Monday, November 30, 2009

The Orphaned Christmas - The Choice

(Ready for the 2007 Holiday Season)

With my trip right around the corner, I'm blaring Christmas music in my ears here at work and giving a lot of thought to my favorite holiday, Christmas Eve!

In the past years, I've thrown a dinner for family in friends. Sometimes my family comes. Sometimes it's just friends. I guess until recently I never really pondered what it would mean to spend it flying solo. In fact, last year, when Sistah'Girl flew down, turned out to be the best Christmas Eve in a long time! Lots of fun!

But this year, that looks like flying solo is exactly what is in the cards. Due to schedules and other factors, I've been made aware that Christmas Eve company at the Lake House will be tough to come by this year.

So this year, I'm finding the bright side to throwing Christmas Eve, Orphan Style!

Now, I can see why single folks living alone often don't decorate for Christmas. Especially women. We often see marriage and starting our own brood to be a 'right of passage', and a holiday centered around romance, magic, and children can just be a grim reminder that we haven't attained that 'right' yet. Well, I was married. No kids (sh! Don't tell Clydas he's not officially a kid), but I've spend Christmases since with kids and families. This year, I'll be flying solo for this night. So, what to do with my Orphaned Christmas Eve?

I know that, instead of cooking my traditional lamb feast, putting up a tree and decorating it, there are places I could go, but I refuse to let my little world feel less like Christmas just because I'll be flying solo. Afterall, I've never let that slow me down before! I did the Triathlon w/o the support of a romantic interest. I don't stop being me and enjoying the things I enjoy just because I'm not able to share it with a lover.

While there are still a few weeks until Christmas, I think I can definately see myself enjoying the tree I've decorated, a fire in the fireplace, some candelight, some soft Christmas music.... I'm relaxed already just envisioning it. As for activities? Christmas movies, maybe a Church service (I may have to work this day, so that may not pan out), working on a scrap book from my recent Disneyworld vacation (Roasted Bear Tour 2009), and/or making a list of all the good stuff I'm grateful for in my life right now and give God the glory for it. Afterall, all of my Christmas Eves won't be this relaxed forever.

Christmas morning I'll spend with my family, just like always.

So what does all this lead to?

I have a very clear choice in this case - I can be a bitter, miserable almost 30 divorcee w/o help decorating or celebrating my favorite holiday by myself. Or I can see this as a new adventure and a chance to really enjoy the peace, magic, and spirit of the season.

And well, bitter just isn't my color.

Revelation of the Week: We can't always control the scenery, but we can certainly control the climate.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend Review

I have a feeling this December is absolutely going to fly by, so I better get a quick Thanksgiving review up here.

This year was actually another really good year. That's a three year streak for me. Crazy! Could this be the start of somethin' good? Only time can tell!

Anyway, I went to coffee and a movie with my parents (The Christmas Carol in IMAX 3D). It was my second time seeing this amazing film and I love it and already can't wait to own it! It'll help set the perfect tone for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party day later this week! (Sign up to follow the Disney Files blog for more information on that, and a review upon returning!)

We then took the dog for a nice long walk for about an hour or so. It was a beautiful 80 degree day. Dinner was great (provided by Whole Foods), and that pretty much wrapped up the day. I started catching a cold, unforunately.

But, it didn't stop me from hanging out with BioDad and Lil'Sis the next day at the Wild Animal Park!

It was a fun day overall, however my cold really go the better of me by the end of the day. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday recouping, and doing my best to get things prepped for the trip (including my health). So far, I'm almost ready. I started getting packed, but I still have one more day - though most of that will be taken up by working. Yikes! I think tomorrow night will be a late one!

Hope you all had a great one!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve, 2009 -Something to bring to the table.



  “Have something to bring to the table. It will make you more welcome.” – Randy Pausch


Dear readers (ye brave, ye few), I have a confession to make.

Thanksgiving is probably my LEAST favorite holiday. I can’t say I hate it anymore, but it’s my least favorite holiday.

Why is it my least favorite holiday?

Well, while I see the value in families that don’t often see one another, gathering for a meal, that’s never really been in the case in my family. I’ve lived in the same town my entire life.

At this point, I had been married less than a year and my then-husband didn’t have any idea why I disliked Thanksgiving so much. I told him it’s because I feel like I was just taking up a seat at the table, that I was almost always talked over, not listened to, and that’s the type of behavior from people who just don’t care. I know my family loves me, but sometimes the ones we love with take for granted the most.


Anyway at the time, he thought I was being oversensitive, and surely I’d be missed if I wasn’t there.

Feeling the need to make my point, early in the dinner, one of my parents had asked me a question. And, well, here’s how that conversation unfolded.

“So, J, how’s that rehearsal for that show going. What’s it about again?” someone dear to me asked.

“Oh! It’s going really well, but I’m driving myself crazy,” by this time, the person who had asked the question is already paying attention to someone else entirely and no longer listening to me at all, so I continue, “trying to write these 15 songs for the show. I have to sing 10 of them. And then a gigantic pink elephant walked into the room and sat on the couch. It had polka dots and everything.”

No one at the table laughed.

No one at the table was listening.

I looked over at my then-husband and his eyes were wide. Now he understood.

So what’s the greatest gift you can give someone this Thanksgiving? Be present with them. If you ask a question, wait to get the full answer. Remember that common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. You never know who’s had the same experience I had, and who’ll appreciate it.

Why do I not hate it anymore?

A few years back, I ended up having a low key Thanksgiving, with just me and one other person, dancing in the kitchen as we made a small dinner, watching different marathons on TV… Yeah – that’s my kind of Thanksgiving.

What is happening with me this year for Thanksgiving?

A long bike ride or a hike in the morning, followed by dinner and maybe a movie with my parents.

This year, I’m thankful for a low key Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 23, 2009

You know you need a vacation when...

You know you need a vacation when:

You're stressing out about all the stuff you have to get done before you can leave.

You're looking at the menu for Starbucks and thinking, "That $3.50 I could spend on a latte could be 1/4th of the way to a Disney pin on my vacation..."

You can't wait to shut your cell phone down for a week.

You're excited that you have a dog sitter that you can pay in pizza.

You're relieved to have a reliable ride to and from the airport.

You're contemplating what clothes that you aren't packing that you can wear on the plane.

You're trying to pencil time in with people before you leave for your trip.

You're pushing aside the bit of drama in your life because you know you'll be able to think clearer and deal with it AFTER the vacation.

You're picturing photo ops you want.

You're already wondering if you have enough stuff to scrap book the trip.

You'er figuring out how to eat anything perishable in your fridge in a week w/o blowing your diet.

You're wondering if you should get any new clothes for the trip...especially a swimsuit...

You're figuring out the legistics of bringing an extra bag just for momentos.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's new? A LOT!

Today I find myself giddy about my upcoming Disneyworld Trip. It's the first time since 2005, and the first time ever without a romantic interest (or immediate family) along. So I can't wait.

That said, I realized that there are a lot of great, new things coming my way right now. Lots of options to act on. It's just a matter of making the necessary sacrifies, and following my heart.

So what's the new stuff?

Sunday I tried a new church I think I might just stick with. It's call TheMovement and is a non-denominational Christian church with lots to offer in my area as far as meeting new folks. Since a majority of my friends have moved away, it's time to start over and make a friendship base here once again. Now, that doesn't mean that I've forgotten those that migrated elsewhere. In fact, quite the opposite! I look forward to visiting and sending out care packages whenever I can! But it would be great to have more folks to join into the holiday party fun and all that. Right now, I'm not sure if I'll have enough folks to do the Holiday Murder Mystery party this year!

It's also located right next to some of my favorite coffee shops and brunch places, so I can see myself catching a service and then heading over to one of those places to spend a peaceful Sunday morning/afternoon.

I'm working more and more towards connecting w/ folks I have something in common with. Case in point - The blogger meet up! Me, Carly, and Luis pictured below.
Safe to say, a great time was had by all and I certainly wouldn't mind running into any of them at the parks again someday soon. It felt like meeting old friends.

I'm seriously contemplating writing a book. Yup, that's right - a book. Not a poetry book (though God knows I have enough of those to fill SEVERAL books). Not a fantasy book (though, again, I've got enough material there to go for days). I'm thinking of co-writing a Disneyland Guide book. Crazy, I know, because there are already several out there, but this one will have a unique spin. Disney for Dieters. Yes, you can splurge on vacation, and still not fall completely off the weight-loss band wagon. It was actually an idea of MickeyMan, but it's a great idea none-the-less and I believe there is definately a market for such things. Afterall, I've been to Disneyland several times and managed to treat myself w/o coming back heavier than when I left! It'll be an interesting research project, so we'll see.
I may have found a reliable roommate that wouldn't mind living w/ me and Clydas. I'm still having trouble letting go of where I am now, however I see more and more how splitting the rent would help me be able to spend more time working towards my goals (acting, singing, traveling, writing) and waste less and less time in a feild that I apperciate, but don't particularly have an affection for. We'll see what comes of this as Sistah' Girl and I have been tossing around ideas to move out of state, but that would take saving up a significant amount of dough anyway, so we'll see!

So we'll see how things move along. It's so easy for me to lose focus with all I'm interested in, but I know that I'll just keep spinning my wheels until I'm willing to accept me for who I am and make the changes necessary to "keep moving forward."

Happy fall, ya'll!

2012 - A review

Opening day, I was treated to see the movie 2012.

I haven't really been terribly jazzed about seeing the movie, but if there is one thing I'm always down for, it's being exposed to new and different things. In that aspect, I truly inherited my parent's love of the arts, even if it's not something I would have normally considered.

So that said, there was one reason I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I love John Cusack. Ever since "Gross Pointe Blank", I decided I love this actor. Not only does he look strikingly like a guy I had a crush on in my youth, he also has that intense, yet comic way about him. It's almost an awkward "every man" style that I enjoy in his acting (even when I haven't cared for the movie).

However, I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie and can't wait to see it with my family. I would definately suggest sticking to the 13 and up age range, as it does have some very intense moments, and a fair amount of adult themes.

It was a fun ride! Yes, it was HEAVILY laden with special effects, but what you do you expect?! It's a DISASTER movie about the earth's crust up and moving.

It wasn't so much of a human drama as it was an edge of your seat roller coaster ride. Well edited, it barely gave you time to breathe between disasters. The cliche moments gave it a bit of levity, which was necessary to make it overall palettable.

I'd highly recommend seeing this one in the theaters. Saddly, it will not hold up on a small screen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Turning 6!

If you've kept up with the blog you'll know that I'm adopted and have a good relationship with my biological family, as well as the family that raised me.
Well - since I have a BIG family (including all of those people) I feel the need to give a nod to my little sister!
We have yet to have too many adventures together, and I've yet to introduce my favorite places (Disneyland/Disneyworld) to her, as she lives in Northern CA and I live in Southern CA, But here's a nod to the growing girl!

In fact, depending what group you lump me into, I'm either the youngest, the oldest, or an only child. How many people can say that, eh? ;)

So, here are a few moments where I'm "the oldest". Charlie turned 6 this past week!
I still remember being super excited when I found out she was on her way. I wish I were closer (or had the capability to see her more than every couple of years).
Yes, you can all bet that the first chance I get, we're goin' to Disneyland! It's amazing how life changes you. I am now looking forward to the millions of trips on It's a Small World....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overcoming Social Anxiety

You'd probably never think that someone in theater, who shares as much as I do on a blog, is a fairly reserved person. But the more you get to know me, the more you'll discover that it's true.

This past Saturday, I met with Blogger Girl and a bunch of her fellow blogging and real life friends. Being over an hour late, I was seriously considering just taking my chances of finding them in the park, but I decided to stop by the restruant we were supposed to be meeting at.

To my surprise, they were still there! So I took a deep breath, walked in, and said hi.

Even more to my surprise, the awkwardness didn't last more than a few moments and then it felt like sitting around with old friends.

Afterwards, I treated myself to a Mocha from my favorite lounge in the Grand Californian hotel. Sitting down by the fire in the lobby, I took a few moments to shut down from the incredibly stressful week, and unwind.

It had me thinking, "I don't do this very often anymore." A little self-reflection never hurt anyone, and it reminded me how many labels and stigmas from childhood tend to stick around, if we believe 'em.

As a child, most people would say I was quiet. I was that tall quiet kid. However, when you got me around a group of my friends, I was usually the social director. To this day, some of that has really stuck. I can still find a myraid of free, fun, cheap, or different things to do. I enjoy it! And I've never let the fact that I am often flying solo to such events stop me from going ahead anyway.

Also, the "quiet tall kid" stigma has still stuck a bit as well. But maybe it's just something I've come to believe about myself that isn't necessarily true? I've never been "the life of the party" type, but over the past several years, I've gotten out of my shell and shattered this quite a bit. And I'm pretty proud of that.

While I was sitting there, a few older couples came over and took up some of the other seats. One particular couple was working together on a crossword puzzle until the wife fell asleep and the husband worked on it quietly to himself. It was heart warming.

Another couple sat down near by, probably in their 50's, sat down, enjoying a glass of wine each and some snacks. They held hands, talked quietly, and then fell silent, watching the flames and enjoying the moment together.

In watching these others, and delving into a little self-reflection, I'm reminded that life is good. My life especially. I have a job that allows me to live on my own, family that is there for me whenever I need 'em, a few friends I can call no matter what, and the ability to zip up to Disneyland when I need to hit the "reset" button on my stress-o-meter. Yes, the romantic peice still hasn't slid into place. But I know, like that glass of wine the couple was sharing or the comfort that came from the puzzle couple, such things can not be rushed.

As I eventually finished my drink and rose from the fire, I was reminded that everything happens when it's supposed to, and filled with a feeling of peace, and hope.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Big Girl Blog And Breaking the Curse

Sistah' Girl: "Ya know, I just relealized something. And this is going to sound weird."

Me: "Oh yeah? Well, disclaimer noted. What's up?"

Sistah' Girl: "I'm smaller now than I was at your wedding."

Me: "That's funny. I'm smaller now than I was at my wedding too!" Which was 8 years go.
(Above photo from 2005 WDW trip)

In 19 days, I'll be meeting Sistah' Girl in MCO (Orlando International Airport, for those of you who aren't travel savy). We've been planning and dreaming of this trip so long, it felt like it was never going to happen, and here it is, knocking (dare I say, pounding) at the door.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not looking forward to it. In fact, quite the opposite! But I don't think it's really going to sink in that "we're going" until I get on that plane marking the last leg to Orlando. (Then, no doubt, it will continue to sink in for the first couple days!)

Now, Sistah' Girl and I have always been "big girls". And to some extent, we've each taken pride in the 'privledges' that allows. Being a bigger girl, you feel less attractive to men so it's far easier to become 'one of the guys'. In fact, most of my friends growing up have been male. I've been blessed to have some fabulous guy friends in my life. People also expect you to be down for whatever when it comes to food. They seem to inately realize that you're not going to go to a diner and find nothing to eat.

It took a couple years of marriage (and a game of racketball) for my ex husband to realize, "You're a big girl, but you don't let it slow you down."

Nothing could be more true. I could pack it away and throw down! I know that's something Sistah' Girl and I have always had in common (even though I think she's always been a bit more girly than me).

Well, now a lot of that has changed.

Don't get me wrong! I can still throw down like nobody's business! Anyone who has done the theme park commando thing knows this first hand!


I can't pack it away anymore. It's actually uncomfortable. I no longer feel pride in grabbing the last bite of something, or cleaning my own plate.

So this Disneyworld trip will be very different for us.
*We're both well under 200lbs now.
*It's our first official Roasted Bear Tour.
*We'll be thinner than we've ever seen one another.
*We'll be staying off property (new for me)
*We'll be breaking the Disneyworld Curse.
(For those not in-the-know, this is the Disneyworld Curse: Between 1999 and 2005, I've
been to Disneyworld with 5 people - each of whom I considered the closest people in the world to me and whom I assumed I'd be forever friends with at the very least. Well, due to choices made by them or me, none of them are a part of my life anymore. While I will always cherish those memories made with those people, and I don't regret a moment of what we shared, things change, and sometimes we have to let those we love go. However, it's a streak I'd rather not continue if I have any say about it. So Sistah' Girl and I think we have pretty good odds at breaking that curse. Afterall, we've put up with each other for over 15 years as it is! )
*We'll be celebrating an up-coming year of new dreams to dream and world's to rock. ;)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The not-so-finer things in life...

Yes, this has been a trying week, but sometimes all it takes is good conversation, a nice hot beverage, and a big fireplace to make life look prestine again.

Thanks blogger-buds for giving me the excuse to get the hell outta dodge.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Outrage and Timing

“To be angry is easy. But to be angry at the right men, and at the right time, and for the right reason…This is difficult.” – Armand Assante, The Odyssey.

A conversation with Sistah’ Girl the other day reminded me that everything in life has (and needs) a certain amount of timing to it. For example, you can’t rush baking bread. The bread will blacken on the outside and not cook completely through if you crank up the head the try to rush it. Life is much the same way. You can’t force a plant to grow any faster than it’s intended speed. You can provide it tools and nutrients to help it along, but that’s about all you can do. The plant will do what it’s going to do. The maturing of people isn’t so different – I think.

I’ve learned in my life that sometimes, with emotions, timing is everything as well.

For example, I’ve known many couples who got engaged about 6 months into dating. While my old fashioned self feels that’s awefully fast, I also recognize that there is a window of time when both people are madly in love and ready to commit their lives to one another – and if that window passes with no action taken, it can often lead to uncertainty about the relationship, rather than a “We’re committed to one another. Let’s work through this,” mentality that can often come w/ those who deeply value to commitment of marriage. Sometimes that “window” comes early on. Sometimes it doesn’t come for years.

Another great example is in conflict.
Whenever we’re involved in conflict, we have the choice on how to react to the anger we’re confronted by.
If we’re confronted with someone’s anger, and we’ve legitimately wronged them – a sincere apology at that point can quickly put out the flames.
But if that apology is prolonged in coming, it risks damaging the relationship beyond repair and/or escalating.

I’m not one to get angry easily. If I can let it slide or explain it away, I will (sometimes, admittedly, even to my detriment). My timing with an apology when I’ve wronged someone is as quickly (and sincerely) as possible – and always includes making amends. Very rarely does my anger when wronged escalate to outrage.

I’ve always liked that quote by Aristotle (which was paraphrased by Armand Assante in one of my all-time-favorite mini series). It’s all about emotions, and timing in expressing them.

As they say, sometimes “Timing is everything”.