Love Harder

21Jan10

Our Plea

Our friend Brandy is a brilliant writer, a wonderful teacher, and a generous friend.  And she is in love with a man who has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

We are raising money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Fund in his name.  For the price of a cinnamon dolce latte, half-caf, hold the whip, you can be part of an effort to cure a disease that affects approximately 750,000 people worldwide.

http://www.loveharder.org

Every dollar brings us a dollar closer to a cure.  And every donation brings a sliver of hope to a girl who needs all the hope she can get.

Love Harder,
[Your Name]

What You Can Do

  • Give. Be part of a worldwide effort to cure a disease that affects approximately 750,000 people worldwide.  Every dollar helps.
  • Pass it on. Forward this story to five people.  Share this blog post.  Become our fan on Facebook.
  • Love harder. Life is short, love is unbending, and no one knows what could happen next. Tell someone you love them today.

Where Your Money Goes

  • The American Institute of Philanthropy recently named The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation one of the best organizations to give to in terms of their accountability and use of resources.
  • By working closely with researchers, clinicians and partners in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, the MMRF has helped bring multiple myeloma patients four new treatments that are extending lives around the globe.
  • The MMRF has advanced twenty Phase I and Phase II clinical trials. They need your support to advance these clinical research programs and accelerate the development of better, more effective treatments.
  • The MMRF’s Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative recently becamethe first to sequence the multiple myeloma whole genome in its entirety.
  • A whopping 98% of your donation to the MMRF will be used immediately to support high-priority multiple myeloma research.
  • With diminishing funding for early stage drug development and the next myeloma treatments not expected to be approved until 2011, the MMRF desperately needs your help.

Because we are all friends, we support one another. That means in the good and the bad. Go donate and help the MMRF find a cure.



This year Hubby said we were going to his house in NC for Christmas. No questions asked.

Cue freak-out/horror movie music.

UGH.

Things I would rather do than go to my in-laws for Christmas (or any other Holiday/day/week/weekend trip):

  1. Go camping
  2. Eat anything nasty
  3. Not shower for a week (this is huge! I take two a day)
  4. Sit through ALL of the Rocky movies
  5. Hold a snake and a rat at the same time

It was bad.

I DIDN’T want to go!

I was one step away from throwing myself on the floor and pitching a fit. (Oh wait, I did do that. Hubby just stepped over me and went and packed my bag. True story.)

But after my whole “thankful episode” I decided to shut up and show up for Hubby. I put on my happiest “I Will Survive” mentality and got in the car. I took the XM Broadway station as a good omen. I was chipper and singing with the radio. I was going to have a good Christmas dang-it!

Hubby arranged for us to stay in a hotel five minutes from his parents so I would not wind up in a jail be more comfortable. That was nice except for the fact that he let his mom book the room and it was in the raunchiest hotel imaginable. (I will not tell you what I found on the sheets-the HORROR.) I am convinced she did this on purpose hoping we would run home to her house. I called her bluff and wrapped myself in my personal fleece blanket from home and prayed through the night that I would not be eaten alive by roaches. I even pulled my personal Clorox wipes out of my car and wiped down the entire room.  I totally felt like Emma from Glee at that moment but it was totally justified. (I am not exaggerating)

Christmas morning we wake up to go to his family’s house. We arrive on time because we were told we would eat at 10AM sharp. No one is up or around. We sit and decide to watch Christmas Vacation (although I am not sure why. We were in our own version of it at this point as far as I’m concerned, Cousin Eddie and all next door).

Enter his parents. MIL gushes over her “baby” being home as she covers him in hugs and kisses (did I mention in her eyes he is perpetually ten years old? She might as well have peed on him.) She then looks to me and says, “well, you did let him come for Christmas.” Merry Christmas to you too, hag.

For the rest of the day we sit around with his family and basically stare at each other. I kid you not. We drive 10+ hours for these people to not communicate or acknowledge each other in any way whatsoever. They basically just eat together. They ate one meal at 11:30 and then we sacked out on the couch from absolute boredom. I say they ate one meal because it is physically impossible for me to eat at his house. Why you say? Because every time I eat there is always DOG or CAT hair in my food. Couple this with seeing NO soap anywhere in the entire house and I am officially fasting for the holidays. It is no wonder Hubby is a germ-a-phobe to this day.

I get it. I have pets and I love them. They shed. BUT I do not allow them on the table with all of the food and walk all over the table setting with the food ON the table. It. Is. Disgusting. To each his own, but geesh, cue gag reflex.  At some point in the day I snuck out to the rental car to polish off a box of Wheat Thins I had stashed away in the trunk. I kid you not.

Time to open presents. My gift from the MIL? A Ty Beanie Baby Cocker Spaniel. “Thank you!” I say in my most convincing tone. “It made me think of you when I saw it” she replies. So, I remind you of a dog or you think I am small and stuffed? Still not sure about that one.

Hubby gets an envelope with his name on it which has a 50$ gift card. Whatever. I will steal it from him. Take that stuffed dog-giver.

Following the presents, MIL (who still hasn’t said more than two sentences to me) locks herself in her room and won’t come out. No one is sure why. We think my future Sis-In-Law might have said something that “offended her.” Translation: my future SIL is very independent and confident and speaks her mind and doesn’t take it from anyone. In other words, I love her and my MIL is threatened by her.

Couple all of this merriment with the fact that there is  NO alcohol allowed and I am pretty sure we are knocking on the door of the 9th level of Hades.

At some point she comes out and begins to go into detail about how it is our time to “pass on our heritage to our children” and make our own Christmas traditions. Oh, I guess she did speak to me. To tell me that I should be having babies. It’s coming back to me now.  Thanks for breaking the whole, “there will be no talk of babies with Hubby and I during this trip” agreement.

Kill. Me. Now. This is most likely the point where I completely shut down and went to rocking back in forth beside the five cats on the couch.

But, somehow between Twittering and BBMing I survive this day. I am not really sure how. I am pretty convinced it is some sort of psychotic block my brain is doing to protect me.

I am hoping the memories never fully return. Hold me.


Lost and Found

21Dec09

I used to LOVE Christmas.

I guess I outgrew the anticipation and excitement. That is something I never wanted to do. One of my favorite pictures of me when I was little is one of my brother and I standing in front of the Christmas tree hugging at my Momo’s house. (Actually it looks like he was choking me, but it is still a very sweet picture. He didn’t mean it ugly – I don’t think.)

I don’t remember when that picture was taken, I guess I was around four. I don’t remember what I got that Christmas, that wasn’t important. But I do remember being so excited about Christmas. It was magical, it was full of joy, and it was like being in a storybook. The singing, the smells and the laughter overtook everything.

I miss that feeling. I wish I still felt that way every single Christmas. I wish I could get giddy every time I heard a Christmas song. (Except Christmas Shoes. That song needs to die.) I guess we all get jaded with age. I blame my constant presence around children which is a never-ending reminder that I don’t feel the magic anymore.

And I hate it.

I was feeling particularly down the other day, not understanding my inability to snap into it. So I just allowed myself a time-out.

I was going to get in the mode. I was determined. I quit everything. I turned everything off and forgot about everything. I laid down to just pray. I refused to ask for anything, complain, grumble, or be angry. I chose to just be thankful. I began to try to list every single thing in my life I was thankful for that I could remember at that moment.

And it took me forever.

I lost track of time. I thanked God for people, circumstances, and provisions. I thanked God for things in my life that I don’t or didn’t understand, but that turned out the way they should. I thanked Him for the hard times because they made me better. I thanked Him for the good times and the memories that I have from them. I thanked Him for allowing me to live the life I live. I thanked Him for loving me as I am and not as I ought to be. Because He doesn’t have to.

I got up refreshed, amazed, and thankful. And with it came my Christmas spirit and a fresh outlook. I forget how blessed I am. If it took a lack of Christmas spirit for me to remember, so be it.

Now I can truly say, Merry Christmas! (And mean it.)


Where I Am

14Dec09

Even when I feel good about what I am doing, where I am, and even though I know I am doing exactly what I am suppossed to be doing, I still feel like I should be doing something else.

I feel guilty for wanting to do more.

But.

I feel like I need another level. Another challenge. Another something.

Where is the contenment? Where is the “arrival” I thought I’d feel? Where is the sense of accomplishment?

Why can’t I sit and enjoy what I have done and where I am?

I am a goal-oriented person. I push too hard I think. Is this normal? Probably not. Totally an over-achiever.

If I could back and pictures the type of person I would be (as oppossed to what stage in life I would be) at almost 30, I would say, “You go, girl.” Why can’t I say this to myself everyday when I put my feet on the floor?

I need to give myself a break. I need to bask in the moment and appreciate where I am.

I think this is true of most women. We feel the need to continually be the warriors, the goddesses, the do-all, be-all, end-all to everything and everyone.

Let’s give ourselves a break.

Starting today I will (try) to:

  • not worry obsessively about someone misunderstanding me
  • not obsess about letting someone down
  • not try so hard to people-please, but instead put myself first
  • say No when I need to and mean it
  • give people the benefit of the doubt, even if they don’t deserve it.

It’s a tall order.

I hope I survive the first day of this.

May you all give yourself a break today.


08Dec09

tap. tap. tap.

Hello. I bet there is not a soul still out there. We shall see.

I can’t believe that I haven’t blogged since July. Holy ridiculousness.  I have even forgotten how to navigate WordPress. (WHERE THE HECK IS SPELLCHECK HIDDING?!)

I have been a bad blogger and a bad blog friend. I feel so guilty that I continue to be a part of your lives and still keep myself so sheltered. But, I am a cavewoman by nature. When the storm hits I tend to take refuge, dig in, and not come out until I have a map pointing me to my next destination. (I am so a “guy” that way – weird.)

Thank God for twitter cause I am the queen of 140. (I hit it exactly so many times on the nose it is freakier than Lady Gaga.) Are we friends on twitter? We should be. (Would it be considered “friends” on twitter cause that seems so Myspace, you know so 2005-or something.) http://www.twitter.com/StephanieOlsen

What can I say? Life happens. And it has been happening. Can I just jump back to almost a year ago when I said that I truly believed that 2009 would be our “Best. Year. Yet.?”

Screw. That.

Apparently I have the foresight/psychic ability on the same level as Phoebe. As in, not good.

This will not be one of my “MOST FAVORITEST YEARS EVER.” Not by a long shot.

So, where have I been? (here we go, you knew there would be a list. It is me after all.)

  1. Working two jobs
  2. Surviving my husband being laid-off
  3. Volunteer work, volunteer work, volunteer work (which, can I get paid to do so I don’t have to work?!! No? That negates the “volunteer” status. Boo. This has been one of the GOOD things!)
  4. Soul searching. Faith examination. Partial Labatomy (kidding-sort of)
  5. Working on my marriage, myself, and my relationships. (it is exhausting)
  6. Had a little book published with a story we wrote.
  7. Got a Blackberry. Holy Mother. What took me so long? Anyone wanna BBM me?
  8. Getting honest with myself.

I think I may be getting the blogging mojo back. I have a lot to say. I hope I have the guts to come out and say it all.

I have missed you friends!


For Renee

24Jul09

Dear Renee,

Who knew that when I converged upon Vegas, only  a few weeks ago, I would come out with so many amazing new friends, you being one of them! In getting to know you better I was astonished at how alike we both were. Just two women, wanting to change the world, not sure how to do it, but open and willing to just do good. I love that we laughed, sang, ate (LORD we ate),  and laughed even more. 

I came to think of you as a dear friend, a far away sis, and for you now on your “virtual shower” all I can say is that I wish you joy. Absolute joy. I wish you peace and love and hope. I pray that you and Joe (cause we know that ALL Joe’s are awesome sauce) will always listen, love, and lean on each other. 

I know I sent this to you earlier in the week (cause it totally make me think of you and how awesome you are and how you would totally do this), but I want you to have JOY and Love like they do. I know you will!!

DANCE FOREVER!!!!


24Jun09

Thank you all for all the lovely tweets, facebooks, calls, emails, and texts for my Birthday! You all really have NO IDEA just how much it meant to me!! Seriously. It has meant the world. 

To be honest, I am attempting to be an optimist. I try to live my life doing right by other people hoping that it will come back.  If there is one thing I want to accomplish on my 28th year on this earth it is that I just don’t want to give a crap about the things that don’t matter and in turn trade those feelings of insecurity and anger for things that really DO matter and deserve to be thought about. Sounds easy, but it isn’t!

Coming in to 2009, I really thought this would be the absolute greatest year of mine and my husband’s life. I saw babies (which, we have been seeing for AWHILE), happiness, joy, and comfort. Well, rewind the tape, put it back in the box. I’ll be honest. This year has been one huge cluster. You know what I mean. The eternal optimist in me keeps screaming to have faith and keep moving. But somewhere that pessimist is catching up with her. And I just want it to stop. I don’t ever want to sour or stop. The day I give up on moving forward is the day that there is nothing left to experience. I have to keep telling myself that. Life is HARD guys, I mean HARD. You guys know, you have your own stuff. People are disappointing, they hurt you. Your dreams seem to be thrown right back in your face, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. 

Sometimes I wonder if I would do it all over again. I am just not sure. But something inside me keeps screaming at myself to see the good, and acknowledge the bad and learn from it. All I can say is I am trying. I really am!

We went and saw ‘ole “Hootie” Darius Rucker in concert during Music Fest week here in Nashville, he is my new favorite!

Everything is gonna be “Alright”! So help me GOD!

 




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