Sunday, June 17, 2012

Currently, My Heart Is Loving: Father's Day - The Man With The Black Jeans

I would love to say that he's NOT peeing in the snow.  But I can't.  And I don't care.  Because this is my step father, William A. Kelly, Sr. at his finest - with his Ray Ban sunglasses and black jeans, acting like it's 1987, all day, everyday.  

I'd also like to say that our step daughter/step father relationship was awesome and rainbows and sunshine out our asses since my mom introduced me to him.  But I can't.  And that's quite alright.  

When he and my mom got together, I was in the 3rd grade.  Still a kid, he let me ride my bike around the block alone, much to my mom's despair.  He took me on the most frightening ride on a motorcycle, which had nothing to do with his riding abilities, and all to do with the fact that I had NO metal around me.  When I went to China to see him & my mom for the summer, he and I went out on the water of Phuket, Thailand on a jet ski.  And to this day I am terrified of them.  This time, it had a lot to do with his jet-skiing abilities.  And also a lot to do with the fact that we were in so far away from the shore.  But mostly it's because of him.

 Sorry, Mr Bill.  

In the beginning, everything was pretty much awesome and rainbows and sunshine out our asses - until puberty struck.  Damn it, puberty, I hate you on so many levels...

Being a man who raised two sons (partly) on his own, he had no idea what kind of fiery wrath I would lay upon his life once we hit this part in our lives.  While sons can have the emotional moody stage during their formidable years, I really doubt he experienced anything like what he experienced with me.  

We are the classiest of the classy in Vegas
We have had many moments of wanting to knock each other out - me with my super-sensitive anger management issues, and he with his inability to filter ANYTHING he says to ensure nothing comes out offensively ("What?  I was just asking a question!") - it was a match made in step-parent relationship hell for a while there.

But, like I said, that's quite alright.

Through him I learned a lot about science.  I developed a strong love for Steve Martin & Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  I grew up knowing what it was like to be completely mortified by my father, "MOM, tell Bill to put his teeth back in! I have friends over!!!"

Through him I had the amazing opportunity to experience many areas of mainland Asia - although it was wasted on my angst-ridden self, "I don't wana spend summer in CHINAAAA" - I was able to learn about a completely different culture.  The same trip also began my love of experiencing new foods.  How many people can say they ate, and honestly enjoyed, frogs legs at the age of 12?  Seriously, that shit tastes like chicken.

Typical Bill - cigarette, coffee, Harley shirt, AND THOSE DAMN BLACK JEANS!!!
Through him I have a love and appreciation for classic rock, motorcycles, and starting DIY projects that take forever to finish.  I also learned to adore someone who is very much set in their ways - black coffee in the morning with a little bit of water to cool it down; always saying "IT'S ALIIIIIVE!" when I walk into the room after having woken up; Budweiser in either a can or bottle, or give him death; and whenever mom yells at him for touching her stomach, "But I love ALL of you, Barbie!"  Oh, and can't forget the fine art of burping "Barrrbbb, get me a beeer".  


Through him, I felt loved.  I felt cared for.  Through him I learned what it felt like to WANT to make someone proud.  

Without him, I wouldn't have had a healthy male role in my life.  Without him, there wouldn't be so many awesome memories to outnumber the stupid memories - all of which resulting in hilarious inside jokes & punch lines ("Biiiilllll, you're baaaaaaack" & "Screaming corn!!!")

To this day we still have our moments of bickering and snapping, but that's just how it is.  On days when he or I are being super nice, the suspicious question is always asked, "What do you want from me...?  I have no money for you."

But I wouldn't have had it any other way.  He was the man who, without hesitation it seemed, stepped up to the plate and took care of me when the universe put me into his life with my mom.  I adore this man, even with his false teeth, grumpy attitude, and 6 Million Dollar Man lifestyle (we have the technology, we can rebuild him).  

He means the world to me, to my mom, and to his family.  He has the warmest brown eyes ever, and is the man I look to when someone asks about my father - because he is my father, the man who raised me.  

And for all he has sacrificed and gone through with my bullshit, I have nothing but respect and gratitude for him.

Mr. Bill, if mom has forced you to read this (after you two spend 20+ minutes trying to find your reading glasses, at which point she gives up and just reads it TO YOU), please know that deep down in my heart, you are my father, my dad.  And nothing will ever change that.

With my Momster - and again, those.  Damn.  Black.  Jeans.

I love you.
And I hope mom takes you out to dinner on this special day.  Or at least makes you a steak.  And potatoes.  BUT NO VEGGIES - god forbid.

Currently, My Heart Is Loving: Father's Day - The Man Who Is Half of Me

He is half of me.  I have his nose, his face shape, his eyes, his hair, the same creases in our cheeks when we smile.  Pretty much the only thing I didn't get from him are my giant hips and sarcastic attitude (that, my friends, I got from my mama).

It's difficult for me to determine how to write this post - he is my dad, the man who helped create me, but that doesn't mean what it does to a lot of other people.

Unfortunately, there are very few really awesome memories I have with my dad.  We had a very troubled and limited time together.  My dad suffers from a very sever case of schizophrenia, with multiple personality disorder.  

Due to his internal complications, it was and has been difficult, if not impossible, to have a "normal" relationship with him.  It seems that since I could remember, he functioned more as the child, and I the adult. Always trying my hardest to bring him back to reality, convincing him that the delusions he believed were not reality.  

Even to this day he questions my actions (and at times, even inaction), or my intentions.  Even though I am his daughter, he still has the voices in the back of his mind to not trust me, and it's so frustrating and sad. 

He never told his own father that I was even alive until I was in my teens - and I've always wondered why, with all the things done, he would also deprive me of a relationship with the man who I would later call my grandpa, the Polish man who cried when he saw me for the first time (he said I looked just like my grandmother).  Not having a relationship with my grandfather probably hurts more than  not having a relationship with my father, and I honestly blame him for that.

His condition added another level of dysfunction to our relationship that is far too complicated to explain, and is even harder to justify why I still have him in my life.

Despite his problems and flaws, he did all he could to be a father to me in ways unique to him - buying me Barbies all the time (taped in shirt boxes, never wrapped), sending me little pamphlets or magazines from wherever it was he was living, random knick-knacks he somehow got his hands onto.  

The greatest memory I have of him is our trip together to NYC.  My mom and I were in NJ visiting family, and my dad was very adamant about going into the city - something I was very reserved agreeing to.  We drove to the bus station, rode the bus roughly 2-3 hours, and arrived in NYC early in the morning.  We walked all the way down to Chinatown, back up to the Empire State building.  We ate pizza (of course), talked, enjoyed the warm weather, took photos.  We went to Times Square and made jokes about the people we saw.  

Brian had me take a Spider Man action figure with me to take pictures of in random locations throughout the city, and my dad came up with the brilliant idea of having an NY-PD woman take a picture with it - super hilarious!

The trip was amazing, and awesome, and one that I wish I could relive over and over again.  Most importantly, it felt like an average father-daughter trip.  There was nothing weird.  He would randomly make comments about how his medications make him fat, so he couldn't walk as quickly as I could.  But other than that, I felt like I was a normal daughter there, enjoying the sunny day with her daddy.  

Just thinking about that feeling makes me cry now as I write this.  And my heart breaks.

No matter how earnest I am with my plea for him to stay on his medication and to continue with his therapy, his mind twists my concern into ridicule and judgement, or that I'm working with someone against him.  

Even with our relationship reduced to the occasional email or random giant box delivered in the mail, he's still my daddy.  He's still the man who would let me stay up with him to watch Saturday Night Live, and then fall asleep on his lap during Almost Live (Joel McHale in the 90's, say whaaaat?!)

He was the man, that when I had my first...well..."milestone" of puberty, I went running out to him when he came to pick me up yelling, "DADDY!  DADDY!!  I JUST GOT MY PERIOD!!!"  As awkward as that was, he was seriously proud.  His daughter was growing up!

He's the man who, every chance he gets, apologizes profusely for being who he is, for what our relationship has come to, and that he loves me with all his heart.  His love, while at moments clouded by the lies his mind conjures up, is unconditional and so amazingly strong.  

He is my daddy, and I am his little girl.  And despite all the issues with our past, present, and I'm sure future, I do love him, and want nothing more for him than to be healthy and happy.  For him to be in the present and stable mind to walk me down the aisle when I get married - and to experience the REALITY of it, not what his brain tricks him into thinking.

For all the lessons he taught me unintentionally, and for the moments when he was the greatest dad ever - I hope he has a great Father's Day out in New Jersey.  I'm sad that I can't be there with him, for many reasons.

Grandpa, me, and my dad.  Right before we headed out on our NYC trip.  Three generations of Polish gangstas!  And seriously, could we look anymore like family???

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday InstAwesome: June Vol. 2

@nikkihoyhoy - follow me!:

Posting this super late this Saturday - but what chya gonna do when you wake up with a migraine?  Amirite?

1 - Last Saturday morning I "ran" (I use that term very loosely) the Sound to Narrows with a friend of mine.  5k in `46 minutes, a lot better than I thought I would do!

2 - Later that afternoon, my step brother and his wife came to visit from Idaho.  Of COURSE I had to update my chalkboard.

3 - Dinner at Dukes on Ruston Way.  THEY HAVE THE BEST BLOODY MARYS!  It's like a liquid dinner.  Seriously, I can't say enough how much I love that place.  Go during happy hour though, because we didnt, and I almost shat myself over the prices.  Ouchies...

4 - The view of the Puget Sound from the Dukes patio.  Such amazing scenery.


6 - Spent the afternoon with the little nephew coloring, yelling gibberish, throwing giant yoga balls at him while he's running.  Glorious fun.

7 - Happy hour with friends to celebrate a Master & a Manager.  Also gushed about my love of this app for iPhone/Android.  AND, the cat was completely appropriate, seeing as how yesterday's Photo A Day June was "yellow".  Drunk ass cats.

That was pretty much the extent of my week.  Nothing too fun otherwise - lamesauce.

Please, for the love of all that is awesome, have a FABULOUS weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Currently, My Ears Are Loving: Saturday Knight Fever

In an attempt to be cool like my friends by creating a list of my top 50 favorite songs, I wrote down a very rough, un-ranked list of what my ears love the most.  Now I'm sharing it with you, song by song.  <3

When I decided to share this song today, it occurred to me that even in high school, I was the person who used others to help find music I would later love.  A friend of mine, who was kind of flakey and totally strange, was very much into the music scene in the South King county.  He was part of random bands here and there, but knew a lot of local talent personally, which was awesome.  In the rare times that he and I would hang out, I'd randomly meet someone who was part of a group of friends who would later make a name for themselves in the Puget Sound.

One night during a small house party in South Tacoma, he quickly introduced me to random attendees who casually drank their PBR (before it was oh-so-hipster...maybe), when he introduced me to a bearded fellow who looked like he could have been Asian, but was for sure a DJ of some sort with his turn table and crate of vinyl records.

Later that night, when we jumped in my 89' Ford Escort to head back to our respective homes, he put a CD in and started playing this song:

'45' by The Saturday Knights

A couple beats into the song, I looked at him and said, "I really like this!  Who is it?" "That beardy Asian guy with the headphones I introduced you to?  He's part of this.  It's pretty fucking awesome."

And it was.  And still is.  This song can't ever NOT put me in a fabulous mood after listening to it - from the music, to the lyrics that make me laugh.  My love of word play is indulged through hip-hop - and this song is probably one of my favorites in that arena.

I've yet to see them live - I heard that one of the members left a couple years ago, which is unfortunate, but seeing them in concert still remains on my bucket list.  

They make me want to dance, and that makes me happy.

Have you ever accidentally/unknowingly meet a local/large celebrity?  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday InstAwesome: June Vol. 1

My week in Instagram photos (@nikkihoyhoy - follow me!):

First off - am I the last person to revel in the glory that is PicMonkey?  I LOVE IT.

The photos are in no order of when they were taken - because I got lazy today.  Meh.

1 - Brian and I getting sucked into the falsehood of winning a plush prize at the Spanaway Marketplace.

2 - Trapper's Sushi with Brian & his itty bitty Japanese grandma on Wednesday.  The Barackade roll -  I want it in my mouth at all times.  Nothing weird about that, at all.

3 - Run today ended at Northern Pacific Coffee Co. here in Parkland.  Iced coffee, fancy bagel, Weekly Volcano, and I was happy.

4 - The chalkboard at Northern Pacific Coffee Co.  A couple weeks ago it was a giant octopus!

5 - Cats doing what they do best - sleeping on the clean clothes that I pile on the bed every morning with grand intentions of folding & putting them away.  Alas, they all get shoved onto the floor by bedtime.

6 - 6th Ave Farmers Market has many great vendors - one in particular a friend of mine helps with.  Ice Cream Social is a little cart filled with delicious, home-made ice cream - along with vegan options!  I chose the coconut dark chocolate because I'm coo-coo for coconuts & cocoa!  For realzies, I could live off coconut and chocolate FOREVA.

7 - My step brother and his wife are coming into town for the weekend, so I decided to REALLY clean the house.  I even vacuumed and dusted!  Like, whoa.  Now I want the house this way at all times.  But that's so much woooorrrrrrrrrrrrk...

8 - Impromptu date night with Brian at The Tap Room.  And, I repeat, BBQ chicken pizza is RIDIC!

9 - A dress I found at Goodwill that I have yet to go back to see if it's still there.  Tag line for the photo on Instagram, "Why am I not on Mad Men?!?!  Oh, wait...because I'm not Christina Hendricks.  Duh.  And I can't act.  Double duh."

And because I failed at posting my recipe for veggie burgers yesterday, I suggest you go and make this - baked salt & vinegar potato wedges  - because I have been OBSESSED with them all week.  

Tomorrow I'm running the Sound to Narrows 5k with a great friend.
Let's hope I don't pass out and die 10 steps in!

Have a FABULOUS weekend!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Currently, My Ears Are Loving: "Willie" by Cat Power

A few months back on a trip through Portland with two of the best people I know, they talked about a little project they were working on with some other members in a group of friends.  Their goal was to condense a life's worth of music into a list of 50 favorites.  Some attempted to organize the list from favorite -> most favorite -> absolutely the #1 favorite song ever - a task that seems so daunting and impossible to me.
Being that I've never been a person who paid all too much attention to music - mostly just being surrounded by it and always having it around - it made me think about what songs would make my list?  Could I even imagine up songs that have made an impact on my life?  When faced with something as grand as a list of top 50 greatest songs of my life, my mind went blank.

But then I remembered this song, and I smiled, because even though I don't remember the actual moment I heard this song, its still one that I know I could never live without listening to.  When I get bored of the radio or what's playing on Pandora, I look this up on YouTube and all is right with the world:

"Willie" by Cat Power

Per usual, it's a song that has a jazzy, moody tone to it, Charlyn Marie Marshall's rough & beautiful voice that I always seem to be attracted to.  

Prompted by my friend's trip through music memory lane, I started to write down songs I would hear randomly that I have a strong connection to - either through a life experience or just through how I feel when I hear it.  

Tunes for Tuesday.  I think I like it!

Would you be able to create a top 50 of your most beloved songs?  Off the top of your head, what is one that you would include?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Currently, My Eyes Are Loving: Rest

Being the person I am, my days end up being a mini roller coaster of emotions.  
Ups and downs.  
Highs and lows.  

This past weekend was no different.  The weather was splendid - sunny without being too hot.  I enjoyed time working in the garden, taking trips to Goodwill, spending time with friends while burning things, drinking whiskey, playing around with the greatest little boy, and getting two days straight with the boyfriend.

Which is all very very great and happy!  I would never want to trade those moments.  But with every happiness comes doubt, questions, concern.

My decision to quit my job was not one I took lightly.  By no means do I consider myself above anyone else or some sort of transcendent thinker.  The position made me miserable, and I didn't want to deal with it.  

Simple as that.

It's always been a dream of mine to work in a field that allows me to manage myself, where I have freedom. I believe that if the work is done, and done well, then my time should be my own.

Simple as that.

Yet it seems that life doesn't want me to take that route.  This weekend, on a personal/internal level, I was faced with many moments of having to review my ideals, my goals, my life.

And those many moments I felt disappointed that things aren't working out the way I wished.  I felt guilt that I've practically forced Brian to be in a position where the financial burden is completely on him - regardless of how much ownership and pride he's taken in the position.

Sunday night was probably when I felt the tremendous weight of all the emotions running through me, trying to maintain my appreciation for the fact that I'm even able to make the choice of not working.  Yet I emotionally collapsed this weekend and spent many moments crying, begging to be given some sign of what I should be doing.  My heart hurts because I've been measuring my value based on how much money I make.

Yesterday, in another one of my temper-tantrum type of moods, Brian and I went for a run.  He went his pace, and I went mine.  In that time, I felt like it was a reflection on life - others will find their purpose or reach their goals sooner than some.

It's whatever, it's life.  It's something you can't control.  Which sucks for a control freak like me, but ultimately it's worse to worry about it.

Today I awoke with the understanding of this.  That there are very few things I can control - so I cleaned the kitchen, dressed for a run, watered the plants.  Yet, with what plans I had made in my head, life took control and I found myself spending a really wonderful afternoon with a friend who I feel so grateful for having.  Then I received some information from another friend about new opportunities.  And to top it all off, I received an email from a customer who purchased a brass bull from my Etsy shop for his wife's birthday, with a photo attached of his wife holding the bull, with their two sons.  He said that she really enjoyed it, and thanked me for selling it to him - which made me cry from how wonderful the message was!

It's these things that keep me going.  That keep me hopeful.  That rest my weary mind a bit from the worries and doubts and concerns.

The remainder of the week, I'm going to take a break from writing in exchange for updating the blog design, and focus on some other things.

How do you best manage the doubts & stresses of your life?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Currently, My Ears Are Loving: "Sweet Child Of Mine"

Hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend!  Mine wasn't anything super amazing - just lots of gardening, food eating, and beers to be had.  Last night I had decided to skip today's post, because I couldn't think of anything to write about.  Then, while cleaning the kitchen and listening to my usual KZOK, Guns & Roses' "Sweet Child Of Mine" came on, and I felt compelled.

Guns & Roses is one of those cliche bands that people either really love or really hate - I have a strange love/hate relationship with them.  Can't stand who they are as a band, but have always really enjoyed their songs.

Another element to my strained love for the band represents my relationship with my father - a man with a very troubled mind who made terrible choices, yet had many moments of being such an amazing father.

After my parents split, there were a lot of wrong doings on his part; things that would probably end a father/daughter relationship for eternity.  Yet, a couple great memories I had with him, where we're just driving around the local forests or heading to the park along a river to feed the ducks, all involve this song.

While perhaps the original meaning of the song is different than how my dad interpreted it, he sang it to me and always said that if he could write a song for me, this would be it.

Moments like those made me realize that he understood and regretted the way his mind functioned, and to this day he has fleeting moments of clarity - where I'll get a phone call apologizing for being the way he is.  And it breaks my heart.  But regardless of how infrequent we interact or talk, we'll always have this song.  And I'll always know that he does truly love me.

Jaden Smith has "Just The Two Of Us"; I have Guns & Roses.  

Kick ass.