13 April 2014

On Grief

Me and my little brother with grandpa.
I had a post mostly fleshed out that I intended to finish this weekend to post today. But Saturday morning, I received some sad news, and just haven't had the energy for blogging the usual. On Friday night, my grandpa was finally released from Alzheimer's grip into eternity.

So today I need to talk about grief, spirituality, and empathy. I've struggled with grief in the past- it's something I've tended to have to deal with on my own, and so I'm still not quite sure how to grieve. I end up spending time being sad, and I wonder if that's effective.

So here's what I'm feeling, right now. I am sad that my grandpa has passed away. I am sad for my dad that neither of his parents are alive anymore. I'm sad for what my aunt Becky must have gone through as grandpa's final caretaker. I'm also sad that I did not get to know my grandpa as well as I would have liked, and that Alzheimer's took my true grandpa years ago.

Spiritually, I know that my grandpa is in a much better place. He and my grandma were church-going, God-fearing folk, and I am at peace knowing that they had that faith to rely on. I also believe that grandpa is reunited with my grandma in Heaven, whatever that may mean (not so sure it's a place, perhaps is more of a plane). And there's a part of me that feels relief for my grandma, knowing that she is reunited with her true love once again.

This is what love looks like.
If there's anything I know, it's that grandma and grandpa were full of love. Not all the time- they're regular people with their quirks and quarrels. But they both had a twinkle in their eyes- they loved each other, loved their kids, and loved their grandkids. They loved to laugh. I'm thankful that the memories I hang onto of the both of them are of their smiles and their laughter.

As I process my grief, I also consider empathy. Sometimes I've felt that some people in my life haven't cared about my grief- like the person (or dog, let's be honest- I was heartbroken when my sister's dog passed away last year, far too soon) wasn't a close enough relative for my grief to be acknowledged. Or perhaps it's because they did not have a good relationship with that relation of theirs, so they cannot empathize with my grief. Which makes me wonder- isn't empathy about thinking what the other person must feel in a situation, not how you would feel in a situation?

I'm sure I'm just exaggerating and feeling a little sensitive. I was a bit stunned to hear the news, despite knowing grandpa had recently taken a turn for the worse. But you guys, loss sucks. So I'm just trying to figure this one out.

How do you grieve? How do you deal with someone you know is grieving? Please let me know in the comments.
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11 April 2014

Fabulous Fridays: April 11 Edition

Here we are, another Friday already (if you know the secret of where the time goes, please share). I'm thrilled that it's Friday, not just because it is the weekend (as of tonight), but also because I have a second date tonight. So, let's get on with what has made this week fabulous:

Had another Ladies Who Brunch Book Club meeting on Saturday. We ate at Tasty n Alder and discussed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It's always wonderful having girl time to discuss books and life, while enjoying some delicious brunch food.

I'm not gonna lie; Saturday was kind of epic. I treated a friend and myself to Ruby Jewel ice cream. I had the Grasshopper and it was my dream ice cream: chocolate mint with marshmallow creme and cookies.

And then I got my hair chopped off. I'm still getting used to having short hair again, but I gotta say it's a lot less hassle.

On Sunday, my sister and I began a new tradition: Italian Sundays. We made a big Italian meal with new-to-us recipes from some of my Italian cookbooks. Cauliflower penne and chickpea salad were decidedly good choices.

And then I had pie with my mom at Pacific Pie Co. Black bottom pie. It was delicious.

That's all for now! I can't wait to enjoy the sunny weather this weekend, and I'm hoping to get in my fist hike of the season. Now you tell me- what has made your week fabulous?
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08 April 2014

Cultivating Self-Love: The Ghost of Haircuts Past

Have you ever had a haircut that made you want to cry? A style so terrible you felt you couldn't show your face in public? I've been there, believe me.

In fact, my hair has seen all kinds of styles, good and bad. As a kid, I really wanted Stephanie Tanner's hair (of Full House fame). I was born neither blond nor curly-headed so I had to make do with Sun-In and a perm. Sadly, my hair is so stick-straight that my perm tended to have some flat spots in it.

There was also a time when my mom cut my hair so short that the kids in my class called me a boy. I began first grade with long, thick hair, and ended it with a weird short style. In school, our class would march to lunch in two lines: boys and girls. Boys sat on one side of the table while girls sat on the other. After my terrible haircut, my classmates made me sit on the boys' side of the table. Kids are cruel.

As I got older and my coloring changed, I couldn't pull off blond any more (who knows- maybe I never could). When I was 15 I decided I wanted to try highlights in my hair- and had my mom do it. She used one of those kits with a cap and lets just say she pulled way too much hair through the cap. I became a blonde (pictured above). I was horrified and mortified, even though everyone was much nicer to me about the change. After a few weeks, I had my mom dye my hair back to brown. Which just turned my hair black. Jet black. No going back.

Thankfully, several long months later, my mom took me to a professional who corrected the color of my hair. I no longer trust anyone outside of a salon to cut or color my hair.

I've even come to associate some haircuts with certain periods of my life. I tend to go through phases of growing my hair long and then chopping it all off (my own personal flair for the dramatic). I've had both short and long hair while living in France (my hair grows really fast), and short and long hair in high school. In junior high my hair was a horrible rats nest, so you won't be seeing those pictures here. For the past couple years, I was working on growing out my hair so I could have long, luscious bellydancer locks.

As it turns out, my hair fantasy does not match my hair reality. I'd love to have gorgeous long layers that curl perfectly. The reality is that my hair is slippery and stick-straight. It's hard enough keeping it in a ponytail let alone adding some curl (which will disappear after an hour).

So, after some serious thought (come one, I know I'm not the only one who thinks seriously about her hair), I decided to chop it.


I can accept all of the trials my hair has been through in the past, for I've learned some valuable lessons. The biggest one? Stay true to who you are and what works for you. Sometimes reality is better than the fantasy.

Have you ever had a horrible hairdo? I want to hear all about it! Share your story in the comments below.

Cultivating Self-Love
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