Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On Being.....Dandy

Although there's an age gap between the two of us, I've found Dandy to be so much fun that I've decided that if I had to choose a little sister, she'd definitely be it. Her outlook on life is positive and upbeat - even after the diagnosis of cancer. For some, it would be the perfect time to crawl under the covers but Dandy has a different perspective that will make you smile and cheer right along with her.
Here's Dandy!

Where were you born and raised?
Surf City baby! AKA Huntington Beach, CA.

What was your childhood like with your siblings? Were you a close knit family?
We have a very unique family and I love it. If I had a white board right now I would totally draw you a diagram.

My parents were both previously married and then got hitched and had me. It was the best thing that ever happened to them. Can I say that? That’s the story as I see it anyway. I have total of 4 half-siblings! My mom had a son and 2 daughters who range from 10-17 years older than me. My dad also had a son 10 years older than me. When I was born I was very much the baby. When I was a few years old I had the house to myself as all my siblings were living elsewhere. This is why I always thought of myself as an only child with siblings.

My family gets together often and there are quite a few of us. We joke because my siblings and I look nothing alike. Most people don’t even believe us when we explain it.

It was sort of like having siblings and extra parents at the same time. I mean it in the best way possible.

What has kept you in California?
I never really “planned” to stay in California. Since college I believe I have moved somewhere around 13 times for school and work and it has always been in Southern California. I like the proximity to family but I wouldn’t be opposed to move if a good opportunity awaited us. I do love California, there is still so much to see and do. And then I look at some of the blogs out there and think of how wonderful it would be to get away from the city. We’ll see where life takes us.

What do you do for a living?

I’m in the exciting, enthralling, action-filled world of bookkeeping! I’m in total denial though. It’s been nearly 2 years and I still consider myself a restaurant manager.

Is that what you dreamed of doing? If not, what is your dream job?

Good Lord no! My goal, my dream was to run my own restaurant. But life changed and when I think about going back I realize I have more dreams than just that. I want to be a wife and mother that can be there for my family… even on holidays and during dinner. I have realized now that I can’t be the type of restaurant owner I would expect of myself and also the type of wife and mother I had dreamed of.

My dream job now? I’m not quite sure, something to do with books. Or food. Or both. Would anyone like for me to run a bakery/bookstore for them? I’ll need to be paid fantastically and I’d like holidays off. Oh and full benefits. And I don’t want to commute 1-3 hours a day anymore. Although, I was just thinking to myself yesterday that I’d like Anthony Bourdain’s job. You know, without the chain smoking and occasional wrestling match. Anyone need a food critic?

How did you and B meet?

B and I met at Roy’s Restaurant in Rancho Mirage. We both worked there. It was against the rules. Don’t tell Roy. I’m just kidding. Roy found out a long time ago.

It was not love at first site. It was not boy courts girl. It was more like girl somehow convinces boy that he cannot live without her. And that he can not only put up with her craziness but also learn to love her little quirks. In the end I think they both win… don’t you?

I want to hear all about the wedding plans...big or little the beach..what are your colors, etc.

B and I both have very large families! It was hard but it looks like we have the guest list at around 225. I had to go back and change this because in the nearly 2 weeks its taken me to do this we’ve already jumped to 240. So yes, its going to be a big wedding. I’ve always wanted a winter wedding so it’ll be December 5th! We are getting married in a catholic church in Newport Beach and having the reception at a country club in Huntington Beach. To be honest I always pictured something more unconventional for the reception but trying to find a library or museum that can accommodate 200+ indoors and didn’t cost a promise of our first born child was an exercise in futility.

I’m not crazy about wedding planning and I find the whole process waaayy over the top. I am learning to really embrace the experience though. I’m not stressed anymore. What gets done will get done. In the end though, it is going to be beautiful and amazing. I also found out I tend to go against the grain when it comes to what I want. I had a lot of people look at me sideways. We are going with a bare branches, wintery, icy, candle lit type of look. Its hard finding a florist when you don’t really want flowers. But our florist is amazing and fantastic and I totally trust her. I can’t wait to share pictures!

My colors are blush and bashful. OK they aren’t really. The colors of the bridesmaids dresses are Espresso, Latte, Mocha and Taupe which range from a dark brown to a silvery/ champagney/ taupe. And they all got to pick their own dresses in different styles from the same line. We aren’t gong for matching here. In fact all the guys will have different ties on in similar colors and they all picked out their various different kinds of black tennis shoes. Yes, tennis shoes, Pumas, Adidas, Vans and something else, I can’t remember. B and I will have accents of blue instead of browns. B picked out his shoes which are a very bright blue pair of Adidas. I know this all sounds very random but I’m positive it will all come together.

If it's not too difficult to talk about, talk about being diagnosed with cancer. Did it change your outlook on anything? If so, what?

You could ask me anything about cancer and believe me, I have gotten some pretty hysterical questions!

First I want to acknowledge that everyone reacts differently when diagnosed with cancer. My opinion may be, and often is, different from others. In my blog I spoke about being diagnosed in a sort of play-by-play kind of way. What I didn’t talk about was the effect it had on me. Being diagnosed with cancer was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I realize that seems odd to some and it irritates others. I am not trying to belittle the situation. I have lost friends and family to cancer and no, I don’t think it was a gift to them. I can’t speak for anyone else but myself.

Do you ever wake up in the morning with an anxious feeling for no apparent reason? That was me… a lot. For a long time. My life was going a mile a minute. I was going in a million different directions at one time.

Then I was diagnosed with cancer. You know what? Everything changed in an instant. I was calm. I didn’t have that nagging anxiety. I really didn’t sweat the small stuff. The things that were so important to me before all changed. I looked at the world through different eyes. I wanted to hug all my loved ones. I appreciated my life so much more. I didn’t get angry at that driver on the freeway. Its weird, I know. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I was freaked out. I still got nervous before chemo. I still hated needles. But in general I was a calmer, more appreciative woman. I was more positive than ever.

I realized in an instant I needed to spend the rest of my life with B. I realized that I wanted to spend more time living daily and less time getting thru today to get to tomorrow. I realized how lucky I am. Having cancer saved me in so many ways.

What is your favorite way to spend the day?

A combination of fresh cool air, a cozy place to read a good book, soothing music, delicious smells, trying/tasting/exploring something new, eating comforting foods and sharing it all with B.

Why did you begin blogging?

A couple years ago I made a decision to appreciate my life and be happy where I am. You know, living in the now. Sometimes its harder than I expected. I started the blog as a way to keep that focus. Oh and I like to ramble. Have you noticed?

What are your aspirations for the future?

There are so many things I am excited about. The future holds so many possibilities. I have a whole list of to do’s. I’m getting married and growing old with B is on that list. I want to learn to use my camera to capture the magic I see. I really want to have children. I’d like to travel the world, a little bit at a time. I’d like to learn to write and someday publish something. I could go on for days and days!

Define contentment.

Sheesh, I’ve totally been circling around this question! Why is that?

I suppose the definition is really about a sort of satisfaction or appeasement. I actually googled contentment to compare my thoughts to the written definition. So many describe contentment as happiness. To me, happiness is so much more than contentment. Am I content in my life? I suppose. Am I happy about my life? Absolutely.

It might be because I’m never completely content. There is always something I want to do, some place I want to explore, some goal I would like to achieved. I’m never completely satisfied with my life the way it is.

According to a synonym of contentment is “fat dumb and happy”. That will be my new definition…. as apparently I am so much more content than I ever thought possible!

Dandy's Five Faves....

1) Adventures with B
2) Food, especially new foods
3) Traveling anywhere
4) Getting lost in a book
5) Holidays, especially Christmas