Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On why I'm not good at being a girl: an (embarrassing?) confess-sesh

In my 26 years of being a girl, I've had my moments of feeling like I'm "doing it wrong." as they say.
There are certain things that I'm familiar with, I hear people use the phrases, but in application I am 100% clueless. Most of these have to do with beauty related items.

Maybe you guys can laugh at me, maybe I can get some honest to god answers, either way.. here we go.

1. Dry shampoo
I always heard girls talking about this stuff, and it confused me.
Shampoo is wet. Is this a wet substance you apply when your hair is dry? How does that make it NOT greasy? It sounds like it'd make it greasIER? Then one day, someone told me it comes out like a hairspray. OH! Okay. (This was after I confessed to someone that when my hair was bad I'd dump baby powder on my head and one day I didn't rub it in well enough and looked like I had a granny-patch RIGHT on the top-o-my-head until lunch, when I noticed it in the pop machine. womp.) I was informed dry shampoo is JUST LIKE baby powder, only less shameful and less actual powdery. Grandma hair is no more, and now I feel like my unshowered hair is more "trendy" and less "gross."

2. "____-Day hair!" (insert any number. 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.)
Okay, so, this goes hand in hand with my dry shampoo quandry. I hear people say "this is 3rd day hair!" buuuuttt then I read THIS post Raven did, which she talked about taking showers and blasting hair with a blow dryer quick but still it was 6th day hair? So... does this mean when you guys say 2nd day hair, you still like.. get in the shower and get it wet and shit, you just don't put any shampoo on it, but then you still have to style it? This is where you lose me, and I may lose you (because maybe this is disgusting, I'm not sure)... when I say 2nd day hair, I mean no part of my body has seen the inside of a shower since yesterday. Am I doing it wrong? Isn't 2nd, 3rd, 4th day hair awesome because you didn't have to style it again? OR do some of you not get it wet but still take showers? (Do you then wear a shower cap in the shower?) I have long hair (duh) and on days I don't scrunch it and diffuse it (and wear it naturally curly) it is a royal pain in my ass to dry it all, and then style it. So when I rock 2nd day hair, it's so I can avoid all that styling B.S... and in rare moments of awesomeness, if you see me the 3rd day with a ponytail, it's because I still have not showered. I just generously apply deodorant and roll out. Is this gross? I'm honest to god not trying to be all "look at me I'm so cool and alternative" I'm just not sure what's going on, people.

3. Eyeliner- specifically lower lash liner.
Guys, this one was real tricky for a real long time. I never used to line my lower lash (mostly because I didn't understand how the F to do it) and if I did, I reserved it for fancier nights out. I then realized my eyes photograph better when lined on both sides (who knew!?) I then realized at a Mary Kay party once, that I was doing it all wrong. You see, I used to line this part:
(I've highlighted it for you with some super awesome faux-80s blue liner, for effect)
Uhhh, nobody freakin' told me that's not the right part. I always wondered how peoples' eyeliner stayed on all day because that part of your eyelid is like, super moist (sorry, I know) and it would always just get wet and rub off when I blinked. Then, in a revelation, I discovered people just kind of drew it on right OVER the spot where the lower lashes come out, so it was like a harder version of connect-the-dots. I still feel like it goes on spotty and I look like a crack head, but significantly less than before!

4. Primer, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, concealer, cover-up
If you held a gun to my head and told me I needed to recite what each one was supposed to do, or asked me whether they were different, I'd be dead. Honestly. Throw in the fact that some of them can appear in liquid form OR powder form and all bets are off. I was blessed with pretty good skin, so I've never had an overwhelming need to use anything like this. Not to mention an overwhelming fear of winding up like "that girl from high school" with the orange face and definitive line between her jawline and neck (YOU know who I'm talkin' about). I am sure I could benefit from an overall even appearance that these products usually give women, but that'd require me to wake up more than 20 minutes before I left the house. I've been known to put on a random .... concealer? bronzer? I am not sure which one it is, that I found in a drawer before a night out on the town. That's usually the only time I'll attempt some of the "harder" makeup stuff (read: normal for everyone else, but shit I can't seem to get a grasp on).

5. I'm just going to say it: bikini lines.
Maybe this makes me a weirdo or maybe this is TMI, but I glance around at the beach. I see all you tanned toned bitches with your perfect bikini lines. Does everybody on the planet wax? Or was I just not taught to shave properly? or is there some magic razor you all are buying? Because.. I just can't. gah.

I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this at some point because, well, I'm just not that great at being a girl sometimes.

happy humpday, people.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend happenings

There's only so many ways to title a weekend wrap up. Clearly I'm not stretching too hard to be creative. Mer.
I realize, sitting here on Sunday night, that I dropped the ball last week in terms of posting. Woops. Maybe I'll be better this week.
Moving on to the weekend.

Friday night I met up with some MN Blogger girls for happy hour at the Green Mill in Rosedale Mall. I headed over after work and did some shopping before our 6:00 meetup. I bought a shirt-dress (that you'll see below in a picture) and some mint skinny's. I figure I'm only a year behind that trend, and for $15, it's not too late to hop on the tail end of it, right?

The girls at HH:

Saturday morning I woke up to this little terror:


He gets hungry and starts to act out if we don't get up to feed him soon enough. This particular morning he took pleasure in pulling the table runner down and then stomping on it. He got even more riled up when I was awake and talking to him and still not making a move to get up and feed him. 

I finally stopped neglecting him and fed him. Afterward, he slunk back upstairs and peeked from around the corner..

I think someone felt bad about how he acted.

Since we were up pretty early (8:30) we decided to head to one of our favorite breakfast spots in Minneapolis, Moose & Sadie's.


See, Moose is the dog. Sadie is the girl: 

It's in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, and has a very industrial vibe. It's a super small spot, but we were one of the first few there. If I was told I could only eat one meal out for the rest of my life, I'd pick breakfast/brunch hands down every time. While I love to sleep (duh), I also love to wake up early still (8:30-9) on the weekends and hit a breakfast spot. Something about being awake before a lot of the world, watching the sun come up, having coffee. I just love breakfast. 

It also helps that Moose & Sadie's has some of THE best quiche in Minneapolis, and trust me.. I've done the leg work. (Aster Cafe, across the river, is either tied for 1st or a close 2nd, depending on what kind they're serving). I had the bacon broccoli cheddar. nomnomnom.

After, we swung by Men's Warehouse to put in the suit order. My brother, no surprise, is the only one who hasn't gotten his measurements in. I've been trying to maintain a delicate balance of reminding and not badgering but with family, that line blurs fast.

Then I found TJ's suit that he'll be wearing to the wedding:

JK guys, I'm not THAT crazy.
I'm not sure I've mentioned it before, but we're not having a ring bearer or flower girl or any kids in the wedding party. Don't get me wrong, I find all your children adorable, but to me- wrangling multiple small children for photos, dealing with their antics and moods, and potential 'stage fright' sounds like the absolute last thing I want to do on my wedding day. That, and I'm not exceptionally close to any small children in my family. I think if my brother and I were older or he were married with kids, I'd use them. That being said, I can totally see WHY people do include kids: this tiny suit, I died. 

After Men's Warehouse, I talked M into going to Shane Co. to just "look" at bands (I think you can guess how this story ends...). I wasn't sure if I wanted a band, or would find a band that was affordable. (it's a good thing I didn't have any say over how much M spent on my ring, because I have SUCH anxiety about spending large sums of money, especially asking someone else to spend it on me, that I wouldn't have wound up with as nice of a ring as I have if I were a part of the decision). I also wasn't sure if I would like the way a band looked with my ring. (Here's a reminder of what it looks like-->)

I figured I'd need a contoured band since it kind of bows out around the center stone. Well, we walked in just wanting to get a feel for how it'd look. She pulled 3 rings. One straight band, one that bowed out, and one that kind of was a soft sideways "S" (if that makes any sense at all). Color me surprised when the band that was my favorite was the most affordable. I bought it for myself on the spot, haha.
Here it is:

I'm going to refrain from sharing the band/ring combo as it actually looks on my hand until the wedding, sowwy. ;-)

Saturday afternoon I hung out around the house while M helped his dad move into his new apartment. Saturday night was an absolute blast. M's friend from college, Brett, married a girl named Gretchen. It was Gretchen's dad's (Red, is his name) 60th birthday party. Because they live on a lake, a lot of M's friends have spent a lot of time over there and have gotten to know Red. They're so generous and the party did not disappoint. They had live music, and the theme was "Red" for Red (as you can see in the background). I wish the picture was better quality.

We stayed until about midnight, singing along and having a good time.

Sunday we went to church with my parents, and then M and my dad went to the Sportsman's Show in Minneapolis in preparation for their annual Canada fishing trip. My brother's not going on the trip this year so he stayed behind, and he and I went and got Chipotle for lunch. I think it's been hard on him living at home (he and my dad butt heads) and he's often not in the best mood when I see him. Since it was just the two of us, though, we were able to chat and I really enjoyed it. 

We got home and played with my parent's cat, Squish. Or "mush" as Syndal calls him. ;-)

We randomly had some legos sitting out in the living room (my mom's PCA had her kids over apparently) so Stephen started playing with the cat with them. This ensued, naturally:

After the guys got home, M and I swung by M's dad's and helped him set up his apartment a bit more. Currently, we're snuggled up on the couch watching the Gopher's embarrass themselves to Florida. Sorry, not even trying to be a downer, but it's not looking good.

Hope you all had a good weekend!
I've had such a hodge podge of posts sitting in my drafts.. maybe I'll finish one or 2 and get my shit together this week. Or maybe not. We'll see. :)


Monday, March 18, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things

What would a recap of a weekend that included a "favorite things" party be without a gratuitous reference to the Sound of Music, amiright?

Friday night M had a going away party for their old CEO, and then we watched 3 episodes of Homeland.

Saturday I helped my friend move into her new apartment.. sorta. I basically showed up after everything was unloaded, but mostly I was just dropping off an old trunk I painted for her to use as a coffee table. We went to brunch after with her parents, and 2 friends who helped her move.

I came home after and got ready to head to the Minnesota Bloggers "favorite things" party! The idea behind the party is that everybody brings 3 of their favorite things. Or rather, 3 of the same thing. We kept the overall price limit to $15 or under, if at all possible. Then, we drew names and people got to go pick a 'favorite thing' from the table. As usual, it's always such a great time getting together with these girls.

We went around and introduced ourselves to some of the newer ladies, and talked a bit about why we got into blogging. Then, in a strange turn of events, somehow wound up sharing our mothers' maiden names. Something about how Lauren wanted our social security numbers and bank routing numbers. ;-) 

We then took turns explaining what each of us brought for our favorite thing. I think it's safe to say part of Andrea's contribution takes the cake. She brought some mascara, as well as what she lovingly referred to as the "chan fan".. it started with an image of channing tatum taped to a bag for our secret santa get together. Andrea upped the ante and brought 3 channing tatum "fans" to go along with the mascara. I was dying.

The chan-fan in action. 

My contribution to the party included the $5 colorful Target t-shirts that they have in stock right now, as well as a corresponding nail polish to match the colors in that particular shirt. 

My haul was pretty awesome, as well. 
I got a coffee mug and truffles from Jess, a cupcake from Britt, and a caribou gift card from Melissa.
(sassy, Jess)

After the party a group of ladies headed to Uptown for drinks.. where some of the blogger-husbands joined us. It was pretty hysterical meeting them, and suffice it to say they were troopers. From cat-man nicknames for Syndal's hubby Pete (I'm not going to include Lauren's nickname.. you're welcome, Pete), or confessing to Lo's husband Jesse that en route to the bar Jess and I were debating what his voice would sound like.

For the record, I won that one.

It was a really great afternoon and evening.

Sunday I power cleaned the house (or at least the countertops.. I don't even want to talk about the bath tub...) and did some laundry-- AH, that reminds me, must switch loads. and of course snuggled with the kitty-cat. I also double checked all the save-the-dates, and with the exception of one guys' wife's name... they're ready to go out! I think I'll wait until the end of the month. That puts us about 6 months out.

We ended up going over to my parents house last night for a little while.. after my dad had called M 3 times yesterday to ask technology related questions, we figured it might be best to go over there. My dad bought a new computer.. it's one of those touch-screen HP high tech ones. SO cool. M had serious computer envy. Now I know where I'm going to print our wedding invites! Their old computer was SO ungodly slow, it honestly took 20 minutes to boot up and 5 minutes between each click you made. woof.

Hope you all had a good weekend as well!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


What better time to post this "claimed blog" nonsense than on a Sunday when nobody reads blogs anyway ;-). You know the drill. With Google Reader closing down (even though I haven't used bloglovin' since setting up an account. I'm riding Google until it dies.) I've migrated to bloglovin'....sooo please follow me over there, will ya?!

I've also added the handy little widget over on the sidebar ------->

Thursday, March 14, 2013


There's only so much emo a person can handle in one day, and upon logging in and seeing Google Reader will be gone come July 1, I'm putting my somewhat (emo) planned on post for today on hold.

But seriously.
What, did google say, "OH, we have this really convenient successful tool that MILLIONS of bloggers (do normal people use it? I'm not even sure) use to read shit so let's TAKE IT AWAY and FREAK EM ALL OUT." Fuck you, google. (not even sorry about the F bomb, guys.) I think more companies need to adopt the mindset of the Catholic Church- change is NOT a good thing! Stick with what you do well! Just kidding. I'm Catholic, so I can say these things. aannnddd what with the new pope bizness I thought this would be semi-inappropriate.

So unbelievably anoying. Does this mean the GFC button on blogs will be gone? YOU GUYS I finnnnaaallllyyyy have a respectable number of followers (hi 84 of you!) and I don't want to LOSE you so whattdoiDO. But seriously. HALP.

I need coffee.

This week, just.... woof.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend happenings and Blogaversary winner

First of all, thank you guys for the sweet comments on my anniversary!
I will say, I'm a bit surprised there were only 24 entries.
We're talkin' free shit here, people,... do you not like free shit?
Whatevs, better odds for those of you who DID enter. We'll get to that at the bottom though.

Onto the weekend.
M was in Austin, TX at SXSW doing hipster-techy things for work, so I had a pretty low key weekend.

Friday night I headed over to one of M's friends' houses, actually, and had pizza with some married friends of ours, and another guy, and watched the high school hockey tournament and the Gopher's hockey games. For those unfamiliar with The Tourney- as it's called here in Minnesota- high school hockey is a HUGE deal in the state. Our professional hockey arena sells out (we're talking 18,000) for the championship game on Saturday night, and the 4-day attendance usually hits over 100,000. It's fun to watch because you inevitably recognize a lot of the guys on college teams within a year or two, and then often in the pros. If there's one thing MN does well, it's breed hockey players.

Saturday I bummed around the house. A lot. Woke up slow and enjoyed a grapefruit for breakfast

Snuggled with my buddy, obviously. 

I treated myself to lunch at Noodles & Co. ("you could make the buttered noodles & parmesan at home" you may be saying. NO, no you cannot. There's something in those damn noodles that makes them irresistible). 

Patrolled the neighborhood for hooligans.
Or... just squirrels.
and mostly it was just TJ. 

I spent the rest of the night watching tv and making escort cards.
Am I aware that we have 7 months until the wedding? Yep.
Instead of waiting for RSVP's to roll in, and making them at the last minute, I'd much rather make 30 extra and then pull them out of the stack as people decline. Yes, I'm an epic Type-A.
I've been meaning to take some photos of them and do a post on it, so I'll have to get around to that.

Sunday I slept in, again (this time I blame Daylight Savings) and then met my friend Molly at the most adorable little restaurant in Uptown.

it was delicious, and I loved chatting.
I hung around Calhoun Square (for you non MN's.. it's a shopping/restaurant area) and got 2 dresses at Francesca's. We have a wedding in April and it was buy one get one 50% off, so I couldn't NOT..annnnddd I got the giveaway gift!

I got an email at brunch confirming M's dad would be staying with us for a while, until he finds an apartment. He got a job down here in St. Paul (he lives in Moorhead right now) and I know M is very excited to have his dad around on a more regular basis.
SO, I've been advising on "where not to live" in STP, since I grew up there. We want to make sure he takes his time and finds the perfect spot, so we've told him he can stay with us as long as he needs. His job starts this Wednesday!
Sooo in anticipation, I tidied up the downstairs guest room (since he usually stays upstairs, but my closet is in that room, so we figured it'd be easier to put him downstairs for a slightly longer stay than usual). This of course meant I needed to buy a new duvet cover, some closet organization stuff, and towels for him. 

 (kind of an inside joke, I hope he gets a kick out of it)

The sign's temporary home until the wedding :)

Target had some Michael Grave's closet organization stuff on sale, so I grabbed the shelves and the hanging 2nd bar.  Once he finds an apartment, I think I will be adopting the hangy bar. It's awesome.

annddd finally, we have the giveaway winner! I bought a spring-y scarf and earrings at Francesca's for you. Hope you like them!

and I used the random number generator to determine a winner: 
aaand the winner is:

No freakin' joke.
I say this because we are in fact, real life, very good friends. haha. I hope ya'll don't think I rigged this, swear on baby-TJ that I didn't. I was actually really surprised a "1" popped up in the number thing, it's never the first or last number! Anyway, Leah, haha, I'll bring it over tonight when we watch the Bachelor.

I might owe you guys another giveaway... haha. Actually, to be honest, a lot of you who commented I have met in real life also, and I consider us friends :)

As requested, here are some of the LOLcat entries from the giveaway:

And if you click one outside link from this blog, let it be this GIF that Melissa sent me. I died.

That's it for this Monday.
If ya'll liked my emo post about my family, you'll love my emo "friendship" post I have drafted. We'll see if I'm feelin' it this week. It'll get published.. it's just a matter of when. :)

Hope you all had a good weekend!


Thursday, March 7, 2013


Wow, you guys. 
Thank you SO much for all the kind words on yesterday's post. 
I had today's post (below) drafted and scheduled and then realized that with the stark contrast of the topics, it'd be an awkward transition if I didn't at least address the response to yesterday's post. (blogging- ah iz lernin.) 
I want to say a few more things. 
First, I obviously knew this, but your sweet comments reminded me: sick or healthy, everybody has VERY complex relationships with their parents and other family members. I appreciate so many of you sharing such personal details about your families. It's always nice to have people to identify with. 
Second, I hope (and I don't think it did? but who knows) my post didn't come off in some weird tone of sickness-competitiveness. I don't think M.S. is 'worse' than cancer, by any means.. just that, not many people are familiar with it, so it can feel more isolating at times. They're not sure how to ask about it. If that makes sense. Or what types of things they should even be asking about, if at all.
Not that I didn't know these things, and not like anybody's comments made me feel bad or anything, but I wanted to put it out there, regardless.

Onto perkier topics! 

One year ago today I finally decided to cut the crap, and just start a blog.
I was always waiting for the right time, obsessed about a "niche" and direction for my writing, saying that once we got engaged.. I'd start a blog. After I finished law school, I'd start a blog. Finally one day, after reading dozens of blogs for years, I decided there was no better time then the present, so I actually.. started a blog. THIS blog, that you are reading at this very moment. 
It's my blogaversary!

Tell me I'm not the only one who has an aversion to working the word "blog" into seemingly innocuous nouns, verbs, or adjectives?
It sort of makes me cringe, and yet, what else do you call the anniversary of your blog BESIDES your blogaversary? I just can't NOT, you guys.

Anyyyywayyy, I just wanted to say thank you for following along.
Thank you for leaving SUCH sweet and insightful comments on posts like yesterday's.
Thank you for telling me my latest DIY is adorable (seriously ego-boost, ya'll are too kind).
Thank you for telling me my outfits are cute, sometimes (it makes this oft-insecure-curly-haired-girl feel really good about myself, which is nice)

I'm feeling more comfortable with this space, with my routine, and with my voice. I've really come to love drafting posts, editing photos, and getting such fantastic comments from you guys. I'm content. I guess the same can be said about my life in general, lately. So thank you, for reading about my (boring?) life and growing along with me.

As a thank you, and because I got my tax return back last week, (but seriously) I want to host my first ever little giveaway! I don't have anything purchased yet, (I think that will largely depend on who wins! tailor-made, yo) but I'm going to put together a little package. Think: statement necklace, earrings, a pretty scarf...something along those lines. :)

All you have to do to enter is follow my blog (I assume if you're're following? maybe I'm wrong) and leave a comment. Just one from each of you, please! Mayyybbeee, hmm, tell me what you'd like to see more of on the blog, what are you favorite types of posts? random ramblings? wedding posts? Or what you've enjoyed about past posts? Or just say hi! (lookin' at you, lurkers.) I'll use that random number generator thing to pick a winner. (Once I google it and figure out how to use it.)

Awww hell, bonus entry: email me a LOLcat meme photo. No, I'm not joking. aannnnddd leave a comment telling me you've done so, so I am sure to count you.
What's an LOLcat photo? (the normal people, ask). Here's an example:

I'll go shopping this weekend and pick a winner on monday/simultaneously reveal what you're gettin'

annnndd GO!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On family dynamics.

This is my family on Easter in 2010. 
It may surprise you to learn that my mom has M.S.
This is probably because I've only mentioned it once really, in passing, early on. Twice if you include this emo ramble, as well.
Also, I sadly realized (in writing this post) I don't think I've ever even posted a photo of her on here. Daughter-of-the-year right here. 

I wanted to write a more thorough post about it, and her, for posterity. So I don't look back on my life and regret editing my mom out of it before she was even gone. I use this turn of phrase because I find myself saying things (and writing things in blog posts) like, "we went to my dad's house," which, I realize to those of you who may be new readers or who never delved back into the archives, makes it sound like I don't have a mom or that my parents are divorced. 

She's been on my mind more and more lately.. and I'd be lying if I said my wedding doesn't have something to do with it. I'm just going to say it:

It gives me anxiety that on my wedding day, people who have never met my parents will look at my family and pity us. (and yes, I hate that I even think this.)

Don't mistake my anxiety for being ashamed or embarrassed of her. I'm just protective of my family. My personal life. It makes me anxious to put it all on display.  

It's not that I obsess over the thought, but when it pops into my mind, I start to sweat a little. 
Obviously both sides of my family know the current state of my mom's condition, and I think most of my friends and M's friends know, but not everyone has met her. All it takes is a 'look' and I'm suddenly reminded who knows, and who doesn't know.

The same few questions have always been a consistent part of my life:
"How's school?"  (up until law school graduation)
"How's the guy?" (the guy, up until M obviously) ... and then, I know what's coming. Their head softly tilts to the left, their eyes soften, and they ask:
"How's your mom doing?" 

I have always found this question kind of strange and hard to answer.
Well, she has an incurable degenerative disease. So. She's not doing so great?
On the other hand, considering she's had it for over half her life, the better part of 25 years, she's doing pretty good? In terms of the speed of its progression.
I also have to gauge how much of the truth they want. People want to feel good about asking, and maybe they're being sincere, but I've found people prefer a thinly veiled version of the truth. They don't want to hear about bed sores and colostomy bags.

The photo above if a bit misleading, as well. It's is nearly 3 years old. Things have changed since then. My mom can no longer really hold her head up on her own, and she has a PCA that stays with her at our house during the day while my dad works who feeds her and keeps her company. Her memory isn't that great, and she doesn't talk a whole lot. When she does, she sometimes repeats herself or doesn't  make sense. She also brings up the past a lot- often asking if I still have my childhood stuffed bunny (I do.) and things of that nature. It's tough for her to keep up with and really be aware of current happenings, both in the world and in our families, so she falls back on the past. A hospital bed, deemed better for her bed sores, has replaced the twin bed she slept in. Mostly, she lays on a special mattress pad on the couch and watches TV.

It's a part of my life, I don't feel sad about it because it's all I've ever known. What I've struggled with lately is our relationship. I read a handful of blogs written by girls who have lost a parent to illness. I feel like an ungrateful brat 60% of the time because my mother is still here, and I don't have a great relationship with her, nor do I feel like I handle her illness the best I could. I'm not out there raising money for M.S. (because I feel like I'm not a good poster-child as an advocate) or doing the M.S. 150. More than anything, I fear looking back on our relationship with regret. I know this sounds ridiculous because she's still alive and there's plenty I can do to change that, but only to a degree. I can't really have meaningful  conversations with her anymore... isn't that how you create a bond in a relationship? Communicating?
(at a wedding in April, 2010)
You may wonder why I hadn't cultivated a relationship with her prior to the degeneration of her mind. Growing up, my mom was always the "cool" mom. The one who would pile 5 of the neighborhood kids into the back of my dad's covered pickup truck and drive us to McDonald's so we could play in the play place. She'd make Target trips during the day while we were at school and buy us the new Backstreet Boys CD.  Our yard, perfectly flat and level, was always the center of neighborhood games of Black Bear or Red Rover, and my mom always called a time-out for freezees. There were always heaps of freezees or other ice cream treats in our freezer (as well as fruit roll-ups, dunkaroos, fruit by the foot, gushers.. etc in our cupboards. No, I did not eat healthy as a child). I could use no other adjective other than "idyllic" to describe growing up in my neighborhood, and with my mom. I don't want anything I say here to be misconstrued, I love my mom. I always have. That being said, I have always truly been a daddy's girl.

There was a turning point in my relationship with my mom. I vividly recall the day it happened. I was 14. I'm not going to get into details, (I know, I know.. I always eye-roll bloggers who give you a snippit and then don't share the details. "why even mention it at all!?" I think. I mention it because I feel like I need to make note of it in this unofficial record, to justify to myself what happened.. to alleviate some of the guilt I feel as an adult for the shift in our relationship. Because there WAS a reason at the time), but it was from that point that I began to see her differently. I felt like from that point, I took on more of a "parental" role in our relationship. It changed the way I looked at her: based on decisions she made and people she associated with. It was the first time anything had jaded that "parental" image I had of my parents. You know, the one where they know best and the decisions they make are infallible because they're your parents and they just have to be doing the right thing. I lost respect for her. I flat out started to resent her for a period (I wouldn't say I feel that way anymore). Through all of this, I grew closer to my dad. (I realize re-reading that paragraph it certainly sounds like there was some sort of infidelity, which is definitely not the case, and while I still don't want to get into details I want to make it abundantly clear it was not that.)

I wouldn't have classified our relationship as outwardly "strained" at this point, but while most young girls are forming a bond with their mother... doing things like shopping, dining out, confiding in them; I was not. I'd say it was a combination of my mom's inability to physically do these things, and the aforementioned "turning point" that culminated to cement our not-closeness. With the exception of a few screaming matches (like any normal teenager), we were never outrightly rude to each other. I was (usually) well mannered and polite with her. We just were never exceptionally close. We'd spend time watching TV at night, chatting, but it was all pretty superficial. I have some friends that told their mothers evverryyythinggg, including the nitty gritty regarding boys. That just wasn't my mom and I.

I went off to college for 4 years (2 hour away from home), and came home in the fall of 2009 to begin law school. I lived at home the first 2 years, but my intense schedule and hours kept me physically out of the house a lot. This might be me making excuses, but that, coupled with the fact that I was 23 and now living at home again did not lend itself to a great relationship with either parent. Once again, things weren't bad, but there were daily quips about whether my mom "needed to watch Wheel of Fortune everyyyyy day at 6:30 NO QUESTIONS ASKED" (which just fueled a deep seeded hatred for Pat Sajak). It was a lot like it was back in high school. Lots of sitting in front of the TV, no talking. She had reached a point by then though where, as previously mentioned, we really couldn't hold a substantive conversation due to her memory/speech issues.

I live with M now, obviously, and while I get over to see my parents quite a bit, I only really do so when my dad is home (vs. at racketball, or working). I struggle with taking the initiative to go over there when my dad's not there, because all it would entail with just my mom is me watching TV with her in silence. I'll admit I haven't always been the most patient with her. When I ask her questions and she repeats herself or spits back something that doesn't make sense, I quit trying. I'm not rude about it, but when they don't retain what you're telling them, or you're not sure what they will retain, it's hard to find things to talk about. Also, lady loves herself some naps. I've been over there and will ask her something only to look over and see she's passed out cold mid-conversation. I need to be better about making time to just go sit with her, because I know she appreciates just having someone there who is not her PCA.
I don't really know how to wrap this up. Which is fitting because I never know how to talk about my mom. As I mentioned, I feel like I don't handle it well. I love her. I really do. It's just a strange situation. I say strange because I know plenty of people my age who either have perfectly healthy parents, or parents who have cancer or similar illnesses. I know all cancers are very different, and some people battle it for years, but the symptoms are so wildly different from M.S. I have nobody to really relate to when it comes to what she's gone through. And the 2 or 3 times I've heard of people my age who have a relative my mom's age with M.S., the stages of M.S. are still so wildly different. We have a family friend who is 10 years older than my mom and still walking with a cane. That's the thing about M.S., and why it's so awful: it impacts people of different ages, at different paces, and with vastly different symptoms. There's not a lot of treatment available, and the treatment that is available is just to slow its progression (that is if it actually works). At times it feels a bit like I'm talking to someone with alzheimers. Memory loss is a common symptom associated with M.S., and while it's not nearly as bad, it's the best comparison I have. I'm not sure what she'll remember, and she's sure to ask the same question a few times over (Like when we're getting married. If I've bought my dress yet, etc.).

I guess I don't really have a point to this post, other than to put it out there. To maybe explain to others and to keep a record for myself. Family is a funny thing, and we always seem to know what to do, or how we'd handle situations when analyzing someone else's family, but our own families are a differnet beast all together.

Next up in this depressing series: Daddy Issues: An oldest/only daughter's constant desire for approval. (just kidding. sort of. I didn't know how else to end it, so why not a wildly inappropriate joke?!)