Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Popinjay - Gaudy

This week's Popinjay is being hosted once again by Heather. The theme this week is "Gaudy" and I'll be honest, I almost didn't participate because I just couldn't think of ANYTHING to photograph.

But I really wanted to participate.

I thought about all the things I find Gaudy, and there are plenty of them, but I pride myself on not being gaudy, so where was I to find these things?

Things such as bright lipstick and eyeshadow a la Mimi on the Drew Carey show. Or flower patterned couches. Or fur. Fur is showy, flashy, and yes, GAUDY. Like, those chinchilla "stoles" that the rich ladies wear around their necks, or draped on their shoulders. You know, like this:

And then tonight...Drama, one of my new kittens, gave me my photograph (and also, my own personal, real live "fur stole":

Okay, so yeah, I totally cheated, and it is totally not gaudy, but well...there you have it. ;-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ode to Grandma O

As I mentioned in my last post, the group of female bloggers I belong to SheWhoBlogs is celebrating our 3rd Anniversary, and with this celebration come a few contests. One of the contests is a writing contest where we are asked to blog about a woman who has inspired us. You can find out more about the contest here.

I knew right away who I would write about, because I’ve actually been wanting to write this post for quite some time. But this is not an easy post to write. Mostly because by the end, I’m pretty certain tears will be involved.

In fact, I’m pretty certain there are already tears in my eyes…yes, yes, there they are. Right on cue.

Taking a deep breath. Okay.

Please meet my Grandma O.

That’s her in the pink, sitting next to my mom, and yes, that is little old me all cuddled up in her lap. I couldn't have been more than 2 or 3 in this photo. (P.S., the dude with the mustache? Totally my dad!)

Grandma O was my mother’s mom.

Both of my grandmothers played a major role in my life growing up, and I almost feel wrong writing about one without mentioning the other, but I will save Grandma A’s story for another day.

When I was very young, Grandma O and her husband moved to the United States, leaving their families behind in Portugal, so they could try to settle down and start a better life for themselves, and so they could one day bring those same families over here, to provide that better life for them as well.

I don’t really have any memories of my maternal grandparents from when I was a young kid, except for the occasional letters and gifts they would send to us in Portugal.

When I was 10 years old, however, they were finally able to bring us over to the U.S. and it was then that I would truly meet and get to know Grandma O.

Grandma O was a teacher in her youth, and she was the only college educated adult in my family at that time. I was also a bit of a braniac child, loving to read and learn and discuss matters of the world at large, so it’s no wonder that Grandma O and I would form a special bond.

I have such fond memories of spending hours discussing books, and culture, and so many other topics with her. We would never run out of things to talk about, and I marveled at her worldliness, and wanted to know everything she knew.

Grandma O was also the most stylish lady you will ever meet. In her small 5 foot frame, with her tiny size 5 feet, she was always put together so perfectly. With her adorable dresses, dainty shoes, and always matching jewelry. There is no doubt my mother (an equally stylish lady) got all her style savvy from Grandma O, and I, in turn, inherited it from both of them.

Grandma O also loved Hollywood. She loved television, and she loved celebrities. It was with her that I would discuss the latest celebrity gossip. She subscribed to People Magazine, and would save each issue after reading it for me, so I could then devour it, and we could discuss the particulars. To this day, I cannot ever see an issue of People Magazine and not think of her.

Oh there are those tears again, someone hand me a tissue…

In the United States Grandma O worked on a production line at a computer company. Her teacher’s certificate from Portugal held no value in this country. But she was a hard worker, and on top of her job, she volunteered teaching Portuguese at the local parish to children.

She was a sweet woman, full of love, and life and vigor, but she was no pushover. My grandfather is a difficult man. I love him to death, and am eternally grateful for his presence in my life, my only living grandparent. But he is a difficult man. Grandma O, however, took no crap from him. She was the type of woman who let him think he ran the household, but everyone (including grandpa) knew she was the boss.

Everything changed when she got sick. My grandmother battled cancer for over 6 years. In that time period, I was in my early 20’s in college, I watched her suffer tremendously, with grace and dignity. I watched her change from the lively, intelligent, strong woman I knew and loved, into a diminutive, subdued victim of that horrible disease.

I would go over to her house every single day to spend a little time with her. Every day. I knew I needed to soak in every moment I could, bundle together all the memories possible, gather as much knowledge and history as was available from her.

My grandmother inspired me in so many ways, I couldn’t even begin to tell you. But one particular lesson she taught me, I hold near and dear and has shaped the person I am, the way I live my life, every single day.

Toward the end of her struggle, I had a conversation with her in which she said to me, very intensely “Do not wait to live your life. Your grandfather and I saved all this money so we could enjoy ourselves after retirement, we waited, and now I won’t be around, we’ll never get that chance. Do NOT wait. Live your life now”.

So I do. In honor of my Grandma O, I treasure every second of every day. I waste nothing in this life, no moment goes by unnoticed. I live life by my own rules, and I don’t always (if ever) follow status quo, but I always follow my grandmother's advice: I LIVE EVERYDAY.

I miss her dearly. I miss our talks, and I’m saddened that I have been unable to sit and share with her my many adventures since she’s left us. She would have LOVED to hear all the details. And I believe she would be proud that I am living my life the way she inspired me to.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-apply my eye make-up. ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

She Who Blogs - THREE Years Old

You may have noticed the She Who Blogs Anniversary Banner on my sidebar here.

This one:

In case you don't know, I'm a member of She Who Blogs, which is simply put, a group of female bloggers. You can find out more about us, and about our Anniversary here: She Who Blogs

Now would be a GREAT time to stop by the blog and check us out, because we are hosting a series of contests and giveaways and you can win all sorts of things INCLUDING a $100 Amazon Gift Card. (Yes, you read that right).

One of the contests is a photo contest. All you have to do is post a photo representing "THREE" for our 3 year anniversary.

I'm actually entering this contest as well, and here is my entry:

I visited the Queens Zoo this weekend, and these three bison were just enjoying the sunny day like the rest of us were...

Happy Bloggiversary She Who Bloggers!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Popinjay - Joyful

Today's popinjay is being hosted by Heather, and the word of the week is Joyful.

I know I'm breaking a rule here about no kids, but i don't care because i spent the weekend with the most joyful little girl ever. I went to New York to visit my friend and her daughter this weekend, and we took little the happy girl to the park. And I happened to snap this shot:

The End.

Because really, there are no more words necessary are there?

Be sure to stop by Heather's to see what other joyful things the other participants came up with.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Meet the Twins

Disclaimer: i'm using a new android app for this post. There may be some quirky things in here...i'll look into those later, but wanted to test this out.

With that out of the way, I would like to introduce you to the two new boys in my life.  Meet Turtle and Drama, the twins.

Drama is the one with the white on his face. Turtle is behind him.

The boys are loosely named after 2 characters on Entourage, whch is one of my favorite shows. However, the names stuck because they fit them oh so well.

Turtle is a bit more reserved and calculating. He has a tendency to burrow and hide under things, watch and take it slow.  Drama, on the other hand, is all about being in your face. Literally. He loves to curl up and fall asleep on my neck, but only after he's investigated my face for a while. He's also the loudmouth of the 2.

They are both the cutest cuddle bugs, always at my side. I might be slightly infatuated, and turning into a full-on cat lady. I kid, i kid...

I'll stop there for now, but don't you worry, i see many cat photos and posts in our future.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Popinjay - Powerful

I am guest hosting for Michelle again this week, and the word of the week is "Powerful".

I thought for a little bit about what to photograph for this word... First, I was going to share with you a picture of one of my many pairs of stilletos, because I'll be honest, I feel pretty powerful when I wear those.

But then I went for a run, and realized that lately, when I run, I feel pretty powerful then as I thought maybe I would share a photo of my running shoes...but trust me, they've taken quite a beating, and nobody wants to see my beat up running shoes.

And then, on my run the other day, I notice how blessed I am that this is where I get to go fro my runs:

That's a pretty powerful sight, isn't it?

I'm not sure yet who will be hosting next week, but check back here on Monday and I'll let you know. In the meantime, be sure to visit the folks below to see what they find "powerful"...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Why I Cried When Corey Haim Died

In case you missed it, Corey Haim died on March 10 this year. I never had a chance to write this post then because I was having computer issues, and also, March 10th also happens to be my birthday, I was a bit busy.

But, the other day I was having a Twitter conversation with a friend about Mr. Haim, and I realized I had a post to write.

See, I loved Corey Haim. He may, quite possibly have been my first celebrity crush. Yes, even before Donnie Wahlberg.

Those who’ve been reading my blog for a while, may remember a few posts on him. In fact, besides Donnie himself, Corey Haim has the honor of being the only other celebrity I’ve written multiple blog posts about (all the way back in 2005 and 2007 respectively).

If you’re curious, you can read those here, and here.

A quick perusal through those posts should tell you what an impact Corey Haim had on my adolescence.

Not only was he my first celebrity crush (oh how I remember swooning as he sang in the bathtub in the Lost Boys)

But he was also my first brush with drug addiction.

I remember being crushed and horrified when I learned of his drug problem. I remember, in my sheltered innocence, writing him a fan letter pleading with him to get help, and then, taking down all of his posters from my wall. Exchanging them for posters of other, more clean cut actors. And yes, eventually for Donnie Wahlberg and the rest of the New Kids On The Block.

For me, drug addiction was beyond my comprehension, and I couldn’t support someone who had succumbed to its allure. My heart broke for Corey, but I could no longer be a fan.

Years passed, and word of his struggles would surface now and again, and each and every time, my heart would break.

Later, as an adult, I would find this photo of him

And again, my heart would break. Where was that adorable little boy with the lisp and the crooked smile?

Then, more recently, word came of a reality show, The Two Coreys. Haim and Feldman would reunite, now that Haim had cleaned up his act, and regale their old fans with their new adventures. With this picture, hope was restored.

He was back. This time, he would make it.

And yes, I watched the show, faithfully. And it was apparent very quickly that Corey was not over his demons. As the show exploited his problems, as Feldman tried to get his friend to seek help, and his denial grew stronger…again my heart broke.

On March 10th of this year I woke up in great spirits. It was my birthday. My 35th birthday. I’m not one of those women who hides (or hides from) her age. I treasure each birthday as what it is, the gift of another year of life.

Checking my facebook that morning a friend posted these words: RIP Corey Haim.

My heart broke for the final time for the “Lost Boy” who never found his way.

A small piece of my childhood died on my birthday this year. I’m sorry you couldn’t find your peace on earth Corey, I truly pray you are finally at peace.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Active April - Fit N Healthy

Last month I joined my twitter buddy Ami (@smtwngrl) on her challenge to be healthy and ‘active’ during the month of April.

This was not to be the first, and certainly not the last (and in fact, not even the only April) “fitness” challenge I did on Twitter.

Fact is, if any one of my Twitter friends mentions some sort of health/fitness/etc. challenge, I’m probably going to at the very least, investigate it, and most likely, join it.

In January, I attempted (and came very close to fulfilling) @AmberOliver’s 31 day fitness challenge.

Also in April I attempted (and failed miserably) in @swissms99’s 10 day clean eating challenge.

There have been others.

Truth is, lately, I’m all about eating healthy, exercising, and basically, changing my lifestyle to one where health is just a matter of life.

I hate “diets”, I hate “crash courses” and crazy goals and impossible feats when it comes to what to eat and how much exercise to do.

I love food. I like lounging on my couch and watching television.

But I also like the way my body looks when I am taking good care of it. I like fitting into my size 4 jeans. I like that the other day, when I flexed my arm, I saw muscle there. I like that I used to be out of breath going up one flight of stairs and now I can walk/jog 3 miles and be barely winded.

I love being healthy.

So, if you mention some sort of fitness challenge to me, you can bet your booty I’m going to ask you more about it.

In April, I was active. I didn’t exercise every single day, but I came close. So, when Ami asked me if I was up for joining her for another fitness challenge in May, I, of course, said yes.

Enter #fitNhealthy. You can find out more about the challenge here, at Ami's blog. But the general idea behind it is that for the month of may, Ami is challenging us to do AT LEAST 30 minutes of exercise AT LEAST 5 days a week. I'm in.

In fact, I've been doing that already for the last few weeks, and most days, I do at least an hour worth of exercise. I'm going to just stick to Ami's challenge however, and see if I can "outdo myself" and push for an hour each day.

For me, these challenges, these Twitter buddies of mine who are focused on their health, are just added motivation for me to live the life I want to live.

In the last few years, I’ve gone from being the girl who would say “I run if someone is chasing me”, to the girl who is determined to run a 5k race before this summer is over (OMG, did I really just admit that out loud?)

And I owe a lot of that to Twitter. The constant motivation, encouragement and commiserating with my Twitter buddies, both the ones who run marathons and the ones who, like me, struggle along, has helped to change me into this person I am becoming.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret, I really like this person.

So, what do you say? Join me in being #fitNhealthy? You can find me HERE on Twitter, if you don’t already follow me, and join me in changing the way our minds work, so we can change the way our bodies work, look, and feel.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Popinjay - Content

This week I'm stepping in to host Popinjay for Michelle. I'm quite excited that the prompt for this week then is "Content". I knew RIGHT AWAY what I would photograph for this prompt.

That's me, sitting on my balcony, enjoying the sunshine on a gorgeous Spring day (that felt much more like a summer day). I spent the morning doing the March of Dimes March for Babies 3 mile walk, then ran a bunch of errands, attended a youth group meeting, went grocery shopping and did laundry. But in the midst of it all, I had a chance to step out on my balcony, take a seat in THIS CHAIR:
and breathe...CONTENT!

I'll be hosting next week as well, the prompt for next week is: POWERFUL. Please come back and join us! Also, please visit my linky buddies below, won't you?