Monday, September 30, 2013

the toy that saved me

//Write about a toy you most treasured//

When I was little, I was intense. I had intense feelings and intense attachments, at least that's what it felt like. One of these was my attachment to my stuffed animals.  I had a whole pile on my bed: 3 easter egg colored teddy bears, all with silk ribbons around their necks. A few Beanie Babies, a Raggedy Ann, an old duck without the stuffing, all stacked on my bed from biggest to smallest. Guarding me. Welcoming me.

In the very front was my tiny bear. He was small and chestnut brown, with little waves of soft fur and limbs that would swing back and forth,  back and forth. He wore a little red and white striped romper. His eyes were kind, and he had a small smile that made me feel at home. I won him at a family Christmas party when I was 8. At first, he was nothing special, he was just miniature, and I liked that. He sat at the very front of my animal pyramid because he was the smallest, and he didn't even have a name. As time went on and my family life started getting worse, his miniature size came in handy, and he turned into my biggest ally.

My dad is a strong man. He's opinionated and traditional and he doesn't believe in weakness. No pepper on your food because it should be good enough as it is cooked. No crying. No special blankets to sleep with at night. No ketchup on your scrambled eggs. He liked the control he elicited from us, his minors, his subjects. I lived in fear, walked on egg shells. I never knew what would trigger his anger, so I was carefully defiant. At first, I followed my father blindly, not even realizing that a father could do wrong. As I got older and situations started happening, I realized that fathers could do wrong. When I would go to his house for his allotted weekend, I noticed a tangible difference in the way that I felt when I was there, like I was in Siberia, half way across the country, when in fact I was only a few miles across town. As a result, I would get homesick. That unrelenting knot in my stomach so strong, I can feel it even now. An emptiness, a cold slimy feeling writhing in my gut. It made me sick. It made tears well up in my eyes, spilling onto my silk pillow at night, in my painted room with the leaf stencils and purple bed spread. My father had made that room exactly as I had asked, because he wanted it to be the best. He wanted to be the best, not for me, but for him.  He didn't like when we timidly asked if we could go home early or if we could call mom during the weekends. His sneer of disgust at our weakness or his sense of value to us, I don't know which. But, I knew that if he knew about my need for something that reminded me of home, he would take it and not give it back.

Enter my miniature bear. He was small enough to fit in my backpack, unnoticed in my bed. I could stuff him in my pillowcase and no one would be the wiser. When I had no choice but to leave my mom for the weekend, I would sneak into her closet, filled with her shoes and her coats and her smell. I found that special perfume she wore on dates, the one that smelled warm and amber. I would spray that right on the chest of my bear, soaking it deep into his fur so I could smell it all weekend. With that bear, I kept a broken locket my mom gave me. Inside, a picture of baby me, and a scrawled oval note in my uneven handwriting that read: mom. I sprayed the inside of that locket with her smell too, and then they were hidden. At night, I would carefully pull them both out of their hiding place and push my nose into his fur, smelling deeply and imagining my mom hugging me as I tried to fall asleep. It was the closest thing I had to comfort, and the only thing on earth that understood how I was feeling in such an unrealized tumultuous time in my life.

It seems silly that something so small and insignificant could have elicited such strong emotional and physical reactions in me. I wish I was exaggerating that I created a safety net with a little sack of stuffing and polyester. I slept with that tiny bear for longer than I care to admit. As years went on, times changed and I got older, one by one my stuffed animals were gone. The three silk-ribboned bears disappeared one day in my teens. The duck banished to the shelf, the Raggedy Ann placed in storage and the Beanie Babies handed down to my sister. My little bear lasted until I left for college, and even then I packed him away secretly in my box of keepsakes and took him with me. After all these years, I still feel an overwhelmingly strong emotional connection to him. Even now, when I'm feeling nostalgic or lonely, I open up my special box and smell deep into his fur. If I'm careful, I can catch a faint whiff of that perfume, and the ache in my heart is dulled slightly.

I give my daughter a bunny because I hope that it will be her ally and her friend when she feels like she is alone. I am a believer in having an object that you can pour all of your love and hope and tears and sadness in. Something that is always there and never fails you. One that sits and smiles and loves you right back, no matter what.

I think we all need one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

story of my life in 250 emoji or less

To tell my life story in some detail, I used approximately 223 emoji. 223 emoji for my entire life! I'm not sure if that's depressing or awesome. I'm leaning more towards the latter.

You may not understand all of my whole life story....but, hey. The fun part is the interpreting.

On that note, I find that people are quite adept at decoding these mysterious Emoji transcripts. I fully expect a full-blown Emoji language to emerge in a matter of years. Will our children's children only talk in Emoji? Will our children only relate through a basic Japanese language? Is Japan trying to take over the world through Emoji? I think the answers lie in the Emoji themselves; a secret language, if you will.

I believe with all my heart that the more we study this deep and under simplified language, we may find answers.  Answers to WW2 questions, why Asians like rice so much, and where does sushi really come from?

Or simply answer important queries, such as,

What Made Elyse Who She Is: The Picture Edition.

For your viewing pleasure, 223 tiny little pictures in an orderly storyboard format.

PS: for some reason, I couldn't get the emoji to paste into blogger or anywhere else besides my notepad. And then I took a screenshot with everything accidentally highlighted and then accidentally deleted the whole work of art. So now it looks weird and has a blue background...but just roll with it. It's midnight here. ugh.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blessing and a Curse

I've lived in the days without internet (barely)I was raised on 4 T.V. channels, 5 if someone would get on the roof and adjust the antenna
I'd never had delivery pizza until 2 years ago (we lived too far in the "county" for delivery)
I had a real live pen pal that I wrote to using snail mail
We thrived on the radio and finally got a CD player when I was 14

And now I live in a world at my fingertips
In a split second I learn of a friend having twins and another friend breaking off their engagement
I can look up lyrics to a song to prove my husband wrong
I can order flowers from Ecuador and have them sent straight to a friend
I can send emails to my grandma and talk about baby names
I look at clothes and food and more clothes and more food and things for my house and things for my baby like which car seat to buy and which crib is the best. I play card games and send emails. I find coupons and read restaurant reviews. I watch videos of friends and family far away and get to see things like my nephew crawling for the first time. I can see a picture of a delicious homemade donut, find the recipe and realize I need a donut pan and order it right then and there so I can be making donuts in two days thanks to Amazon Prime.

And I start to wonder, how is this impacting my life?
What is this doing to a girl who was raised so "simple"

It's giving me envy
and taking my pride
its giving me connections
and taking away interactions
its giving me opportunity
and taking time
its giving me happiness
and taking my joy
its giving me goods
and taking my money

It's a give and take world.
But it always has been.
Only now its at my fingertips.
Time to give more and take less.
But for now I'll take that donut.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pet People

I'm not one for pets. Not fish, dogs, horses, reptiles, and especially not cats.That being said, I have quite the pet history which I do believe has influenced me greatly in my relationship with pets. Shall we begin?

Buffer was the cutest little dog you have ever seen. Picture lady from lady in the tramp (also my favorite movie at the time). We were "watching" buffer for a few years since buffers owner was living in an apartment and wasn't allowed to have dogs. Buffer captured my young 4 year old heart quick. We played in the snow together, we rolled in the grass. She was a sweet perfect little thing. Then one day, it was time for her to go back to her real owner. It was almost more than I could bare but back she went. Moving a couple towns over (15 miles away). A few weeks later, Buffer showed up at our door and melted my heart all over again. Believe it or not but this sweet dog ran away from home and found us, found me. The nasty mean owner came back to claim his dog once more and my mending heart was shattered once more. I officially lost a chunk of my heart the day my parents told me Buffer ran away again and tried to find us but was lost forever.

Fred and Wilma:
The cutest orange and white fish you ever did see. Living in the typical fish bowl, they did the typical thing that gold fish do.... die.

Snow White:
Snow White was a beautiful white rabbit with fur so soft you could wear it around your neck. She also had these piercing RED eyes. RED. If they weren't so damn captivating I would say they were downright freaky.
She was a good little rabbit until one day she did what rabbits do... make rabbit babies. Plump with little ones I checked on her everyday to see if she had birthed the little beauties yet, until one day... she had. And after birthing them she promptly ate them. Not much was left except bits of blood and flesh and one little baby still alive with a gash out of its back. We buried the poor sweet thing. Not long after, Snow White ran away... or so my parent told me. And you know what? I didn't miss that ravaging little rabbit one bit.

Taylor, For-Nat, Sherwin, Blackee, Stewart:
A horse is a horse of course of course. And a wild horse is another thing all itself. My dad grew up with horses and inherited a few (Taylor, For-Nat). They were good little horses but they had a mind of their own. These Arabians could be handled only by my dad and would listen to no one else. Especially not little 7 year olds (my brother the year he got bucked off) or 11 year olds (my sister the year she and her friend were bucked off). Our horse herd grew with the years and we (my brothers) were tasked with the burden of taking care of the beasts. And my father was tasked with the burden of getting us all to love these wild animals that he trained himself. Needless to say none of us children love horses and if I had been bucked off like the rest of my siblings I might down right hate them. The day I turned my back on the horses for good was the day my father had to shoot his horse of 20+ years as it was sick and dying. It's like a sad movie and sad country song rolled into one, and frankly, more emotion than a girl could handle.

Evee 1 and Evee 2:
Evee 1 was our beautiful black lab. I never got too attached because of for-mentioned experiences and because I was away at college for a lot of her life, but none the less she was a good dog. One day sweet Evee got knocked up and a few months later gave birth to a beautiful litter. Not one week later our sweet Evee got hit on the road and died. The family spent weeks nursing the puppies day and night until they were old enough for a new home. Except for Evee 2 of course. We kept her.

Evee 2 lived a great life. She was a little bit more wild than her mother but my brothers loved to play with her and take her on adventures. Then one day my two teenage brothers came home to Evee dead on the side of the road... and they cried. And I cried because it broke my heart to see them so torn up. And Evee took a little part of me that day.

In conclusion, my pet heart has nothing left to give. There is enough of a sliver there to see a cute baby animal and say "oh how sweet" but not enough to reach out and touch it. Not now. Perhaps never. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

20 things that bug the crap out of me


I'm sure it comes as no surprise that this list was easy for me. I'm the biggest pessimist that you will ever meet and lists of things I hate come to me in waves. It's not that I hate everything (really!), I just have strong, really strong opinions. But you already knew that. SO! moving on.

I present to you:


1. Runaway grocery carts - just put them away
2. Know it alls - just shut up and stop talking
3. People who are fake - can you just stop pretending please and be real?
4. When something isn't finished- I can't have just half of my house decorated, like ever. No patience.
5. Humidity- kill me already
6. Grammatical errors/bad English - please go back to elementary school
7. People who don't read books - instant turn off.
8. Passive aggressive people - just say what you wanna say and stop being a jerk.
9. Paying for laundry - WHY?????!!!!!
10. My clicking jaw - don't sit by me when I'm eating
11. Flaky people - THE WORST. don't promise you'll do something and then NOT do it.
12. The color orange (in clothing) - it assaults my eyes every time. in what universe is orange ok to wear, and what does it even match with besides camo (only in Cedar) ?
13. Pomegranates - The seeds! So much work. So little reward.
14. Moms on Facebook who catalogue everything they got done that day - instead, just petition the Facebook world for compliments on how awesome you are.
15. The word "play date" - it instantly dumbs me down.
16. William Shakespeare - because he makes me feel stupid. I never ever understand his plays or why they are so famous.
17. People who look down on you for being a stay at home mom - like, let's trade lives!
18. People who don't get sarcasm - it's annoying to have to say i'm kidding all the time....
19. People waking me up - FOR THE LOVE DON'T EVER WAKE ME UP.
20. Not having anything exciting to do on a Friday night - nothing puts me in a worse mood, you know?

Let's discuss: after jotting down this list, I'm realizing that the thing that annoys me the most are people. That's terrible, right? Am I overly judgmental and critical of people? Probably. But I know what I like and what I don't, and I'm usually not afraid to say it. I think it's mostly because I have had significant run-ins with stupid people, and their quirks annoy me. If I had to choose, people who are flaky/fake would top my list. Nothing bugs me more than people saying they will do something and then never actually intending to do it, but say it mostly to look good/save face/avoid confrontation, etc. This was seriously my life before I moved to California. You would not believe the flakiness of the people around me. It bugged me so much, that when I moved to California, I made a conscious effort to be honest and forthright about everything, even if it was uncomfortable. This policy has totally changed who I am. Before, I was a wimp. I was a people pleaser, always worried about what people thought of me. I followed the crowd and hardly ever said what I really wanted to say. I am completely different now, and I think it's made me much more confident in who I am. Funny how people's bad habits can affect the person you become in more than one way, you know?

So, there you have it.
Blogged! Woo!
Now that I have all of the crappy writing out of my system, let's get these Faux and Fox posts rolling in the hilarious wittiness that we posses.


Sidenote: i do like pomegranates. But why do they have to be so hard to eat? ugh.