Monday, January 18, 2010

Ritz Project Part 1

Every Saturday/Sunday I plan on setting a goal for myself and by the time the following week rolls around I plan on accomplishing it.

Lesson learned- By trying to cram everything into one day, I don't accomplish what I want and end up frustrated and angry at myself. If I sit for too long, I feel like I'm wasting my day. There are seven days in a week and I try to cram all I want and need to do into two...sometimes one.

Yesterday was good example. I wanted to get everything done in one day. I know I have all week but that didn't matter.There is no reason I shouldn't do something for myself in the evenings. I never have so it's time that I do. And..I'm suppose to enjoy the process not rush through it.

So what did I accomplish? I made Cuban black beans in a bed of rice, palomilla steaks, fried plantains, and an avocado salad with Florida avocados and the last of a tomato I had. Though I have made this a ton of times, I did allow myself to enjoy the process and not hurry through it. Do you know that I have never paid attention to the aroma in the kitchen? Not this time...I took it all in and it was wonderful. I did hurry through for the picture taking part. There really was no reason except for my head telling me that everyone else was in a hurry to eat. Well that's something else to work on.

But here it is....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Ritz Project

As the date for my 50th birthday steadily approached, I retreated from life. On the outside, it was business as usual. Ahhh, but on the inside? I felt like I was dying. The fact that I was actually turning 50 wasn't the problem. It wasn't the number. It was the realization that I was not truly happy. Not with David or the family but with myself. So what did I do to turn things around? Nothing. November and December brought more bad news. David got laid off again. Still, on the outside I was chipper and optimistic. I was the cheerleader for everyone else. I felt like I was drowning. But sometimes life will kick you in the ass and make you wake up....make you pay attention.

My wake up call was almost losing David in the new year.

As our Christmas festivities came to an end, Tony went back to Denver and I went back to work. David began to complain about his leg around this time. What made things worse was his refusal to come to my office to get the leg scanned. I of course was thinking he had a DVT...a clot in his leg. By New Years Eve I knew it was bad because he didn't want to go to the party we were invited to. By this time he complained of pain on his right side and seemed short of breath. I asked then insisted we should go to the ER. He flat out refused. On January 2 he couldn't take the pain any longer and when he came down from what I thought was a nap he was gasping for air.

I don't know who I am more mad at...him for not listening to me or me for not being more persistent. Irregardless, it turns out he has 2 clots in his leg and 2 clots in his lungs. He made to the ER in time and started on blood thinners. But even with all that, a week later while in the hospital he starts to complain of chest pain. Now i think back on that day and wonder how he made it through.. One of his clots in his lungs got bigger and he threw a new clot in there, The doctor had told him he would die if this happened again. But it did happen again and thankfully he is still here with me.

Before David went into surgery last week, he said he was not scared to die because he is happy with the life he's led and is good with God. As I anxiously awaited for the surgery to be over, I thought, crap...I couldn't say the same. So instead of a New Years resolution (that I blow off within days)......I'm calling it the Ritz Project.

Whats the Ritz Project you wonder? Well it is allowing yourself to take time to learn something new, explore something you are interested in, or do something out of the ordinary just for yourself. What I hope to accomplish with this project is to better know myself, my true needs and wants. Also to discover what really makes me happy.

I'm calling it a project for a few reasons

1) I need accountability .... I'm including a few close friends and blogging about it every week. Hopefully get some of you out there interested too and we can support each other.

2) Making resolutions...really? Doesn't work for me at all.

3) Sounds like work but in a fun way. I'm approaching it like I do my job, which BTW..I'm great at. I have evaluation says so.

I am 50 and dammit I am determined to find out who I am and what it is I love. Who's with me? Who wants to learn a little more about themselves, discover a new passion?

Today, I'm am making a thank you card for my coworkers (instead of buying one), making a special dinner and photographing both. This is incorporating three things I'm interested in: cooking, art, and photography.

Your turn...tell me what you are interested in.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just like Christmas...Gone in a Flash.

My friend Mary said it best. "Just like Christmas. We look forward to Tony coming home for so long...then he's gone is a flash! :( "

On Wed. Forth Yeer had a show at Beat Kitchen (great food...great venue) with The Wanderers and The Blind Staggers (Damien's band). They got in at 9am in order for Tony to spend some time with family and friends. In true Tony fashion he was so excited to be coming home, that he hadn't slept in 24 hours and wasn't planning on it either. After visiting all morning, he finally took a nap so he could play that evening.

Damien's drummer Sara couldn't make the show so he had to put together musicians to play his music. It was definitely different than the CD but those guys playing and Laura singing....WOW.

I had to borrow a camcorder (something else to put on my list of need to buy) but I'm missing the cable thingy that connects from the camcorder to the computer. I will be getting one this week and then posting the best ones. They look great on the camcorder, hopefully it looks and sounds that good once I download.

Laura was recordered but the sound and quality isn't that great. But something is something.

Once his show was over, Damien called Tony up on stage to play with him.
Even though it wasn't planned and they haven't played together in awhile, it was fantastic to see them together again. It was wonderful to hear the crowd singing along but when Damien told Tony that is was the most fun he had all night....well this Mom cried buckets.

Hormones and Meltdowns

Is it that my hormones are out of whack or am I losing it??? In the past few weeks I have gone from teary eyed to downright sobbing. I mean the ugly cry. You know the ugly cry. The face, snot, wailing sounds...yeah, the ugly cry.

It started out of nowhere as me and David ordered burgers. I even had to put my sunglasses on so no one would notice, including him. Yeah..that didn't work. That started the questions, what did he do or say. Gotta love guys, they automatically think they've done something wrong. Which most of the time they have...but not this time. I couldn't even talk as I ate my burger through tears. I thought about it as we rode home on the bike with the sun shining down on us. It was such a gorgeous day.....and I'm in tears. GEEZ!!!! Though I had been crying for a few weeks, it was the first time I had cried in front of anyone and had to explain what I felt.

When we got home, Lucy had some "splaining" to do. Wow, where do I start? I feel like time is running out and I haven't explored the things I want to do. Haven't taken the time to do things I enjoy doing. The kids are grown and mostly out (well, baby girl is back) and my life is still revolving around everyone else. What they are doing and how they feel. Why? Why do I keep doing this? There are things I enjoy but I have no one to enjoy them with. I don't do things by myself. So I don't do them. I'm going to need to learn how to, otherwise I'm never going to do anything, and it will be the vicious circle.

I told David that even though I enjoy music and love watching our kids perform, it's his passion and their passion....not mine. I love art and photography. He use to paint in oils and hasn't in like 20 or more years. He says it's because he doesn't have the time. When we moved from Miami to Lancaster,Ca, he gave away everything, all his art stuff. Though he supports anything I do and gives me constructive criticism, he hasn't been interested in pursuing painting again. I would love for us to share that.

Instead of seeing myself as a blubbering idiot once again, I decided to make some changes. I want to create more, take some art classes....I want to take photography classes...I want to....I need more me stuff. Ribfest was my first step. But obviously afternoon festing is not my thing unless there is beer involved. So early festing is the answer. It inspires me and gets the creative juices flowing. It just gives me that feel good high. Add booze and that's just perfection.

The big birthday is around the corner and nipping at my heels. So I want the Canon Rebel as my present. There is a photography studio that holds classes right by work. I'm going to enroll. There is an art studio on my way home from work....going to enroll in some classes there too. I'm tired of just rearranging stuff in my studio and not creating.

Here are some pictures of what I've been doing since my meltdown on poor David. I've also included a picture of how David spent Father's day.....pouring concrete in order to get ready for Tony's arrival (that's a post all on it's own....oh I cried buckets then too, but for different reasons)

Custer's Last Stand Festival - Went with my boss and had a blast. Inspiration galore!!! She is exactly like me and we went early and left as the place was getting packed.
Even though it was sweltering hot....I came home and started these....
Though they only have a few layers and they are not done, at least it's a start.
And it was so worth the sunburn.... OUCH!

We took Desi to the lake...ah to see sand and water through the eyes of a child.
He walked into the water like a man possessed. Isn't there a movie where Bill Murray does that?

And finally....Father's Day in Ritzland.

We now were ready for Tony's arrival.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Moment of Silence for Michael Jackson

It was October 1984. Damien was 4 years old and loved all that was Michael Jackson. We finally were in a good place financially and since we only had Damien and weren't planning on any more kids (HA!), we decided to indulge our only child and take him to his first concert. We didn't tell him where we were taking him, but to see that boy's eyes light up the moment Michael Jackson took the stage is still priceless to me. That's all the boy talked about for weeks.

Both David and I grew up watching the Jackson5 get famous. I loved watching Michael dance, it was truly amazing. On Thursday as we were relaxing in our hotel room celebrating the beginning of our anniversary weekend, we got a call from Tony, who had just left Chicago for the next leg of his own tour, to tell us Michael Jackson had died. Although Tony didn't grow up during MJ's rise, he was a huge fan. He considered him a musical genius.

We sat in our hotel room transfixed to the TV watching CNN and MTV. Unbelievable to think he was only 50 and now he is gone.

Another legend dies.............

Monday, June 15, 2009

Ribfest with a Toddler

Have I gotten THAT old?

Yesterday was finally a warm sunny day here in Chicago and we decided we wanted to go to one of the neighborhood festivals. We also knew Desi was being dropped off since both Emilie and Damien had to work in the afternoon. David (in all his wonderful wisdom) said we'd just take him along.

First off...As I've gotten older, I realize I don't like big crowds, extreme heat, and small children. Okay, maybe not the small children but the parents of said children. What's with this generation of parents? I have child...therefore I am...attitude? Within an hour of being there,I was ready to punch someone in the face. I should have just had a beer. Which I kept repeating to David as I passed each beer stand.

Ribfest was PACKED at 3 in the afternoon. It was a sea of people....with their strollers. Did I say strollers and packed? It was shoulder to shoulder...yet there were strollers in the street. Drunk people and strollers is just a catastrophe waiting to happen. Can you tell that we didn't bring one and that I never got my beer?

Aside from the fact that I had to deal with obnoxious parents getting pissed that the sea of people didn't part as they tried to maneuver their Cadillacs of strollers around the crowd, the thought of trying to eat ribs with your elbows tucked in so that someone wouldn't bump into you and have your ribs going flying....well, it was too much.

After we let Desi go apeshit in some type of maze contraption, I was more than ready to go home, not because of him, but because by this time, I had tripped over a gazillion damn strollers. David commented on how good Desi was and that he wasn't whining or complaining...his grandmother was. Yeah? And? Your point?

So here I have a few pointers for going to these great summer festivals for the anxious, impatient, parents get on your nerves...type of people like me.

a) Hit and Run....go early, eat, check out the vendors...listen to some tunes and get the hell out when it gets crowded to where you can't extend an arm.

b) If you have kids and you are going mid day...leave the strollers at home...or the attitude....I understand the stroller thing..but the attitude? no.


See, I know that if I would have had a few beers in me, I would have been a happy camper and not cared about ANYTHING. Crowds, parents, strollers... or maybe I would have really punched someone in the face. Either way...I wouldn't have been cranky and needed a nap.

But the day wasn't about me...SHOCK...I was about taking Desi out. David was right, the kid was great. He couldn't complain...he had the best seat in the house. I know because I had the same seat 30 years ago and 30 pounds ago when I got tired too.

On a side note...I know I have been MIA lately. Sorry. I've been going through a thing. I will address it all soon. My anniversary is next week and Tony is coming through Chicago while touring. Will give details this week of all my fun plans and my not so fun patch I've been dealing with.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

Literally it rained IN my house and ON my head last Friday. Needless to say, we fired the plumber.

We finally were going to build the master bathroom of our dreams. Can you say bathroom heaven??? I had visions of my own personal spa every night after work. David was installing all kinds of doodads. Things to warm the towels as well as our buttcheeks on cold winter days. Marble and granite all around me as I take my rain shower and mist or relax sore muscles in the jaccuzzi. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. We are even installing a bidet. How European of us huh?
There were a few other plumbing work we needed to have done before running the pipes up 2 flights. I didn't think much about it. I knew there would be concrete dug up in the basement. I would be minus washer and dryer for a couple of weeks, but all worth the sacrifice.

That was until I came home from an exhausting day at work to find dirt...YES DIRT paths from the basement door into my kitchen and through the dining room and up the stairs. WTF??? And the plumber? He was done for the day. The stuff under my sink thrown to the side on the floor. Dirt was everywhere!
David is an electrician and has done general construction. I know for a fact that if he has worked in a house where people are actually living while renovating.....he has cleaned up after himself each day. No dirt paths.

I was beyong angry and he came home and was not too pleased though not for the same reasons. Seems the plumbing was going in crooked. David can do plumbing but since he is not confident in it, he wanted a professional. He said, even he would have done a better job, he had a talk with the guy. When Friday rolled around and Chicago had a torrid rainfall....that was the last straw. There was water coming in from who knows where he poked through and seeping down the dining room wall. As I was inspecting the wall.....raindrops fell on my head.

That's it.... YOU'RE FIRED!!!

A friend of ours is a union plumber and his son is an apprentice and they are doing the job now after he heard waht happened. What is it costing us? An old Harley that Anjelika was riding. Though baby girl isn't too happy about it, she understands. Trade off is she wants to be able to use our bathroom once and awhile. Now I'm saying yes yes yes to anything...I just want my house back in order and calgon to take me away.

Here is the chaos that is our to begin again next week.