Papa Pineapples Turns Sixty!

My Dad looooooves his new nickname, haha! Really though, he’s a good sport. And pretty much the best Dad that ever lived. He can build anything (coffee mug display shelves, for one) and he learned how to french braid hair when I needed it done for dance recitals and choir performances. He taught kindergarten and first grade for over 30 years and was one of the most requested teachers in the district, for his patience and his creativity. Most recently, he agreed to foster Sir Thomas when we had nowhere else to take him, and they’ve become the best of friends. Thomas just lights up and starts wagging his little stub tail whenever my Dad is around. It’s the cutest thing EVER. So anyway, we knew we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate my Dad and the amazing father, friend and husband that he is. read more

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the after party.

Things are so, so good right now.

They are hard too, but good. Hard and good.

I’m smack in the midst of studying for my LCSW exams, which are a HUGE deal and if I don’t pass I have to wait 6 months to take them again. I take my first one in around 14 days. HOLY CRAP. I don’t really want to talk about it.

I also still work full time as a children’s trauma therapist, which I love but which is also sometimes/often/usually draining and all-consuming. It’s not a show-up-to-work-and-sip-coffee-all-day kind of job. (Where can I get one of those?!) This past Tuesday I was at work until 8 pm with an unexpected and completely out-of-the-blue crisis with an old client from 2 years ago. read more

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lift your eyes, see it in a different light.

Sometimes I feel guilty for only/mostly writing about the painful things in my life. I am currently in a really wonderful place in my life. Weekends filled with laughter and coffee and book reading and swimming and exploring and our incredible church and just this overwhelming sense of peace. Weeks filled with challenging but inspiring days at work, fun coworkers and the most supportive boss imaginable. I’ve always had a small, tight-knit family but this past year has brought us all even closer. But no matter how great everything is, I still have these black holes that the only way I know how to cope with them is to poke them with a stick and stir them around a little bit. It’s probably the therapist in me. I tell my clients all the time, “We can do hard things”. I tell myself that a lot too. read more

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write like a motherfucker.

Today was my first day back at work after an epic four days off. Andrew and I decided to take a little vacation to Scottsdale, Arizona for the 4th of July weekend and also take Monday off. It was one of the best vacations of my life. I’m usually not a fan of long car rides (this one was 6 hours) but surprisingly I had a great time. We listened to a lot of This American Life, had car dance parties and just talked a lot. I am always laughing with Andrew. That shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it still does. It’s a feeling I can’t get over. read more

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even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.
The song “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans came on the radio when I was driving home from work today. I’ve heard that song before and I’ve liked it, but today I found myself passionately belting out the lyrics while I was sitting in traffic on the 405 freeway. If you’re going to sit in traffic, you might as well put on a show for your traffic neighbors, no? But seriously, how perfect are these lyrics? And I’m done hoping that we can work it out, I’m done with how it feels, spinning my wheels Letting you drag my heart around. And ohhh I’m done thinking, that you could ever change. I know my heart will never be the same,  but I’m telling myself I’ll be okay. Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger.   About 6 months tooooooo late, but still pretty awesome. ……….. So I have been getting sick a lot lately. Like, every few months I get a horrendous cold that turns into a cough that lasts for months. I eventually get over the cough and then I get sick again, only to repeat the cycle. I was coughing so hard that I had to leave meetings at work. To throw up. I coughed so hard I had to RUN OUT OF A SESSION WITH A CLIENT in order to hack it up in the bathroom. So not fun and SO not professional and SO not helpful for the therapeutic process, as you might imagine. I ended up at Urgent Care on Easter Sunday and the doctor there recommended that I see an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. Thanks the the wonder that is Kaiser, I had an appointment two days later. The specialist was pretty kickass and we discussed all the ins-and-outs of getting my tonsils removed. When she said I would stop getting sick as much and it would probably even stop the snoring I had developed over the past two-or-so years, I was sold. So we scheduled the surgery for the following Friday and I requested a week off of work for the recovery time. I realized later that I would be having my tonsillectomy on Mother’s Day weekend, which historically has not been an awesome weekend for me. And by historically I just mean that it’s exactly the one year anniversary of some pretty shitty shit. I was mentioning this to a friend of mine and I said something along the lines of the whole historically-shitty-weekend-thing and she said, “No, it’s historically the weekend that you get rid of uselessness things that you no longer need that have been causing you pain”. I have hilarious and genius friends. And so I had the tonsillectomy and woke up IN SO MUCH PAIN. Of course while you are in the hospital you just moan a bit and they give you the good, good drugs, so it wasn’t too bad. Plus I had some kickass company/caretaker. Who doesn’t insist on a selfie when one is naked and drugged, waiting to go into surgery? The rest of my LAMEST WEEK OF VACATION FROM WORK EVER consisted of a lot of this: &  Which was okay because I love kitty snuggles and my new juicer, but I missed food. Obviously. And I looked like a hot mess the entire week. I don’t think I showered very often or even changed my clothes. Seriously, SO MUCH PAIN. The best part was the medication they gave me made me super nauseous and if you can think of something worse than throwing up after you’ve just had THROAT surgery, I’d like to hear it. And I remember being told something about “the possibility of having some ear pain” but I missed the part about THROBBING, STABBY EAR PAIN IN BOTH EARS that made me rock back and fourth catatonically while rubbing my temples and crying. It felt like double ear infections. Drinking water was super awful and waking up every four hours (even in the middle of the night) to take pain medication that makes you nauseous made it a full-blown partayyy. As a result, I walked around most of the week with ice packs strapped to various parts of my head/neck/chest in super sexy pajamas and looked like this: Which I had to document after I caught sight of myself in a mirror on day 5 or so. And it made me laugh. But a silent laugh, because real laughing was not so much an option. (Side note: Yawning STILL really hurts like a little bitch.) I had the best support during this whole thing. Not only did he take the whole day off of work to take me to and from my surgery, pick up my pain medications, and rubbed my back over and over when I was having major pity parties for myself, he also made Starbucks runs when I wanted an Iced Tea and got me new flavors of popsicles when I couldn’t stomach grape anymore. He was an AMAZING sport, but I did manage to wear him out, at times. Icing my throat while the boyfriend takes a cat nap on the couch, poor thing. Also, let me say this. Ladies, if you want to REALLY get to know your new boyfriend (read: of 4 months) go ahead and schedule a minor surgery with a notoriously awful recovery. Because there is nothing quite like going from the awesome, fun, and hilarious person he has gotten used to seeing every day (ahem, if I do say so myself) to a sniveling, not showering, crying, in-pain person who doesn’t so much as want to be touched for more than two minutes a day and wakes up often in the middle of the night to cry on the kitchen floor while trying to choke down vomit-flavored medication. It’s a gooooooooooooood idea. Thankfully, this particular boyfriend of 4 months is AWESOME (or you know, if he’s reading this, is OKAY). And when you mention you feel ready to try choking down food and you would punch a baby for a donut, he shows up after work with not one but THREE amazing donuts and an Archie comic book because he remembered that you used to read those as a kid and it might cheer you up. Even Nala was impressed. And even through it ends up being one of the most painful weekends/weeks of your life, you know that you’d do this weekend all over again 100 years sooner than you’d do the previous Mother’s Day weekend. Because this time he’s here. And yes, you got rid of ANOTHER useless thing that had been causing you pain. And there are a lot of donuts during recovery. & eventually frozen yogurt. …….. There are also pool days with magazines and popsicles and attempted tanning. And sneaking pictures of him during brunches in Santa Monica I’ve gotten pretty good at the I’m-just-checking-my-email-really-quick-but-secretly-taking-pictures-of-you-because-you-are-so-cute thing. I’ll probably never get used to mid-week date nights at City Walk, but I’m sure enjoying them when they happen. And mid-week date nights with chocolate milkshakes, french fries and nighttime swimming. I LOVE NIGHTTIME SWIMMING. And french fries. Which you already knew. The struggle is real. Long story short (HA), I survived. And I don’t miss my tonsils one little bit. Or that other useless, pain-causing thing that was eradicated from my life. My current biggest problem in life is figuring out how to update my hairstyle. I’ve had the same one for FOREVER and I think I’m ready for something different. Pre-Brush Out vs. Post-Brush Out. Errrrrrrryday. Also, some days I feel like Mick Jagger. And I’m not so sure that’s such a good thing. I have a hair appointment in a week and the decision of it all is WEIGHING on me. Oooooooooh big life decisions, how I love you these days. …….. Life is so good.

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you are here.

I complain about being too busy or too stressed or having plans every single weekend from here until the end of the summer, but in reality I’ve never felt more balanced. This balance is something I’ve struggled with before – the fine line between the crazy-fun infatuation stage of a new relationship and getting in too-deep-too-fast. I think I may have finally gotten the balance right — and I’m bored.

AH isn’t that just like life though? The grass is always greener on the other side, right? WRONG. The grass is always greener where you water it. Not only is this just 5th grade science, it’s the plain truth. So now I’m sitting here with all of these wonderful things in my life, pretty perfectly balanced – my job, a fab social life with fun and loving friends, family time, and a new, fun relationship – and I’m missing the days when I was so scared I didn’t know what was going to come next. I can’t even believe  I just typed those words. I’m MISSING the time when I was SCARED out of my mind about what was going to come next? Okay, so maybe “missing” isn’t the right word. I’m “remembering fondly” the times in the not-so-distant-past that I didn’t have everything figured out or planned on a calendar. Those days and weekends and months of not-knowing. Sure, it was a lot of Saturday nights spent at home doing laundry and watching Friends re-runs with my cat. But it was also a time of immense growth and a whole lot of faith. Because when you find yourself dumped and divorced at the oh-so-young age of 26, you don’t have much to go on other than faith. Nothing that happened over the course of the past year was anything I had ever prepared myself to have to handle. The learning curve was really high and my faith was all I had. And when you are stripped down to the bare minimum, a beautiful thing happens. read more

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eat mangoes naked.

No matter how far I come, or how much I’ve learned and grown, I’ve come realize that I’m not immune to new pain. I guess I just thought I had processed everything enough. I’m so happy with my life. So beyond happy. And so so thankful. But I’m only human and sometimes I forget just what a liar fear can be. And so in my attempts to rid fear from my life, I am stripping it down to the basics. Good friends. A loving family. Good books. Hot tea. Kitty Snuggles. Reading for days. Community Service. My incredible job. My loving boyfriend. My kickass apartment. Good Music. Journaling. Jesus. read more

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another writing assignment.
My first time writing dialogue. The whole story started out in my head one way, and ended up in a completely different place. That’s part of the fun in fiction, I think.     She could remember the exact moment she stopped being fearless.

Growing up she had always felt invincible, for no other reason than her Dad had told her she was. Whatever she wanted to do, they did it. When she wanted to dig a hole to China in the fourth grade, they spent weeks at the edge of the property line with shovels and maps, talking about all the fun they would have once they got there. When that phase passed and she wanted to be an astronaut, Dad brought home boxes of books about planets and galaxies from the library. They poured over them in a state-of-the-art cardboard box rocket ship. Most of the best moments of her childhood were spent in a box or a hole somewhere, planning out her next adventure. read more

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pick your own adventure (lessons on grace).

I’ve written about this before; this struggle with the popular idea that God has everything perfectly planned for my life. That God is so big and Almighty and all-knowing that he has every little blip of my life planned out, and He does this for everyone. The problem with this logic is pain. This would mean that every time a four-year old rape victim walks into my office, God PLANNED for that to happen. Every time a child describes hiding under his parents bed while Dad beat his Mom to a pulp, God PLANNED for that to happen. When one of my clients witnessed his Dad shoot and kill his mom and then turned the gun on himself, God planned for that to happen. In my own life, it would mean that God decided I didn’t already have enough trauma on my plate and that I needed to experience divorce too. read more

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show up. keep showing up. and do not be ashamed.
We’re coming up on almost a year from the exact day that my life fell apart.

April of last year was no picnic either, as it was the month leading up to the day where my life fell apart. I still remember the feeling of my stomach sinking through my entire body and slamming into the hardwood floor when I was told, over the phone, some of the most painful and hurtful things from someone I once loved more than anything. I remember the screaming, and then the crying, and then the worst part – the begging read more

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