Where Have You Been?!

Oops, I try to make a habit of posting at least once at month but I seemed to have skipped September. There have been a whirlwind of emotions lately, maybe it's due to the changing seasons or passing of special dates...

August 8, 2009 - The date Michael and were supposed to be married. I was going to try and be so strong for myself and to celebrate the day with good memories of wedding planning with Michael but it didn't happen that way. Starting two days before I was just miserable. I hit rock bottom and was overwhelmed with so many feelings - anger, grief, loneliness... part of it was fueled by a falling out between some members of his family and I - on Facebook of all places. I don't really want to talk about it but some not so nice things were said. My feelings were taken and then used to hurt me and I guess I didn't really expect a different reaction from them but it still hurt a lot. So for the record, I don't love Kristopher more than Michael and I don't love Michael more than Kristopher. You can't compare; it's just not possible and I'm sorry that it's like that. Being with Kristopher doesn't make me miss Michael less. Kristopher does give me moments where I feel like I couldn't be happier but Michael gave me those too (ie. proposal in Las Vegas). Explaining matters of the heart are never easy and words don't always explain them correctly. Bottom line is that it's not a damn competition so anyone that views it as such is wrong...

August 28, 2009 - My anniversary date with Michael. This year was better than last but I still went into depressed mode for the day. I went out to eat and tried to stay out of the house but it just meant that I was mopey wherever I went. Definitely better than last year though.

(sometime after...) Marty moved in! Kristopher's cousin, Marty moved here from Los Angeles to join our happy home. Along with her she brought: Valentino (her dog), Baby (her cat) and her VW Bug! So it's getting a little crowded in here but the more things get put away and organized the better it gets. Oh and Sushi and V get along really well. Having all these females around is probably driving Kristopher insane but he'll get used to it... okay that's a lie he probably won't. (...but before)

September 1-15, 2009 - I went to New York for a visit. My sister had her engagement party on Labor Day weekend which was a bunch of fun. We didn't get to meet a ton of Peter's family since most of them weren't able to make it was still a great time. After the excitement of the party I mainly helped my mom out. I missed her so much! I spent time doing inventory on all her China and other knick knacks and boxing them. I also drove her to an eye doctor appointment since she has some blurriness going on in one of her eyes. (I think she's going to be fine so don't worry). Oh and we celebrated Grandma's 79th birthday! Also got some work done for PharmaNet while I was up there including playing chauffeur for my dad. It was a good time, but 15 days away from Kristopher, Sushi and Lucy was too much to bear, I couldn't wait to get back to Louisiana. I did visit Michael at the cemetery before I left - we had a great visit, I felt like he was comforting me that day in a warm sunny embrace - you know, the kind that makes your skin tingle and your eyes close.

Recently - I have been doing some freelance work for Alien Marketing. They specialize in website marketing and I wrote the content for one of their clients' website. Drill String Services, Inc. Although they didn't keep all of the copy I wrote, they kept most of it - www.drillstringservices.com. After that, Alien Marketing offered me a part-time Website Content Manager position. It's separate from my freelance work so now I have the best of both worlds from them. I work a minimum of 24 hours per week and the schedule is really flexible. So for now, while the work is slow I get to enjoy four-day weekends. It feels so good to be working again. I knew waiting for just the right opportunity was the best thing to do. All things happen for a reason.

Otherwise, life is okay. I'm getting by and things are getting better. I hit a rough patches here and there but who doesn't? The most important thing is that I keep going on even after tripping on the bumps in the road. Whenever I do get really down in the dumps I remember that the Lord is my strength. I remember the conversations Michael and I used to have about what we would want for each other (if we should ever have to live without each other). So, I get off my ass and continue living life for me and for him. After all, I promised him I would.


Moved and Wedding Blues

So I've moved again. I didn't go far, just across town actually. Bayou Shadows where I was staying before decided to raise the rent and the apartment just wasn't worth that much. Now don't get me wrong... that doesn't mean I didn't like Bayou Shadows. I did like it, the staff was usually very friendly and the grounds were pretty well kept so I really couldn't complain. However, it seems that they raise the rent every time there a lease renewal and that's 1 - not right and 2 - too much.

Anyhow everything is now an utter and complete mess from the move. I'm just happy that my Internet and TV are working so that I have something to do while I'm NOT unpacking and attempting to relax. If you know me well, I don't relax well when there are things to do. Trust me, there are things to do around here. It needs organization bad and I guess that means it's good that I'm an organization Nazi.

However, once everything is in it's place, the crazy cleaning madness stops and I go back to letting things get messy here and there before the next cleaning frenzy. I'm getting good at clearing special little paths for me to walk through so that I don't break my neck. You just start knowing you MUST go to the left of this box and to the right of the next box to get to the kitchen.

On the plus side all this cleaning and re-organizing has kept me distracted from the reality that I will not be getting married next Saturday, August 8, 2009 to Michael Eckhoff as previously planned. I really don't know what else to say about that. I won't say that I'm not okay or that I am for that matter. It's a mix of good memories from when we were doing all the wedding planning and feelings of sadness that it isn't going to happen. Not just that -- it can't happen. It's not physically possible. Ever. He's passed. I don't know how to describe it actually. It's hard to balance between being happy and in a new relationship and still being sad about Michael. It's not like having an ex-boyfriend where things "didn't work out." It's different and it's the hardest thing ever to explain. How can you miss someone you love and yet still feel like you're the happiest you've ever been with another?

It's so confusing sometimes but I'm working through it as I have been working through it before. I think it will be okay. No... I KNOW it will be okay. Just need to continue having faith, taking one day at a time and when in doubt, pray and ask God! He's my guide and seems like he's doing quite a fine job. Michael must have known that I've been stressing lately because today he sent me a rainbow from heaven when I was walking out of PetSmart this evening. :D


Another Wedding and Another Month Closer

This past weekend Kristopher and I drove to Amarillo, TX for Bryan and Beka's wedding. I have to admit, it was small but nice and I enjoyed most of the trip. We left Lafayette on a Thursday and then drove to Dallas. We stayed the night in Dallas at our friend, Okan's place. That was pretty cool since Okan and Kristopher don't get to see each other very often living 6 hours apart. I also got to socialize with his cat, Lacy. She's a sweet cat, not as trusting right off the bat as Lucy is but she let me pretend I was with one of my pets for two nights. On our way back she even cuddled with me a little bit which was awesome.

So the next day we continue our drive to Amarillo which took... like 8 hours. I got to see a lot more of Texas on this trip. It's pretty flat... or pretty and flat. Either way on some roads there was just not much to see unfortunately. There are only so many hours I can sit back and appreciate the landscape before it all blurs together and I fall asleep. Sorry... it's true. We passed through a small town of Snyder, TX and learned that Kristopher's mom went to high school there and that in the center of town there is a white buffalo statue that she and a few friends painted green back in day during Homecoming weekend. We didn't find the statue but figured we'd try to find it on the way back home so we could take a picture with it for her. Unfortunately we changed our route on the way back so no buffalo picture for us :( However, I did get to see some of the historic Route 66.

So we get to Amarillo and check into the hotel. The beds were way to hard for my liking but some of our other friends found them just right. The A/C units were cranked to the lowest temperature possible by Bryan and Beka but unfortunately I don't think the units were able to get the room as cold as I would've liked but that's minor. The first thing I saw was a nice welcome bag from the bride and groom filled with candy, popcorn, sunscreen and... bug spray. I figured they were trying to tell us something so I ripped open the bug spray and tossed it in my tote bag before heading to their Rehearsal BBQ (it was cute and travel-sized).

We spent the rest of the night catching up with Jon, Erika and Clint and having a good time. Erika and I left for a short time to help Beka with some last-minute ribbon-tying. The next day was filled with wedding bliss. Erika had to be at the wedding site at 5:30pm and the guys had to be there at 6:30pm (the wedding was at 8pm) since they were all in the wedding party. I pretty much stuck with Kristopher (and the other groomsmen) not wanting to be alone. This of course gave me the great opportunity to take some great pictures of the goofballs. :)

I always get psyched going to a wedding. I love them. I love weddings and seeing how happy the couples are. I love the partying that comes with it... drinking, dancing, pictures, getting dressed up. I love it all.

But there's a problem. I get all excited for the wedding and at some point I always invariably get nervous or upset right before everything takes place. During the ceremonies I hear everything being said but I don't process it, protecting myself from getting overemotional. At Bryan and Beka's wedding I took several pictures during the ceremony to keep me busy and then looked away during some parts and just listened.

Their first dance was Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback. Somehow I had gotten slightly separated from Kristopher and when I realized I was standing by myself I looked up for him. He was only a few feet away and I made sure to reattach myself to his hip. Then the father-bride dance song came on - I Loved Her First by Heartland. I got closer to Kristopher and Kristopher, very knowingly, just put his arms around and gave me a comforting kiss on the head and rubbed my arm.

That simple action said so many things: I'm here for you, it's okay, I understand, I love you, he still loves you, it's okay to miss him... I'm so glad to have found someone like him who doesn't get offended by my emotions. Sometimes I feel like it's not fair to him for me to be like that but he denies it and continues being supportive.

This wedding was particularly difficult because the months are withering away and the days are flying off the calendar and August 8, 2009 is just getting closer and closer. It's probably the cause of my latest inabilities to sleep. But...I made it through the last year I can make it through our wedding date right?


Not the Maid of Honor... and I Like It!

So... my sister, Laura, is ENGAGED! Yaaaaay. Congrats to her and Peter. So yes, here we go with wedding planning except this time for Laura. I'm so happy for her and I hope all the wedding planning goes as smoothly as possible. Now for the details. The happy day is July 24, 2010 at a place that I cannot disclose yet on Long Island. So far she wants to put her bridesmaids in blue and not a pale blue or bright blue just blue. I'm good with that.

Oh yeah and I'm not the Maid of Honor!!! Betty gets to take that responsibility and thank God because she is well-prepared and while I'm alright with watching my sister do all the wedding stuff I'm not sure I would be okay handling more than giving her my opinion and such. I'm sure by next year though I'll be better. I'm still excited for her though and that's all that matters.

Nothing else has really happened of writing importance since my last post. Kristopher and I drove up to New York for a few days to celebrate my grandfather's birthday with the family. That was fun as always. I unfortunately attended a funeral as well while I was in town. Michael's uncle, actually great uncle who is also Michael's Godfather had passed away. Since I was in town I felt it was only right that I attend and pay my respects. Uncle Al was a great man with a great personality. Michael had always spoken fondly of him.

The dog actually took the trip with us and he did amazingly well except for when we got to my parents house. Two days driving in a car mostly sitting in my lap and he was just fine. The hotel inbetween? Fine. My parent's house? Diarrhea, vomiting, peeing on the carpet. The whole four or five days we're there. Then we leave, day one in the car, just fine. Hotel that night, again fine. Second day in the car, good again, mostly sleeping the entire way. Get back home to the apartment? Sick again a few days. Unbelievable.

Anyway, that's all for now. I have a few cross stitch projects that I'm working on now as gifts. I hope I can get them all done in time. Other than that I've been job searching and that's about it.


Mix it Up

So last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, I was in New York for several reasons. The first was a bachelorette party, the second was to visit Michael for his first anniversary in heaven and the third, was for a wedding. What a hectic weekend. NY always seems to be hectic when I visit no matter how long or short the visit actually is.

First the bachelorette party. I flew in JFK on Saturday and was supposed to land around 2:00pm and then be in NYC by around 6pm. Well turns out that the Memorial Day airshow (which happens every year at Jones Beach) tied up airspace around JFK and I landed half an hour late. Not bad, except that the beach traffic was horrendous so by the time I got home it was near 4:00pm already! (It should only take 30 minutes to get home). My sister and I got all ready and then went to pick up Carolyn who was also coming to dinner with us but leaving before the rest of the festivities. So by the time we made it to NYC it was almost 7:30pm. Bachelorette party games ensued which involved pinning wacky uh... "fire hoses" to a half-naked fireman. (No, not a real one, just a poster.) Sarah opened up all her racy gifts and we all giggled.

We then went to eat dinner at Pranna which was a bit pricey and the food a bit well different but tasty none the less. After a little chatting in the lounge we headed to Ultra on 26th street where we danced the rest of the evening away and got pictures of Sarah with some sailors! (heeeelllo, fleet week!!!) By the time I got home at 2am, I was wiped. I sat in a very hot bath and finished the book I had started on the plane. Of course, that means I didn't finally fall asleep until 5am. Oops.

Sunday was cemetery and visiting day. Around 1pm Laura and I went with Frankie and Kelly to visit Michael's grave at the cemetery. Most of the time there we recounted memories and dreams and gripes and just laughed. Afterward we headed to see Mike's parents who live nearby. We chatted with Mike's mom and grandmother for a while and then his brother, Matt showed up. Then, two of Mike's good friends, Harris and Nathan pulled up as well, so we stayed a little longer. Then Mike's dad came home from work and by this time, it was a full out mini reunion. I got all the updates on Mike's family (please pray for his great uncle Al) and endured what I thought was going to be never ending flack for not living in New York. I'm sorry, I actually like the South and I'm not coming back to New York. I've been here almost a year so the jokes?... they're starting to get a little old. Get over it and let me be content please.

After that it started raining so Laura, Frankie, Kelly and I went out for dinner at Olive Garden. That was sooooo yummy. Louisiana has LOTS of AMAZING food but I can't find Italian like I used to have it in New York so that filled a spot for me. Again, I ended up staying up late until 4am because I was upset and feeling bothered. One night I'm happy go-lucky, the next I'm down in the pits and upset. At that point I just wanted to get back to Louisiana. However, I had one very important matter to attend to first.

Monday, the day Sarah and Brian tied the knot! (finally) Sarah and Brian's wedding was amazing. It was at Windows on the Lake in Lake Ronkonkoma and they could not have asked for better weather. I even got some sunburn to prove it! The entire ceremony was perfect (it had Sarah written all over it) and the reception and music too. Sarah's hair, dress and makeup complimented each other perfectly. She truly looked beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I was sitting at a table with her family so at first I was nervous that I was going to be bored or say something stupid, but they are HILARIOUS!!! Such easy people to get along with and by the end of the evening I realized that I really enjoyed myself and even went to attempt and catch the bouquet. (Her sister caught it by the way).

As soon as the wedding was over, I went home and within the hour left for my flight back home. See, the flight was much cheaper the day of the wedding so I grabbed it. The pilot must've floored it (or the equivalent of doing so) because we arrived about 40 minutes early. Very nice.

There's other news floating around that I can't share yet but there is something special that I would like to share with whoever reads this. I've been dating for quite some time again now and at first I wasn't sure if I wanted to make that public. I'm not sure what people will think of me dating again so soon after Michael has passed away. This past weekend however, I witnessed how happy Sarah and Brian were and earlier today, I learned of some more good news. I realized that I want to be able to share that too and openly speak about my special someone. I also realized that just because I am in the process of moving on doesn't mean that I'm forgetting. Besides, I know that Michael would want me to be happy right?

So here is a short rundown. His name is Kristopher and he lives here in Lafayette, LA. He's a wonderful man with a spunky 10 year old daughter coincidentally named Michelle. He knows about Michael and has been my biggest supporter so far. He has helped me realize my feelings and constantly gives me a reality check when I need one. It seems that we get along really well; Kristopher and I seems to have more similarities that work well together.

If you have happy comments send them my way, otherwise please keep any negativity to yourself. I'm over negatives and am only looking for positives in my life. That plus faith in God's will keeps me going. I'm not through it all yet but I'm certainly making my way the best I can. <3


This Past Year I've Learned...

It doesn't get easier but you learn how to cope and how to make the most of it. I've learned to dwell on the happy memories and not the what ifs, could'ves, would'ves, and should'ves. I've learned that I am stronger than I could have possibly imagined. I've realized that without him, I can go on. My life has changed and I still miss him but I know I can let go. I don't expect everyone to understand the change I've made in my life in the past year but I am content and my heart is happy.

I still go through moments where I realize, "wow, last year at this time, you were looking forward to so many things." I thought that because I was happy that everything was just going to just continue going as planned; that I was on the right path but it turns out God had something entirely different planned for me and it's hard to accept that which you cannot see. That's where faith comes in handy.

There were lots of stresses in New York for me. I cannot disclose them here but my closest friends all know what I am talking about. Louisiana has provided me a place to unwind, to think, and to do what I want, feel how I want... for that I am grateful. I still miss New York, certain parts of it, namely my closest friends and the beach but I see living in New York as a different chapter in my life and this past year I've been transitioning to a new one. Not a new life, just a new chapter. (I wish they had Italian ice here though...)

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of Michael's place in heaven. It's the day life changed for many people including myself. Although I won't be there personally to say hello, I know he's there, watching me and everyone he loves. No pain, no hardship, no suffering. Tomorrow I'll be changing my profiles to something new. My mark of moving on; of letting go of everything that is still there holding me back. It won't be easy but I know it's necessary.

I just want to extend thanks to everyone who has helped me along the way this past year. Weather you know it or not, you've contributed to my healing and helped me along. It goes without saying My Family is number one. If I listed all their names... this post would never be finished. My friends from New York who I don't talk to that often but know they are always there and always thinking of me: Kelly, Frankie, Annemarie (I don't care that you've moved... you're still a "NY" friend) and Annemarie's family (Mommy and Breanna!), Tara, Betty, Carolyn and Lou, Melissa, Harris, Nathan, Izzzzzy, Ruben, Carol, Sarah... if I've missed you I'm sorry but those are the ones that sprung to mind from the top of my head.

To all my Lafayette/Houston friends... thank you too! Whether you knew about my circumstances upon moving or not, you've all made the transition easy and enjoyable. You may not know it but you've all helped quite a bit... Kristopher and his mother, Leah, Blake, Scott, Jon & Erika (and Sake!), Brian and Beka, the guys from CiCi's (the chatroom! ha ha), Kayla... I probably missed more people but that just means I'm blessed to know so many.

*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><* Gone but never forgotten and always in our hearts.
We were two to become one but instead are apart.
Although it hurts that you're not here with me,
I know that in heaven you're as happy as can be.
Your smile, your laughter and loving touch,
are the three things I miss so much.
Though it may seem cruel and harsh I know,
I think it's time I start to let you go.
While I wish we could still be together,
I know our memories will be with me forever.

Michael R. Eckhoff



They Say It's (It Was) My Birthday!

Okay, time for the monthly rundown huh? So much is going on this month emotionally with me. There is such a huge mix of feelings and it's hard sometimes to sort through them all.

My 26th birthday was a small fun gathering. It was nothing like last year and I'm coming to realize that it's okay. I was with the people I considered my closest friends down here in Lafayette. I spent the day making my birthday cake and putting the finishing touches on the BMW cake that I made for my friend Blake who turned 25 on the 9th. Then Kristopher, his mom and I met up with Scott, Blake, Blake's friend and Bret at Shinto on Ambassador Caffrey Parkway in Lafayette. We sat in the hibachi section hoping for a fun show. It wasn't too bad but the food was soooo delicious. After we made sure that Kristopher's mom wouldn't faint from lack of O2 (they asked us to move either her or just the tank to the Sushi section because they were afraid it would explode), we sat back and enjoyed the show. Our hibachi chef was pretty entertaining though most of us concluded that we've seen better. Maybe he just wasn't that into it. Kristopher did make sure to embarrass the heck out of me by telling them it was my birthday. (EDIT: It was Blake who informed them of my birthday not Kristopher!) At the end of the meal, they came out banging on a drum and making all sorts of noise, sang Happy Birthday in Japanese (or what they said was Japanese) and presented me with a fruit boat and the opportunity to wear a fun hat. My birthday spoils include a Coach wallet in fushia (from me), a three-candle set with extra candles (from Kristopher's mom), a bonsai sago palm tree (from my sister), a red Coach swingpack (from Marty, Kristopher's cousin), and there are two more bags and a gift from my brother on the way... I can't wait!

After dinner we all went back to the house for cake. If you haven't seen pictures of them in my Facebook albums already, here they are. I kept the BMW cake a total surprise from Blake and I think most of my joy that day was seeing how much Blake loved his gift. He took zillions of pictures of it (which he needs to e-mail me...) before deciding, he just couldn't cut it that night and would eat it tomorrow after showing it off to some more friends. I was fine with that - I don't think I could've watched him cut into it without crying. Better that he cut it somewhere else where I couldn't witness the murder. His cake was chocolate with chocolate icing, mine yellow cake with vanilla icing. Sammy, Chris and Matt showed up in the middle of cake to also hang out for a little bit. It quickly turned into a super WoW conversation and I guess I started to get bored at that point and started thinking too much about my birthday last year.

After everything was over and we went home, I was in a horrible mood. I was just upset that I had somehow lost attention during the celebration and started thinking about the people that I missed who weren't at my birthday. Michael, Kelly, Frankie... I got home and I shed some tears. I just missed being with them for that day so much but at the same time, I knew it was my fault because I had moved. I wanted Michael to be with me so bad. For the last five years he has always celebrated pre-birthdays, birthdays at midnight and all day and post-birthdays with me. He'd always break out into song at midnight and most times came down with an Entemann's cake or cupcake with a candle in it. I missed that and it hit me hard. My birthday was like another holiday that had changed dramatically just because Michael isn't here. All I wanted for my birthday was to remember him and so I tore through my Michael box filled with his previous birthday cards to me and read them all. I cried hard and it felt good.

Following that day things have returned to "normal." I have been thinking about Michael every single day and night. I still haven't been sleeping through the night and whenever I'm awake, I tend to think of Michael -- the morning he died just replays in my head over and over and it makes me sad. I wish I could figure out what my brain is trying to tell me... it's so painful to think of that morning but at the same time, I guess I'm glad I was there every step of the way with him although it wasn't that long at all.

Mother's Day has just passed. Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there and expecting moms. It seems like so many people I know are now in the baby stage of their lives. I'm almost a little jealous. Between all the weddings and babies being born this year -- I'm surprised I've been able to keep it together as much as I have been. I'm just so ready to be a wife and a mother and was getting prepared for that with Michael and I hate to say it this way but it's like I have to start that process over. I can't rush into it with just anyone you know, have to be emotionally ready and all that but it seems like I've just taken a giant leap backwards in that part of my life while I watch everyone else go forward. It makes me jealous, I admit it. Last year was the first year that Michael's son, Mikey Jr. had decided that he wanted to make me a mother's day card. Michael didn't put him up to it at all. It was the night before Mother's Day and we had just finished having Mikey write in his Mother's Day card for his grandmother, Penny. He called Michael into his room and asked him, "What about Michelle?" The next morning I was surprised with a hand-drawn Mother's Day card that said, "Dear Michelle, Happy Mother's Day, I love you." Accompanied by drawings of every TMNT weapon, and a copy of Michael's John 3:16 tattoo. I was so touched that at five years old, he understood the relationship we had and would have when Michael and I got married.

Anyhow... no need to be even more sentimental, May is just a hard month for me even though it used to be the best month. The anniversary of Michael's passing is coming up soon; much sooner than I anticipated. I've decided not to be in NY the day of but I will be there the weekend following for Sarah & Brian's wedding (!!!) I can't believe it's almost been a year, it's unreal to me and I still wish I could just freeze time.

I've gone back to some arts and crafts type things like needlepoint, cross stitch and scrapbooking. I think it's been good therapy to do those things.

In general: sentimental, unemployed (still), yet content. Here are some pictures for you (and Sarah) of the kids.
1. Sushi and I playing video games.
2. Lucy getting comfy on the daybed.
3. Keisha the doberman laying on me at Kristopher's mom's house.


No Eggs for Mishy

Another holiday has come around... Easter. Usually such a joyous holiday to remember Christ's sacrifice for us. It's one of my favorite holidays in the church because it's always so bright, so cheerful so joyous and filled with love. Easter services always fill my heart from the inside out. It's quite amazing.

Easter holiday would usually be filled services during the week and of course, egg coloring on the weekend. No matter how old we got, Michael and I loved to color eggs. His mom would make at least 3 dozen eggs and we would dye eggs all night with his brother. Big kids. When Mikey came back to New York, it made the entire egg dying event even more fun! In addition I would get a nice outfit for Mikey and he would come to church too and enjoy the events there.

I know, I moved so maybe the fact that I'm not at the Eckhoff house dying eggs is my fault. I still miss it though. It was just one of those activities that made Michael and I feel young and we weren't embarrassed about our desire to dye eggs for Easter or carve pumpkins for Halloween. It was just one of those things that we did together and enjoyed. Something we had in common I guess. His family also does a big Easter get together which was always fun.

So, no colored eggs for Mishy this year and yes, I'm depressed about it. I haven't been to church since my first weekend in Lafayette. I'm not sure if I just didn't like this church or if I felt just really lonely going by myself. Kristopher said he would go with me tomorrow though and I hope that it brings me the joy in my heart that I usually feel every year instead of reminding me about what was and is not this year.

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!!! I remind myself that because He died for us and rose again that is one of the reasons why I'll be able to meet Michael up in heaven one day again when it's time.

Here is a picture of Easter 2007 with the Eckhoff family. I remember that this year I was the biggest kid at the table (which made the adults happy) LOL.


A Quick Catch-Up of Sorts

Hello everyone. I know I haven't updated in quite some time. Instead of going into paragraphs among paragraphs of what has been going on, here is a quick update instead.

1- I got laid off from my part-time, remote job in New York with Cambridge Who's Who.
So that means I'm job hunting again and while staying right where I am at is ideal, with today's economy and the lack of available jobs, I'm pretty much willing to move for my job. So I've been searching across the South from pretty much New Mexico to Georgia. Sorry my New Yorkers, I won't be returning. Experiencing a world without a snow and shorts in February has pretty much killed any desire of returning to the North.

2-Kristopher's grandmother passed away but his mom is home from the hospital.
So, if you didn't know, his grandmother has been on in-home hospice care for quite some time. On March 10, 2009 she finally passed to be with the Lord. I see this as a blessing as she was in quite some pain and her pain medication just had to be continually increased in order to keep her comfortable. However, I am glad that she was able to stay at home during this trying time as she wished.

3-Did I mention Kristopher's mom is home from the hospital? So, two days before grandmother passed away, his mom was in the hospital for borderline pneumonia and was just released a few days ago. She's doing better but she has to quit smoking. I did several loads of laundry, probably near 10 and cleaned up the house a bit for her while she was in the hospital to make it easier for her when she got home. Boy, was I tired.

4-Five dogs, 1 cat, 2 of us humans.
Not just house sitting, but animal sitting too. It was like a zoo for five days but I really do love all those puppies even though they do get on your nerves for a little bit.
--Keisha, doberman, 6 years old or so, very loving, thinks she is a lap dog, likes to lick your face.
--Sidney, dachshund, 7 years old, has anxiety, likes to curl up under the blanket your using and cuddle, compulsive licker, protective.
--Aimee, dachshund/terrier, daughter of Sidney, needs to be near a human, barks more than others, jumps onto everything, also has anxiety.
--Maggie, dachshund (fat), 12 years old, queen bee, moves slow, curls up somewhere to sleep and doesn't want to move, except, maybe, for food, only dog that will go outside by herself.
--Sushi, maltese, 8 months old, my baby!!!, eats other dogs' food, gets bored easily and barks at --Aimee to play, constantly humps one of Keisha's four legs at any given time.
--Lucy, domestic medium-hair kitten, 5 months old, stuck in the back room because if I let her out, one of the aforementioned dogs (not Sushi) will probably hurt her.

5-Nothing much else going on. As each day passes by I keep thinking how much closer it is to the anniversary of Michael's death and I don't know what to think/feel about that. On one hand, I look back and say - hey, you're alright, everything is okay. On the other hand, I still miss him like crazy and I really can't believe that we are just two months shy of the first anniversary of his death. It's so surreal -- following that, I was supposed to be getting married in August of THIS year. It's outrageous!

Obviously, I'm doing alright despite the above list and God is still watching out for me even though I haven't attended church since I've been down here... except the first weekend. We talk a lot though and it helps.

That's it for tonight, I'm going to bed. It's raining outside here and that usually helps put me to sleep. Good night all, I love you!


Everything Moves Slower in Delhi... and I Like It

So for the past two days, I was four hours North of Lafayette in Delhi, LA. Now, Delhi is a very small town, I mean VERY small, like so small it doesn't have it's own Wal-Mart or Target. However, I did see Sonic and Burger King at least. Anyhow, Delhi is a small town where the accents are heavier and the air is cleaner and people are just sweet as ever.

When I go visit up in Delhi, I really try to just relax. It really makes me appreciate nature up there. Kristopher's grandmother lives in a house with tons of property. They used to have a barn and now there is a man-made lake behind her house. It's gorgeous. The picture to the right was taken just left of the house. This is what you would see out the back window I suppose. I can't get enough of looking out on the water, it's so serene and just is. Nothing bothers it and I just want to run out to that swing with a blanket (it was cold) and stare at the water all day. However, that's not what I did.

Kristopher's grandmother owns a storefront in Delhi where she and her husband used to run an antique shop. Since she is unable to actually run the store, what she does is rent it out to others. So the last lady who was there, skipped town after getting behind in rent and bills and such leaving the store in shamble and needing cleaning. That's where we came in. His grandmother was also so sweet to let me know that anything I found that I wanted, I could have providing we couldn't figure out if it belonged to anyone else. Here is what I found:

Valmont China Royal Wheat Sugar and Creamer set

I couldn't find any information about Valmont China but since most of the stuff I have seems to be from the 50s, I'm going to guess they are too. Anyone know about Valmont Royal Wheat. I do know that there are many pieces I can buy online if I want to extend my collection.

UCAGCO Heirloom cup and saucer set

UCAGCO stands for United China and Glass Company. They were based in New York and New Orleans. How appropriate for me. I knew this set of China was just calling my name for a reason. It was meant to be! So United China and Glass Company became UCAGCO during the 1930s. From what I read, before being known as UCAGCO, the company was known as Abe Meyer & Co and dates back to 1850. In the 30s, they changed their name to UCAGCO, after war the company expanded to Japan and accepted imports from there (some of mine say Japan on the back) and during the early 50s were responsible for many Japanese style patterns that were being sold. I think in the late 50s they were bought by Sammons Enterprises.

My online searches show that there are Heirloom-gold pieces available but hardly any Heirloom-silver (what I have) pieces which makes me wonder if they are rarer or just not well-liked.

UCAGCO Heirloom platter

UCAGCO Heirloom serving bowl

Anchor Hocking Arlington Style 18pc. glass punch bowl, one website I found this on listed it in their 40s, 50s, 60s section, another website said it was circa 1970-80 and the last website I found, only listed a punch cup and said the pattern came about in the 1950s. However, the new logo wasn't created until the 70s and that's the logo on the box I have. So, while the pattern and the item itself may have been produced since the 50s, I think mine was made in the 70s. Hmmmm, not as old as I thought but definitely beautiful! I think all in all, Rubbermaid now owns this company.

So that's it for my antiques. I also got some pins that I'm sending up to New York to my friend, Sarah. I hope she likes them. The jewelry I found originally was much nicer and even I was excited about it, but someone swiped the bag when we left for lunch. I'm really upset about that, I really think Sarah would've liked it.

Oh, and what else do we do for fun in Delhi? Make bonfires of course! There was a pile that needed to be burned for quite some time. We gathered, opened some Bud Light and watched it go. It was pretty awesome and, because it was actually cold in Delhi (like in the high 30s), it kept those watching nice and warm!

It burned long enough for us to watch the sunset and once we were all sure it wasn't going to get out of control, we left for dinner. The next morning, the pile was still going, although it didn't look as magnificent as it does in this picture.

I'll leave you now with a picture of the sunset over the lake in Delhi. This is all on the O'Neal property in Delhi, Louisiana. Isn't it beautiful? I really do like it up there, even if they don't have wireless Internet everywhere.


I Love Lucy

So, if you haven't heard already through my Facebook profile, I've got a kitten. She's a new addition in the home and is very loving, not at all fitting my stereotype of a cat. I still prefer dogs, but this kitten was too sweet to give away.

Here is the story of Lucy.

Phase 1 - go to Alabama for a friend's wedding.
Phase 2 - meet Marianne, have a good time
Phase 3 - back in Louisiana, Okan shows pictures of kitten looking for a home, currently staying with Marianne
Phase 4 - think about it over and over again
Phase 5 - call up Marianne and have the kitten brought over for a meet and greet and playtime with Sushi
Phase 6 - keep kitten for a few days to see how she and Sushi get along and if we can handle another pet
Phase 7 - go to PetSmart to pick up some pet things... where the decision was made to keep the kitten

Final Phase - Her name is Lucy. Until I knew she was staying, she wasn't allowed to have a name.

Lucy, is thought to be a domestic long hair cat. She has calico coloring and it seems, greenish eyes but I'm not sure on that yet. She is currently only 10 to 12 weeks old and really sweet and gentle. She's not as independent or stand-offish as most cats that I've been around. She likes to follow me around and cuddle up next to me. She's obviously very happy because she's constantly purring in contentment.

Marianne found Lucy in the parking lot of her job. Someone decided to drop the kitten in the parking lot even after Marianne told them not to and to at least take her to a shelter. Well, the next day, the kitten was there and she couldn't resist but to take her home. She tried to find her a happy home so that the kitten didn't end up going to Lafayette Animal Aid. So, we gave her a test run with Sushi and voila!

I love Lucy!!!!


When You Don't Want the New Year to Arrive

Merry Christmas everyone, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!!! Except, I'm not happy for the New Year. The New Year celebration is often thought of as a time to leave the last year behind and start new, start fresh! Make those resolutions, do things different, better, bigger, all starting on the moment the clock strikes midnight. In the past, that was easy, I was happy and wanted the happiness to continue with the New Year.

The clock reads 11:14pm in Louisiana, I flip furiously through the channels looking for the news coverage of the celebration in Times Square, New York City. After all, I haven't missed seeing that ball drop on television for the past 20 years. Not one channel was covering it; then I realized, I had missed it. I had waited too long, it was already New Year's Day in New York. It was suprisingly one of the most depressing moments of my life. I didn't think it would affect me so much but I was genuinely upset. There went another tradition out the window. I got mad at myself thinking that I should have paid more attention to the time, I should've known better. Story of my life, right?

Now, I hadn't had a good cry since Christmas morning. Before Christmas, I haven't cried in quite some time. I didn't realize it, but I was bottling up a whole bunch of tears. Well Christmas morning, I get an e-mail from Michael's mom and when I woke up, after I took my shower, after I tried to calm myself because I knew it was Christmas morning and I knew I wasn't at Michael's house like I usually am at 7am, I called the Eckhoffs. Talking to the family on the phone, I could hardly contain my tears. When I got off the phone I collapsed into tears. I cried and I cried long and hard thinking about Michael and the broken tradition we had of bouncing around to every single Christmas event so that everyone was happy and everyone got to see us. I was missing Penny's Christmas breakfast, it was always the best breakfast ever (and I don't usually get up for breakfast at all). I didn't go visit Michael and the Eckhoff family until Saturday. They had the tree up, tinsle and all. I missed tinsling the tree with Penny, we were always so precise, then, when we though it was perfect and done, Sonny would come in and take tinsle by the handfuls and fill in the spots he thought were "missing" tinsle. I brought Sushi over there to visit and he happily met Baby and left with a huge rawhide for Christmas. I played with Mikey and opened some Christmas presents. Mikey was depressed when I left and he gave me his plastic yellow and black sunglasses to keep and bring back the next time I come to visit. It was so sweet.

After that, I returned to my house, took a nap and went out with my friends, Emilios, Jason and Marisa for dinner. It was a great time at good old Olive Garden.

The rest of the holiday you ask? It was good, it was the same as it was every other year. We decorated the tree in the Lee household two days before Christmas. We went to the Candlelight service at Calvary and again I got sentimental. Dad cooked enormous amounts of food for the Yung side of the family and we went out to dinner for the Lee side of the family. Sushi got to meet his cousins, Jackson (super-hyper) and Otto (a pig disguised as a pug) and it was fun to watch them interact. My dog got nicknamed as the "pipsqueak" by dad. Every morning I shed a few tears for what I wasn't doing. Even though I had a great time and enjoyed being with my family, a few parts of me always missed Michael.

Sunday, the 28th, the day I left for Louisiana again, my parents were heading to Las Vegas. They had wanted me to go with them for New Year's. Laura, Peter and my brother Christopher were all making the trek over there to eat delicious food, see the house all furnished and have a great family time together. I had to refuse. After that emotionally charged 9 days in New York, I needed to be at "home." So I went back to Louisiana instead. I was upset because I wasn't in Las Vegas but at the same time I was glad I wasn't on a plane to Las Vegas. Why? The 28th marked one year since Michael proposed to me in Las Vegas. I'm not ready to go back there during the same time I was there last year.

So this last long stretch of holiday fun has also left me emotionally drained. It was a very much needed drain, like a bathtub full of water just sitting there waiting for someone to pull the stopper. It's what I hadn't realized I've been keeping inside of me. I'm not out of the woods yet boys and girls. I have a lot more healing to do, a lot more memories to miss and more thoughts of Michael in my mind every single day. Yet, like I've said before, thank God for best friends, for mercy and for taking care of me. My faith is still strong, I'm going to make it.

I'm in Houston now, visiting friends, it's been a pretty good time so far. It's time for lunch so I guess I'll end it here.

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you all whatever you want for 2009.