Charlie's Monkey

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I actually did this a few months ago but I've been too lazy to post anything on this blog. Hopefully the spring sunshine will inspire me to write more. I was very proud of this drawing because I think it was the first time I really felt inspired to create something on my own as an artist and it had very special meaning to me.

As some of you may know the first miniature dachshund Josh and I got was in 2006 and we named him Charlie. He was the cutest little dog- a black and tan smooth haired doxie with a shy and loving personality. Truth be told, he was a momma's boy. He was mine.

His favorite toy was the monkey you see in the drawing.. he had loved it so much that he chewed all of the arms, legs, and tail off so it was just a monkey torso. Tragically, we buried Charlie with that toy just after 9 months of his short life.

It killed me... like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest. It hurt so much that I started to block out memories of him so I wouldn't feel the pain in my heart. After a while I started to forget what he looked like, only until I would be looking through old photos and come across a shot of his curious, innocent face. Still, it hurt. After burying the pain for so long I lost my memories of Charlie without even realizing it.

We quickly got Sam after Charlie died to help fill the holes in our hearts. Sam gave us something to focus on and love. One day Josh came home with a monkey stuffed animal and was so excited that he had found it. To his shock, the toy didn't even strike me as familiar. After trying to explain that he had found Charlie's favorite monkey toy at the local grocery store, he was amazed that I could not for the life of me remember its existence- almost like I had forgotten about Charlie's existence. I felt horrible. How could a mom forget about their dog? Or to me... my child?

Since then that monkey has been chewed up, stretched out, thrown around, and fought over by Sam and Nelly. One day, I saw it lying on the ground in this exact position and just stared at it for a while. I pulled out my art tools from the back of the closet, got comfortable on the floor, and started to draw, very intently. And as I drew a memory started to come back- I remembered Charlie's monkey. I remember frantically trying to find it the day of his funeral because I knew Charlie could not be buried without it. I remember the eyes and nose chewed off. I remembered how he used to hop up and down through the venetian blinds when I approached the door coming home from work. I remember how I used to make him dance with me. I remember him running through a field very fast and making the funniest noise as he coughed up blades of grass because he was so close to the ground. I remember he was the best cuddler around. I remember hating to say goodbye to him at the airport as I left for Connecticut that July. I didn't know it would be the last time I saw him alive.

Sometimes I think of him and I cry, even to this day. But I know that he is in a better place and I'm thankful I got to be his Mom and mean so much to him only if it was for a short period of time. I think he knows I love him very much and I still think of him and miss him. I just hope there are puppies in heaven!

Dedicated to my one and only Charlie Bones. All my love... Mom

New Seasons Bring New Beginnings

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I show you this picture of a road leading to a destination unknown because my life is reflecting just that.

This new fall season with it's dropping temperatures and glorious colored leaves has not only brought changes in the weather, but my life as well. In mid-September I was told about a fabulous work opportunity that I just couldn't pass up. As a result I found myself saying goodbye to more than just summer sun..... I was saying goodbye to my workplace that I had been at for over 2 years.

When I wrote down all of the pros and cons I realized that I had been comfortable and loved the people I worked with, but I was at a stand still and had simply outgrown the position. I knew if I passed up this offer I would resent my job, so I took a leap of faith and accepted the new offer! It was indeed one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make but it was so worth it.

I went from being a real estate office receptionist to an administrative assistant in the wedding reception business. I now have my own office (you know... the kind that have a door?) and my own personal phone line (with voicemail! woot woot). Totally an upgrade!

On my first day I was extremely overwhelmed with how poorly the files were being kept, the disorganization, but mostly my manager's stress level. I was missing my old job almost every day of the first week. The positive was that my manager was pretty new herself and was so thankful I would be there to help sort out the problems and find the solutions. We work with multiple wedding coordinators and all work as a team to make sure these events are being carried out as smoothly as possible. That's the best part, is that it all happens because of a team effort but everyone is pulling their own weight, like a relay race. When we cross that finish line and look at how well we did we know that we couldn't have done it without each other.

I am finding that my voice is finally being heard and not talked over. When I open my mouth people are listening to what I have to say... I'm not just the ditz at the front desk. I'm putting all of my brain power to use really experimenting with creative problem solving. I am starting to feel like an important link for the business's success and I have grown a passion for it... at least that's what can be said if you are having dreams about your job, right?

Every day is crazy as we find more issues to solve, but the good thing is that nothing is mundane about it. When I arrive in the morning I usually have no idea what the day will bring me. I can go from editing our wedding guides and setting up our filing system to arranging centerpieces and ordering linens. I guess the thing I love most about it is that it's EXCITING! Every event goes super smooth and our clients would never know the chaos that goes on behind closed doors! I love being a part of the chaos and I feel that in just the two weeks I have been there I have made some really good and affective changes. I am realizing that it's important to feel like you are growing and achieving which I now see how I was lacking those feelings at my old job. I can't wait to find out what other strengths I can use to add to the company's success.

Although my real estate job will always have a special place in my heart, I'm missing it less and less. I'm thankful for the learning experience and all of the relationships I have made and I know that I would not be where I'm at without my time there. The hardest part about accepting change is the discomfort with the unknown and always questioning, "Where will this road lead me?" But I'm glad I took the risk because that's what life is all about! If we knew where every road would take us what kind of fun would that be? And how would we ever learn how to make decisions? I'm learning that it's the excitement and learning that helps you grow as a person... and I feel good about that :)

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” -Oscar Wilde

Monday, September 14, 2009

So Josh and I had an interesting situation arise late last Tuesday night. It all began around 1:30 in the morning. We were sound asleep when we were awoken by the sound of our doorbell.

"Who could it be?" I wondered, hoping it was not some terrible emergency.

We both got out of bed, and when Josh opened the door we realized that no one was there. We totally got ding dong ditched! "What a punk," I said, "Let's go back to bed."

Not five minutes later we were jolted by yet another doorbell ring. This was getting quite ridiculous. Josh opened the door again and like we expected, no one was there.

"Let's wait and see if those guys come back a third time," I suggested. And so we waited patiently, Josh by the door and me by the front window, watching and listening from behind the blinds. I was expecting to see some young kids scatter in the bushes, but what happened next I did not expect...

All of a sudden a shirtless Polynesian man, about mid-twenties, came around from the side of our house and started walking towards our door. I recognized this guy... he lived in the house across the street! I had the window cracked, so I yelled out to him to get off of my property. Josh then came out and approached him, telling him that it was nearly 2:00 in the morning and that we were trying to get some sleep, politely asking him if that was OK with him. The guy nodded and went away.

"Creepy!" I said as we walked back to bed. With the adrenaline pumping through my veins I couldn't get myself to fall back asleep. I don't know what it is with men, but my husband seemed to drift back into his dreams with ease. About fifteen minutes passed when I started hearing noises.... in our basement.

Now, Josh and I rent the top unit of a duplex, and we had a new tenant that was slowly moving her things in but had not moved a bed yet so we knew she had not been spending the night, all the more reason why I freaked out when my friendly little dog started growling at our stairs. I quickly woke up Josh and he grabbed his pocketknife which has a rather large blade. He led the way into our hallway as I followed, and we stood still in the silence, waiting for any sort of sound from below. Shortly after we heard some noises coming from our deck which was right beyond our sliding glass doors in the kitchen...

As Josh approached the doors I went into the bathroom and listened through the window in our shower as to hear any commotion. I heard my husband open the door and start to ask this man a series of intimidating questions like...

"WHAT THE *insert curse word here* ARE YOU DOING ON MY PROPERTY??"

followed by,




After this man started talking back and refused to leave, Josh grabbed him by the shirt and threw him down the stairs of our deck, tossing him onto the concrete and into the shed below. Josh then began to beat the #$&% out of this guy, punching him at least 8 or 9 times in the effort to move him out of our yard. The intruder squirmed away, and in the process of this debacle, Josh ended up cutting the guy's arm, ripped his shoe off, and tore his belt.

I called the cops immediately after and waited with Josh on our deck until they showed up. While we waited Josh told me the window downstairs had been opened and the front door was wide open as well, and the man was in fact was trying to open our door as Josh approached the kitchen. I couldn't believe a neighbor would be so drunk and so stupid to actually break into someone's house. It worried me because I did not know what his intentions were...

You would think after getting hit so many times it would be a clear warning to not return.. but minutes later he actually came back from across the street and started walking slowly up our driveway heading straight towards us. Just as Josh began to yell out, we saw the cop car's headlights coming down our street catching him red handed!

The cops took over from there. They quickly realized this guy was absolutely BOMBED and asked us if we would like to press charges. "HELL YES," was our answer! They found out he had a warrant out for his arrest for trespassing/assault so they got him cuffed and took him off to jail.

As we walked back inside to go back to bed we couldn't believe this awful and terrifying thing had happened to us! Even though I knew he was gone I was still very anxious and had a very hard time sleeping. I kept waking up from nightmares thinking that I heard noises or that someone was in the room. Needless to say I was sleepy the whole next day at work and needed lots of coffee to stay awake. On a positive note I had a killer story to tell to my office!

The reason why I titled this post with that quote is because after this kid broke in, it was almost like he broke the ice between us and our Polynesian neighbors. During the following days we were overwhelmed with how many family members came over to apologize for Phil's actions (that's the drunk guy's name). You could tell they were deeply hurt and took it very personally that one of their own family member's put their neighbor in danger. I realized that the Polynesian culture takes their family values seriously. I was surprised that they refused to bail him out of jail and that they acted so kindly towards us. They have lived in this neighborhood for years and years, so knowing that their name was tied into a bad situation made them furious. It made us feel better talking to his father. He helped us understand about Phil's past and let us know that we had his family's full support.

Phil was bailed out by a friend in less than 24 hours and the next day came by our house to talk to Josh and apologize. He didn't remember anything from the night before, only bits and pieces. He thought he was locked out of his own house, and so he was trying to find a way in, not knowing it was not his home. He was embarassed and ashamed, but after hearing the results of his actions he was in tears. It was heartfelt and so we both accepted his apology with confidence that it would not happen again.

So because of all of this, we have made good friends with a couple of the family members, mainly Phil's older brother and his cousin. We have since invited them over for beers and football and I honestly enjoy their company. The stories of their culture continue to fascinate me. I admire their views on how family always comes first, and how even if they are drinking and smoking on a Saturday night, you can bet they will be out of bed and in church the next morning.

"Don't you ever feel guilty when you go to church and see all of these perfect families lined up next to you?" I asked, wondering how they could live such a different lifestyle than what the LDS church enforces.

"I never compare myself to others," Oni explained, "because it's not between me and them, it's between me and Him."

I was amazed by their faith and their comfort in who and what they are. This experience has opened my eyes and has taught me that while I may have little trust for strangers on the outside, I should be willing to familiarize myself with the people around me. To my surprise, they have quickly become like family and will be there for me to help whenever I might need them.

So that was our little blessing in disguise!
What experiences have you had that were blessings in disguise?
Please share your stories, I would love to hear them!

Wine, Lakes & Love

Saturday, September 05, 2009

So I know I've been ranting and raving about our Seattle trip lately, but I'm not finished yet and they get better, so keep on reading!! :)

After our Sunday baseball game, we realized our whole week was wide open with endless possibilities of things to do. We tried planning it out, but we ended up mixing in a lot of spontaneity. We decided a wine tour would be really fun and relaxing, since our most favorite Riesling is made in Washington, we were off to The Chateau St. Michele!

As soon as we drove through the gates and saw the vineyards, we knew this was going to be just lovely! The wine tour was absolutely free so we signed up and had a half hour to spare before it started. The grounds were amazingly gorgeous; I was loving all of the green trees with crazy huge trunks! It made me think back to tree climbing as a kid back in Connecticut. People were picnicking on the grass sipping their wine and reading their books and flipping through newspapers. No one seemed to have a care in the world... this was indeed a "Stress-Free Zone"!!

At the end of the tour they provided a free tasting of their three most favorite wines including a Merlot, Blush, and Dessert. I realized that Merlots were an acquired taste and I would have to work on liking it. I enjoyed the blush, and the dessert wine was almost too sweet for my liking. We ended up going home with my original favorite Chateau St. Michele Riesling. Mmmmmm!

The following day we went to Pikes Place Market which we were told was one of the most essential tourist destinations when visiting Seattle. It was a good thing Cindy lent us her GPS system since Seattle roads make absolutely NO sense!! We didn't see any fish throwing, but we got the gist of how great the market was. You could get a beautiful bouquet of gorgeous flowers for only $5.00! If I lived in downtown Seattle you could bet I would be shopping for their fresh veggies and fish on a weekly basis.

The market sits right on the coast of the Puget Sound and we stepped outside to take in the fantastic views. We dined on classic fish & chips at the Emmett Watson Oyster Bar, passed by the original Starbucks while listening to the famous Seattle Street Singers, sipped on Tulley's coffee in downtown Seattle's Harbor Steps, and observed amazing works of art in the Seattle Art Museum.

What a wonderful day this was! When we headed back home Cindy wanted to take us to Martha Lake, a small lake closeby where there is a swim area for kids and a dock with lots of open water to paddle on. We packed up a couple boats and paddled until sunset...

The next day was me and Josh's 3 year anniversary! We decided to go to Golden Gardens Park, which is a nice little beachy stretch of sand with picnic tables and bonfire pits. We brought a blanket, our books, some snacks and our Riesling, and just relaxed all afternoon in a cluster of shade trees. As I tucked my feet in the soft sand, rested on a tree, and tasted the delicious wine on my lips, a feeling of pure joy set in as I gazed out onto the water. I couldn't ask for a better way to spend time with the love of my life....

Now feeling a little happy buzz we headed to Ray's Boathouse down the street for a nice seafood dinner. We were seated on an outdoor table with views of the water, served wine and beer, and feasted on fresh halibut and calamari.

I'll be honest now... it sounds like a wonderful anniversary dinner, right? Well I'll be the first to admit that I had a little too much to drink and started to morph into my evil Gemini twin, becoming more and more obnoxious and belligerent. I felt myself becoming heated and angry for no reason... Josh pleaded to try and enjoy the moment, but I couldn't stop, all I could feel were the negative feelings: the sun was too hot, we were too crowded, and it was hardly the romantic dinner I had hoped for. There wasn't much love going on between us, only bickering and fighting, so we left quickly both feeling frustrated and hurt. We went home in silence and Josh left to cool off. I sat in the RV in a drunken state of mind, cried, and felt sorry for myself. It was pathetic.

So that's a heavy dose of reality, wouldn't you think so? Maybe you're wondering why I didn't keep on with the lovely stories and why I am now sharing these personal details? Well, being a blog reader I come across many that are sugar coated where their lives seem to be so perfect you can hardly stand it. On the other hand, there are a select few that spill out their honest feelings and I find myself more interested in the realness of them because I can actually relate.

So here it is, the real me, exposed and imperfect.

The truth is I was so backed up on Monday (yes... you know what I mean) that we almost didn't get to go on the wine tour. The truth is I complained a lot about the claustrophobic nature of the market and needed to leave after only 5 minutes. But Josh stood beside me, dealt with my moodiness, and tried to make the best out of each moment. He is a real trooper and I can't tell you how blessed I feel for having such a wonderful husband who bares through the negativity of my evil twin, and has the power to look into my eyes and bring out the real me. I feel safe and secure with him, and I sometimes wonder if he knows me more than I know myself.

Despite it all... we were together and we enjoyed our special moments, and at the end of the day we slept by each others side and woke up still happy and still in love. Good morning kisses seem to smooth over the rough times and leave them in the past...

Well guys, thanks for reading. I appreciate any and all comments because it keeps me writing, so if you enjoyed this post, please let me know!

Mariners VS. Yankees

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So in addition to Cindy's kindness, she and her husband, Kelley, were thoughtful enough to buy us tickets to the Mariners vs. Yankees game on Sunday at Safeco field! We were so excited! Seattle is known for it's horrendous traffic, especially on game days, so I was glad to take the bus to Downtown Seattle where the stadium was.

It was a perfect day for a baseball game: sunny skies with a slight breeze. Our seats were very high up, but we had an awesome view of the field and were luckily in the shade. It was so relaxing to be there while eating our hotdogs and sipping on our beer (6% beer is like drinking a breath of fresh air... compared to Utah's lame 3.2%!).

Being from New England, I have always grown up being a Yankee fan. My dad is the biggest fan of all. Since the Yankees had beat the Mariners twice already, my dad told me to "bring out the broom!" Every time A-Rod came out to bat there was a booming uproar of hostile boo's coming from the crowd. I quickly decided not to root for the Yankees since I probably would have been tortured with belittling remarks and flying hot dogs.

To my surprise the Mariners ended up kicking major Yankee a$$! Yankees were in the lead starting out, but in the 4th inning Ken Griffey Jr. hit a single to center, starting a 2-out ralley that gave the Mariners 5 runs, leading 9-3. Yanks just lost their focus after that and were at a stand still. I believe the final score was 11-3!

It was lots of fun to spend a Sunday afternoon watching baseball with Cindy and her family. I was already having such a good time and looked forward to more enjoyment throughout the rest of the week.

Here are some of our pictures we took from the game:

Roberts Family Reunion

Saturday, August 29, 2009

First of all, I apologize for not blogging literally all month! We have been anticipating our Seattle trip and after sadly returning back to Utah, I am now in the mood to reflect and think out loud once again :)

This trip was very meaningful for many reasons, so it is necessary I explain how and why we decided to go...

Josh and I had recently gotten in touch with his Aunt Cindy (his dad's sister) through Facebook. Josh never really knew the Roberts side beyond his dad's immediate family. He had lost touch after his mom and dad separated when he was 9 and grew up mostly knowing his mom's side. Thankfully through Cindy he was able to fill in some gaps, like what his real grandfather's name was and the difficult struggles his dad had to go through in his childhood. Not only did it help Josh understand his father more, but it also made him curious as to what blood relatives he had that he never got the chance to know. Cindy told us we should go to the annual Roberts Family Reunion in August. We considered it, and realized that the reunion was close to our 3 year anniversary and decided to plan a vacation around it. Cindy then told Josh's great Uncle Jack and he was overjoyed with the news that we were going to be there.

So we did it! We took the time off work, packed up our little black Honda, and started our drive over 800 miles through Idaho's endless farms and haybales, to Oregon's gorgeous blue rivers and canyons, and into Washington towards Cindy's home in Lynnwood, about 10-15 miles outside of Seattle. Once we passed through Washington's eastern desert area we saw the beautiful vineyards, and then traveled through the mountains with everlasting trees. Ah... trees :) They were so green and so beautiful you could not see through the thick forests if you tried. We rolled down the windows and felt the humid air on our skin. The feeling of freedom and anticipation made me smile and awe over how great this was... how great it was to be away and with the ones I love most.

Cindy was more than generous with her hospitality. I was so overwhelmed with how welcome we felt and how she was so willing to help with anything that we needed. She let us bring our dogs and stay in her RV, which was so great because we had our own separate space and privacy throughout the week.

We arrived late on Friday got our rest for we knew that Saturday was the reunion. While little nervous feelings ran through our veins, they were surpassed by excitement and openness to meeting new people. Not just people... actual family. Would they be nice? Welcoming? Rude? Strange? We didn't know! We only hoped we would fit in somewhere.

We arrived and approached a large gathering of complete strangers. Shortly after we met Uncle Jack... a very unique and charming individual. He appeared to be in his late 70's yet had the spirit of a 20 something. He made a big announcement to everyone and introduced us to the whole family.

I'll be honest... I felt a little out of place. After all, I was not a blood related Roberts, just an in-law with less knowledge of the family than anyone else there. I struggled with names, but surprisingly I was able to carry on conversations. Josh was chatting it up with everyone, meeting cousins, uncles, aunts, and everyone in between. I felt so happy for him but had a hard time shaking my discomfort. But then I thought... isn't that how everyone feels at reunions? Uncomfortable because you onyl catch up once a year if that? I realized that everyone was playing catch up, re-introducing themselves, and reminding each other of their names. I decided to let my nervousness go and put a smile on my face, because really... what was the worst that could happen?

As I outstretched my hand to greet people, they hugged me instead. It seemed as though everyone was welcoming us into the family and we felt so loved, as though we had never lived apart. It was easy because there was a familiarity to each Roberts. They shared struggles while showing their quirky Roberts idiosyncrasies such as their ability to talk and talk (and talk.. and talk...) and their nonjudgemental qualities, accepting everyone for what they were. I swore a little bit, they would swear back. Josh and I went to go smoke a cigarette, and someone would join us. We fit in!

I enjoy being around older people and listening to their stories. The elderly are amazing individuals. I look into their eyes and see wisdom. If you listen to them and really hear what they are saying, you begin to see that they have this understood comfort with themselves and their stories are written in their aged faces. They speak with sweetness and charm. I was starting to really love these people.

We ate cheeseburgers and hotdogs, played a friendly baseball game (Josh caught the last ball, winning the game!), participated in the water balloon toss, and a listened to live acoustic hour. I would never guess The Roberts were so musical because Josh is totally tone def! His Uncle Jack used to promote concerts back in the day booking famous Western Country performers such as Johnny Cash! Uncle Jack and his nephews have even performed and recorded albums in times past. They get together every reunion and play their guitars and sing together. It was so amazing to watch. I actually teared up a few times as they played their versions of the classics.

As we said our goodbyes, hugged everyone, and exchanged phone numbers and emails, Josh and I felt whole, forever engraved with their kind words and hearts.

Here a just a few of the photos we took:

This was just the first day of our Seattle trip.
Check back to read about more stories of our adventures in Seattle :)

Missing Connecticut

Saturday, July 25, 2009

With my mom & dad being in town this last month, I've been missing my hometown more than ever.

Here are a few things I miss about living in Connecticut:

The endless rolling hills full of trees or what I called "broccoli fields" when I was little
The fact that Connecticut was one of the 13 colonies and has such historic attributes
How you can drive 45 minutes and be out of the state
Having 4 consistent seasons, none of which are more extreme than the other
Curvy and narrow roads we liked to call "roller coaster roads"
Cape & Colonial style homes that were built as early as the 1700's
Friendly's Fries and Dunkin Donuts Coffee
Family owned businesses & restaurants that have been around for years
Having beach, country and city closeby
The fact that only 2% of the state is LDS
Being a democratic state
Fireflies, hot air balloons, light houses & covered bridges.

But most of all, I miss having my family & friends right around the corner.

Who knows, one of these days I might be able to convince Josh to move back east! Doubtful... but possible :)

I just can't get enough...

of this SONG!! I'm obsessed.

Wish I had the actual video but they disabled the embedding... isn't it great though?? I also loved it because my favorite dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance" did such a powerful jazz routine to this song.

All tucked in...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yes, it's true.

I chopped my hair off AGAIN and this time I went a little bit shorter in the back.

Check it out!


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