family

Hello & Good-Bye Mitten State.

Last week in Michigan was fantastic! As usual, I didn’t get to spend as much time with certain people, but even an hour is better than nothing! I saw my best friends, babies galore, family, extended family, and even had great weather for the duration of the trip!

LJ (my loooove, in case you weren’t aware–haha!) came in on Thursday and stayed until Sunday when we both flew back here to the desert. I knew everyone would like him, since he is a likeable kind of guy… and of course I suspected and hoped that they would think he was GREAT, but you just never know… but they all seem to love him! 😀

My dad is always tricky, because he is so quiet and keeps to himself most of the time. And if he doesn’t like someone, he’s not going to pretend that he does. A lot of guys find him very intimidating, or don’t quite know how to pull him out of his shell. LJ didn’t seem to have much issue with it–helping dad get the pig ready for the pig roast probably helped! He loved getting all up in it and learning something new. 🙂

My friends all gave him their stamp of approval as well, which is always a relief. He just fits in wherever he goes! And it’s nice to be able to talk about him to my friends & have them know who I’m talking about… a face to the name, I suppose. And now they have a better idea of why I’m always gushing about him. 😉

And speaking of the pig roast… my parents are the GREATEST! They both put in so much time and effort to put it all together… both of them took time off work… Dad did so much work around the yard & then stayed up ALL night as the pig cooked (I guess you have to watch it?)… Mom made delicious food, invited everyone, they got the tables & chairs… it was basically awesome of them is what I’m saying. 😀 I am a lucky, lucky girl to have such special parents and to have so many people who care about me & make time for me!

LJ made a comment about how pretty much everyone in Michigan just seems so nice and cool. I assured him there are rude, snotty, aggravating people as well, I just choose to keep them out of my circle. 🙂 So if you feel like you’re in my immediate circle… thanks for being awesome!

It is always good to come back home though… the desert is trying to cool down, but still remaining pretty warm… but it is definitely home now. Michigan will always be in my heart, and will always be a favorite place… but I wouldn’t trade all of these sunny days for much… !

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Cheers to the Ladies

Earlier this week I expressed that 2012 was full of men basically telling me that they could live without me and didn’t mind losing me. I understand that some day I will meet someone who makes it all worth it, and blah blah blah. I haven’t lost all hope, but every now and then I just feel like, “Really? REALLY?!” You have to allow yourself a pity party once in awhile, I think.

Well anyway… I have decided that instead of focus on the men who have disappointed me in my life recently I’m going to take a moment to focus on the phenomenal women in my life. I think I have done this before, but I ‘m not sure how long ago… but I have been so fortunate to find a handful of women I can call my “besties” and who are unfailingly there to support me. In no particular order, let me introduce them…

My mother, Renata: Words will never be quite enough to express how important this woman is to me. She is patient, stable, rational, loving, and unbelievably kind and forgiving. And she is strong. From a very young age I felt she was my best friend. She raised me to have respect for her and she disciplined me well when necessary, but I knew that I could always go to her with any and every problem I might have. When pseudo-friends were letting me down… when boys were hurting my feelings… when in college all of the stress would get to me… when I’m bored and just need to talk… she is always there. I wish that I could be more like her in so many ways. ❤

Megan: Oh, Megan. She is my kindred spirit. We both do what we want when we want, and really don’t care what people who don’t even know us (or a lot of people who do) think of us. She “gets me” that way. We can lounge around together all day in our jammies doing nothing but talking, or get all dressed up and go out only to just hang out together anyway. When we first met we were friendly enough because we had to be–our boyfriends were best friends.  We quickly realized that deep down we are more alike than we are different. She is raising two gorgeous, sweet-as-can-be children and doing a wonderful job of it (I guess with some help… Adam does some stuff sometimes–haha!). Her life took some turns she didn’t plan for, and she pulled up her boot straps so to speak (she’s going to say “what are you, 90?!” to that phrase) and did what she needed to do. And I will always admire her for that.

Ashley: My first best friend! My cousin and my partner-in-crime while we were growing up. She is a firecracker and a “blast” (haha!). She bounces right back from being knocked down in life with great ease. I am so proud of her and the woman that she has become… we will obviously always be family, but more importantly we will always be friends. She will always be able to make me laugh, and she will always understand where I’m coming from, because we are so alike.

Nessa: She is my sensitive little soul. She will also get in a man’s face with me when necessary. She’s not a contradiction, she just takes her time letting people see the real her. We are as opposite as can be in so many ways, but it works! We balance each other out. If I didn’t have her in my life right now, I would be beyond lonely and homesick. She’s my cousin/roomie/coworker/bestie and luckily we ended up getting along famously. 🙂 I’ve known her vaguely for most of our lives (as cousins by marriage), but I am so happy to have gotten the chance to really get to know her, because she is a genuine friend and keeps me sane in this crazy life.

Brittany: My bru-baby. Our friendship progressed slowly as we worked together at good old HCo… but once we got to know each other and see each other for who we really were, we became fast friends. She is as silly as me, and as hopelessly romantic as me. She has been through a lot in her life and is sweet and sensitive while remaining strong and determined. We have entirely too many random inside jokes for the relatively short amount of time we’ve known each other. “Taboooo!” – “Woo woo!” – “Eehhhh!” just to name a few. We’ve had countless moments of tear-inducing laughter. And I’m sure will have many more in the future.

Alysia: We’re pushing 20 years of friendship here, so I really don’t know where to begin. My longest running friend-who-isn’t-family but who really is family at this point. We’ve gotten into what, maybe one “fight” the entire time we’ve been best friends? We are best friend soulmates. There is no other option other than for us to be friends. We know each other better than can be explained, we’ve had countless memories shared, we understand each other, and love each other wholeheartedly, and unconditionally. I say she could never do anything to make me not want to be her friend, because I know she never WOULD do anything to make me not want to be her friend. I trust her with my problems, secrets, and honestly with my life. She’s the sweetest, funniest girl and I could probably write a novel about our friendship and how much it means to me. ❤

Cassie: My gorgeous baby sister who isn’t quite a “baby” anymore, at 21 years old. If she were any more beautiful I’m pretty sure the universe would implode on itself. We weren’t raised together in the same home, but made efforts to get to know each other and it’s one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. If we hadn’t, then I wouldn’t know her and that would be tragic. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. And funny and vibrant and such a good time to be around. She’s a little firecracker! I remember showing her off in her car seat when I was five years old and she was just an infant, and I will forever be showing her off and bragging about how great she is.

Karen: The relationship that brought her into my life is over, but I will never push her out of my life. From the day I met her she was nothing but kind, sweet, and generous toward me. She is the definition of sweetness and optimism. She became like a second mother to me, and I will forever love her for always being a listening ear through everything I have gone through… and I’m happy that I have been able to be the same for her. She is a special person. ❤

There are countless other wonderful women in my life: my more than fabulous boss/cousin/friend Sanam… crazy awesome Cammelle… my sweet little love, Morgan… my other fabulous HCo girls (you know who you are!)…

And I’m just so thankful to be surrounded by such high quality women… so many that I know are true friends. They are not wishy-washy or immature or fleeting in my life. They are my support system… my personal counsel… and they are absolutely amazing. So here’s to you, ladies. I hope all of you always know how much I love you and that I will always be there for you the same way that you are there for me. ❤

That Feeling of Being “Home”

I visited my home state of Michigan a few weeks ago, traveling all across the beautiful Mitten seeing various friends and family, and it got me thinking about the concept of “home”.

Sometimes when people say “home is where the heart is” I think they’re saying that home is where the people you love are. If that’s the case… my home is approximately 7 different places. So I don’t really think that’s what the phrase means. Not for me, anyway. Or for a lot of people. In our world today we move around, we get new jobs, new opportunities, new spouses… and we go to live somewhere other than where our parents are, or our best friends are. Somewhere other than the environment we grew up in. Or maybe, we’re all just really lucky now and get to call quite a few places “home” because our hearts are with people in a variety of places. I like that idea. I’m just not a person who will ever feel like I have just one “home”… I can’t see that happening.

When I’m in my hometown, I don’t necessarily feel at “home”, but I never really did there. At my parents’ house I do, however. I feel comfortable there. I fit in there. I don’t feel like I fit in in the town as a whole (though there is much to love about it).

Saginaw never felt like home, not fully. I have so many people there that I love, but I always knew I could never stay there. If I had to for some reason, I would make the best of it, but I would never be fully satisfied in my life.

Grand Rapids has always been one of my favorite places. It’s a beautiful, unique city with a spirit all its own. It feels familiar to me. I’m comfortable there as well.

For me home is any place I feel like I fit in… a place that inspires me… a place that I know and understand… a place that is comforting as well as comfortable.

Phoenix is starting to feel like it… I know the roads, the names of the suburbs, the weather… and so far it has been a good environment for me. Nothing is ever perfect, but when I landed back in Mesa from Michigan, I found myself smiling for no particular reason as I walked to my car in the warm-blanket sunshine.

So I guess I have a few places to call home, and I really like it that way. I like having my heart spread around to so many people in so many places. 🙂