This is a Test. Future Stella, Can You Read This?

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Dear Future Stella,

How are you doing kiddo? Having a good day? I bet you are not. I went ahead and checked this date (January 26th) in 2025 and it falls on a Sunday. Specifically, the last Sunday of the month of January. You know, the Sunday before the Super Bowl, which means no football. See, I knew it would suck. I am sure you are aware of my deep obsession with the Denver Broncos. In fact, if we win the Super Bowl this year then I am going to get a tattoo of Peyton Manning on your lower back so hopefully you are a fan too. If the Broncos were lucky enough to make it to the Super Bowl in 2025 (like they did in 2016) then that Sunday is going to be a very anxiety ridden day for me. Future Stella, this year the Broncos not only made it into the 50th Super Bowl but the game is being played here in San Francisco. I will probably be on my death bed and regretting not getting tickets to the game but they are thousands of dollars. I don’t even think I could sell Current Stella for enough money to get your Dad and I there and she’s probably the most valuable thing that I have, besides Gail the Puppy of course. Not that I checked the going rate for a toothless five-and-a-half-year-old girl with golden hair and unique eyes who can almost read. If for some reason I did end up selling you and you are reading this from your new life, don’t be mad, let this be inspiration to follow your dreams no matter the sacrifice. Also, it probably means you didn’t have to get that tattoo so thats nice. As I am typing this I am having a major epiphany. The chances of the Denver Broncos playing again in the Super Bowl here in San Francisco in my lifetime is zero. However, I could have another kid tomorrow if I wanted to so really, I would be foolish not to try and sell Current Stella. I have not looked into it much, but maybe I could pawn her and then one day buy her back? I could also yank her from private school and stick her in public just for one year and that would save me enough cash to not only buy 2 tickets to the big game but also parking and maybe even a hot dog. I am only teasing you, I couldn’t sell Current Stella, mainly because its illegal. Wouldn’t it be cool if the Denver Broncos were headed to the Super Bowl again in 2025? If they are I bet you have a bunch of bandwagon friends that all of a sudden are sporting vintage Manning jerseys. If anyone questions your authenticity you just show them these pictures.

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Your first Broncos game.
Your first Broncos game.
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We made it to the Super Bowl one other time in Current Stella's life.  We lost to the Seahawks.
We made it to the Super Bowl one other time in Current Stella’s life. We lost to the Seahawks.

I have been so stressed out about the Broncos that I gave myself shingles. Seriously, a doctor today told me I have shingles. I have a virus that old people usually get because their immune systems are not as strong and so any amount of unneeded stress will cause their childhood chicken pox virus that has been living dormant in their bodies to erupt into a nasty rash that is so goddamn painful that they start to look forward to their own deaths. Except I am not old and I don’t want to die. If it wasn’t the Broncos that stressed me out it had to have been hosting a family the size of a Major League Baseball team’s active roster for Christmas followed by some psycho super flu that slowly sucked the life out of me for the next two weeks. I was so behaved once 2016 came because I knew I had overdone it. I gave up coffee. I quit drinking wine (during the week) and I started giving myself relaxing facials twice a week. I drank a ton of water and slept for at least 8 hours a night. I started using hand cream religiously. Instead of losing 8 pounds and looking 10 years younger like I had anticipated, my body decided to give me shingles. As I type this I want to gnaw my left arm off because if something so much as a tissue touches the skin surrounding my armpit I might cry. Future Stella, you won’t have to worry about ever getting shingles because you were vaccinated for Chicken Pox. Lucky bitch.

Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you are learning how to read and every time you sound out words like “ka-ka-aa-aa-nnnn- can!” I almost forget that my arm feels like someone removed all the layers of my epidermis and all of my nerves are just sitting exposed, radiating shooting pain anytime so much as a breath touches them. Its so amazing to watch you figure it out. I don’t think you are like genius material or anything like that, but I do think you are going to be smarter than me (which isn’t saying much) and that’s really cool. I am so delighted that you are learning how to read. Reading is my medicine, my escape, and my number one source of independent enjoyment. This is the most excited I have ever been as a mother for you to acquire a new skill. Don’t get me wrong, walking was kind of magical, as was the first time you said “my little pink puss” in reference to your purse- but reading is heart swelling to the point of bursting material. The only thing that will ever top it is when you finally learn to wipe your ass. Anyway, I like to picture the two of us cozy on a couch, each with a book in our hands and a dog at our feet. You are maybe 15 and I am still 32 and I don’t have shingles. We are in one of those luxurious houses that don’t really have walls but flowy white material swaying softly in the breeze. We are not talking and we are both lost in what we are reading. Maybe there is a naked underwear model there serving us food and drink or perhaps a Native American woman named Eyota is sitting in the corner behind a giant loom making me a rug- the details are not that important. What is important is that we are both just devouring our books and we can pass the time just fine with no sounds or forced conversation. That would be such a perfect day.

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Love,

Mom

Current Stella is Halfway to Six and her Grandpa is Halfway to Ancient

Dear Future Stella,

Today was Current Stella’s half birthday. She turned 5 and a half. I remember being obsessed with getting older and getting so excited to be able to add any fraction onto my age. My Uncle Ricky always made my half birthday a big deal so I wanted to do the same for Current Stella. To make today extra special for her I had a mini half party set up for her when she got home from school. I had a banner hanging with only half the letters to spell Happy Birthday, I cut the cupcakes in half and put 5 and 1/2 candles on hers. I wrapped a present to look like it was divided in half and even cut traditional party hats in two to make it extra silly. It was a big hit for Current Stella.

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Now that I only have 6 months left to plan Current Stella’s birthday party I am getting a little stressed out. She keeps switching themes and being really noncommittal about her plus one. These gigs don’t just happen in a month so I need her to focus and start making some decisions. She’s way into this crap called Shopkins and threatened to have that be the theme which would blow hard so I need to somehow make them disappear.

Your Grandpa had a birthday this past weekend. He turned 61. Your Grandpa is the definition of a Capricorn to me- practical, ambitious, wise, cautious, and patient. Things that will always remind me of him are fishing, boating, Bloody Marys, ice cream, and napping. Heres a little tribute to the man who would stop at nothing to achieve happiness for all the women in his life, us included.

This is the first photo I have  of just you two
This is the first photo I have of just you two

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I believe this is the one and only fish he has ever caught
I believe this is the one and only fish he has ever caught
Your Grandpa is famous for his unconventional packing methods
Your Grandpa is famous for his unconventional packing methods
He's an expert napper
He’s an expert napper
even at a live concert with thousands of people
even at a live concert with thousands of people
But he's an even better Bloody Mary maker
But he’s an even better Bloody Mary maker
He always finds the ice cream
He always finds the ice cream
Now go get a glass of whatever you are drinking and cheers this man
Now go get a glass of whatever you are drinking and cheers this man
and wish your Grandpa a Happy Birthday!
and wish your Grandpa a Happy Birthday!
before you came along we used to go to Healdsburg for his birthday
before you came along…
We used to go to Healdsburg for his birthday
We used to go to Healdsburg for his birthday

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Your Gma is also a Capricorn but she doesn’t really seem or act like one to me at all. She sends out a stronger Sagittarius vibe in my opinion. I know I briefly mentioned her birthday last week but she didn’t get the full treatment because I had so much to say about the holidays. Your G-ma is basically my best friend and I’m so glad she didn’t abort me, give me up for adoption or intentionally leave me a park. She’s really good at making friends, growing plants, and she is the least judgmental person I know. We get along because we both enjoy shopping, lounging, and a good book.

Your Gma didn't leave my side when I was 10 days past your due dade and I just wanted you out of me.  She was my saving grace during your first days of life
Your Gma didn’t leave my side when I was 10 days past your due dade and I just wanted you out of me. She was my saving grace during your first days of life
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You spent your first Halloween with your Gma
You spent your first Halloween with your Gma
Gma teaching you the very tricky art of shopping in a foreign country- her specialty!
Gma teaching you the very tricky art of shopping in a foreign country- her specialty!
Her love for the San Francisco Giants is real and intense
Her love for the San Francisco Giants is real and intense
She always laughs at my jokes, even the ones directed at her because she gets that I only tease the ones I truly love.
She always laughs at my jokes, even the ones directed at her because she gets that I only tease the ones I truly love.
sun + water + wine + each other = awesome sauce
sun + water + wine + each other = awesome sauce
She brings out my carefree wacky side
She brings out my carefree wacky side
two rafts floating side by side is our idea of the perfect day
two rafts floating side by side is our idea of the perfect day
Although she didn't teach me to cook or do much of it when I was a kid, we both love it now. Her one go-to dish when I was little is still my all time favorite- ground beef tacos in hard shells. Sort of like Taco Bell, but better- not nutritionally, but just better.
Although she didn’t teach me to cook or do much of it when I was a kid, we both love it now. Her one go-to dish when I was little is still my all time favorite- ground beef tacos in hard shells. Sort of like Taco Bell, but better- not nutritionally, but just better.
Your G-ma was my first ever client and she would let me do whatever I wanted to her hair.  Only beautiful women like your G-ma can have that kind of confidence.
Your G-ma was my first ever client and she would let me do whatever I wanted to her hair. Only beautiful women like your G-ma can have that kind of confidence.
Fine dining, and fancy cocktails? We will always say yes to this scenario
Fine dining, and fancy cocktails? We will always say yes to this scenario

Your G-ma and Grandpa are one of the cutest couples to ever roam this earth, and roam this earth they do. A lot.

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Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you helped me make homemade baked chicken nuggets last night. You did a great job except that your dad was up all night puking and then spent most of the day shitting. I am not blaming you per-se, but you were in the driver’s seat on that one. In hindsight, allowing a child at age 5.4999999 to handle raw chicken was probably a poor parenting decision but we have been binge watching Master Chef Juniors and those fuckers are like shucking scallops and making risotto so I just thought you had this one.

Love,

Mom

About Last Month…..

Dear Future Stella,

Well, that was weird. Almost an entire month went by since the last time I wrote you a letter. This was partly intentional as I like to take a break from this blog when Current Stella is out of school and partly unitentional due to the awesome flu that 2016 decided to welcome me with. I am back to feeling tip top and I am so overwhelmed by everything you have missed in the past month that its almost debilitating to begin, but I will do my best to skim through it all.

First of all, Christmas happened. You wouldn’t know it is over at our house though because we still watch Home Alone on the daily thanks to a bizarre obsession by Current Stella. She has the whole thing memorized and makes the scream face in just about every picture these days, even the professional ones we had taken during our Christmas Extravaganza that I will explain more below.
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This year I thought it would be fun to host our family here in San Francisco for 4 days. That breaks down to 11 adults, 4 senior citizens, 3 teenagers, 3 small children, 5 dogs, 1 puppy, and a partridge in a pear tree. It took months of planning, weeks of stressing, days of recovering, but resulted in hours of fun and many moments of disaster. Some of the highlights include:

The Scavenger Hunt
I put together a 3-day competition between 2 teams; Team Shelby and Team Casey. Team Shelby was mostly girls with the exception of my Uncle Mike. Team Casey was mostly boys with the exception of my sister-in-law, Connie. This race had us ubering around San Francisco, swimming in Oceans, caroling down aisles of Walgreens, and my personal favorite, re-inacting the nativity scene on a stranger’s lawn. My team won and if you are a hardcore feminist cover your eyes and skip this part because we really couldn’t have won without our single male on our team. He carried our team to victory.

Meet someone who works in tech, then take a picture with everyone staring at their phones
Meet someone who works in tech, then take a picture with everyone staring at their phones
Take a picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background
Take a picture with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background
Ride a muni bus and collect the muni ticket
Ride a muni bus and collect the muni ticket
Take a picture in front of a Victorian home.  Extra points for getting Grandma to flip the bird
Take a picture in front of a Victorian home that is decorated with Christmas lights. Extra points for getting Grandma to flip the bird
Take a selfie in the Westin St. Francis elevator
Take a selfie in the Westin St. Francis elevator
Take a selfie with a Santa Claus
Take a selfie with a Santa Claus
Order and drink an Irish Coffee from the Buena Vista
Order and drink an Irish Coffee from the Buena Vista
Take a picture of a cable car
Take a picture of a cable car
Eat something containing dungeness crab and take a picture of it
Eat something containing dungeness crab and take a picture of it
Take a picture with your Uber driver in front of the car
Take a picture with your Uber driver in front of the car
Take a group picture all eating candy canes
Take a group picture all eating candy canes
Find a stranger wearing 49er or SF Giants gear and take a picture with them
Find a stranger wearing 49er or SF Giants gear and take a picture with them
Ask the bartender at Tacolicious for his autograph
Ask the bartender at Tacolicious for his autograph
Jump in the pool at Hotel del Sol
Jump in the pool at Hotel del Sol
Meet a dog that is dressed in a holiday sweater and take a photo to prove
Meet a dog that is dressed in a holiday sweater and take a photo to prove
Take a picture of a stranger who looks like Santa Claus
Take a picture of a stranger who looks like Santa Claus
Take a photo of a stranger who could pass as an elf
Take a photo of a stranger who could pass as an elf
Take a video of your team singing a christmas song walking down an aisle of Walgreens
Take a video of your team singing a christmas song walking down an aisle of Walgreens
Purchase a $10 juice and drink it as a team. We did this one as a video so we could prove we actually drank it.  I decided to freeze the frame when Uncle Mike is drinking his. With a wig on. Because we are the girls team. #winning
Purchase a $10 juice and drink it as a team. We did this one as a video so we could prove we actually drank it. I decided to freeze the frame when Uncle Mike is drinking his. With a wig on. Because we are the girls team. #winning
Find a girl wearing workout clothes but doing something unhealthy.  This chick was not happy to pose for a picture of her buying gummy bears
Find a girl wearing workout clothes but doing something unhealthy. This chick was not happy to pose for a picture of her buying gummy bears
Find someone vaping or smoking weed in public
Find someone vaping or smoking weed in public
Ask a gay couple to kiss for a photo
Ask a gay couple to kiss for a photo
Find something in a public compost/recycling bin that shouldn't be there
Find something in a public compost/recycling bin that shouldn’t be there
One member of the team must run up the Lyon Street stairs while another member films
One member of the team must run up the Lyon Street stairs while another member films
Take a photo of something dead hanging in the windows in Chinatown
Take a photo of something dead hanging in the windows in Chinatown
Take a group selfie on top of Coit Tower.  Although a terrible photo, this one took so much effort. Coit Tower was closed the first time we tried so we had to come back the next day.  The line was so long and we made the cut off by one person and by the time they got to the top it was pretty dark. Team Casey didn't even attempt this one
Take a group selfie on top of Coit Tower. Although a terrible photo, this one took so much effort. Coit Tower was closed the first time we tried so we had to come back the next day. The line was so long and we made the cut off by one person and by the time they got to the top it was pretty dark. Team Casey didn’t even attempt this one
Have at least one member of your team get into the ocean up to their neck.  That little dot you see is Uncle Mike, the only male member of our team, and the only member willing to get into the freezing ocean when it was hailing out.
Have at least one member of your team get into the ocean up to their neck. That little dot you see is Uncle Mike, the only male member of our team, and the only member willing to get into the freezing ocean when it was hailing out.
Act out the nativity scene on a stranger's lawn
Act out the nativity scene on a stranger’s lawn
Take a picture with a random wearing a Santa hat
Take a picture with a random wearing a Santa hat
Feed the ducks at the Palace of Fine Arts
Feed the ducks at the Palace of Fine Arts
The Winning team.  According to official rules, the losing team must have this photo framed and placed on their bedside table for the remainder of the year
The Winning team. According to official rules, the losing team must have this photo framed and placed on their bedside table for the remainder of the year

Christmas Caroling on Christmas Eve
I made a big batch of hot toddies, forced everyone to don gay apparel and then we hit the streets singing our tone-def hearts out to the houses in my neighborhood. Most people were not home, some were not interested, but most were really into it. I am also fairly certain we serenaded some sort of serial killer rapist.

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Christmas Day
I was so nervous to have the full group of 21 humans and 6 dogs in my apartment all at once. Its just a lot of beating hearts in a small space and there isn’t anywhere to sit or be all loungy-cozy the way one should be on Christmas morning. I made a spread of breakfast finger foods for people to enjoy off a toothpick while trying not to step on a dog or small child. In an effort to streamline the process, I allowed Current Stella to indulge in the Christmas morning I always longed for. I let her open all of her presents all at once, in rapid fire succession. At one point, she was opening a gift and then tossing it (literally throwing it) in a giant pile of new swag before going for the next one. When I was a kid we had at least a dozen people in a giant circle. First, we usually had to wait for my Uncle Ricky to wake up and join us. This took forever and always pissed me off. Then, someone would put on a Santa hat and dig through the enormous pile of gifts to find one gift for each person. Then, someone would usually have to pee so we would have to wait. Once everyone was accounted for, we would go around, one by one and open our gifts. There was always a story that went with each gift so the process took hours. Once each person had opened their gift, the adults would break to make Bloody Marys and then we would repeat the process all over again. I am not exaggerating when I say that it took all day. All day. My version this year took around 20 minutes. It was glorious and you know what, when we went to write our thank-you notes, Current Stella remembered EXACTLY what each person got her. There was not one thing forgotten or unappreciated so you can suck it to those who might find my method a bit unorthodox.

Santa brought Current Stella the Snow White Barbie and the Mulan Barbie
Santa brought Current Stella the Snow White Barbie and the Mulan Barbie

Later in the day I had planned (slaved is a better word) this amazing dinner party at the Big Four Restaurant in Nob Hill. We rented a private room with sweeping views of the San Francisco skyline and I decorated the tables with festive flower arrangements and framed photos of my entire family on Christmas over the years. It was so fun to stroll down memory lane while eating some outrageously good food.

The Nutcracker
The day after Christmas all of the girls in our group got all dressed up and went to go see the Nutcracker. The costumes were unreal and I couldn’t take my eyes off the male dancer’s bulging pants. I also re-learned a valuable lesson. If you want something done right you should do it yourself. Throughout this planning process I tried to outsource as little as possible because I am a perfectionist and I have a certain vision in my head about how I want things to go. One of the few things I did outsource was asking my mom to call this number on the morning of the Nutcracker to pre-order champagne for the intermission. I heard about this tip from a friend who said waiting in line leaves only a few minutes to chug the bubbly. Needless to say, my mom “tried” calling the number but couldn’t figure it out. My friend who gave me the tip was at the same show as us and she was leisurely sipping her champagne while the rest of us were standing in line. Strange how the number worked for her….

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The Dogs
In the middle of planning this multiple-event holiday, the mom of Current Stella’s best friend, mentioned that she was going to get the kids a puppy for Christmas. She was trying to find someone to keep the dog for the week leading up to Christmas so it could remain a total surprise. I stopped thinking clearly or listening after the word puppy and I was like, hell yes I want it. I got all weird and sentimental because we got Gail the Puppy for Christmas only a year ago and I can still taste her puppy tongue mixed with the smells of fresh pine and I needed this again in my life. A puppy is like a newborn baby but worse because they don’t wear diapers. They need like total undivided attention which seemed totally doable with hosting 21 people and working some of the busiest days I would ever see at the salon so I said yes quite enthusiastically. Then you add my parents’ dogs, my aunt’s dog, and throw in my existing two and what you get is a really fucked up episode of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan minus Cesar Millan. The pack would tear through my house like a tumbleweed of hair, each one trying to exert their dominance. Like their ancestors before them, their territory was being marked with urine and it appears this year’s coveted real estate was the wrapped presents under the tree, our white shag rug, and Current Stella’s special chair in her room.

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If I ever do it again (which I won’t), it will be dog-free and kid-free (Current Stella included). It will last for way less time, involve less people sleeping and peeing on my couch, not as many events, and cost way less. Basically, next year I am just going to send a Christmas card like every other sane family in America. Who am I kidding, I am already buying Christmas decor on sale to make my Second Annual Christmas Eve Caroling 2016 a bit more festive.

Almost as soon as the last car pulled out of my driveway I got hit hard with some kind of super virus. I remained down and out of commission until basically this week. It was dreadful and so unfair. I still cough like I have smoked since I was 5 and my nose is just a constant stream of liquid. Everyone around me is all New Years motivated and my social media feeds are just bogged down with healthy recipes and workout motivational quotes and tips about decluttering my desk and I just can’t even. I just want to go back to my happy place where I am surrounded by every single member of my Christmas celebrating family, where there is a cold egg nog cocktail in my hand, some dog is taking a shit on my pillow, and someone is getting a tattoo of Macaulay Culkin on their ass in my living room because, you know, the scavenger hunt.

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Birthday Shout-outs

Your cousin, Danielle turned 5 on New Year’s Eve. You two are pretty cute together and one day her birthday is going to be some of the drunkest nights of your life. Trust me.

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Your Gma also celebrated a birthday on January 2nd. What a total shitty birthday, no? The party is so over by the 2nd. Most people cannot even deal with one more celebration or cocktail. I was so cracked out on Sudafed that I barely remembered to call and wish her a good one. Your G-ma is such a loving, wonderful grandma to Current Stella. She’s not too shabby of a mom either.

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Future Stella, I Love you. Current Stella, your new favorite thing is announcing when things are not fair. Its not fair that I get to stay up later than you, its not fair that I get to wear lipstick, and its not fair that I don’t have to go to school. To be fair (lol), I would give just about anything to go to bed at 8pm, abandon makeup all together, and spend the majority of my day being a student. Out of frustration today with all of life’s injustices you declared that you just want the whole world to be fair. Preach child.

Love,

Mom