'm taking what I started here at Candid Karina on the road. More specifically, I've become a contributing writer at Blissfully Domestic's brand spankin' new faith channel Inspired Bliss.

When I started blogging a few years ago, I did it because I love to write, and I'd discovered this wonderful new method of getting my written word "out there" for the masses to see. (Okay, in reality its not so much "masses" as it is a handful of you, but whatever...let it slide, won't ya?). The idea that I could do my favorite thing in the world, string words together, and try to make a point, and have complete strangers read it, was irresistible to me.

Over the years I've had great fun blogging, getting to know you all, and expanding my circle in the blogosphere.

Here at Candid Karina, I speak, what else, candidly, about the daily grind, the ups, the downs, the fun, the mundane, my history, and my future.

With Creative Karina I grew a little, creating a space where I could share with you my poetry, fiction and other artistic endeavors.

And then, more recently, with Cafe Karina, I gave myself permission to indulge in my love of all things pop culture.

Although recently life has made regular posting a bit more difficult, I still consider all three of these blogs my home, and my babies, and have great plans to nurture them and help them to grow to their full potential.

But I was recently presented with an opportunity to take what I do here, and combine it with my recent renewal of faith, and join a fantastic group of ladies in launching a new venture. How could I pass this up? I couldn't. While here at Candid Karina I'll continue to post about a variety of topics, at Inspired Bliss I'll be digging my heels a little bit deeper into the faith realm. My new "column" "God and the Single Girl" will be a bit of a departure for me from my usual sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. It'll be a little more raw...naked if you will. I'll be a little more free to say things there that I might hold back on over here, because well...I just don't get that serious over here, you know?

So, our official "Launch" is this Monday, September 22nd. Robin (of the wonderful Pensieve) is our editor, and along with a wonderful group of ladies, who I'm just getting to know, we are all super excited to share with you what we've got going on over there. I invite you to please click on the badge in this post, or any of the links throughout, and check out our new digs. Add us to your reader (pretty please) so that you can keep up with us, because there will be lots and lots going on. My first post goes up next Friday. I'll remind you when it does, but I really hope you'll support the rest of the fantastic contributors as well. We are all very nervous (on top of the excitement) as this is a brand new thing for all of us, and can use all the support you can offer.

Blissfully Domestic is a wonderful site with ALL sorts of information and fun stuff for the ladies. Inspired Bliss is just one of the channels over there. You honestly could get lost for hours exploring the whole site (I know I have) and I invite you to do so, because it's well worth it. But, before you get too lost, please be sure to stop by Inspired Bliss first, won't you?

I can't wait to start sharing with you. I do hope you'll visit me (US).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When I was Ten

I was nowhere near this eloquent. Were you?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

He was on Ellen today, here's part of that interview:

Amazing, isn't he?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Morning Meme

So, I realize things have been a bit on the “heavy” side here at Candid Karina, which is all well and good, but I thought for a Monday morning (okay, fine I realize by the time I hit publish on this it’ll be afternoon), I’d go with something a bit on the lighter side.

I heard about this Meme from the lovely leader of SheWhoBlogs, Frances. She, in turn, grabbed it from Janie, and I thought it seemed like a fun one to do, so here we go.

It is what the name of it says it is...a meme about your "writing style", just questions about the same. So, without further ado, here are my answers.

1. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or both?

Both. My blogging is mostly non-fiction (though sometimes, you have to wonder, don’t you?), but then there’s my poetry, and the great American novel I’ve been working on for decades now.

2. Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?

No. I haven’t kept a journal in many, many years. Somewhere along the line it stopped being important to me to diary my thoughts and daily activities. I’m actually a little sad about that, it would be nice to be able to go back and reflect on what I was feeling at certain times in the last few years. And yet, even now, knowing I feel this way, I can’t bring myself to journal now either. But I blog, so I suppose that covers that, doesn’t it? I don’t keep a writing notebook either, but at any given time you will find random writings on spare pieces of paper, or any of the dozens of notebooks I have lying around my home or office.

3. If you write fiction, do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?

It depends. Most of the time, I must admit that my characters write themselves. I don’t usually start with a “goal” in mind, and develop the story from there. Usually I start writing, letting the character speak to me of where it is they are going, what it is they are doing, and go from there. On the rare occasion that I do have a planned action, conflict, motivation, I find myself usually blocked at some point, not able to reach that destination. It seems that if I already know the destination of the character, I lose interest in the voyage. If, however, I have no idea where we’re headed, I take much greater pleasure in sitting back and enjoying the ride. As far as the books, I don't find them harmful, but I don't find them useful either. For me writing is "organic" and no books on "how to" can help me. I can't follow instructions on something that to me is just like breathing...I just do it.

4. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

I am both actually. I’m a procrastinator by nature, in everything I do, pretty much. But when I get some inspiration to write, I usually have to drop everything and do it right then in there, for fear of letting it escape.

5. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

“Short bursts of creative energy” pretty much sums me up. That’s probably why I find it nearly impossible to finish any story longer than a few pages, and why poetry works so well for me. I have a really hard time with sitting with the same idea for long periods of time. I think that’s where my procrastination sets in.

6. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

I am a “whenever I have a chance” writer. The time of day doesn’t really affect my creativity, it’s more when the muse strikes, and I happen to be near a computer, or a pen and paper.

7. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

I don’t think I can write in complete silence. The chaos of the world around me is my greatest inspiration, so I need some hustle and bustle around me in order to focus. That said, when I am finalizing any particular piece of work, I need complete silence and concentration.

8. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Mostly computer, sometimes by hand (usually only poetry by hand though).

9. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? Or do you let the story evolve as you write?

Hmm…I think I answered this question pretty much in number 3, because for the most part, the way it works with my character’s goals and motivations is how it works with my endings as well. But, this is very different when I write non-fiction. I’d say that 95% of the time writing a piece of non-fiction (an article, a blog post, etc.) I’ve already figured out my conclusion, my point, my ending, and a lot of times, my final sentence, pretty much before I’ve written my first word.

10. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

Not usually, no. I write from my heart and mind and my crazy imagination, not what’s on the book shelves. However, what’s going on in my life GREATLY influences all my writing, not just the non-fiction, but my fiction as well.

11. Editing/Revision - love it or hate it?

For the most part, I actually enjoy it. There’s a sort of pleasure in going back over words you wrote “in the heat of the moment” and rereading them almost as a stranger, to realize what works and what doesn’t. To see those moments of genius you had, those words that are pure brilliance, that you can’t even fathom where they came from, and then to be able to change the not so brilliant word choices, the pieces that don’t make sense even to your eyes upon a second glance. I think it’s part of the art form of writing, and I love it.

Well, there you go. That was fun. I'm not tagging anyone, but I'd love to read yours if you decide to do it, so if you do, please let me know, okay?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Basket Full of Goodies

I realize I haven’t been doing a really good job of posting regularly, or uh…at all, really. I realize that those of you who used to consider yourselves my “regular” readers (all three or four of you) are probably feeling quite neglected and abandoned. I realize everyone else probably didn’t even notice I was MIA…well FINE! ;-) But seriously, I hate that I’ve been such an inconsistent blogger lately, and am hoping to turn things around. See, life has gotten incredibly busy these last few months, so the “real world” if that’s what we’re calling it these days, has pulled me away from the blogosphere. But, I LOVE the blogosphere, and as much as I haven’t had time to visit, I’ve been missing it dearly.

Not only do I miss regularly updating you on the shenanigans of my OH SO EXCITING (don’t laugh) life, I REALLY miss reading about all your adventures and misadventures. My google reader is up to oh geez, probably 500 or 600 posts, so when in the world I think I’ll find the time to catch up is beyond me, but I refuse to clear it out and start from scratch. What if I miss something vital? One of these days, I promise, I will catch up.

In the meantime, I’m going to ask you to leave me a comment directing me to one or two of your most recent posts that I just MUST read. Pretty please? I really want to know.

So, now that we’ve covered my catching up with YOU, here’s a bit of what’s been going on with me. And there’s a lot folks. I warn you now, this is a long post, but hey, you’ve had barely any reading material from me all summer, so maybe you’ll enjoy my ramblings.

First of all, starting next week I’m embarking on a new writing venture. Because this is such a huge thing for me, one that I’m incredibly excited about, I’m going to save the details of the announcement for its very own post in the next few days. However, because I don’t want to be a terrible tease, I’ll share with you that I’ve been asked (uh, maybe I volunteered myself) to contribute to a wonderful Ezine called Blissfully Domestic as part of their “Inspired Bliss” channel, which is their faith channel. Yes, I know, funny how things happen, right? But because of this, I’m making some new blog-buddies, and want to take a moment to say HELLO to them. Can’t wait to get inspired by you ladies! If you stopped by today, I hope you’ll poke around to get to know a little more about me, but for purposes of knowing why I’m joining you, the next few paragraphs, and links therein, should give you an idea. The rest is just my crazy mind at work.

Moving on then, we’ve already discussed the amazing summer I’ve had reconnecting with God, my faith family, and the youth of my parish. As things move along in that field, I’ll give you more of that story, but for now, you can read this (if you haven’t had the chance to do so yet), and just know that I’m still the same snarky, sarcastic, and shoe addicted Karina, I just have a greater sense of my place in this world now. It feels nice. And in case you are wondering, the tattoo is healing quite nicely as well.

The summer is now drawing to a close and you would think that would mean that I’d have less activities planned with the youth and all, and get back some of my free time. You would think wrong. The Fall and Winter are going to be just as, if not even more, busy as the summer was, but this is a good thing. I’m looking forward to all that is lined up for the next few months.

Another major change in my life has been this career move of mine, and with the exception of a few posts to tell you about my new job, I haven’t really told you much about how that has gone. Let me tell you now. I LOVE my new job. LOVE IT. I went from a stressful, pull my hair out of my head every day, holy crap how in the world am I ever going to catch up with any of my work, and I’m going to kill my coworkers one of these days, kind of job, to well…how do I even describe it? Some days, I’m bored with nothing to do. GASP! I KNOW! My new boss, The Don, is fantastic. He’s a great guy, with a heart of gold, and the type of boss everyone always wishes they could have. My new company is wonderful. They truly care about their employees and their customers, and I feel good about working here, and it’s the kind of place you want to promote to your friends and family, because they really stand for something. My new coworkers are all great, and I’ve made some new friends, and am looking forward to things like the holiday party, because I can see it’ll be a blast. And the job itself is easy. I have great freedom to my days to do my work at my own pace, without anyone (see Nazi) breathing down my neck, there are NO MORE Whisper Wednesdays, and there are plenty of opportunities for me to step up and be challenged when I want to be. There is also great room for growth here, so while I’m okay with the laid back pace for now, I know when I start to feel stagnant, I can step up to the plate and take on new ventures.

I also love the location of where I work. Working in the historical downtown area of my home town has been great fun this summer. I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends for lunch, enjoy daily walks, and just see other people out and about, something I, as an avid people watcher, was really missing in my old job in the boonies.

The downside to this working environment has been that going out to eat lunch every day (practically) made me gain quite a few pounds. I was pretty busy and active all summer long with the youth, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but still, it was getting to the point where I knew I had to do something about it.

SO, a few weeks ago I joined Jenny Craig. I went with Candid Mama as moral support, but after listening to their introduction (uh, sales pitch) I decided to give it a shot as well. I signed up for a 6 week trial, and am now on week 3. I’ve lost 5 ½ pounds in my first two weeks so far. Considering I’m not working out, am not feeling particularly hungry at any time, and actually enjoy the food, I’d say this is a success. My goal is 20 lbs so hey, I’m a quarter of the way there…that’s not too bad. The best part is I’m learning some really easy and manageable ways to keep this going once my six week trial is up. It’s been an amazing boost to my confidence to see the weight go too. It’s slow, but healthy the way it is going, and I love that I’m taking charge of my body. And yes, I do feel healthier; it’s amazing how what we put in our bodies can totally affect how we feel isn’t it? Yeah, yeah, I know old news.

Speaking of a confidence booster, I bought a product off an infomercial that changed my life. No, seriously. I’m not getting paid to say this (but really, they should pay me for all the publicity I’ve done for their product), but I am in LOVE with the Wen by Chaz Dean hair stuff. You may not know this, but my hair has been complete crap for years now. I had some stuff going on a few years back, and my hair which has always been really thin, just became crap, and for a while now I’ve pretty much always worn it up, sort of hidden and kind of “out of sight, out of mind”. I HATED my hair. I wouldn’t even get it cut, because there was no point. I have tried every hair product known to womankind and nothing worked to fix it. So, one day, while cleaning my house with the television on for background noise, this infomercial came on. Now, for the record, I don’t buy things off infomercials, pretty much ever. I don’t buy into the whole “this will change your life” thing, EVER. But, since I was already spending all sorts of money weekly on trying new hair products, to no avail, when I heard the words “Just one use of this product and you won’t believe the change in your hair”, right after I said “yeah, right” I said “Well, whatever, what have I got to lose?” So, I ordered it. With much dubiousness, when it arrived, I tried it.

And HOLY CRAP if my hair wasn’t completely different after just one use. That stuff really works. I’ve now been using it for about a month, and LOVE my hair. I wear it down most days now. I get compliments on my hair from strangers. MY HAIR! The rats nest I kept hidden for years. LOVE IT. Huge confidence booster right there as well.

One more vital thing I changed this summer. You all know I’m a big sister through Big Brother Big Sister to Lil’K. Have been since she was 8 years old. She is now 15. For the last year or so, we’d drifted apart. I was having a hard time finding ways to connect with her. I was looking at her as a teen who didn’t much need me in her life anymore, and I wasn’t sure how to stay involved in her life. Part of me wasn’t sure I needed to anymore. I never had any plans of walking away, but it was getting easy to just not call her for weeks and blame it on the fact that we were both busy with our lives, and she was doing just fine without me. But I was wrong, because now, more than ever, she needs me. Now, more than ever, she needs some positive influences in her life. Now, at a time when every decision she makes could truly affect the future of her life. Because of the youth group activities this summer, I was able to find a common ground with her, and we spent a summer having a great time together, and getting closer. This weekend we take another step in our relationship, which I am hoping will open all sorts of new doors for our communication as she faces what will surely be the toughest years of her young life. We are attending a “parent/teen” retreat. I have always been a parental figure in her life, and it’s time I take a more active role, so I’m looking forward to this retreat like you can’t imagine. It was time I stepped back in and took charge a bit, because last year was a rough year for her, and I wasn’t a very present figure. I blame myself for that, I’d become complacent in a lot of things in my life.

See, here’s the funny thing that happened this summer. Somewhere along the way I realized I’d been just going through the motions of daily living. It wasn’t that my life wasn’t a good one, it was just that I wasn’t exactly doing much of anything. I looked back at the last few years, and pleasant and peaceful as they’ve been, I had a hard time differentiating one from the other. I’m 33 years old. That’s way too young to settle for status quo. It was time for me to stop living on the sidelines, and take an active role in my life. It wasn’t enough to be living, I need to be ALIVE. I’ve done things this summer that I swore you’d never see me do. I went canoeing. I’m deathly afraid of drowning folks. It was exhilarating in a terrifying sort of way, I loved it. I got on a roller coaster. The kind that turns you upside down. Ladies and gents, I DON’T DO THAT. Correction, I didn’t do that, because now? OH, I can’t wait for the next one. I’m doing it folks, I’m doing it all.

Next adventure? Hmm, maybe I’ll try my hand at dating again, what do you think? After all, we can’t let my fabulous new hair and soon to be svelte figure go to waste, now can we? Right..yeah, okay…

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Still Remember

Seven Years. SEVEN YEARS. And still, the numbers 9/11 bring pause to most of us. Again the conversations can be heard here and there "Do you remember where you were when it happened?" "I can't believe it's been seven years" "When will the memorial be finished?" So many questions, so many emotions, and still, it doesn't make sense. I don't think it ever will.

I'm taking a moment today (or two or three) to send out a prayer to the universe that we somehow learn to live in peace with one another. To pray for the souls of those lost that day, and for the families they left behind. To pray for change, for love, for forgiveness.

And as it seems to be tradition, I wrote this poem the week it all happened seven years ago, and post it here again today.

Tuesday Morning

When I awoke
the sun was shining
I could smell the ocean breeze
the birds singing
the world was grand
I started my day with ease

Then the phone rang
"turn on the tv
You won't believe your eyes"
And then I saw it
the second impact
terror coming from he skies

"What's going on?"
I asked dumbfounded
"Is the world falling apart?"
As time progressed
I learned much more
The knowledge broke my heart

"Oh my God
There it goes"
Someone said to the crowd
And as it fell
our hopes crumbled
the country sighed out loud

How could this be?
Here , in America?
We're not supposed to cry
On a Tuesday morning
for no good reason?
People aren't supposed to die

But things have changed
The world is different
We'll never again be the same
But how we stand proud
The United States
Much more than just a name

My heart still broken
My eyes, still moist
I still can't make much sense
But I've seen the focus
such prayer, such unity
The world's love so intense

They shook foundations
They collapsed buildings
They took human lives that day
But we won't be rattled
Won't be destroyed
God Bless the USA

Copyright 2007 - Karina

I sure hope as a nation we can come together and rebuild the pride and unity we showed on those weeks following the attacks. This country has suffered in so many ways in recent years, but we can still come together and prove there's a reason they call it the "American Dream".

Okay, that's it, I'm done, that's about as political as I'm getting on here today.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tattoo? Who knew?

Yes, that's right, yours truly went and got herself inked this weekend. And no, this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. I have wanted a tattoo as far back as I can remember, at least since I was 16 years old. In fact, because my mom didn't want me to get one, we made a deal that I would wait until the year I turned 30 and she turned 50 (same year) and we would go together and get them then. That worked out fine because I never knew WHAT I wanted to get tattooed, so I figured by 30 I would have figured it out. Good thing too, because had I gone in my 20's I probably would have ended up with something stupid.

ANYWAY, 30 came and went and I still had no idea what I wanted to get, so I didn't. But this summer I knew EXACTLY what I wanted, and I've been pumping myself up for it all summer long. Finally, this weekend I decided to just go for it.

I am happy to say that I am THRILLED with my tattoo. The guy who did it did an absolutely fantastic job of capturing my vision and idea exactly how I wanted it. In fact, he made it look even better than it looked in my mind's eye. By the way, the place where I went to get my tat is a really well known tattoo place that has tattooed a bunch of celebrities, including pro-wrestler Chyna Phillips, one of the New Kids, Danny Wood and Mark Wahlberg.

Anyway, I'm so glad I went, I love my tattoo! And it didn't even hurt that badly. there were a few spots that hurt like hell, but they were over in seconds, and he was done the whole thing in about 20 minutes.

Now, what did I get? And where did I get it? Well, it's on my shoulder (on my back). As far as what, this goes hand in hand with this recent post about my faith. Everything has changed for me this year, and the idea for this tattoo actually came to me during mass one day.

Here's what it looks like (sorry about the glare on the first photo, I had A&D slathered all over it):

A close-up with no glare:

It represents obviously my faith, and my kind of "rebirth" into it this year, and also, the fact that since I reconnected with my faith, I see a monarch butterfly EVERYWHERE. As a matter of fact, the minute I walked out of the tattoo parlor, one flew right by me.

Getting this tattoo also represents something else I've been finding myself doing a lot this summer, which is LIVING. There are all these things we always say "I'll do it one day", or things we are simply hesitant, or afraid to do. I've kind of decided to just throw caution to the wind and do them already. There's the tattoo, there's my going to an amusement park and actually riding the rollercoasters that usually scare the crap out of me (and loving it too), there's me agreeing to go canoeing even though I'm deathly afraid of falling into water and being underwater...There are a million and one of these things, and I'm just doing them now.

What are you going to do RIGHT NOW that you've been holding out on? Go on, do it.