Dear Family, I have a confession to make

Dear Family and Friends,

There’s something I have to tell you and it’s not going to be easy. The thing is, I know that you guys are pretty strict on some things and believe that some things are just right and some things are just wrong. So I’m hoping that you’ll still love me, accept me, and support me after I tell you something I’ve struggled with for years now.

The truth is, I don’t really like wine, I like beer. I know how important wine is in our family and how you were all pretty sure I was just like you in at least this one thing but I’m not. I’ve really tried to like wine. I’ve tried out a bunch of different types. I’ve even gone along with your wine tasting parties hoping that maybe I’d find a perfect match. I see how excited you all get when you gaze into a wine glass. I know how much joy you get analyzing the legs and debating how hot the wine is. I know that you all bond over your love of wine and that it’s pretty much expected in our family that everyone loves wine and will love wine and will make wine-loving babies but it’s just not like that for me.

The thing is, I just really love beer. I get so much happiness from a frosty mug of delicious beer that wine has just never brought me. I love all kinds of beer too! I love Germans and English and American.  I love meeting new beers from all over the world and admire them in every shade. I think they’re so special and unique and interesting.

I know there are some bad beers out there. I know beer isn’t perfect. But it’s what makes me happy. And I hope that you can respect that and respect my love of beer.

I won’t try and push it on you. I’ll even enjoy the occasional glass of wine, especially in your presence. And I’ll come to your wine tastings too because I love to be with you, my family, so much. I’d just rather have a beer in my hand, that’s all.

And does it really matter at the end of the day what we like to drink? I mean isn’t it about wanting happiness and love for our loved ones even if our loved ones love a little differently than we do? I won’t judge you for your drinking wine. I won’t feel bad for cabernet when you dump it for a pinot. As long as it makes you smile, I’ll happily refill your glass. I’ll even buy you a bottle if I ever have spending money again.

Thanks for listening, family and friends. I love you. Even though you love wine and I love beer. I just hope you’ll love me too.




The Forbidden Wedding

I got married in 2004. It was in a big, old Catholic church. I had my traditional wedding gown. There was a reception at a hotel. Cake. Dancing. Tossed bouquets. Traditional photos.

It wasn’t my dream wedding but, that had way more to do than my ideas of marriage, religion, and expectations than any fault of anyone else.

I guess one thing some people think as a perk for divorce is that you can get a do-over on your wedding one day.

This is a strange concept for me because I never really wanted a wedding to start with. But, I’ve also noticed the universe has a twisted sense of logic and “Never say never” is generally a good piece of advice.

As a matter of fact, it has been my personal experience the more one fleshes out certain concepts, the less likely it is they’ll happen.

So, here is my dream wedding that will most likely never ever happen for a myriad of reasons. This crazy post was inspired by KC at Momma and the Misters’ post.  She obviously designed her dream wedding for all of the right reasons. I’m designing my forbidden wedding for all of the wrong ones. Either way, it’s fun to look at.

Let’s start with the ring.

Look, I’m not much of a bling bling kind of girl. I prefer really funky pieces. Don’t bother with an engagement ring either. I’d rather have an engagement letter, poem, or mixtape. But I’m all for exchanging rings during vows.

Get me something simple, funky, or elegant. I don’t care. I just want it to be meaningful to you. I want it to symbolize something special about you and me and I want you to figure it all out by yourself. Also, I’m a romantic and like words. Bonus points if you engrave something beautiful.

That being said, it should be obvious this ring would be a no-no (for a wedding ring, otherwise it’s awesome).

We’d get married on the beach and let me explain why this is important to me. I feel calm, serenity, and bliss when I’m on the beach. These are three things I want to associate with my marriage to you. In a church I feel frustration, boredom, and as if I’m being lied to. These are three things I do NOT want to associate with our wonderful nonexistent marriage.

I’d walk down the sand aisle in a great dress. It will most definitely not be white. Or ivory. Or off-white. Or cream. Or even beige. I’m not pure, not virginal, and I’m not trying to pretend I’ve never done this before. As a matter of fact, I’d want it to be a glaring obvious fact that I have done this before and am nuts enough to do it again under an entirely different set of circumstances. If I knew you loved seeing me in a particular color, it’d probably be that. If you thought I looked gorgeous in anything (and nothing) it could be anything.

After the ceremony, I’d ask our small group of loved family and cherished friends to go home, get comfortable, and meet us for dinner at somewhere around 8. It’d be at “our” restaurant, of course, and we’d pick up the tab because we’d be so happy to share this big step together. Of course, there’s no telling what “our” restaurant may be but I’d have no objections celebrating somewhere cheap and delicious.

When it’s time to set off on our honeymoon, I definitely have a destination in mind– somewhere with a good balance of adventure and relaxation. Bonus points if neither of us have ever been.

What about you? KC and I want to know about your wedding that hasn’t happened yet (first, second, forbidden, or otherwise). Tell us about it or write your own post and share. We hopeless romantics love the mushy stuff even if it’s not really intended for us.

Regarding the death of an angry man


“Peace” by Mariam Askanani on Flickr

Last night, we heard the news we’ve been waiting to hear for almost ten years. He’s dead. Immediate reaction? “Finally, the bastard’s dead. Is it Castro’s turn yet?” What do you expect? I’m Cuban-American.

But, I’ve gotten some sleep, I’ve read the news, I’ve read all sorts of reactions, and I’ve been thinking so much. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the people who suffered because of this man’s hate-filled agenda and I’m not just talking about the victims of 9/11. I hope they feel something positive today—whether it be some sort of peace or relief or closure or whatever else they want to feel while at the same time dealing with the negative feelings and memories stirred up by his name. I know it’s not the end of their suffering. His death doesn’t bring loved ones back to life. His death doesn’t grow back limbs restore brain function or cleans lungs. His death doesn’t erase trauma. His death doesn’t fix relationships torn asunder by stress, grief, or illness. His death doesn’t even ease the partisan tension in our own government his actions sparked into a relentless roar that has become swollen and bloated and beyond the scope of remembering what it was all about to begin with. So I hope there is some sort of comfort for them especially as he and images of his destruction are plastered everywhere you turn.

Also, I’ve been thinking about the importance of individuals—apart and together. This man had money. This man had passion. This man had ideas. This man had plans. However, most importantly this man had people. This man had believers. This man had followers. This man had hiders. This man had secret-keepers. This man didn’t operate with paid mercenaries from an alien race. He operated with people with passion and conviction and determination—excellent qualities turned deadly in the absence of love and peace.

Ever since I was a child, the Golden Rule has been important to me. More than any idea of gods, systems of beliefs, or words of faith the simple idea to treat others as you would have them treat you just makes sense. It is logical and pure and simple. It’s even in physics—for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. If we all made a concerted effort to embrace this simple notion, what a wonderful world it would be. I understand anger. I understand hate. I understand revulsion. I understand frustration. I understand vengeance. These are extremely powerful motivators. But, if before you acted on these motivators you really considered your actions may be returned to you and/or your loved ones—would you act to the harshest degree you envisioned? Would you act negatively at all?

There are cruel people in this world. There are self-serving, egotistical, hate-filled people in this world. They’re everywhere. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors with varying degrees of wealth, status, and power. People like this don’t appeal to the Golden Rule. They appeal to motivators. As long as we are able to envision what the receiving end is like, as long as we practice empathy, the motivators are empty. These people strip away love from those they are trying to convert. They empty your soul of peace and charge it with restless anger.

I am happy for President Obama and the armed forces. We all know what a sense of accomplishment, relief, and confidence slashing off the biggest most giant item on your To-Do list can bring. I have no problems with celebrating the first big piece of welcome news this nation has had in a long while. But I also hope we learn, we remember, we understand.

“Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Happy Endings = False Advertising

Happily Ever After - Kinsale

“Happily Ever After” by Sonia Luna

Last night, I watched The Jane Austen Book Club while slightly drunk on Nyquil to work on the cape some more. I want to finish it this month. The only thing I can think of is watching a movie every night to keep me working on it. If I can just finish this one last tedious tentacle, I can get to the hat and finish.

But, the point of this post is not crocheting monster cape projects while watching chick flicks, it’s about Happy Endings. If you know me personally, you probably haven’t really gotten over the fact I admitted to watching The Jane Austen Book Clubwhich is so obviously a chick flick. You know I don’t do girly movies. You know I don’t do movies generally but scary movies, suspense movies, and girly movies are all pretty much not movies I’m into. I watched it because I decided to ignore the fact it was a girly movie and focused purely on the fact it was a movie about a book club. This worked rather well when I focused on the How to Make an American Quilt aspect of that movie and ignored the fact it was a girly girl drama. I was fifty-fifty on the Jane Austen part because I haven’t read Jane Austen since high school and I can’t remember if it was those books I absolutely hated or if those were by someone else. Judging from the movie, I think maybe I hated Jane Austen but I’m not entirely sure because even though the movie is supposed to be about a Jane Austen Book Club, it’s really about romantic relationships and happy endings and I still have no idea whether or not I want to read a Jane Austen book (or re-read for that matter).

As far as the existence of Happy Endings, there appear to be the same camps as there are revolving around God. Meaning, there is Camp I Believe (Gnostics), Camp I Don’t Believe (Atheists), and Camp There Really Isn’t Sufficient Evidence to Prove or Disprove Happy Endings So I Cannot Make a Satisfactory Conclusion on the Matter (Agnostics). I know this is super simplifying but, under medication I can’t muster much deeper conversation here. Apparently, when it comes to God and Happy Endings, I’m in the same Camp– There Really Isn’t Sufficient Evidence to Prove or Disprove Happy Endings So I Cannot Make a Satisfactory Conclusion on the Matter. This is why I’m not a fan of most Happy Ending-geared fictions. Besides, given my personal experiences, I’m leaning more to the Don’t Believe side of things. Can you blame me?

The thing about Happy Endings is they seem a) Conclusive and b) Exclusive. When these movies give you some romantic rocky place you can relate to, you’re right there with them the entire way—until the happy ending part. Because that part? Skipped you. Or maybe, Camp I Believe says, “Hasn’t happened to you yet.” And the real problem with Happy Endings is that they aren’t really Endings. They’re endings in a movie, sure, but most of the time Happy Endings are really Happy Beginnings in character relationships. You assume things stay that way because we grew up on fairy tales that told us so (all together now: “And they lived happily ever after”) but reality dictates all of these Happy Endings movies should have sequels at the very least, if not prequels and additional sequels. The most realistic love story I can think of in movies is the one we saw from start to finish across six movies—Darth Vader and Amidala. And we all know how that ended.

I watched the movie start to finish because it seemed full of promise. There were five females in completely different and entirely screwed up relationships, at least one of them was bound to end up unhappy and alone like me many of us, right? [SPOILER ALERT IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF] The woman whose husband leaves her for another woman gets back together with him after he realizes what a huge mistake he’s made, reads Jane Austen, and apologizes with a letter. They’re making out when their young lesbian daughter walks in on them at the end. Speaking of the young lesbian, she goes from one passionate impromptu relationship to another and ends the movie young, single, and full of promise for The One. There’s the sophisticated Hard Older Woman who melts like butter in the hands of a young Jane Austen reading sci-fi nerd who is mysteriously wealthy and goofy and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in your life because he’s not real. We have the young wife who is Old World to the core, in rebellion to her hippie mom, married to a complete jerk of a jock who suddenly turns into a softie when she begs him to read Austen and crying reads a couple of sentences out loud to him. He reads the whole book, “Persuasion” and their relationship is renewed as he is now officially romantic and passionate and must truly love her. Lastly, there’s the most interesting character who gets the least attention. She’s the Love Veteran. Detached enough to enjoy the game for what it is. She’s been married six times, enjoyed them all for what they were, and ends married a seventh to a handsome wealthy man she can’t understand (literally, he speaks Spanish) but it doesn’t matter because she’s got a huge rock on her finger and you imagine he’s got a huge rock in his pants because boy does she look satisfied with herself. And everyone is so happy for her, cheering her with a champagne toast in the end. Your seventh husband! How wonderful!

Each of these scenarios is so completely far-fetched, they’d be hard to deal with on an individual basis. Combined, it just comes this question of the viewer: “What’s wrong with you?” Also, “Why aren’t you forcing potential lovers/mates/husbands/boyfriends to read Jane Austen? She has magic powers!”All of these nutcase women are happy—every single one. So what is your problem? If these five looney bins can be happy winners in the game of love surely you must be broken. Or maybe, it’s ok. Because it’s fiction. And we just want to pretend these are the things that happen. I remember another stupid movie I watched called He’s Just Not That Into Youand one solid piece of advice in the movie—these stories are all about the exception. You are the rule, not the exception. Movies and stories are always about the exceptions because no one cares about the normal.

So, there’s nothing wrong with you—with us. The makers of these Happy Endings are just gigantic fantasizers and wishful thinkers. They are all members of Camp I Believe. You won’t find evidence against Happy Endings in movies (outside of Star Wars at least), but you don’t have to look there either. Look in the mirror, call your best friend, your sister, your mother, your aunt, your cousin, your brother’s ex-girlfriends, etc. You’ll likely find lots of Happy Beginnings, some Sad Endings, some Sad Endings that turned into other Happy Beginnings, some Happy Beginnings that look like they just make it to Happy Endings (then again, ask my grieving grandmother who’s still grieving the death of her husband of over fifty years and Happy Endings seem impossible) and mostly you’ll find lots of In-Betweens. Because as long as you’re living, there is no real ending—happy or otherwise.

Wolverine-Like Healing

Apparently, I heal well and I’m resilient. At ten years old I put up with an angry infected appendix for months on end. When my mom finally sent the doctor to hell and took me to the emergency room, they found it hidden behind an intestine. When they operated, it burst. I was in the hospital for a week, maybe more, but I came out fine and with a huge appetite which has never really disappeared. I recovered quickly from childbirth. I don’t get knocked around physically too badly and when I do, it doesn’t keep me out too long. I don’t get sick too badly or frequently. And apparently I heal from a broken heart better than I should.

I had a dream the other night I came face to face with the ExMutant and his harlot and was completely fine with her. I told her she was good to my kids so she was good with me. This, after months of dreams where I’d physically demolish ExMutant into pulpy strangled messes because of the anger I felt. Here I am, a year and a half later wondering if maybe one day I could try marriage again. I find myself wanting a serious relationship where the other person actually, you know, loves me for me not because he knocked me up (oops). The line from the Jane’s Addiction song “Jane Says” keeps swirling in my head on loop: “Jane says she’s never been in love, she only knows when she’s wanted.” And that’s pretty much what I have felt in every relationship I’ve had. I never crossed over to the “in love” threshold. Well, not after the required ridiculous high school mockery of it. Sometimes, I wanted to but just couldn’t. Most times, I just didn’t want to.

With ExMutant, I wanted to very badly. We had children together for the love of god. And despite the fact I devoted everything to the family, I never experienced the true love factor with him. He didn’t want it. I didn’t want it. Not really. I am the perfect example of when “the right thing” is the wrong thing. I am the living debunking of the idea if you fake it long enough, you’ll feel it. Oh I faked it. Never felt it. Seven years and all I got from the other half was strip clubs, blackout drinking binges, wrecked credit, a foreclosure, and crappy sex. Seven. Years. That’s how he showed me how he felt about me. “Actions speak louder than words” I’d tell him. It never sunk in. It never will.

And now, I want to experience it. Sort of. I’m still scared to death. I just don’t seem to grow sufficient scar tissue to avoid wanting this sort of thing. I’m envious of the cold ones. The ones who remain detached forever and ever, blissfully unaware their whole lives. The ones who recover from serious damage by inflicting some of their own—sleeping with whatever they fancy, never looking, much less calling, back. Boom, bye, bye. Instead, I find I’m a lot more romantic and mushy than I’d ever feel comfortable admitting (although I guess that’s what I’m doing). I’m starting to admit to myself that it’s not so much I’m not cut out for partnerships—it’s that I’m not cut out for crappy partnerships or for faking successful partnerships. Apparently, I seem to only be cut out for the real thing and that eludes me. Another song lyric plays—Shirley Bassey’s “Never, Never, Never” comes on, “Although you always laugh at love nothing else would be good enough for you.”

When it comes to soul mates and true love, I’ve been nothing short of a flip-flopper. Younger I believed it. After my heart got screwed with in high school (typical, I know), I sent the theory to hell and locked my emotions up. This was the longest I was able to sustain the coldness—just a couple of years in my late teens and 20. Then I started to warm up again and that eventually found me with ExMutant. Now, after emerging from seven years of false promises, feelings, words, and actions in the name of true love, dedication, and commitment, I have to strongly consider if those things didn’t pan out because we just weren’t right for each other essentially- which brings me back around to soul mates and true love and their place in the world and my life. Maybe there is something there that I’ve been overlooking.  And that gets everything else going. How do you know what you’re getting is the real thing? How do you know you’re not dating a love lemon? How on earth do I decide if it’s even worth it to try again? How do I not let myself get in the way of my own happiness—alone or coupled? Seriously though, is it worth it?

Healing, it turns out, is only part of the process. Just like that nasty spill from your bicycle, recovery comes in stages. First you are completely unable to get back on the bike, physically and emotionally. Then you physically heal but emotionally you’ve sent your bike to the junkyard. And then before you know it, you start to crave the wind in your hair, the handlebars in your grasp, and the pedals beneath your feet and yet you can’t quite forget how much that nasty spill hurt and not only that huge one but you start to replay the little ones too. So you think about it a lot, you might even toy with it a bit but to actually kick off full-speed ahead is something you don’t trust yourself or the bike to do. Like just about everything important and meaningful, it’s simply something you have to make a decision on—yes or no.