24 March 2011

Great Grandma Young

Lately, the world has been getting me down.  The attack on Libya, my inability to get jobs for which I'm qualified, money (doesn't it get EVERYBODY down), family drama, the ridiculous snow storm we just had yesterday... at the end of March, gas prices, everything happening in Japan-- we live in a harsh world.
SO, I'm going to ignore all that crap and write about a woman who always had a smile on her face and plenty of love to spread around even in the darkest of times: Great Grandma Young.  Yes, she was my great grandmother-- the sweet Matriarch of my German/Austrian family-- and I think it's time for reminiscing.  Just to clarify, Grandma went Home in May of 2007; I was fortunate to know her for the first 21 years of my life.  In fact, I knew 3 of my 4 great grandmothers... what a blessing.

Below is a picture of her with the old 1970's Chevy she finally sold several years ago-- that thing was a BOAT. 

And Grandma never drove it on the highway.  She would take the back roads from her bungalow in Chicago to the northwest suburbs for family events-- and there were TONS of those-- and this red monstrosity would inch its way along the streets at a steady pace.  I feel sorry for anyone stuck behind her; Grandma's driving motto was "We'll get there eventually."  She finally decided to give up driving at age 96.

Here she is in the kitchen of her home with some pretty cool people.  

The Chicago Bungalow was such a special place.  Though I don't have the memories of frequent visits, dinners, and parties that my mom has, my siblings, cousins, and I all spent a fair amount of time at Grandma's home that she had for well over 40 years... or was it 60? In terms of  today's style standards, the decor was outdated-- but who cares about that when the bathroom was done in raspberry (including the toilet and tub)!  Since my favorite color is pink, I loved it! Not to mention the second floor (a converted attic) with steep stairs up and too short ceilings-- a child's playground.  And the place had a cool basement with a bar, a bit musty by the time I was old enough to appreciate it, but the setting for many great parties.  My great grandparents we social people, not to mention they had a large family of German/ Austrian immigrants to entertain on the weekend.  

Most of our conversations with Grandma happened in her insulated back porch where she watched her "programs"-- it was common knowledge not to call her during shows like "Wheel of Fortune." And of course the kitchen, the epicenter of a German family.  You see, up until she died Great Grandma cooked bulk German meals of Rouladin and Stuffed Peppers for her son and his kids and their families, and her daughter and her kids and their families.  For years we benefited from the sales at Grandma's local grocery (being a Depression survivor, she wouldn't make Rouladin if the round steak wasn't on sale, for example).  In fact, even if she didn't eat a particular item of produce, many times she'd purchase it on sale and give it away to the Family or her neighbors.  Also, Grandma had a giant pantry the size of a generous walk-in closet... just one of those details I remember... oh, and ancient well-used appliances.  She loved to cook and she loved to eat, passing on those sentiments to her entire family. 

Once for Great Grandma's birthday, my grandma, aunts, and all of the great grandchildren met for lunch at the Bungalow to pick Grandma up and take her to a restaurant.  When we arrived the house smelled AMAZING. Instead of an afternoon out, Grandma surprised everyone by making a feast of German food (saurkraut, red cabbage, large red sausages, potato pancakes...) for everyone to share at her dining room table.  The kids (we were pretty young at the time) got to run around upstairs while the moms helped, talked, and laughed in kitchen.  There was always good-hearted laughter surrounding Great Grandma Young.

That was before Grandma started throwing a big party every year for her birthday.  At some point, I think around turning 90... or maybe it was 95, Grandma decided that every year both her son and daughter's family would gather for a banquet at the Rose Garden.  She wanted to celebrate annually as a way of bringing everyone together (we didn't see much of Great Uncle Bill's side the rest of the year) and cherishing each precious year furthering a long and fruitful life.  We would eat sub-par food like rubbery ham and steamed previously frozen vegetables, followed by the excellent cake supplied by the family bakery (started by my other German Great Grandparents) with a side of spumoni ice cream.  And of course, we'd sing.  God blessed our family with musical talent-- oddly enough Great Grandma Young was tone deaf though she LOVED music-- so we'd all sing a table prayer to the tune of Edelweiss and afterwards various family members would perform.  My grandma and I would sing solos with my mom accompanying us on her keyboard; my brother would play trombone; Cousin Rich and his wife would play guitar and do duets-- Grandma always liked "The Gambler"-- and everyone would sing a few old German favorites.

Great Grandma had such pride in her family: nothing was more important to her.  She attended every birthday party, Christening, confirmation, graduation, wedding, anniversary party, and rotated holidays. And at each gathering Grandma found a comfortable chair from which she could observe and smile over the family she'd created. Grandma once told my mom that's what she enjoyed the most: watching everyone have a great time, hearing all of us laughing and talking loudly, and enjoying each other's company.  It's not every day you come across a family that gets along even though they might disagree.  And if you haven't figured it out yet, our family is big on hugging, so when we arrived at parties, we each in turn greeted Grandma at her post with a hug, kiss, hello, and laugh about some joke she would inevitably make.  Laughter is just as much a tradition in my family as hugging.

But don't get the wrong idea: Great Grandma was more than a sweet, smily old lady.  The Matriarch of the family was strong, independent, adventurous, and even a bit devious.  As you can see in the photo below, if Grandma was physically able to try something then she'd go for it:

My grandma took Great Grandma on a cruise in the Greek Isles when GG was in her late 80's (maybe 88)-- I'll tell you about my world traveling grandmother some day in another blog.  Also, Great Grandma loved a good Vermouth Manhattan: she had one at almost every party.  No, she wasn't an alcoholic, she just liked a well-made cocktail once in a while.  A woman after my own heart.  And Grandma loved a dirty joke or two-- she would even kid with her granddaughters about a male neighbor that would help her with odd jobs around the house and a "quickie in the afternoon!"  One of the funniest moments at a party was when Grandma told me that she had been conceived illegitimately and that she didn't tell her daughter (my actual grandma) until recently because Grandma thought her daughter was a bit of a prude.  :)  Plus she had a tendency to joke about being... well endowed.  At one of her birthday parties we have photos of her chest covered in frosting after she bent over her cake to blow out the birthday candles.  She laughed her loud and familiar laugh.  How do you not love a woman with a wicked sense of humor?

In terms of being independent, that's exactly what Great Grandma was.  The bungalow remained her home until the day she died, where she resided by herself... but never alone-- she was surrounded by family photos.  Her mind stayed sharp, her memory intact.  We have strong women (and men) in our family due to her influence and strive to be as full of life in our 90's as she was.  Great Grandma made it through some of the hardest times in America's history and came out of it SMILING.

And she had a sixth sense-- perhaps that's who I get it from.  Shortly before being hospitalized, Grandma was at our family's annual Mother's Day party.  At one point during the festivities, I went over to talk with her and she made a point to tell me how happy she was for me (I was graduating from college and getting married in August), that she knew Michael and I were right for each other and that I looked happy.  Also, Great Grandma insisted to my grandma that she didn't need to buy a dress or shoes for the wedding as there would be no need for them. She knew it was her time.

Great Grandma Young passed away on May 25, 2007 after being hospitalized for only a few weeks. She was born in 1909 in Zlan, Austria and came to America when she was 4.  Though she didn't have a fancy career, go down in history, or publish her memoirs, Grandma Young did marry a wonderful man and had two children, Bill and Betty.  She raised them to love and laugh, and had many grandchildren and great grandchildren to integrate those values into a tumultuous world.  At the funeral, since most of us were 21, we toasted her memory with Vermouth Manhattans and laughed over memories of her.  How amazing, to have lived for 98 years and instead of becoming a cynic or bitter or depressed, Great Grandma only loved life more because she was grateful to LIVE.

23 March 2011

Open Wound

On Monday afternoon I felt "on edge," that is to say: "ready to explode." A few odd, aggravating, and unusual things occurred in such quick succession that they threw my mood into a whirlwind of impatience and bad temper.

The main incident struck my nerves as I scrolled through my Facebook News Feed (ah Facebook, such a useful tool yet the source of so much drama).  A friend of a friend of mine was tagged in a photo album that included a person whom you might presumably call my "archenemy" but whom I like to call "the Spawn of Satan."  Now, we're not super close and my friend hanging out with... we will call her "Dawn"... doesn't bother me... plus I knew about it.

The part that disturbed me was seeing her face making that moronic "kissy face" girls make when they're trying to look like models, smiling and alive and looking well-- I'd forgotten Dawn existed... for the most part.  You see, I blocked Dawn and her boyfriend (we will call him Dick) completely from Facebook back in Oct. 2008 because of one of the worst fights ever.  Now I know blocking someone doesn't automatically destroy their life source, but on Facebook, when you block a person, they can't see you nor can you see them. So naturally I haven't seen updated photos of Dawn for over 2 years and no amount of innate curiosity could entice me to unblock Dawn and Dick just to see what they're up to.  Though "hate" is a strong word, that is the emotion I feel when I think about and see her.  Hate.

Ever since our spat in '08 I have been TRYING to forgive her (I really have nothing against Dick other than he lives up to his fake namesake... but that's no big deal)-- I've even prayed for her! Yet every time I think I've reached that point where I can move on, the mention of her name, that incident, or seeing her photo triggers those awful feelings as if they happened yesterday. Would you like an example of my feelings?  Seeing her face makes me want to take a bat to it... but thankfully I have God; these are mere weak emotions that I'll never satisfy, though I can't guarantee that if I ever ran into her in public I wouldn't get into a war of words with Dawn, throwing around the most vicious insults my mind could create.  She puts me in a bad place: I become a different person when I see Dawn. Apparently this is an open, festering wound that could become seriously infected if not treated.

What could Dawn have done that was so terrible? It began when she and my younger brother got into a fight (I should clarify that although Dawn was a good acquaintance, she was my lil bro's good friend and about age 21 at the time).  They had been in little tiffs before and sorted it out themselves but this was different: she decided to embarrass him on Facebook.  I can't remember most of what was said between the two of them, but it was highly offensive, rude, extremely hurtful to Brother, she hurled insults at him, and I couldn't sit by and let him take it (he's polite when it comes to women).  Even though I can see flaws as well as strengths, when it comes to family and close friends I am fiercely loyal and will throw down if need be.

And so I sent Dawn a message trying to explain her inappropriate behavior and that she was being extremely hurtful and immature.  You can ask the several people involved:  I was firm but polite.  Not surprisingly Dawn replied with a childish message littered with profanity, but the most shocking part about it was the level to which she would stoop to win a fight.  Any low blow, any physical or character flaw that  I had, Dawn threw in my face with such venom even Lucifer would blush.  After reading this letter that attacked everything from my brother and husband to my weight, marriage, finances, job situation, education... EVERYTHING... Dawn was no longer human in my eyes.  She became "It," an inhuman creature without the capacity for love and certainly without a soul.

I wrote back with a rather rude email myself-- yes I stooped to her level the second time, I am ashamed to say-- and received an even more painful reply from Dawn.  How painful? I screamed, I cried, I called my mother, and my brother & his friends were literally in shock with sympathy (I had sent him all of the correspondence).  Anger I'd never felt burst out of me... and my husband (I actually had to stop him from driving down to where they lived) and it unleashed such rage that I could have violently hurt "It" until "It" bled to death.  Needless to say I calmed down and decided to reply in my old form: constructively addressing all arguments Dawn laid out in her previous letter, firmly stating mine, and of course leaving out foul language.  At the end of the letter I told her I pitied her, knew she was the worst person in the world, and warned Dick that some day she would turn on him too-- this wasn't the first incident she'd had with a friend.  Then I blocked her.  Dawn would have kept harassing me and spreading poison, so what better way to aggravate a person who must have the last word than cut her off completely from all communication.  That was the end of it.

So you must be curious... what did she say?  Well, there were obviously tons of jabs at Hubby's and my being overweight, at some point I was "ugly," and of course how pathetic I was to have two jobs (apparently she looks down on people with multiple jobs...).  The private bit about our finances was a definite blow since we had no clue how much she knew about those affairs, not to mention she belittled the car accident that nearly killed my husband and left him facially scarred.  Then there were the insults about our move to Wisconsin, claiming my brother needed me to fight his battles (so not true: he had been communicating with her separately the entire time), more fat comments...

The worst came when she cut me to the core by insulting me as a bride and my marriage.  You see, Dawn had attended my wedding as a guest of my brother's and I remember the multitude of compliments she gave me that day, and the days before and after, and how Dawn wanted her relationship with Dick to be like my marriage.  Suddenly this changed: she asked me how it felt to look like a cow on my wedding day; to have a mother, bridesmaids, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law all much more beautiful than me; that I was the ugliest person at the wedding.  How she and Dick would never want to be like us, that we were pathetic as a couple and that our marriage would fail.  Perhaps those insults about being an ugly bride hurt so deeply because secretly I'd had the same thoughts myself, that both of my mothers are far thinner and more beautiful than I'd ever be... I married into a family of extraordinarily beautiful people-- what was I thinking?! And I've grown up feeling separate from my family and sister-like cousins, knowing all these years that I'm the "fat one," that "one of these things is not like the others."  No one has ever said anything, of course, but when you grow up self-conscious and without confidence, you see it.

Typing about this is just another reminder that her words still cause pain and how much I hate this so-called woman.  Such evil feelings.  With God's help, I will forgive Dawn some day, though I also pray NEVER to see her again.  So now you've seen the ugly side of me... I hope we can still be friends.  Good news out of the whole thing: my brother and I are closer.  I even gained a few friends of my brother's once they'd discovered what I had written to Dawn-- apparently I have a way with words.  You see... there's always a silver lining.

19 March 2011

Cyberbullying and one of the Worst Songs Ever Made

If you haven't watched a morning/ late night show, been on Yahoo!, or gone on Facebook in the last few days, then you might not know about the infamous Rebecca Black and her song "Friday." And the music video... oh the music video...

I'm dead serious about this being one of the worst songs ever made because it is. I don't mean it as an insult-- it's TRUE!  At one point she literally goes through the days of the weekend and their placement  in relation to Friday.  That's bad.  And of course the music video is awful, but that's not saying much considering the poor quality of many professionally produced videos.  Best part: the creepy 40 year old rapper who may have been court-ordered to stay away from the children, hence why he's not in any shots with them.  Ugh....

But the title of my blog mentions cyberbullying so what's my point?  Well if you watch her video actually on YouTube, you'll notice the ratings and comments have been removed.  This is why:

Okay. The song is terrible, no doubt about that, but who in this world is cruel enough to tell an eighth grader to cut herself, die, and lose weight so she'll be pretty? Is that really necessary?!  No. It's not. And I love how bullies immediately jump to the "auto-tune" insult because there are filters on her voice.  New Flash: they auto-tune EVERYONE-- Bono, Beyonce, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, Beck-- anyone who puts out a recorded album, no matter how great of a singer they are, gets the auto-tune treatment.  That's why artists can release live albums along with the originals.  Rebecca, as displayed in the video, can sing and has a pretty voice.  I think her voice is more musical theater than pop, and I honestly can't say if she'll have much of a pop career.  And yes, if you must know, I have a singing background (6 years of voice lessons and years of performing) as well as a musical background that began at age 5, so I can tell the difference between someone who can and cannot sing on key.

I realize Rebecca released the video in the hopes of beginning some kind of pop career and must expect negative criticism. However, there's a difference between declaring "Friday" a bad song and telling Rebecca that she's fat. Or to cut herself. Or to die.

Cyberbullies are such cowards because they hide behind the anonymity of usernames, fake photos, and the power of more anonymous users agreeing with them by issuing more horrible insults.  81% of teens don't think cyberbullying is a big deal. Perhaps this is because it's just the Internet... it's all digital so there's no harm.  Unfortunately people forget that the various forms of Cyberbullying cover all manner of abuses... excluding physical abuse.  Awful.  And how many teens have resorted to suicide as a result of peers posting embarrassing videos of them all over YouTube or outing them on Facebook or MySpace or uploading awful photos?  This needs to stop.

Though I can't think of anything at the moment, I'm sure at some point I've been guilty of this as well.  Please encourage others to be courteous on the Web, monitor your children to protect them, and let's get the word out about cyberbullying and the harm it causes. And hopefully we can find better tunes for Ms. Black to sing.


I really don't know what to say about the horrors that have happened and are happening in Japan.  When across the globe, hearing and reading about a disaster of this magnitude, I realize the insignificance of my petty problems, my singular life, and am in awe of nature's rage.  After watching a video of the tsunami consuming farmland as it reached a busy stretch of road, I... well... I really don't know what to say about that.  It was horrifying.

Though I can't do much from my apartment in Wisconsin, I will continue to pray for the people of Japan.  Amidst the tragedy there are miracles occurring every day, but it will be years before their nation is back to business and some strength in hope is in order.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident."   (Psalm 27: 1, 3)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."   (Proverbs 3:5-6)

"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all."   (Psalm 34:17-19)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."   (Psalm 46:1-3)

And so... hold your loved ones a little closer, make more time in your busy life for friends and family, and don't just think "I love you" but say it.  God bless Japan

16 March 2011

A Book Worm's Dream...

Thanks to The Island Dweller and her latest blog entry, I have been apprised the of the BBC Book List all its literary glory.  Scoff if you like, those of you who have known about this list for years, but this is a new discovery and everyone knows how much I love a good list AND a good book.

And so, I am blatantly copying the list and highlighting the titles I've read (and marking the mini-series I've seen instead of the book... which doesn't count, I know).  Please feel free to copy the list and post it yourself with the books you've read, or leave a comment telling me which entries I'm a fool not to have read and which ones I can skip to preserve the better parts of my oh so precious sanity.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible: I've read many books but not the whole thing
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy (saw the miniseries and didn't feel any need to pursue it further)
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare- I've read a lot of his stuff but not everything

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery (I keep trying to read this series but can't get into them... I get bored)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood: this is along the lines of 1984- illustrating a new world order. If you know me, I'm happy to share my copy with anyone interested.

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (saw the miniseries-- wasn't a fan of the story)
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

04 March 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Purchase one roll of refrigerated pizza dough and press to edges of the pan.  Make sure to smooth out any holes.  To ensure a crispier crust, stick it in the oven while it preheats so the dough bakes up first.

For a pizza this size, I use 2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, but for a 12in round, just use 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs.  Cook the chicken separately first until juicy-- I use my panini maker-- then cut into small pieces and coat with BBQ sauce.

Once the crust is slightly puffy, remove from oven and add a thin layer of BBQ sauce of your choice-- Famous Dave's is yummy-- then top with chicken, sprinkle with about 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro.  Cover with a combination of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and bake for 15 min. at 400 degrees or until cheese is melted.

Let cool for 5 min. then eat up!

If you want to add a little extra zip, slice and sweat a few red onions/

03 March 2011

California or BUST!!!

My apologies for the absence from Blogdom.  Some life-changing choices have been made in the last few weeks that I want to announce and offer details about.  However, my hesitation was due to skepticism, insulting comments, and lack of enthusiasm from certain parties who shall remain nameless and blameless.  And how can I share exciting news when I'm pissed off?  It's illogical.

My husband and I will be moving to the greater Los Angeles area in October of this year; I will stop pursuing a degree in education and instead pursue the career choice of my original degree: FILM.  We also brought home another kitten-- who is quite the handful-- and our little family of 4 will move cross-country to follow our (insert cliche here).

This move has been a long time coming.  Originally, before I met Hubby, there was no question about where to move after I graduated college: L.A. L.A. L.A.!!!  Then when we married, he had another year and a half of school and when he graduated, we decided moving to California was not a financially viable option at the time.  Since then we've been in such limbo about where to live, where to work, what career to have... This waiting game caused us to question everything we'd previously been so sure of in college and beforehand.  Finally we'd had enough of this confusion, rejection, shoving our creative spirits aside, Wisconsin (or in my case SNOW), this unfulfilled life that we mutually agreed to move to Hollywood.  By October finances will line up, our lease will end, and winter won't hinder our move.

Don't misunderstand though: I haven't hated life these past few years. Quite the contrary.  I have learned so much about myself since graduating, moving around, and needed these last few years to gain insight into what I truly want from life.  Turns out film has never been a whim-- it's what I NEED to do.  And entering college this past year has helped me eliminate that nagging sensible side of my conscience that kept insisting I should've been a teacher because it's a steady job.  Yes, I absolutely LOVE English, but this current semester made me realize that public education is not for me.  Always look for the silver lining.  And Wisconsin is lovely for those wanting to raise a family and settle down, but it's not right for us.

Fortunately there are 7 months from now until the move, so we have plenty of time to plan the right travel strategy (having cats is tricky), sell and donate what we no longer need, get projects in order, lose weight, and create an L.A. strategy-- this isn't a blind, spur-of-the-moment decision and I refuse to procrastinate.  And what's the plan when we get there, you ask?  Well, move-in, unpack, get jobs, and begin working our way up from the bottom, of course.  I have no illusions about this career choice: it's not what but WHO you know, talent goes only so far, and you must have patience-- this could take years.  Fortunately, we have friends and connections out there to give advice and support and maybe even a guiding nudge or two.  I can't wait to see everyone again!

As far as career plans go, I will always keep writing but hope to put my talents with language to use revising screenplays as a "Script Doctor" and eventually sell my own scripts, and collaborate on projects with other creative people.  My husband, while an excellent producer, wants to dabble in Audio and Sound Design; he creates scores with loops from electronic music programs (I know what you're thinking: "Loops? Ew. Boring." But that's ignorant since you've never heard his stuff-- it's fantastic!).  There is also the potential to try and get into the Video Game Industry, but let's take this one step at a time.  However, as we are fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of people this could change down the road, but one thing is guaranteed: California is our new home.

There is skepticism surrounding this announcement and I understand where it's coming from, but I hope everyone keeps an open mind.  Maybe you think we'll come back from California with our tails between our legs, maybe you think we're not talented, maybe you think we'll fail.  All I have to say is stop thinking so much about us and start concentrating on your sh*t-- we're not that important.  This move isn't about giving The Finger to those that don't believe in us; this is for us and utilizing our God-given talents.  

P.S.  I would also like to clarify a few key points people continue to point out that, I assure you, we are aware of.

1.  California is expensive.  Duh.
2.  The Film Industry is one of the hardest industries to break into.  Thank you, I heard that at freshman orientation 8 years ago (has it been that long?) and I still remember.
3.  Traffic is horrible.  Also: Duh.
4.  In case anyone needs MORE clarification: we are moving to L.A. to do FILM.
5.  Yes, we do know people out there, having gone to film school with other individuals who, like ourselves, wanted to make movies.
6.  California is REALLY expensive.  Double duh.
7.  L.A. is not Chicago.  Yeah....
8. You need a car.  See #6 for my response.
9.  We really are moving.  Seriously.  Never said we wouldn't.  We're moving.  No joke.
10. L.A. has a bunch of shallow people living there.  News flash: there are shallow people everywhere. I grew up fat. If I don't have thick skin now (pun intended) I never will.