Defeated

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I’m an optimistic, positive person. I really do try my best to see the bright side, the silver lining, and all that other happy bullshit.

I do. I promise.

But this is not going to be a cheerful, upbeat, I-love-life kind of post. Come back tomorrow if you are looking for a half-full glass. My glass today is filled with Ketel One (dirty, up, 4 stuffed olives – in case you were wondering), and while it’s nearly full at the moment, we are barreling toward empty at a mind-boggling pace.

2014 sucks. We are only six days into it, and I am not impressed. It has been chock-full of disappointment. Some of the disappointment has been expected (though no less disappointing), and some of it has been so rough and unforeseen that it knocked the wind out of me. The kind of shocking disappointment that leaves you gasping for breath as you lose all control of your tear ducts. The kind that makes you ugly cry. Repeatedly.

My family has let me down in unimaginable ways, all to pacify someone who hasn’t been honest with them. They have hurt me in ways I could never fathom because they are being manipulated by someone so whose self-centered, cold nature continues to astound me. Based on past experience with this person, I can only imagine that there are lies being told which I will never be able to guess, let alone correct.

I am not hurt by the instigator. I am not shocked by them. I am not grieving the loss of their support or unconditional love, because I never truly believed it was there. I am, however, blown away by the reach they have. By the family members who let me down because of this person. I am heartbroken by the people I thought were my biggest supporters, my most loyal allies, my steady supply of strength. I am discouraged that they could be convinced to abandon me when I want and need them by my side the most.

There is no bright side to this, no light at the end of this particular tunnel.

I am defeated.

Deflated.

Tomorrow I will pick myself back up. I will stand up, forge ahead, and I will enjoy every moment of a beautiful, amazing experience that I will cherish for years to come. But tonight I will collapse into the strong, steady arms of my love. I will cry an ugly, ravaging cry while he strokes my hair and calls on karma to right the wrong. I will let the grief and disappointment invade my body until I am consumed with sleep. Tonight I will give into the hurt, the pain, the unbearable betrayal. I will just feel it; that is all I can do right now.

Tomorrow will be brighter, but tonight I am defeated.

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Our Christmas Festivities Lasted an Entire Week

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While I won’t be disassembling the Christmas tree or packing up the holiday decorations until after the first of the year, it seems the Christmas season is officially over. {sad face.}

This year, our Christmas celebration lasted an entire week. Since we both have multiple, separate families to spend holiday time with, it would be impossible for Mr. B and I to spend quality time with everyone in one or two days.

We started the Sunday before Christmas, with a ham dinner at our house with Mr. B’s mom, grandmother, sister, and future brother-in-law. We spent the evening sitting around eating, drinking, and catching up. Even though they all live nearby, we don’t get together often enough, so it was great to see everyone.

Monday night I ventured back to my hometown for dinner with my dad to spend the night at his house. Christmas Eve morning my dad and I woke up before the sun to head to Pittsburgh’s Strip District. This is one of the coolest parts of Christmas, so it’s totally worth getting up at the asscrack of dawn. We got to Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. around 6 am, and joined about 4 million other folks in the pursuit of fresh Italian goodies for our Christmas feast.

This is the line at the bulk cheese  at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a great, festive mood.

This is the line at the bulk cheese at PennMac at about 6:30 am on Christmas Eve. It looks crowded and miserable, but in reality everyone is in a festive, friendly mood. AND DO YOU SEE ALL THAT CHEESE?! Happiness. Pure happiness.

After purchasing (for 4 people, mind you) no less than 5.5 pounds of cheese, 2 gallons of olive oil, 4 sticks of Margherita pepperoni, I have no idea how much deli meat, plus some stuffed olives and sundried tomatoes for good measure, we figured we should probably find some breakfast.

You know how they say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? That’s some solid advice.

Maybe we’ll try that next year.

Eh. Doubt it.

Anyway, breakfast was ah-mazing. This pretty much sums it up:

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Afterwards, we meandered to the spice store, the pepperoni roll cart (from Sunseri Brothers, naturally, because I couldn’t settle for one that wasn’t bigger than my head. Duh.), the wine shop, the sausage shop, and of course, the bakery for some fresh Italian bread. If you couldn’t already tell, we like food.

We eventually headed home for naps and to meet up with Mr. B, who had to work that morning and wasn’t able to join us on our little shopping excursion. That night my dad made his famous “dad’s spaghetti” for us. It’s not your typical spaghetti, it’s actually penne in olive oil with banana peppers, hot sausage, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli. IT’S DELICIOUS. But it’s also super spicy, so Mr. B had steak.

The rest of the evening was spent drinking, laughing at Joey, and exchanging gifts. My cousin had planned on visiting with us, but she wasn’t able to squeeze us in to her schedule after all. (No worries, I got to spend the entire weekend with her, which is way better than an hour or two.)

Early Christmas morning, Mr. B and I headed back to our house to exchange our gifts. We bummed around the house watching Christmas movies and swearing we’d never eat ever again. Then we took a little nap and ate some leftovers.

Christmas bums.

Christmas bums, enjoying a little snuggle sesh.

Christmas evening we ventured across the farm for dinner with Mr. B’s dad’s family. We ate more and watched the little kids play games. Some how, Mr. B got pulled into a game. I’m not clear on the objective of this particular game, but it involved putting cookies on his head.

Our final Christmas gathering took place last night, when my cousins came up for dinner.

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Nate was here this summer, and Tyler is going to school nearby so we get to see him all the time these days, but I hadn’t seen their sister, Danielle, in about 5 years. She actually spent the weekend with Mr. B and I, and her brothers joined us yesterday. Before they moved across the country, Dani was my little buddy, and I’ve missed her so much.  It was so nice to see her again and spend some quality time with her. She’s not exactly my mini-me anymore (since she’s as tall as me these days), but she’s even cooler than I remembered. Hopefully, it won’t be another five years before I see her again.

Even though I’m sad that it is over, it was a wonderful Christmas. The entire week was filled with fun, food, and lots of love and laughter. I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

How did you spend your holiday? Has anyone else sworn off eating for the rest of forever?

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My Favorite Christmas Tradition {12 Days of Blogging}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “favorite Christmas tradition” (I’m a day behind on this one. Just go with it.)

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Growing up, our Christmas celebration centered more around Christmas Eve than Christmas day. I mean, sure, getting a bunch of presents was cool as hell, but Christmas Eve was when the really awesome stuff happened.

Each year, our extended family would gather at my great-aunt and uncle’s house (and later at my grandparents’) to spend the holiday together. For most of us, this just meant driving across town, but for my mom’s cousin and his wife, it meant making the trip from Buffalo to Pittsburgh with a van-load of children. The Buffalo cousins are close in age to my brother and I, so this was always a blast. Plus, our younger cousins would be there too. They lived nearby at the time, but I still got excited every time I’d get to see them.

I'm not sure when this picture was taken exactly, but it was a while ago. See the little cutie in the polka-dot dress? Yeah, she has a driver's license now.

I’m not sure when this picture was taken exactly, but it was a while ago. See that little cutie in the polka-dot dress? Yeah, she has a driver’s license now.

Each year we spent Christmas Eve the same way. First, we’d get all dressed up and head to church for the Christmas Eve service. I’m not much of a church-goer, but I love Christmas Eve service. The candlelight service and singing the songs of the holiday just warm my heart. After church, we’d head back to the house. I loved this short drive, where we’d see the houses all lit up and the beautiful luminaria lining the streets of the neighborhood.

Back at the house, my grandmother and great-aunt would have a feast waiting for us. Ham, turkey, and all the fixin’s, not to mention enough sweets to give us all diabetes. It was amazing. We’d stuff ourselves until we couldn’t eat any more, all while excitedly bouncing in our seats because we knew that the best part of the entire Christmas celebration was coming up next.

I don’t know who has connections with the jolly man in a red suit (though I suspect it’s my grandmother), but someone managed to talk him into stopping by before he started his night of globe trotting. Each year after dinner, we’d hear the distinct jingle of Santa’s bells, followed by the ringing doorbell. (Clearly, someone had an “in” with him, since it was casual enough for him to use the front door.) He’d waddle through the door, plop himself in a comfy chair, and dig deep into his sack of gifts. Each child (and sometimes a well-behaved grown-up or two), would be called up to sit on Santa’s lap and receive one early gift. He’d bring the rest of the loot when he stopped by again later that night on his usual route, but he always had a present for us to open on Christmas Eve before we snuggled into bed. Wasn’t that just so thoughtful of him?!

I know, I know. There is an awful rumor going around that Santa Claus isn’t real. It’s crap. Don’t believe them. I can assure you, he exists. And if you know someone who knows the right people, he can even be talked into knocking on your front door if you behave yourself in church. (I know there are many, many pictures of this somewhere – I just wasn’t able to dig them up. But I promise, there is proof…somewhere. I’ll find it.)

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

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The Train {12 Days of Blogging Christmas}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “Christmas tree/home decor”.

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I’ve already told you how excited I get about putting up Christmas decorations each year. Growing up it was no different; I was thrilled to pull the old boxes out of the attic, unwrap each festive item, and find it a place in our home. My favorite part of all was setting up the train.

It wasn’t just a train, it was an entire town. Not just any town, actually. Since it’s always a winter wonderland and the Claus’ reside there, I think it’s safe to say it’s the North Pole.

This year, my dad passed the train set down to me, and he helped Mr. B and I set it up at our house. It takes up roughly half of our little living room, but it makes the whole house a tiny bit more magical. Once my dad got it running for us and showed Mr. B how it all works, Mr. B and I finished setting up all of the little details.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

 

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa's workshop and the toy store.

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa’s workshop and the toy store.

 

There are so many pieces to the train that we can't use them all at one time. This is what we've got set up this year.

There are so many pieces to the train that we can’t use them all at one time. This is what we’ve got set up this year.

 

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering how Joey feels about this, check out this video on Instagram.

What Christmas traditions are near and dear to your heart?

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

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Happy Monday, kids! Welcome back to real life! If you are anything like me, it’s been a real struggle to get back in the swing of things after the long, lazy weekend of gluttonous consumption. (I’m wearing pants with an elastic waistband today, just in case anyone was wondering.) I haven’t really been expected to accomplish anything since last Tuesday, so dealing with “responsibilities” today has been a challenge.

On Wednesday, I spent most of the day baking. I had every intention of doing more than baking, but apparently I am a bad judge of how long it takes me to do things. I honestly believed I would get up early, bake until about lunchtime and then have the rest of the day to do other things. HA. I baked cookies, pies, and pumpkin rolls for a solid twelve hours. TWELVE HOURS. (It would have taken me longer if I hadn’t talked Mr. B and Tyler into icing the cookies for me.) When I was done, I wasn’t up for anything that didn’t involve wine and my couch.

BoysIceCookies

Thursday was spent bouncing around Western Pennsylvania and consuming excessive amounts of turkey, ham, sweets, and wine. Our first stop was Mr. B’s mom’s house for a full feast with her family, followed by a quick visit to Mr. B’s dad’s side of the family. We didn’t have time to eat there, but we wanted to pop in and wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving before heading to my dad’s house for turkey dinner number two. We stuffed ourselves silly for the second time that day, and my dad got to spend some time quality time with his “grandpuppy”.

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Friday and Saturday were spent eating leftovers and putting up Christmas decorations. Friday night, Mr. B and I went to Friendsgiving at Kristin’s house, where we ate and drank just as much as we had the day before, but with friends instead of family. It was a blast.

Late Saturday afternoon, Tyler and I found out that our great aunt had passed away. She played an important role in both of our lives when we were young, so her passing (while not unexpected) was pretty hard on us. To take our minds off of our feelings of grief and helplessness, Mr. B. suggested we try assembling the train set. We’d planned to wait for my dad to help us (since, really, he’s the only one who knows what he’s doing), but we agreed that having a project to keep our hands and minds busy was a good idea.

RyanTrainTracks

Saturday evening and Sunday morning were spent constructing a platform, setting up the tracks, and trying -unsuccessfully – to make the train work. My dad is coming for a visit next weekend to help us figure out what went wrong. Even though we weren’t successful in our endeavors, we did manage to distract ourselves from our pain, if only for a little while.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. B and I took Tyler back to school. On our way home, we stopped at a Christmas tree farm to pick out and cut down our own tree.

RyanCutsTreeCollage

 

We brought her home, covered her in tractors and Christmas cheer, and then enjoyed some popcorn and a cheesy holiday made-for-TV movie.

ChristmasMovieNight

 

How was your holiday weekend? Did you get to spend quality time with your family and friends? Is anyone else feeling a little fluffy today?

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The Thankful Project {Something I Was Taught}

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Thankful Project Title

I remember a short conversation I had with my father when I was a child. I don’t remember how old I was or any other details about that day, but the words he spoke are crystal-clear in my mind.

In typical whiny, small child fashion, I had asked my dad “why do you have to go to work?”

His reply: “I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.”

I barely understood his meaning at the time, but those words have stuck with me. That one simple sentence has lingered in my mind, as a verbal representation of a lesson he taught me through his actions every single day: Find something you love to do, and do it with everything you have.

My dad has worked in the car business my entire life. He’s had different roles, titles, responsibilities, and customer bases along the way, but one thing has always been constant for me: my dad sells cars. I’ve always known – even if I wasn’t really aware – that he loves what he does. And that the satisfaction he gets from spending his days doing something he truly enjoys makes him great at his job.

He hasn’t always been in the business; he dabbled in other trades before finding his niche. It was such an odd thing to learn as a kid, that dad used to do something else. I’ve realized that this wasn’t odd to me simply because it was different from what I knew, it was odd because I can’t imagine my father finding such joy and satisfaction in any other career.

It was such an important lesson to wrap my head around. I don’t recall him ever lecturing my brother and I on the importance of doing what we love, in fact, I don’t remember him saying much about it at all. Instead, he showed us every day. As I’ve come to understand all that it means, I’ve noticed how true it is in my own life. I do my best work when I’m truly happy with what I’m doing. I’m happiest in all aspects of my life when I enjoy how I spend the bulk of my day.

So, Daddy, thank you. I know I haven’t said it enough, but I appreciate all that you did for us every day. You did so much more than put food on the table and a roof over our heads. You taught me a very important lesson, one that, sadly, too few people ever learn. Sure, the paycheck matters, but we need to spend our lives doing what makes us happy. If we are going to spend most of our hours, days, weeks, years doing something, shouldn’t it bring us joy?

Because of you, I know how important it is to be able to say: “I don’t have to go to work, I get to go to work.”

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A Change Is Brewing, but I Am Hopeful

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I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. Not sure what to say, or how to say it. Not entirely sure I wanted to say anything at all.

But I do want to talk about it. It has been pulsing gently in the back of my brain every time I sit down to write. I feel like it has dampened my mood and spirit, and I’m afraid of the toll that it is taking on my writing. I fear that the tone of my blog has changed ever so slightly. Maybe it hasn’t, really. It’s possible that I am the only one who sees any change, but still…I want to get it out. To share.

My parents – after 30+ years of marriage, two kids, one house, and a handful of Labrador Retrievers – are divorcing.

And while it does suck for so many reasons, at the very heart of the issue, I support this decision. I’m ok with it. I really, truly am – probably more than you would expect a child to be.

Secret To Change

Of course I’m sad. I’m sad for the end of their union. I’m sad that my parents, for the first time in my life, will relate to my brother and I as individuals, instead of the unit we’ve always known. I’m sad for my brother, who is closer to the nucleus of this whole ordeal. I’m sad for the parent who didn’t ask for this change, but who must muddle through it anyway. I’m sad to say goodbye to life as I’ve known it for 28 years. It weighs heavy on my heart and mind.

But I am hopeful. I know there is a beautiful life waiting for both of them in this next chapter. I am certain that they will thrive in this new unknown. We all have to learn to exist in this new reality, but I have hope that we will be better, stronger, and happier for it.

I love my parents, and I want them to be happy. I can honestly say that I see them both being happier, stronger people when they emerge on the other side of this mess. First, though, we have to get through the mess.

So, if it seems like my head isn’t always in the game, forgive me, please. My world is in a bit of a transition.

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Furniture Fit for a Grown-Up and Other Weekend Shenanigans

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I had such a nice weekend – productive and fun! – and I’m determined to carry that through this week. Especially after last week, which was…not productive. At all.

Sami's Shenanigans

On Saturday morning, Mr. B took the horses to get new shoes while I stayed home to clean up around the house. The trip to the farrier took much longer than usual, so I got lots of me time (as in, I got to do some knitting, paint my nails and spend quality time with Netflix. It was nice.) When he finally returned, we set out for Ikea – a trip we’ve been procrastinating all summer. We have been talking about picking up things for the house for a long while now, but managed to put it off for the last several months in favor of warm weather activities, like boating and day drinking.

On our way home from The Land of Home Furnishing Fabulousness, we stopped at Burgatory and stuffed ourselves. It was glorious. I devoured a burger the size of my head and washed it down with a “salted Nutella crunch” milkshake, which was the richest, gooiest, most heavenly thing I may have ever tasted. I felt like a cow when I was done, but it was amazingggg.

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The next morning we unpacked our loot and assembled, arranged and decorated for hours. This is what we ended up with:

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1// A real bed for the spare room! Up until yesterday we had an air mattress in there for anyone who wanted to crash with us for the night. To everyone who spent the night on an inflatable on our floor: I’m so very sorry. We finally have a grown up guest room, please come back and enjoy it!

2// A new rug for my office. (It was only $20!!)

3// A new rug for the living room. (Joey planted himself there as soon as we spread it out because obviously it is unacceptable to have even one item in this house that isn’t covered in dog hair.)

4// A cute puppy butt wall hook to hang dog-wiping towel on.

5// A few little mirrors to liven up the office walls. (These weren’t on our shopping list, but for $2-3 each, I couldn’t leave them there.)

6// New pillow covers for the living room, made necessary after a baby Joey ripped a hole in one of the old covers with his stupid-sharp puppy teeth.

Later in the afternoon, my dad came by to drop off his boat (it spends the winter in storage near our house). The three of us went to the marina for a few drinks and a nice dinner. I really enjoy hanging out with my dad, so I’m loving that I’ve gotten to see more of him lately.

It was a great weekend – I got to relax, spend time with the guys I love, and Mr. B and I finally accomplished some crap we’ve been talking about for about six months.

So in the spirit of productivity, I’m off to chug some coffee, make a to-do list, and get some stuff done. Peace out, yo.

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