Just Me

Up until this point, I have used this blog to merely scribble some thoughts.  I don't share much about me and almost nothing about my family.  I don't completely trust the internet (despite my complete obsession with it) and I do not trust divulging too much information.  And I am sorry for that.

I recently read a list of "Do's and Don'ts" (how do you properly spell that??) of blogging.  The number 1 thing on the Do list was to share about yourself, share about your passions, share about your family.  And I cringed.

In an age that is so completely connected electronically, I cringe at the thought of sharing about my loved ones on a public forum.  I post pictures to Facebook, but vigorously set up privacy settings on my profile, whole albums, and even each individual picture.

But then tragedy strikes our nation and suddenly I feel an urge to share more to show the world, that I stand with them, not just as a fellow American, but as a fellow human.  I have a heart that aches with every tragedy and feel that sharing a piece of myself might help me work through the pain I feel with each news report.  And so, while I still will not post pictures on this public blog yet of my kid(s), I share a small piece of me with you.

Disneyland, Mickey ears, buckets of meat -- great birthday celebration!!

How old are you? -- 36 years old

What is your middle name? -- Elaine

Hair color? -- Brown (although I am guilty of changing that every now and then as witnessed by my blogger profile picture)

Eye color? -- Blue

Do you wear glasses/contacts? -- Yes, I wear glasses.  I do not like contacts.  I have not found a pair yet that I cannot feel every single time I blink.

Where did you grow up? -- Los Angeles, CA.  More specifically, the San Fernando Valley.

Have you lived anywhere besides your hometown? -- Nope, lived my whole life in Los Angeles.

Married? Dating? Single? -- Happily married for 6 years.

How did you meet your spouse/significant other? -- Online 16 years ago when there was really only AOL chat.  A very chance meeting that could not have been more meant to be.

Do you have kids? Want kids?  -- I have one boy aged 4 1/2 and another boy due May 30.  Ecstatic.

Favorite type of food? -- Italian (although admittedly I am not very picky - I also like Mexican, Mediterranean, Chinese, American, BBQ, etc.)

Do you drink? -- Rarely.  Don't overly enjoy the taste of most alcohols and alcohol generally makes me sleepy.  But, if I do drink I enjoy mixed or fruity drinks - margaritas, hurricanes, chocolate almond amore at Olive Garden (ummm....YUM!!)

Grilled or Fried? -- FRIED! No competition there!

What is your favorite meal of the day? -- Dessert.  Serious sweet tooth!

What is your favorite candy? -- LOVE dark chocolate, the higher the cacao the better!  But, if I had to pick a brand-name candy, I would have to say Snickers (chocolate, caramel, nuts....I am salivating!)

Favorite holiday? -- Fourth of July!! Relaxing day spent lounging with family and friends, yummy BBQ, ending with amazing fireworks celebrating this great nation!!  No shopping for gifts, no stress, just fun.

Favorite Season? -- Winter.  As an overweight person, I far more enjoy bundling up in tons of layers than baring all the blubber in shorts and tank-tops. Besides I do not live where I could get snowed in and start to hate winter.  My winters here consist of some rain and wind.  Pretty mild.

Favorite Movie? -- This is a tough one.  I have favorites in different genres.  RomCom: Fools Rush In, 50 First Dates, 13 Going on 30.  Drama: Pride and Prejudice (the newer one with Keira Knightley), The Godfather I and II, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Natural.  Adventure: National Treasure, Back to the Future (all of them!), Pirates of the Caribbean (again all of them!).  "Oldies": Some Like it Hot, Good Neighbor Sam.  Musicals: Now this one is by far the hardest for me - I LOVE MUSICALS! There are some that I do not like (South Pacific, Picnic) but I would have to say that they are my favorite type of movie and therefore most fall under my "favorites" category.  Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Kiss Me Kate, Gigi, Singin' in the Rain, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Grease, Thoroughly Modern Millie and so on and so on and so on...... And this doesn't even begin to mention Disney and Pixar movies.

What books are you reading?  -- Here is where most people will gasp with horror.  None.  I am not reading any books.  I know so many people who read one book after another and have a huge stack of "To Read" books but I am just not one of those people.  This doesn't mean that I don't ever read, or don't enjoy a good book, I just don't read constantly and find it hard to really get "into" a book.  Once I find one that peaks my interest, I read it every second possible until finishing, but I rarely find those books.

Favorite type of music? -- Country, Musical soundtracks (duh!)  But, I also listen to 80's, 90's, "Oldies", Gipsy Kings (LOVE!!), big band, crooners (Dean Martin!) and so much more!

Favorite Song? -- This is like asking about my favorite movie.  Definitely not just one.

What are you listening to right now? -- Pandora on shuffle. Stations include all of the above types of music.  Fun to listen to Garth Brooks, followed by Elvis, followed by Benny Goodman, followed by Rent.  Love it!

Favorite sport/team? -- LOS ANGELES KINGS!!


What did you want to be when you were a kid? -- Easy question. Teacher.  Still the same now.  If I could change professions right now, I would enter a classroom and never leave.  Working on it.

What do you do now for work? -- Fundraising Database Administration (sounds exciting, right??)

What is your favorite hobby? -- CRAFTING!!  I enjoy making presents for my son's teachers and classmates.  Scrapbooking!! (Although I am SOOOO behind!!  I have all of the supplies for my son's baby scrapbook and not a single page completed! UGH!)  I love crafting for my son's birthday parties - I can take a theme to the max for sure!!  And the mommy-made birthday cake can be quite epic. (Post coming soon of all the birthday cakes I have done so far.)  I really wish I had a good workspace that would allow me some room to work on these things little by little.  Right now it just gets spread out all over our coffee table or dining table - a bit inconvenient.

Do you like to travel by plane? -- I prefer road trips but I am not afraid of flying.  I am always willing to hop on a plane to go somewhere fun!

Where is the last place you visited? -- My husband and I were just talking about this.  We think the last place we went on vacation was our honeymoon 6 years ago.  However, we did visit Boston for my sister's college graduation which I think was after the honeymoon.  But, we are definitely due for our first family vacation with kids.

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? -- Road trip? San Diego with my boys.  That is one of my favorite cities and I would love a family vacay there to Legoland, the SD Zoo, Sea World, Seaport Village, Casa de Pico!  National flight? While I would love to go back to NYC and Chicago, I would have to say Seattle because I have never been but been wanting to.  International? Italy. Period. (I mean an entire vacation of pasta, tiramisu and gelato?? Ummm where do I sign up??)

What is the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome? -- Life is not easy, right? I am incredibly blessed, so my answers may seem trivial to some people.  1. School -- I was (ready to hate me?) an A student in all AP/Honors classes, destined for greatness in high school.  And then there was college.  Crash. Burn. Repeat. I have been working on my Bachelor's Degree on and off since the Fall of 1995.  I have no doubt (at all!) in my mind that I will complete it but it has been quite the process.  (That graduation will be quite emotional!)  2. Finances -- Hello, my name is Erika and I am an over-spender.  I like to shop (yes, I bargain hunt but even that adds up) and I like to eat out.  These two habits can be quite rough on a bank account.

Your proudest achievement? -- My son, hands down best thing I have ever done.  I am not a perfect person and far from being a perfect mom; but, I work very hard to make sure that I do right by him.  I am incredibly proud of that little boy and he is without a doubt the best and most important achievement of my life.

And there you have it.  A very slight glimpse of the crazy person behind Just Erika Speaking.

Yes, I like to barbeque in my Dopey hat.  Doesn't everyone?

(Originally written on 4/19/13, a few days after the Boston Marathon bombings.  Completed and posted today.  Life has a way of getting in the way of completing tasks, right?)