Wedding Dreams

One of the way too many wedding dresses I tried on before deciding…a year later

I love how my dreams always give me beautiful analogies of what’s happening in my life.

The night before I got married, I had a dream that I walked into a cafeteria full of doctors who had saved my life.  The first one to ever save my life that I knew of was Dr. Shapiro, my first brain surgeon.  Dr. Shapiro was also very young, and as I remember, a very good-looking man.  In my dream, Dr. Shapiro was single, and wanted to date me.  It was as if my brain REALLY raked and raked through all my memories, forcing me to think if there could possibly be someone else I should marry besides D.  My brain produced the first brain surgeon to save my life.  Apparently, my subconscious still finds this guy a hero; and who wouldn’t?  But then, the most amazing thing happened.  Even in my dream, I politely told my life-saving brain surgeon from my past that I was engaged, and I wondered off to find D.  When I found D, he was being a hero!  He was saving this little boy from being attacked by bears (admittedly my biggest fear when we go backpacking in the mountains) who were closing in on all sides of them!  D managed to save the boy and survive!  On the night before I decided to fully devote my life to one man for the rest of my life, my brain did a complete cross-sectional analysis of everyone I could possibly marry, and the results were still D!  I love my subconscious!

The night after the night I was married I had a different dream; one that was more about laying down my life and starting anew.

My “lucky number” has always been #3.  When I was running cross-country, I always wanted the #3 jersey. I couldn’t wait to be a senior so that I would have first pick of the jerseys, and I would know I definitely had #3.  In my dream, D and I went to the same high school, and we were both seniors on the cross-country team.  From the men’s jerseys, he chose #4.  In the women’s jerseys, I immediately snatched up #3 with such pride.  I was so happy.  I had finally gotten to it first.  Then, I saw what D was wearing from across the room.  He had chosen the #4, and another guy had the #3 jersey.  As badly as I wanted that jersey, I laid it down and watched everyone else who wanted it jump on it, as I slowly picked up the women’s #4 jersey and put it on.  It was time to lay down my old life, just living for me, and begin living a whole new life in complete unison with D.  It was more important for us to be #4 together, then me get what I wanted separately.  Another brilliant play by my subconscious.

1st person to call me “Mrs. C” : Cashier at Safeway, looked at my Safeway card, registered under D, and called me Mrs. C, before we were even married. 🙂

1st time I had to say my name was T C, and had to look at it to spell it because I was so nervous: Making dentist apt.

1st time signing my name as T C.  At DMV, on papers I needed to turn in, in front of Jessie.  It was weird, and I realized I was NOT good at signing my new last name at all!  I needed a review of how to make different cursive letters, and even though I have similar transitions in my old last name, it kept looking wrong written in cursive.  I realized I had never ever practiced writing this name in cursive before, only in print.

1st person to ask for my maiden name: Guy at DMV.  Never have I EVER felt more old.  Maiden name?!  Old maid!

No More Will Old Shep and I Roam, but He Has a Wonderful Home

I was due to be born on my Grandpa S’s birthday, but I was born 2 days later on my own dad’s birthday.  As I was remembering and missing my Grandpa on his birthday, I realized my memories of Grandpa are already growing dim.  I said goodbye to him only 5 and 1/2 years ago, and I’m afraid to let any memories of someone who was once so special to me diminish so I’m going to write a post in honor of my memories of him.

My earliest memories of Grandpa S consist of taking strolls around his farm with him, and having him introduce me to all the livestock.  I remember seeing Grandpa out the kitchen window of the farm-house and running outside to be with him.  He was standing next to the cow barn with one foot on the ground, one up on a fence post, and his arms hanging over the top of the fence, looking towards the cows. He picked me up so that I was eye-level with the cows.  One of the cows turned its head toward Grandpa and stuck its tongue out and, much to my surprise, Grandpa grabbed it and held it there so I could see it was purple!

I remember him taking me by the hand and walking into the hog barn and seeing cute little piglets.  I remember him leading me around to the field where they used to keep the horses, and showing me where they would ride them.  I have a lot of memories with Grandpa on the farm, but mostly what I remember about Grandpa is singing with him.

Grandpa and I were always singing together.  There are several home videos of this happening.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love to sing, and am pretty much always singing, but this is an inherited trait.  Inherited from both sides, but I definitely remember singing with Grandpa S.  Grandpa’s favorite song was, ‘Old Shep’ written by Red Foley, and made famous by Elvis Presley.  My uncles tried to teach it to me to sing to Grandpa at his 70th birthday party, but at 6 years old, I couldn’t quite master it yet.  When I was in the hospital for my 2nd brain surgery, Grandpa couldn’t be in the Cincinnati Children’s waiting room when I woke up that day, but he did call me and sing ‘Old Shep’ to me over the phone to comfort me.  5 years later, when I visited Grandpa for the last time, he could barely talk to me so Mom encouraged me to sing ‘Old Shep’ to him to soothe him.  It was really hard to make it through.

I think the thing I miss the most about Grandpa is his almost eye-to-eye smile.  The S smile is a pretty famous thing, but Grandpa did it best.  Anytime he would smile (and as far as I know, he was always smiling), his eyes would completely disappear and the corners of his mouth would extend from eye to eye.  It’s hard to see that and not also smile and laugh.  Luckily, this was another thing that was also inherited by his children and some of my cousins.  So please, family, keep smiling and representing. 🙂

Grandpa’s 70th Birthday -1994
Hanging out at the Grandparent’s House- 1998
My Confirmation- 2003


Jenner, CA, Back to the Beginning

         D’s and my most recent adventures brought us up along Highway 1, close to Sonoma, to a little town called Jenner, CA.  When we were there, we heard a story from an old man about how his earliest memories of his father were at Jenner beach when his father picked up a piece of driftwood, and brought it home.  He said that piece of driftwood is now hanging above his fireplace at home on the east coast, and he had returned to Jenner just to recollect these precious old memories of his father.

D and I found our way down to the beach also.

We saw that awesome looking rock out there with the hole through it, and both decided it was too bad we didn’t have SUPs (stand-up paddleboards) to get us out there so we could climb around!
 As we were walking along the beach, we were both secretly searching for a special piece of driftwood to bring home.  On the way, we found this huge fort built out of driftwood.
When I walked in here to find D already making himself comfortable, he looked up at me and said, “This is where we live now.”
Look how at home he looks!
These are the pieces of driftwood we found to remember our trip. 🙂
           But the story we heard from the old man also had us thinking of our earliest memories of our fathers.  D thinks his earliest memories involve climbing the hill behind their house in Arizona together.  What I believe to be my earliest (and what I know to be a true memory because there aren’t any home videos) is a combination of racing and football.  We used to live in what I considered to be a magnificent house in the country, just outside of Versailles.  I think it was my favorite house I ever lived in.  I also think it might not be nearly as cool, and probably a lot smaller if I went back there now, since the last time I set foot in the place I was 8 years old.  But for me, you couldn’t beat the big garden we had with corn stalks and pumpkins, and the back deck, and the huge yard with the big sandbox and swing set (which by the time we moved out I could proudly climb on top of, just like my big brother, M.)
Here’s a view of the backyard.
And there’s me on top of the monkey bars.  A proud feat.
              Anyways, I remember Dad used to set the football in the middle of the backyard, and that would be where Dad, M, and I would start our race.  Then he would let me go first, then M, and then he would go.  The first one to make it around the house and snatch up the football first, won!  Then the other two would tackle the winner, I’m pretty sure.  The reason I believe this to be of my earliest memories of my father is because I can remember being so small that my chubby little legs could barely carry me, and they just wouldn’t go as fast as I wanted them to go!  I think I may have won the race around the house a couple of times, but now that I’m older, I’m pretty sure there was some serious cheating done by the other two in order to let me win. 🙂
Dad must have gotten the football this time. 🙂
There was a lot of tackling in those days. 🙂

I’m curious- what is your earliest memory of your father?

Goodwill Hunting

Most people are big fans of thrift stores during the Halloween season every year.  After all, there is no better place to look for ridiculous pieces of clothing to put together in hideous ensembles for your perfect Halloween costume.  However, I am a big fan of thrift stores all year-round.  I often find my best clothes there (mainly because it’s the only place I’ll let myself buy designer labels).  I know most people find buying used shoes repulsive, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not eyeing the boot selection every time I walk into a thrift store.  Most of the people in my immediate circle are thrift fans as well.  My fiance only buys clothes from thrift stores, my brother’s junior year prom outfit came from Goodwill, and anytime I compliment my father on a new article of clothing, he responds, “Thanks.  I got it from GW fashions.”  It took me a long time to figure out “GW Fashions” is actually Centerville Goodwill.  (He’s right, excellent selection of clothes at that location.)  Additionally, this weekend I discovered my CA roommates are also huge fans of thrifting.  We made an afternoon of it, and success was had by all.
As soon as we walked in to the first Goodwill, I was immediately blown away by the amazing selection of actual Halloween costumes people have donated.  I have been to many a Goodwill in my day, but there is rarely anything good hanging on the single rack of actual Halloween costumes.  You are usually forced to scour the rest of the racks yourself, but not in Santa Clara.  They have several racks of actual Halloween costumes, AND they have taken the liberty of hanging any exceptionally obnoxious or ridiculous-looking clothing on those racks, so you don’t have to look so hard for your perfect Halloween  costume.  I had several things in my arms at one point out of sheer excitement that they were there.  I thought the selection of random objects in the back was pretty good too, but that COULD just be because it was the first time I’ve ever looked at the selection of random stuff in my adult life, while actually needing many of those things.  There was a huge DVD section too, but unfortunately I didn’t get the time to look through them as I spent most of our time there making googly eyes at the Halloween selection. My roommates asked why I was so amazed, and I told them I thought their Halloween selection was better than any I’ve ever seen.  They responded that it’s because there are far more “weird people” here than in the locations I’ve been to in the past.  They also told me, “If you think this place was good, just wait til we get to the next one.”  The next place was closed.

The last place is where I started getting scary.  It was the Sunnyvale Goodwill.  We walked in, and immediately spotted something shiny: fake weaponry.  My legs propelled me forward.  I lurched towards the box, and without hesitation pulled two swords up out of the box with great awe.  My words exactly, “Ooooooo! Ahhhh! I am always in need of a good sword.”  I looked at my female roommate with wide eyes, expecting agreement.  What I found was horror and confusion.  For the first time since we entered the store, I took in my surroundings.  I was standing in front of a large box full of fake weaponry, already holding 2 items, right next to my very nerdy  intelligent male roommates who were also gawking at the swords as if we needed them; this was supposed to be their thing, not mine.  I put down the fake swords and backed away slowly.  “What’s happening to me?” I asked my female roommate with a trembling voice.  We both knew the answer: too much time spent with engineers, and possibly too much exposure to Silicon Valley.  I ended up finding an amazing selection of teacher-related items, that were all $.49, which I excitedly purchased.  My roommates brought home a coffee painting for the kitchen, a jug for whiskey or something of the sort, 2 glass bowls, and coffee mugs.

                       And now for a series of hideous/amazing/maybe both outfits found at Goodwill:

Last Day of High School-2006
80’s night-2007
Halloween (Frenchy from Grease) 2007
Halloween (Lois from Family Guy) 2008
Halloween (Guys got their Braveheart costumes from GW) 2010
Pirate Party 2011
Halloween (Lucille Ball) 2011
Captain Hook costume for Peter Pan play-2012
When I was Captain Hook for a play this past Spring, I looked EVERYWHERE for decent fake swords, but they were nowhere to be found.  I could only find silly foam ones.  They were available online, but they were more pricey.  Luckily, someone else had a great selection from which she let us all borrow.  Then I walked into the Goodwill in Sunnyvale, and there they were!  Cheap and plentiful!  This is perhaps a better explanation of why I was so taken with them. 🙂

Leaving Ohio

         I have lived in Ohio my entire life.  That is, minus a brief stunt gallivanting around Colorado for a short summer in between undergrad and graduate school.  (More on that later)  I grew up in a stereotypical small town in northwestern Ohio.  Where I’m from, everyone has large families, and though my generation has started leaving home to go to different universities in Ohio, eventually most everyone moves back home after college to be with their large families.  I spent my life before college dreaming about only leaving my comfort zone for the standard 4 years, and then settling down in the lovely little town of Versailles, OH.  My new husband and I would live down the creek from all my family, and my children would grow up happily with their cousins and grandparents, just as I was fortunate enough to be able to live out my childhood.  

My cousins who are like brothers to me because I was fortunate enough to grow up so close to them

        Later in high school, I started to develop bigger dreams about moving away to NYC or LA to experience bigger and better theatre.  However, deep down I always thought I would end up back in Versailles, where I felt I belonged.  Little did I know then that every step I took away from home would bring new experiences, which in turn would bring curiosity and momentum to venture further for newer and bigger adventures.  

           The ABSOLUTE BEST group of high school friends in the history of the world

         My first stop out of Ohio (though I did not realize this at the time) was The University of Cincinnati.  It was not a pit stop.  It was 6 years.  It was in Cincinnati that I learned how much I did not know.  It became clear to me I had lived an evidently sheltered life.  This  should not have surprised me as the most recent crime in my area was an ATTEMPTED robbery of the town IGA when I was about 10 years old, and the fact that there is only one culture:  Catholic-European America.  I had much to learn about other cultures and the outside world.  The friends I made at college (my fiancé included) who are not from small towns tell me the way I speak about growing up and the terminology I use sometimes makes it seem to them like I’m from an entirely different country.  If you get the cultural reference, they actually tell me the things I say to them sometimes is like the things Robin says to the friends on How I Met Your Mother about her home country, Canada.  To me, the things they have not heard of are shocking.  Dancing in the hog trough?  Anyone?  Guess not.
Anyways, once I reached all the new experiences Cincinnati could bring me, I thirsted for more.  

The MOST AWESOME group of college friends in the history of the world at Cedar Point
Team Green Goats vs. Salmon Squirrels

       Around the fall of 2009, I had a new boyfriend for whom I was falling pretty hard.  I realized he had one co-op left 1200 miles away from me the next summer.  We had begun our relationship 1200 miles away so I made a passing comment that I wished we would not have to separate again.  At that time he said, “So let’s not.  Come with me.”  Well that was all I needed.  I immediately began searching for a summer internship so I would have a valid reason to join him in Fort Collins, Colorado.  It was at a perfect time for me because I would be graduating with my bachelor’s degree so I would be qualified to be an SLPa (Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant) in Colorado.  By November, I had lined up a place that agreed to let me intern for them over the summer.  Luckily, I was flying down to New Orleans for the national speech pathologist convention, as was my future boss so we were able to meet for an interview at that time.  Luckily for me again, that boss had a friend who was also interested in an SLPa for the summer, so by working for the two places combined, I had a full-time job for the summer in Colorado, and made enough money to keep me alive.
      My second stop on the way out of Ohio was Fort Collins, Colorado.  My boyfriend and I drove his family’s Honda Civic (stick shift) out to Colorado together.  When we got far enough into Colorado that I could finally see the entire Rocky Mountain mountain range laid out before my eyes, I could not help but cry.  My boyfriend looked at me and said, “If I would have known seeing mountains could make you this happy, I would take you to see the mountains every day.”  Every day that summer, we saw the mountains.  It was the greatest summer of my life.  

   Just another day of my magical summer romance in the Rockies.

      The things I learned as a result of yet again stepping outside of my comfort zone were priceless.  At the end of the summer, one of my employers offered me a job at her private practice for when I graduated.  I absolutely loved working for her.  Yet, as pleased as I was, and as safe as that felt, I couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the world had in store for me.

Getting some mad hops at the peak of our Colorado work-out regime.


      My/what was slowly becoming “our” next stop was back to Cincinnati.  Wait, what?  I guess it’s like when you’re flying from Colorado to California, and you have a layover in Dallas.  Sometimes you back track, and sometimes the journey doesn’t make any sense, but you still get there.  Flash forward a year.  My boyfriend and I were getting very serious and it was time for him to graduate and find a job.  I was in the middle of my master’s degree program.  For him, there were many possibilities.  Even within the company he had always co-oped for, there were 4 different locations: Boston, Austin, Fort Collins, and Sunnyvale.  We both had a place we didn’t want to live.  He’s not a fan of the east coast not having mountains, and I didn’t know anyone in Texas.  We knew we both loved Fort Collins, but we were also both curious about California.  I kept thinking if moving to Colorado was one of the best experiences I ever had, why not try other places and see what else we can experience?  Eventually things fell into place, and my boyfriend landed a job in Sunnyvale, CA.  There was talk of possibly seeing if he could transfer to Colorado after about a year or so of working.  He moved out and started working in August of 2011.  3 weeks later, I came to visit for 3 weeks.  I, and I think we, both fell in love.

                           Summer romance, now on the beach. 🙂
         (My Dad actually took this picture and insisted we kiss for it.)

     The birth of a niece, a proposal, and a master’s degree later, it was time for me to leave Ohio.  For most of the year, it was very easy to focus solely on the excitement I had for my new adventures, and for finally being with my fiance.  In fact, I chose not to think about the hard part at all.  Though it was subconscious at the time, I actually spent my two years of graduate school trying NOT to make new friends, and focus on quality time with all my old ones.  I guess I already knew I couldn’t handle the idea of having more people to say goodbye.  About a week before I was supposed to leave, I let myself start feeling emotional about all the goodbyes.

My surprise “Going-Away” lunch at the park. 🙂
No one can make me feel appreciated like M.  He wrote, “Good Riddance” on my cake, haha. 🙂

      Hanging out with all my favorite people one last time was really hard and saying goodbye to them was even harder.  At the same time, I still have all my favorite memories with these people I can always look back on, and because we became so close in my lifetime in Ohio, I know we will always be able to be friends.  Sadly, what I did not realize I was not prepared for was the gut-wrenching, heart-twinging, agony of missing out on someone’s life I did not get the chance to make enough memories with: my niece.  Saying goodbye to her was almost unbearable.  I truly believe that if my sister-in-law had not had the strength to take her from my arms, I never would have let her go.  I bawled the whole way home from her house.  Knowing how much I want to be a part of her life, and knowing how much I want to be a key player in her repertoire of early childhood memories, but won’t be able to is deeply unnerving.  For now, I must settle for the “cool aunt” who drops in on the holidays with gifts and goodies.  Also, with the modern convenience of Skype, I’m hoping she will at least be able to recognize and remember my face and voice.  Little E, if you should ever happen across this in the future, I want to say that my biggest regret will be not being there right next to you for every step and every success of your life.  I will hold dear to me the sweet memories of rocking you to sleep in my arms.  Know that I will be loving you every second of every day, and cheering you on like crazy in everything you do, no matter how far away or how close I am.  I hope someday I can explain to you why I left, and you will understand.  Also, I know this is a little cliché but if you ever really need me, I am only a phone call and 5 hours away. 🙂   

                       “Aunt T, you’re leaving me?!  Traitor!”
                                              (Aug. 2012)
And so, with all my goodbyes behind me, like Fievel on his journey out west, I must separate from my family and make my own way only to discover loved ones waiting for me on the other side.