Author Archives: soniestephens

Hope

So I haven’t blogged for a very long time.  Is it because I’m too busy?  Nope.  I actually have plenty of time and great balance in my life.  I work part-time so that I can take care of things at home, spend time with Rob and Jack and the rest of my family and not feel like every second of the weekends needs to be spent cleaning and doing yard work.  I guess the real reason I haven’t blogged is because I’ve been too busy living my life and I forgot just how much I would like writing to be a part of that.

Yesterday my older sister and I stopped by my grandparents to visit for a bit.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have the coolest grandparents.  The last time I blogged, I wrote about it actually.  My grandpa has grown softer and more emotional over the years and there is pure joy in his face when he sees us.  The conversations with them are some of my favorite.  Partly because you never know what’s going to happen when my grandma opens her mouth.  Yesterday, for example, we were talking about our prisons being overcrowded and how putting drug addicts there is not the answer for rehabilitation (no brainer, I know).  My grandma’s solution?  Drop them from a plane into the west desert.  You know, quarantine them.  And, maybe shoot a couple that deserve being shot.  I know, it sounds terrible, but if you knew her you would understand.  And then you would quickly type her famous words into your phone so that you can write about them the next day.

Anyway, the point is that once again, I’m reminded that these are the moments to cherish.  There is so much tragedy and sadness in our world.  People are being shot at church in the most privileged country in the world and it’s not by scary-ass terrorist groups.  No, it’s because racism is alive and well.  There are people in 2015 that still can’t marry the person they love (it’s 2015!).  None of it makes any sense to me.  I always come back to the same answer; accept people, love them and let them be who they are.

And even though the world is far too complicated and I’ll never understand why terrible things happen to people everyday, I’m holding out hope.  Hope that I can make a little bit of difference in the lives of the people around me.  Hope that life can be simplified and enjoyed as it should be.  Hope that people can follow their dreams and find real joy.  I know, I sound like a total dreamer who needs to get in touch with reality, right?  Oh well.  Instead of saying it’s not possible, I’m going to give the answer that my beautiful niece always gave me…. Maybe.  Maybe it is possible.

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All About the Cheese

Sometimes I let my Andrus (my mom’s side) anxiety hole up in my chest and stay for way too long.  I start asking myself what my future holds and oh god, what if this company doesn’t hire me and do people think I’m a loser?  I get caught up in the crazy talk in my head and it makes my heart beat fast and I wake up with a knot in my stomach, a knot which initially I don’t even know why I have until I remind myself that oh yeah, you have a lot to worry about!  But then I realize that life is good and everything is going to be just fine.  I mean yes, if I spend enough time thinking about the state of our country politically (not because of our President, people!) and all the hate people have, I will probably respond with, “We are so fucked,” but I do recognize that despite those things, my life kicks ass.

Like the other day my older sister and I got to take our grandparents to lunch.  Our grandparents, who are on the doorstep of 90, yet are in generally great health and still have all of their teeth!  We have this amazing privilege to spend time with these amazing people and their amazing teeth!  They are genuine people who make me laugh and make me feel proud to be their granddaughter.  And you know what my grandma did the day after our lunch?  She called me on the phone to say “thanks again” and that they had such a great time.  She told me that when you get older, these are the things that matter, these are the things you look forward to.  That is what matter, people.  Spending time with the people in your life.  Yes, they may be crazy or neurotic or whatever else, but they are your people.  And actually, it’s kind of better if they’re crazy or neurotic, because then you have material with which to write a book.  I mean that’s what I’m planning to do.  It’s a total win-win.  They can’t be mad because you can be like, “Hey, with all the material you provided, I made a zillion dollars and I am totally going to take you to dinner with some of it!”

All of this “live everyday like it’s your last,” sounds cheesy, but I kind of like cheesy.  I’m all about the cheese these days.  I’m about telling people you think they’re pretty great and not holding grudges.  Awwww, I’m growing up.

The Girl With the Perfect Lips

instagramstevie

I miss Stevie every single day.  Some days though, and I don’t know why, it hits me with such force.  It’s been almost a year since she passed.  It’s cliche, but it feels like ten years and also like just yesterday that I was kissing her amazing lips and acting like a complete fool to get her to show me that grin and hear that stifled giggle.  Not a day passes that I don’t think about the ridiculous words that came out of her mouth.  Her perfect mouth, remember.

I laugh out loud when I think of the time she told the Costco employee to “get the damn watermelon.”    Or when she lectured my cousin by screaming at the top of her lungs, “HEATHER, YOU DON’T DO DRUGS!”  (Heather doesn’t use drugs for the record).  There is such a long list of Stevie quotes and stories and for that I will be forever thankful.

We are still experiencing all of the firsts without her.  This will be the first Halloween trick-or-treating without her.  The seconds seem like they might be just as hard though.  I suppose there becomes a new normal.  I know that the new reality is one in which her memory will forever live.  And I know that even though it feels unfair for her to have left this earth so early, we are so lucky to have had her for the time we did.  Our family is stronger because of her.

Love you so much Stevie Ann!

Literally Putting the Fun in Dysfunction

My family is so fun.  I know I’ve talked about this before.  Like here.  But seriously people, it is kind of out of hand how much of a good time we have together.  I mean we like genuinely like hanging out together.  Our latest hangout, which sadly all the fam couldn’t make, was a trip to Cali.  Last year we went there for Stevie’s Make-A-Wish Trip and so we decided to go back again this year to remember her and celebrate the amazing time she had there just shortly before she passed.

Day one was just a day of hanging out before Universal Studios.  So we did what everyone does that is traveling with a group of 10 and has a day in Long Beach.  We got hammered at a Mexican restaurant and then hung out at the Lakewood Mall.  Oh, that’s not what everyone does?  Well whatever.  That’s what we do.  In all fairness, not all of us were hammered.  My sister’s father-in-law was the instigator and the one ordering all the drinks, so I’m sure he was, but I suppose I should let everyone speak for themselves.  Seriously though, leave it to the old guy to try to get everyone drunk.  Leave it to the rest of us to decide to go to the mall.  It wasn’t even a good mall.  It did have a Target though.  Dylan immediately made use of the Halloween costumes.  You have to admit, he looks really good as a banana.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Yes, he also found some aviator sunglasses and, of course, a weapon.

Day two was really the whole point of the trip – It was the day to get our scare on at Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights!  This is what we did for Stevie’s trip last year, and I am happy to say that I got the shit scared out of me repeatedly once again.  She would have loved that.  Here we are looking scary… or dead.  I don’t know.  Just pretend it’s cool.

We are amazing posers.

We are amazing posers.

After being really scared and really tired, it was time to spend a day relaxing at Newport Beach.  We were lucky enough to stay in a beautiful beach house, and I realized once again, that I really would be good at being rich.  As in, I could totally do the whole Newport Beach beach house thing.  Plus, I’m not at all awkward when running into famous people.  While taking the beach cruisers for a spin with my sister and brother, Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray (act like you love them and still know who they are) was also out cruising.  My calm, cool response was to scream and point, “Hey, you’re that guy!”  I don’t know why he didn’t stop and ask us to swing by his place later.  Weird.  It may have been because it took Jess, Spence and I the rest of the bike ride to come up with the first line of their most popular song.  Mark probably knew we weren’t true fans.  I don’t have a picture to prove my celebrity sighting, but I have this picture.

Jess and Spence cruising.

Jess and Spence cruising.

In closing, vacations with my family are kind of amazing.  We laughed so much on this trip (partly because I’m hilarious) and you could just feel the love we have for each other and for Stevie Roonie. Thanks for keeping us together, Stevie.  We know you’re always along for the ride.  Here’s the whole group, some with zombie eyes, which is perfect for a Halloween trip.  Also, I can’t seem to fix it.

A fresh seafood dinner!

A fresh seafood dinner!

Please Remember Me as Funny

It’s a dark subject, I know, but I’ve been thinking about how people will remember me when I die.  It was all brought on when Rob got some mild carbon monoxide poisoning over the weekend and I told him how happy I was that he didn’t die.  And then I said, I hope I never have to think about this (at least not until he’s 100), but I would have so many nice things to say about him at his funeral.  I mean it would be a really good speech.

So anyway, I was like, “Ummm what would you say about me?”  He had some nice things to say about what a big heart I have and how I’m always there for my family and blah blah blah, but I really wanted him to be like, “She was the funniest person I’ve ever met.”  Because to me, being funny is like the ultimate.  Making people laugh is seriously one of the most rewarding things.  Not everyone knows just how funny I am.  I guess because I’m funniest with the people I’m most comfortable with.  Which means my family probably gets that I’m effin’ hysterical.  And Rob obviously agreed and was like, “Yes, I would definitely talk about how funny you were.”  I’m still worried about the fact that he didn’t come up with this on his own though, ya know?

Bottom line is if you get asked to speak at my funeral, please, for the love of God, mention that I cracked people up now and again.  I mean that is if you truly believe that.  If you don’t believe that, turn down the speaking opportunity.

Job Hunting

So I’m on the hunt for a new job.  I’m not sure what that perfect job is just yet.  I know, I know, there is no perfect job.  It’s important to find the right fit though, ya know?  I have done lots of things since entering the workforce 20 years ago.  I’ve done the big corporate thing and traveled all over delivering various types of training courses.  I’ve tried my hand in the non-profit world and in smaller businesses.  Marketing was my thing for about 4 years.  And the weird (or maybe sad) thing is I’m pretty decent at all of these things, but I still am not really sure what my “thing” is.  I love nutrition, but I don’t have a nutrition degree.  So should I go back to school?  Ugh.  I’m 35 years old and I’m still clueless about my life!

I have to say that looking for a job is somewhat entertaining though.  I mean it’s annoying, but the titles that these companies come up with for their open positions are VERY VERY funny.  For example, a Nutrition Aide sounds decent, right?  It’s not.  It’s actually a cafeteria lady.  Yep.  And a lot of them include the word Specialist to make it sound more appealing.  It usually turns out to be very un-special however.  Like “Experience Specialist” which is code for talking on the phone all day to upset customers.  Which, yes, would be an experience.  A shitty one.

Michael Pollan who is like THE foodie intellectual today said (when talking about how to eat), “Eat food.  Not too much of it.”  And I think that same type of thinking should apply to working.  Work hard.  Not too much.  I mean that seems like a  good plan.  Find something you love and do it, but not so much that you end up hating it.  Not so much that you don’t do anything else.  I know that may sound like a very liberal view to my fellow Americans since we live in a country that is all about working lots of hours.  People are so proud to be like, “I’m so busy!  I’ve been working like 60 hours a week.”  That is so sad to me and not even remotely impressive.  I like the guy or gal that works smart and has figured out a way to live with less so they don’t have to devote every waking second to earning more money.  Those are the people that impress the shit out of me.

So, the job hunt will continue.  I’m sure I’ll find something.  And one day I hope to be doing something that I really love and impressing the pants off of every single one of you.  Bam!

I’ve Got a Feeling

You know those people that are always like, “things happen for a reason?”  Maybe you’re one of them.  I am the person that is like sure, some things happen for a reason.  Other things happen and I’m like, “Why the fuck did that happen?”  And there is like no way I will ever arrive at an answer.  I don’t think that everything happens for a reason.  Some things so do though, and I love when you’re like, yeah, that’s totally why that happened.  

The jobless situation I’m in now so happened for a reason.  The stress was killing me.  I mean it was literally doing bad things to my mental and physical well-being.  Beyond that, I think I needed something like this to happen in order for me to once again stand back and say, What is it I really want out of life?  How can this change in direction get me there?  I wish I could say I have it figured out, but it’s only been two and a half weeks, so be patient.  Selling everything (or most of everything) we own and building a small house somewhere somewhat off the grid sounds completely amazing to me, but I know that it’s not in the cards at this very moment.  I plan to shuffle and re-deal until it is though.  

On a lighter note, look at all this fun Rob and I are having with some much needed time off.  Yes, it was chilly.  It’s possible we had very little feeling in our hands when it was all said and done, but we did have a good time.

Woohoo, we can't feel our fingers!

Woohoo, we can’t feel our fingers!