5.31.2013

Memories

Day 31: A vivid memory

Today is the last day of the Blog Everyday in May challenge.  It also happens to be the last day of May.  What a coincidence.  I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been the best at blogging every.single.day this month but I do think the challenge served it's purpose nonetheless.  I've found joy in blogging again rather than just viewing it as another necessary task.  I've created an editorial calendar to help me stay on track and come up with fresh content for all of us.  I'm also in the process of a major overhaul on the blog to reflect the change in direction Big Mario Life has taken over the last year.  And there may or may not be a name change involved too!  Who knew Jenni's little challenge could bring about such changes!  I'm excited about all of it and can't wait to share more with you as things progress.

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For this final challenge, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a special memory of my Grandma Mamie with you today.  She was very influential in my life and, even though she left us for her next great adventure nearly 20 years ago, I still think about her almost everyday.  Words alone may not do her justice so here's are some photos to set the scene.

Grandma Mamie (middle) and two of her sisters.
50+ years later, still posing for the camera and rocking the red lips and rouged cheeks.  PS - that's me in the other striped outfit and choppy bangs.

I awoke that day with the excitement typical of a school day.  As a child, I actually dreaded the weekends and preferred the weekdays.  The distractions school brought were a welcome escape from daily home life.  I expected that Tuesday to be just like any other -why wouldn't it be?- until I was called into my grandma's bedroom.

She was dressed in what she considered to be a respectable, professional ensemble.  Her bright polyester floral dress and slightly garish make-up that morning left a comedic yet cherished image of her branded in my memory.  She quickly informed me that I would not be going to school that day and would, instead, be her "driver."  I had been her driver before, ever since I was tall enough to reach the handles on her wheelchair.  But that was usually for doctor's appointments, which did not hold the same potential for fun as a day at school.  She insisted this one would be incomparable and kept our final destination a secret.

I dressed with the speed and focus of a kid on a mission and met her on the porch to wait for our ride.  This was the beginning of our little adventure for the day and my mind was racing, trying to guess our possible destination.  When we arrived at the mysterious location, however, I felt my excitement deflate.  I had wished for the zoo, or even the mall, but what I got was an old musty theatre used only for the smallest of touring shows.  It crossed my mind that maybe I was there to see my very first play, but that hope was quickly dashed when I realized that, instead of scenery, there were oddly-shaped little booths set up on the stage, each just large enough for one person at a time to stand behind, and there were no other audience members.  Just the two of us and a few other ladies.  I smiled through the disappointment as best I could and wheeled her down the aisle of the old building.

I sat quietly beside her for what felt like an eternity while she organized various stacks of brightly colored papers full of words my third-grade mind could read but not comprehend.  After a while, people began filing in and forming a line in front of us.  My curiosity was piqued.  One by one, the people approached Grandma and received a little packet of brightly colored papers of their very own and directions as to which booth to occupy.  I finally found the courage to ask what was happening when we took our lunch break.  What were we there for?  Why did all these people keep showing up for papers and their time at the booth?  "It's Election Day," she said.  "We're helping people vote."

Despite being well into her 80s and bound to a wheelchair as a result of two broken hips late in life, Grandma still felt it was her civic duty to register Democrats and work the election polls whenever she could.  Last summer, I couldn't resist volunteering to be an election worker for the California primaries.  And when I went to the election office in City Hall to sign up, that little memory from so long ago was at the forefront of my mind.

xo

Happy weekend!

 

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5.30.2013

Leidilyn + Edward | Forever

You might recognize Leidilyn & Edward from their Baker Beach engagement session back in March.  Their subsequent wedding at the Blackhawk Museum took all the love and joy from that session and multiplied it times infinity.  Friends and family surrounded them.  Embraced them.  Engulfed them.  They were swathed in love.  And they took all that love and joy showered upon them and shared it right back with live performances, speeches, music videos, and many other fun surprises to show their appreciation.  The vintage touches in the bridesmaids dresses (which Leidilyn made, btw) and Leidilyn's birdcage veil fit perfectly with the museum's backdrop of classic cars, and guests were treated to a table full of sugary delights to indulge their sweet tooth.  To top it all off, Leidilyn also handmade personalized key chains for each of their guests.  I don't think anyone there can deny it was a love party in the truest sense of the word.

Leidilyn & Ed, I'm honored to have been a part of your wedding day.  I hope you continued to be swathed in all the love and joy this world has to offer.  Congratulations, newlyweds.

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Ceremony Venue: Antioch Chapel  |  Reception Venue: Blackhawk Museum  |  Reception Decor & Favors: DIY  |  Wedding Dress: DIY (Bride's mother)  |  Bridesmaids' Dresses: DIY  |  Flowers: DIY  |  Invitations: DIY  |  Videography: Bento Box Productions   |  Photography Assistant: Ana Fleischmann

xo


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5.28.2013

Introducing | Little Gia


We had a jam packed three-day weekend filled with a wedding, a first birthday day, catching a matinee of The Great Gatsby, client meetings, chores, errands, and my most favorite part of the weekend, adding a new member to our happy little family.

We've been talking about expanding our little family for a while and finally decided Memorial Day weekend was the best time to do it.  We knew we wanted another little guinea pig but we weren't sure how Molly would react.  This may come as a surprise but she can be a bit bossy and territorial sometimes.  Since we weren't sure how she'd react, we decided the best option would be to adopt another female baby.  Baby guinea pigs are naturally more submissive towards adults so we'd avoid a fight for dominance and, since Molly is unaltered, a female would mean we don't end up with lots more babies in a few months!

There were three baby females available for adoption.  We observed them for a while to see if we could catch a glimpse of their personalities and figure out who would make a good companion for Molly.  The first was a very timid and shy white piggy with a cute little tan patch on her face.  She was a very sweet girl but not at all excited about being picked up or handled.

The second was a rust-colored piggy with long, crazy hair.  She had a full-on mohawk all the way down her back with the rest of her fur sticking out in all directions.  She was quite possibly one of the cutest guinea pigs I've ever seen but she was a bit of a grump.  She hid in her igloo most of the time and when she came out for food, she didn't pay any attention to the other two piggies.  Molly loves attention so, as adorable as the crazy-haired pig was, it just didn't feel like the right fit.

Then there was this vivacious little black guinea pig.  She seemed small for her age (3 months) but she was so spunky I couldn't stop watching her.  She actually reminded me of Molly when we first adopted her.  Rather than hiding, she came running over to the front of the cage while we were watching so she could check us out.  She was full of energy, doing circles in the cage and hopping in & out of her food dish.  The Fiance said right away she was the one for us but I wanted to watch a bit longer to be sure.  The moment that solidified it for me was when she saw the crazy-haired pig leave the igloo to come out for food.  The little black one got so excited her friend was awake, she started popcorning on the spot.  She was so happy to see her little friend, even though her friend was a grump, and that's exactly the kind of companion Molly needs.  So, we brought her home with us!

We named her Gia (a nice Italian name) and she immediately took to Molly, following her around, copying everything she did, squealing when Molly wandered away and popcorning as soon as she came back.  And Molly has been amazing adjusting to the new member of our family.  She hasn't shown any signs of aggression or territorial behavior.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Molly has been sweet, gentle, curious, and caring - far more than I ever expected from her.  I know it may sound silly, but that sweet little Molly continues to impress me in her role as 'pig' sister.

And now, what I'm sure you've been waiting for, cute photos of Gia & Molly sharing some hay and getting to know each other.


Gia's fur is mostly solid black but the tips of the fur around her face have little specks of white.  I'm really curious to see if the white markings become more pronounced as she gets older.  Her floppy ears are the cutest ever and they wiggle a bit when she chews her food.  I think they also give her a very mouse-like appearance (minus the tail, of course).


We picked Gia almost entirely because of her personality but I do like that she and Molly look like they could've come from the same litter.  And she's already trying to eat our towels, just like Molly!


How was your holiday weekend?

xo


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5.25.2013

Someone Once Told Me

Day 25: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget.

 
It was my senior year of high school, the night before I was set to fly to New York City for college auditions.  I was a big drama nerd and had ambitions of being an acting major in college and winning my first Oscar and/or Tony by age 25.  That seemed like a totally reasonable dream to a 17 year old girl.

After my fellow seniors and I spent a few hours rehearsing our audition monologues for one last time, our drama teacher sat us down in the auditorium to discuss the logistics of the following day and what we should expect on our trip to the Big Apple.  This was going to be my first trip to NYC -a place I'd dreamed of visiting since I was in elementary school- and this was my one opportunity to get into college.  I had no other auditions arranged outside of this trip so if none of the schools wanted me, I was screwed.  You can imagine what my nerves were like at this point.  And for some reason my drama teacher chose that moment as the best time to tell me that, according to him, I'm "average height, average weight, average coloring.  There's nothing special about you so those monologues better be damn good if you expect to get in anywhere."

Well, that did nothing to calm my nerves.  And that hurtful (and in no way supportive or helpful) comment has stuck with me all this time, even 13 years later.  It was humiliating, insulting, and just flat out rude.  Funny how something that seems so insignificant to the speaker can have such a long-lasting effect on the listener.  If nothing else it taught me to be kind with my words.  I only wish someone else had learned that lesson, too, before he became a teacher.


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5.23.2013

Life Lessons School Didn't Teach Me

Yeah, I quoted Will Smith.

 I'm still working on these myself but, overall, I think they're generally good lessons to keep in mind.  Number 10 is something I have to tell myself on a weekly basis, actually.

1. You are actually pretty awesome.  Not because someone else says you are and not because you wear cool clothes, or have a cool haircut, or drive a bada$$ car, or have your dream job.  You are awesome simply because you are you.  Might as well accept it.

2. Any guy who uses the phrase "bros before hos" seriously is a douche bag.  Don't waste your time.

3. Trust yourself.  It's cliched, I know, but it's true.  There will always be that little voice in your head doubting you but don't let it distract from what you truly want.  The only thing standing in your way is you.

4. There will inevitably be a struggle.  You can't avoid it and, honestly, why would you want to?  The struggle makes you stronger, more focused, more determined.  Embrace it as an opportunity and it won't seem nearly as bad.

5. We are still a work in progress, constantly changing and growing and *hopefully* improving so don't beat yourself up too much when you slip.  It'll be okay.

6. Don't make excuses for being who you are.  We all have our own weird little quirks and that weirdness is what makes us who we are.  Unique and interesting and awesome (see #1).  Don't apologize for that.

7.  "I don't know" does not mean "I'm incompetent / stupid / naive / incapable."  It just means you don't know.  So go find out.

8. When in doubt, chocolate.  Enough said.

9. Don't give in to the crazy.  It'll be tempting, I know.  All that drama can make you feel like you're living in your very own show on Bravo, but we all know how those end - wine in the face and a half a weave missing.

10. Good-fitting clothes can hide a multitude of sins.  In other words, the actual size doesn't matter, what matters is how they fit your body so get over the actual numbers and work what you got!

11. Let it be.  You can't control how others behave but you can control how you react to their behavior and unless it's something major, chances are it's not worth your energy.  So just take The Beatles advice and let it be.

What life lessons have you learned outside of school?


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