Friday, December 31, 2010

The first change.

You will notice right away, if you are visiting and not getting it through a feed, that I have finally made some design changes to the site. Yay! I didn't realize that blogger had added new capabilities for design and layout.

I also cleaned out my blogroll, added in a few blogs and site I pay attention to and have deleted ones that no longer update or hold my attention.

Sadly this New Year's Eve I am very under the weather, but my work in tourism helping people get the most out of NYC keeps me at my desk though I'd rather be home under the covers.

Wishing all of you a happy and prosperous 2011. I am going to get the year off right by winning the Mega Millions lottery tonight! Aren't you jealous?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Change is Gonna Come...

I miss writing.

During my Christmas trip up to Boston my Mom and sister lamented that I no longer post entries to the blog. There are many reasons for this...reasons I have discussed before. Like the arrival of Facebook and Twitter taking up the time I used to dedicate to Interravision. When they mentioned the blog I felt a pang in my stomach, a sense of loss...I miss the process of telling stories.

But I am realizing that one of the biggest reasons I stopped writing is that as I get older I get more and more concerned about privacy issues. Or perhaps as I have connected my life to someone who is by nature a very private person, out of respect for him I don't dish as much as I used to. The things I want to write about, and probably what you want to read about, I don't feel comfortable putting out there for just anyone to read. A potential future employer, a previously fired employee or my in-laws, for example.

So here is a compromise. I am going to password protect the blog and write whatever the heck I want. If there are any regular readers left out there, please don't be turned off by this. Understand that by doing this I will be able to provide more engaging content. At least, that is the plan. Starting January 1, I am securing the blog.

Just wait till I tell you about the tale of the 2 microwaves.

Happy New Year!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Restless Again

I don't understand people who don't like to move. I LOVE to move. I like the entire process of it. Starting with checking out potential new homes, it's a process not unlike dating. You meet a potential match and as you stand at the doorway meeting for the first time you know right away if it's got legs...or if it's better to just move on down the road. But when you see that special one, you just know.

Sure, packing and cleaning out can be dreary, but there's such a cathartic nature to it. Looking at each of your possessions and deciding if it's good enough to accompany you on the next phase of life, or better suited for the trash. It's your own personal reality TV show where you get to vote off your stuff. 

And then the move itself. I remember crying uncontrollably as I left Boston the first time...then again in Amsterdam...and then of course in Boston again. Each time standing alone in the empty apartment that held so many memories and saying goodbye is always like leaving a friend behind. I have always loved where I lived. That's the hard part...but then arriving to the new place is a dawn of a new day. 

Turning a place from an impersonal shell to an extension of yourself is nothing short of magic. Finding new places to display your treasures; a marriage between your own character and that of the space you have claimed. Sleeping in your bed for the first time surrounded by 4 new walls, hoping the street below will be quiet enough to I type, I am taking a deep breath, eager for the next time I get to experience that feeling.

Almost since I can remember, I have been moving every 4 to 5 years or so, starting I guess back when I would follow my parents as they moved around in their post-divorce years. It's just become easy for me.  I have been in my current living situation for 1,400 days now. As much as I blame my wish for new space on the obvious issues surrounding our current living situation, it really does go deeper than that. I am itching to pack up and go, even if just across the street or down the hallway. I feel it in the pit of my stomach just like I feel the desire to smoke a cigarette. Is there some support group for this addiction?

My colleague went to go sign the lease papers for a new apartment she and her boyfriend just stumbled upon yesterday. She was so giddy and happy as she left, and I feel so jealous of her giddiness. 

Monday, June 21, 2010


I think I had been married all of 5 minutes before I got the question: SO, when will you start trying for a child? 

Ummm...hello? Let me eat my wedding cake first, please. The short answer to this question is: I have no earthly idea. Damir and I don't exactly have the space to put a crib, I barely have room to unpack a suitcase...where would the baby sleep? Under the bed? In the fridge? In the bathtub? On a hammock suspended from the ceiling?

What is both very endearing but mostly maddening about Damir is that he doesn't worry about these things. He just wants to be a dad. He figures the problems will just kind of work themselves out, that all you need to have a baby is one simple thing: love (cue the "awwwww"). Meanwhile, grumpy grump over here is mentally tallying up the cost of diapers, toys, baby-proofing the apartment, food, car seats, strollers, slings, highchairs, boppies, burp cloths, bibs, onesies, lovies, numbies, teddies, pumps, ointments, bottles, bandaids, baby shampoo, thousands of little pairs of socks, rattles, sleep machines, rocking chairs, sleep sacks, and about another million things babies seem to require. And that doesn't even begin to cover what daycare will likely cost in New York City. AND what I would need to invest in industrial strenghth spanx. Listen, I don't even know if I get maternity leave. How can I know when I will have a baby?

So, there you go. That's the answer you'll get if you ask me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


On this father's day, I am primarily thinking about two things:

1) How lucky I got in the father's department.
2) How a man can brutally kill his two children along with his wife and mother in law.

I am in Boston this weekend, having quickly come up after hearing the news that a friend was violently killed by her husband. In his rage, he also killed my friend's mother and their two small children, aged 2 and 4. If you want to know the horrific details, just open up the Boston Globe. It's all over the news. I don't think I can bring myself to write the details of what he did.

Mixed in with my grief is a visceral anger born in the pit of my stomach and coursing through every vein in my body. In the notes of confession he left at the scene, shortly before some lame attempt to flee, he called himself a selfish coward for what he did. Selfish coward? Those would not be my words to describe the act of murdering your own children.

So many articles and comments are floating about now, and I think I have read most of them by this point. Many have commented  that my friend likely ignored warning signs of his hidden rage... and I can honestly say that is not the case. This horror was a lightening bolt in a blue sky. No one would have ever anticipated this mild-mannered man to commit such an atrocity. Articles have also reported there was some kind of marital discord. I can say that the problems they faced were typical of a lot of married couples. And in any level of discord warrants this nature of response. There is simply no justification.

It's hard to keep myself from walking through my imaginary scene of what happened. To fill in the many blanks with some kind of narrative. I keep searching for an answer that will never arrive to a very simple question:  


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Week Before

The week before the wedding, my father, stepmother, mother, sister and her twin babies all rented a house together close to the wedding venue in Delray Beach, FL. Even my brother joined us from Seattle towards the end of the week. It was a real departure for my family, the first time my parents have "vacationed" together since they divorced around 1980. As you can imagine, having them both under one roof in the days leading up to the wedding was a real blessing for me. I use the word "vacation" loosely only because I don't think any of us would consider those days a relaxing care-free experience. But not for any of the reasons we might have imagined in advance.

I knew the week leading up to the wedding would be busy and stressful. I had a lot of last minute planning that had to be accomplished once getting down there. I expected long lists of things to do, days filled with errand running and lots of fretting over last minute decisions and changes. But no. I had a whole 'nother ball of wax delivered to my plate.

Shortly after Erin and I arrived in Florida, she decided to visit a walk in clinic since a cold she was getting over seemed to be getting worse, not better. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis, sinusitis and pink eye. Pink Eye! Immediately upon hearing that my imaginary hypochondria kicked in. I was absolutely SURE that just a pair of days before the wedding I would catch pink eye and then be quarantined from my wedding guests and a photoshop nightmare for my photographer. I spent the next several days avoiding Erin like the proverbial plague.
Sure she looks OK, but pink eye is lurking under there!

The day after Erin was diagnosed, the tooth area where I had just had a root canal started bothering me. It wasn't horrible, but it didn't feel right. And since I had a week in the Dominican Republic coming up, I didn't want to risk leaving it to chance. So, I found an endodontist thanks to Google and Dad and Jan took me to see him. Funny old man, apparently he had trained the guy who did the root canal I just had done about a week before leaving for FL. He is also considered the endodontist to the stars, and even Larry David was trying to get him on the phone while I was getting looked over.

I will admit it, when he said that the tooth I had already done was fine....but the tooth next to it needed a root canal, I started to cry. When he said the price tag would be $1200, I started to sob. But what choice did I have? I consulted with Damir and my parents and we all agreed. Just get it done.

Later that afternoon, standing virtually naked in the back of a dark tanning booth letting some stranger paint me some shade of tan, as drool slipped down my chin from all the anesthetic injected during the earlier root canal, I had to laugh. What the hell is going on with me?

The house we rented, though spacious, was very interesting. If an 80's cocaine overdose could be translated into architecture, this would be it. I didn't get pictures of the best parts, but here you'll get the gist below.

Though it wasn't the most relaxing of weeks for me or the rest of my family, I truly hope we can do it again...and soon (minus the medical drama). It was so great not having to shuttle between houses or worry that I was spending too much time with one parent over another. I have a vision of shared holidays, summer vacations, birthday parties and celebrations in my head. I hope they see the same.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Settling In.

On the one hand, being home and newly married has been great. But in reality, not at all different. The biggest change since coming home is that Damir started summer semester which has him in class until about 10pm four nights a week. I miss my husband!

A lot of people are asking me if things will change with his folks now that we are married; if they'll go back to Montenegro or get their own place to live. And all evidence, one-month in, points to no changes in the pipeline. At least not as a result of getting married. It would be great to come home to our little private nest and hold hands in wedded bliss, but that's just not the deck of cards we were dealt. Certainly I knew that a long time ago and made peace with it before I walked down the aisle.

The other thing happening since I got home is a big feeling of restlessness-- that's not good. I need a new project now that the wedding planning is done. I have learned that when I don't have an engaging project to occupy my thoughts, I turn inwards and pick at things that don't need to be examined with such scrutiny. I know a few of you friends are like that too, so you can relate. The good news is I have a really great project in mind, but need to take the first steps to get it rolling. It's something that is definitely out of my comfort zone, but totally new and exciting. No, not a baby, ha! 

It's too early to discuss ideas at this stage...I am afraid you'll think poorly of me if it never gets off the ground. As things become more concrete, I will keep you updated.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Flowers

One decision I really debated over in the wedding planning was whether or not to forgo the florist and just do my own flowers. I mean, we didn't need that much...just 2 bouquets for me and my sister and seven small table arrangements.

I really surprised me during the planning process when several people advised me against it. On a bride blog that I wrote for anonymously, I got several commenters telling me I was flat out crazy. Florists in disguise perhaps?

What I can tell you is that in the end, it was awesome.

Here’s how it went:

I ordered 3 varieties of flowers on about 3 weeks before the wedding to be delivered to our venue 2 days before the ceremony. were great– they were on top of the order from the moment I put in my payment.

I ordered:

-- 72 Stems of Peony Pink Metropole Garden Rose (also called a cabbage rose* almost identical to a light pink peony-- but much cheapr)
-- 72 Stems of Piaget Garden Rose (a darker shade of pink than the Metropole)
-- 100 Stems of White Ranunculus (1-5 blooms per stem)

Enough to make:

7 table settings consisting of 3-small vases of flowers, 2 bouquets, and because it turns out we had way more than I needed for tables and bouquets, we had two large arrangements for the altar and reception areas.

Our ceremony didn’t start until that evening, so it was no trouble at all to gather my ladies (my sisters, mother and step-mother) to help with the arranging. I had stored the flowers in my hotel room in buckets (actually, the room’s clean trash cans were converted for this purpose) after cutting the stems when they first arrived. On arrival the blooms looked a little sad, but once cut and placed in water, they opened perfectly and were huge, gorgeous blossoms that smelled heavenly.

The best part of having done the flowers ourselves is that each time I looked down at my bouquet, I thought of the loving hands of my sister, mother, stepsister and stepmother who all came together to do this with me.

I felt real love in that bouquet.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wedding Recap, Part 1

It was worth every penny, ever tear shed, every ounce of stress felt in the 15 months of planning for 2 days of celebration. In short: the wedding exceeded all of my hopes.

There were so many things that I was worried about months, weeks and days before the wedding, but when the day finally came, I was calm and cool and ready to commit myself to this amazing man who I am now proud to call my husband.

Revisiting the long list of worries I blogged about months before, I am happy to report: everyone danced (with gusto!); my vendors were warm and capable; nothing fell apart; I didn't fall down in my dress; the food was incredible; I felt like a million bucks (even if a sweaty pool by the end of the night); the ceremony was moving and true to who we are-- and my brother did a fantastic job officiating; it didn't suck. In fact, quite the opposite! Though I definitely missed my friends who were not there beside me, I was so appreciative of all the notes, texts and calls on the day of. Keeping it just small with the family was the right thing for me.

I owe so much to my parents who made everything possible, my sister who was the perfect Best Lady, my brother who officiated like a pro and my step-sister who did a great reading. I truly am blessed.

More details to come!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Counting Blessings

A friend the other day told me about a friend of hers who was supposed to be married on the same day as I am getting married, May 8th. A routine visit to her doctor turned up a lump in her breast and her whole world turned around in an instant. Wedding plans gave way to chemo plans. How can I possibly complain?

Recently I learned that the last boyfriend I had before meeting Damir is fighting aggressive cancer that started in his mouth and now lives in his lymph nodes and lungs. Earlier this week he underwent a lung biopsy and today he had a port inserted into his arm to facilitate his next round of chemo. How can I possibly complain?

Lately I am feeling a bit like a punching bag, and finding it hard to find the air to breathe. Stress is my constant companion and I don't like that my frown lines appear to be growing faster than my smile lines. I have to sit down, close my eyes and count my many many blessings. I am much looking forward to a week on the beach, fruity drink in hand.

Friday, April 09, 2010

So Much to Look Forward To

It's official: I am getting married in less than a month. I am at that stage of wedding planning where planning and thinking about the wedding takes up the majority of my non-sleeping and non-working time. There still feels like much to do, but we're getting down to the nitty-gritty details. For the most part, all the big stuff is done. Mostly.

There's so much to look forward to in the coming 40 days:

- My sister and a cousin of Damir's are throwing me a bridal shower this weekend in Manhattan. Erin is staying the whole weekend and we'll have some girl time together at a swanky hotel (for free, thanks to work connections). I am looking forward to seeing the small group of ladies who will be coming. The shower will be in my favorite Scottish Pub....haggis for all!

- The week before the wedding my family has rented a beach house near Delray Beach. This will be the first time I sleep under the same roof as both my parents since about 1979. I am deliriously happy about this. It means so much to me to have them all close by and not have to worry about shuttling between one parent and the other. There will be lots to celebrate, my mom's and Erin's twin have birthdays in the days before the wedding!

- Obviously I am looking forward to the wedding itself. Though I sorely regret the absence of friends we won't have by our side, I am glad we are doing something so small. It feels less scary and intimidating that way to me. I know it's going to be beautiful and imperfect, lovely and exciting. I've written the ceremony and adore what we'll say to one another as our vows. And I love that my sister will be standing up with me, and my brother will be officiating.

- I look forward to the adventure of marriage! Yes, it's true! And specifically to the man I have chosen. Being Damir's wife certainly comes with challenges, cultural and domestic, but I feel confident I know what I am getting myself in to. I am marrying a man who I adore, who makes me laugh, who listens (even when I know he doesn't want to), who dreams big and often, who has a wonderful imagination and adores me to the core. Who could ask for more?

And finally, I look forward to changing the conversation. Wedding planning talk is a bore, so I commend you if you made it this far down the post. I will be happy to come home and start my next project, whatever that may be!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beverly Hills 60643

I've just returned from Chicago, where I was attending my Gram's funeral this weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, her time was near and she died at home on Friday, March 12th. This was my final trip to her house of over 50 years in the Beverly Hills section of the South Side of Chicago. As I type, my mom and aunt are preparing the long and difficult job of putting together an estate sale and getting the house ready to put on the market.

It was a strange and emotional trip, with lots of tears and laughter. It was so great to see my cousins, aunts and uncles; some of whom I hadn't seen in many many years. It was also wonderful to hear stories about my Gram from my aunts and spend a little time in her well loved home. Being there with my extended family brought fresh anger over the loss of the Michigan home. With Gram no longer our common denominator, how do we stay a family?

Speaking of Michigan, I found it poignant that Gram's funeral was on St. Joseph's day. St. Joe, Michigan is the place where I spent most of my time with Gram during the summers of my childhood. Joseph, her father, immigrated from Sicily to Chicago via Ellis Island. Joseph Jr, his son, took Michigan away from all of us.
I think perhaps I learned more about Gram and my grandfather, who died before I was born, in these few days than I had in my entire life. Isn't that strange? In many ways, my grandmother was a very private person. Though willing to recount story after story about her family, she was more reticent to speak of herself. Going through stacks of photos, I would ask my aunts, "who is this person?" and inevitably a great story would accompany the answer.

What really touched me was finding dozens and dozens of Hallmark Cards and letters sent between my grandparents. I never understood my grandfather to be an overly affectionate man, but I always knew he was devoted to his family. But these cards told a different side of the story. My grandparents truly adored one another. In these cards, some over 70 years old, you could feel the love they were so lucky to share.
As my own wedding is fast approaching, I can only hope and pray that Damir and I will be as blessed as they were.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Next Adventure Awaits Her

Mom says it's just a matter of a day or two now. Maybe even just hours left before Gram passes on. Though her impending death breaks my heart, it is inevitable, as it will be for all of us.
A few years back, Gram told us that sweet angels had started to visit with her a night. Thankfully, she said that she found their presence comforting. And now, from the bed hospice set up in her living room of more than 50 years, she occasionally talks with the family members who already waiting for her at the next stop. Yesterday she started greeting all the people visiting her living room, "Oh, hi! Hi!" People who no longer walk among us are preparing to usher her through.
She fell out of bed a week or so ago which seems to have been the catalyst of a domino effect of deterioration. She was already quite frail, mostly blind and well into dementia. She could no longer retain memory or detail, except for occasional flashes of recollection which would
blow in and out like a rare summer breeze. She's 92.
Though the physical damage of the fall was mostly repaired (broken hip, broken arm), it became clear a full recovery back to her pre-fall state of health wasn't going to happen. She couldn't understand the oxygen mask and the tubes in her arms, she pulled at them despite being told over and over they were vital to her recovery. She couldn't remember.

But she still has the hearing of a cat. A sneeze across the room would elicit a "God bless you!"and a cell phone ring down the hall would prompt her to ask you to open the door, someone was ringing the bell.

Today my mother whispered into Gram's ear, not even sure if she was listening, "You're going to have so many wonderful adventures!" Mom was surprised to get any response, much less this... "I already am."

Thank you, Gram. I love you.