Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

yaaawwwn… November 28, 2008

Filed under: Personal,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 5:14 pm

Happy Friday! Fanless and I both have the day off today so we’re just hanging out at his place. I’m watching “The Starter Wife” while he’s geeking out with his podcasts. I’ve had a busy couple of days (laundry, grocery shopping, cooking…), so it’s nice to just kind of veg out today.

Last night Fanless and I had Thanksgiving dinner at my niece’s sister-in-law’s house. It was a relatively small group – just 11 of us – compared to the massive amounts of food on the table. A huge turkey AND a honey-baked ham, sweet potatoes, cheddar mashed potatoes, stuffing… and it was all really goooood! Dinner was followed by the “Buffet O’Desserts”: pumpkin, apple, pecan and cherry pies; pumpkin flan, and cinnamon crumb coffee cake. I also discovered that I actually like pumpkin pie! Go figure – all this time I’ve thought it would be totally gross and gag-inducing. Not so much.

Although this was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, it was nice to be with family. I loved having Fanless there, along with my sister and her BF, my niece and her hubby, his parents, sister and nephew, and his sister’s BF. I also took a lot of pictures to send to my mom and dad.

Anyway, that’s about it for us. I know, thrilling, right?

P.S. Countdown to Washington = 13 days!!

 

today… November 27, 2008

Filed under: Personal,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 5:15 pm

I am thankful for:

  • My wonderful, loving parents
  • My awesome older sister
  • My smart, beautiful niece & the man that is smart enough to love her as his wife 😉
  • My gorgeous, sweet and hilarious boyfriend
  • My amazing, kindhearted friends
  • The roof over my head
  • The food on my table
  • The bed in which I sleep
  • The job that keeps the roof over my head!
  • The simple things I take for granted every day: my health, my sight, my hearing, my brain

What are you thankful for today?

 

‘tis the season November 26, 2008

Filed under: Miscellany — Lulu @ 5:15 pm

With tomorrow marking the official start of the holiday season, a time of giving and family, I wanted to point out a few great organizations you may be interested in supporting. After all, that is the true spirit of giving, isn’t it?

  • Charitywater.org – Charity: Water is a non-profit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. With a $20 donation, you can give one person clean drinking water for 20 years!
  • Inspiredgifts.unicefusa.org – The Inspired Gifts program allows you to purchase real, lifesaving products – like bed nets and vaccines – to be shipped directly to one of over 150 countries where UNICEF is working to save children’s lives. A $35 donation will buy a bicycle to help a health worker get to remote area.
  • Madebysurvivors.com – The Emancipation Network (TEN) is an international organization dedicated to fighting human trafficking and modern day slavery. They help survivors rebuild their lives after rescue from slavery, with sustainable income, education and help reintegrating into society. Help support these rehabilitation programs by purchasing jewelry from Made By Survivors.
  • RoomtoRead.org – Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to provide educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children’s literature, constructing schools, establishing computer labs, and providing education to girls (whom are often neglected educationally).
  • Scaw.org – SCAW (Sleeping Children Around the World) provides bed kits to children of any race and/or religion who will benefit the most; typically being located in underdeveloped and developing countries. A $35(CAN = $29US) donation provides a bed kit that consists of a mat or mattress, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), clothes outfit, towel and school supplies. (Bed kit contents vary from country to country depending upon local needs.)
  • MalariaNoMore.org – Malaria No More is a non-profit, non-governmental organization determined to end malaria deaths in Africa. Every $10 donation provides one insecticide-treated mosquito net, which will protect at least one child for up to five years.
  • PuppiesBehindBars.com -  Puppies Behind Bars helps inmates give back to society by training them to raise puppies to become service dogs for the disabled and explosive detection canines for law enforcement.
  • HopeWine.com – By simply purchasing bottles of wine from Hope Wine, you can help three causes: Breast Cancer, Autism and AIDS. These represent three of largest and most devastating diseases facing the world today.
 

trailer park trash November 18, 2008

Filed under: Personal — Lulu @ 5:17 pm

This morning, as I was reading the comments left on a recent post of a blog I frequent, I noticed that two of the commenters had gotten involved in some juvenile name-calling because they didn’t agree with each other’s points-of-view. One of them referred to the other as living in a trailer park. In the context of their insipid, online catfight it was crystal clear that her comment was meant as an insult, implying that the other commenter was trashy and, therefore, must live in a trailer park. Her comment made me cringe. And it stung. A lot.

You see, for a better part of my life, I resided in a trailer park community with my parents. And that community was as close to storybook suburbia as I have ever come in my life.

I didn’t grow up with money. Heck, we weren’t even lower middle class. We were a hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck family. My mom worked in an office; my father was a self-employed truck driver. There was no way we would ever have a two-story, four-bedroom house with a family room, kitchen island, and multi-car garage. However, we did have a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath mobile home, with a living room, large eat-in kitchen (yes, a real kitchen; not a hot plate and a mini-fridge), laundry room, and two-car driveway. Sure, the closet space was tight, but I had my own room, half-bath, and private phone line. Our community was well cared for, the homes always maintained and the tiny “yards” manicured. My mom, with her green thumb, even kept a colorful little garden just outside my bedroom window. In my little room wallpapered with Duran Duran posters, sitting on my bed doing homework, with MTV playing in the background, I didn’t know that my home was different than everyone else’s. It wasn’t until I heard the phrase “TPT” being said about someone else – someone who actually didn’t reside in a trailer park – and asked what that meant, that I realized that living in a mobile home was considered a lowlife thing.

Knowing that made me ashamed about my home. I became evasive when asked where I lived. “Just off 14th avenue and 29th” became my stock answer. When my friends started getting their drivers’ licenses, the offers of rides to the movies or the mall started coming in. But I never let anyone come to my house. Either my mom would drop me off at their house, or I would walk the two blocks to the closest apartment building and meet them just outside. I never invited anyone to hang out at my house, never had a house party, never let anyone drop me off at home. I was not a popular kid at all, and as a chubby, drama-club teen, it was hard enough to maintain some semblance of a normal social life. The last thing I wanted was to be considered “TPT” or to be treated differently from my peers.

When I graduated high school, I pretty much lost touch with everyone except my three best friends. And then I realized that it just didn’t matter. I had worried for years about what other people would think of me as a person, how they would judge me, based on my home. Because I didn’t live in a normal house, like everyone else I knew. I was an idiot.

Who cares that our walls were made of aluminum instead of brick? What mattered was what happened inside those walls. Inside those walls were memories and moments that had nothing to do with their location. Inside those walls were family dinners and Christmas trees, birthday parties and Sunday breakfasts. Inside those walls I had crushes and first phone calls, babysat my niece and played Barbies with her, helped my mom make dinner and set the table. Inside those walls my family sat together at the dinner table every night and told stories. Good or bad, every single moment in that home meant something.

For so many years I worried about being considered “trash” because I lived in a trailer park. What I failed to see was that my life was far from trashy. There were no drugs or domestic squabbles, no wife-beaters or appearances on “Cops.” My parents chose to live there so that they could give me as normal a life as possible. Living there was affordable for them. Living there made it possible to have the family dinners and the birthday parties.

Just as I’m sure not everyone who lives in Compton is “ghetto,” and not everyone who lives in the middle east is a terrorist, I guarantee that not everyone who lives in a trailer park is trash. My family is not trashy. My neighbors were not trashy. And I’m pretty confident that everyone who knows me personally would not describe me as trashy in any way. So maybe we need to find a better way to form our opinions of other people. Rather than define someone by their living situation or their station in life, we could try – oh, I don’t know – basing it on their character? Just a thought.

Peace out, yo!

 

Simply put… November 11, 2008

Filed under: Personal — Lulu @ 5:18 pm

I love you, baby…

Happy Birthday!!!

 

It was absolutely everything November 7, 2008

Filed under: Music,Video — Lulu @ 5:21 pm

Loving this song right now!

The Courteeners – “That Kiss”

 

awww… November 3, 2008

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 5:22 pm

Saturday night Fanless and I headed over to our friend, Tere’s, for an early dinner of delicious Asiago gnocchi in pink sauce, homemade garlic bread and tiramisu. Mmmm…

After dinner, Fanless went out to the living room with Max, Tere’s 3-year-old, while we cleared the table. They were really quiet and when we went to see what they were doing, this is what we saw.

I am so in love with this moment. You know this pic is getting scrapped, right?