You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

My pre-graduation purchase at the end of my undergrad degree was an ankle length brown wool coat with huge pockets, two buttons and a tie at the waist. It smacks of wool bathrobe. I’ve had that coat for 17 years now, and it is still perfect.

I live in Georgia and it is impossible to do that today without being on the brink of an aneurysm because of the weather. Part of being an adult with a winter coat nearly old enough to vote is that many things can be true and exist in my mind with minimal conflict.

1. Yes, I’m from IL and do not intuitively understand the level of hyperventilating about snow BUT I also can think about my decade in GA and know that I’ve never seen a snowplow bigger than one a guy can keep in a shed and put on his F150 once a year.

2. Oh my yesterday in Atlanta was a total and utter clusterfuck, no doubt. I may never understand why folks didn’t pull into the local Ruby Tuesdays and have some dinner – but they made the best choice they thought they could at the time. At an institutional level I expect that nothing will be learned, on a personal level for those thousands of people, I hope something is. Even if it is just “pee before you leave.”

3. Snow is pretty, especially when it is 30 degrees with no wind.

4. My GA brain understands it academically, but my IL brain cannot grok the school decisions. I know, I know, but *honestly*.

5. The grocery store thing? Everybody has their bread, milk, & wine threshold. Mine is different than yours. People in Alaska think I’m a pussy. It is all true. My biggest question is what the hell bread concoction all of you are MAKING?? Sandwiches, got it. French toast? Bread Pudding? A Castle? Or worse, are you making the milk toast (soak one burned piece of toast in milk and then consume) that my grandmother makes — because I don’t think I can talk to you if you are.

My kid hasn’t had a full week of school since December 10. I’m this close |-| to an aneurysm because there is nothing to say about the weather that is original, especially as a north to south transplant.

Except this:

San Diego is dry with a perfect temperature all year round. Lots of good looking young men. Lousy traffic and crippling house prices. Who cares? The weather is perfect.


If it is possible, I respond well to ritual but not schedule.

My breakfast switches from time to time, but whatever it is – it is. I have a Friday lunch date with some of my favorite women, the place may change but the truth of the lunch anchors me. I do my best to sign emails & texts to my husband the same way (nearly) every time.

Back in the day, going to work was ritual – but the schedule within the day rarely held.

It makes me take note of, and try to find a way to respond to, the larger ebbs and flows of life differently. Previously, it didn’t much matter when I felt motivated to meal plan, or type the draft of the thing, or work out – because the time slots when any of those things were possible were tight, prescribed, unyielding.

So far, what I have learned is that when I set my brain loose it has a LOT of ideas and not much stamina right now. I have learned that I need to make better notes about what I have accomplished because I tend to blank slate the days that have gone by. I need to practice speaking in my professional voice more often because if I don’t keep relatively fresh my Professional Word Organizer Brain (™) gets slow and rusty and I can’t articulate quickly enough in meetings and conference calls. I have learned that the music I listen to has a LOT to do with the tone in my head and the work coming off my hands.

I am working on setting up my rituals, and setting aside my schedules. I still like this, I’m still figuring it out, I still don’t know what will stick.

We’ve been working a bit on not shouting across the house at each other so much. We don’t always remember but it is getting better. We started a couple of weeks ago, because I was frustrated with the fact that each of us preferred the person we wanted to talk to stop what they were doing and come TO US so we could impart whatever random word of wisdom we thought of.

I was feeling pretty good about how we were talking about it, and what we were doing. Then I started talking about the way we treat our stuff with my son. The only requirement for his room is that there be a clear & wide path to his bed, and about quarterly we “snatch a knot in it” and get it organized.

Christmas seemed to have brought a tipping point in the ability for the room to stay ok for awhile after it got cleaned. We still have a huge percentage of toys that he had two or three years ago, because he uses them just often enough for them to stay in rotation. So, in a room with limited storage, it had gone to bursting. It made me mad twice a day because it was so chaotic. It made it nearly useless for him to try and put stuff away. It was bad.

Yesterday, I had enough.

Today I packed up 90% of the stuff in his room.

He kept:
Gifts from this Christmas
1 other toy.

Not All of It

So here is the problem ending —

He is relieved.

He happily helped me pack stuff up.

When I missed an area he reminded me and gathered stuff up.

He isn’t willing to make a deal for their permanent removal (yet?) but he likes that they are gone. I had thought that he would want to earn stuff back, that he could regain things as he proved that he could actually take care of stuff. Or something.

What I think is going to happen now is that he’s going to forget about most of it, and I’ll need a new plan for what to do with the stuff in every.spare.corner of my house.


Something to know — throwing away isn’t part of what I set the whole thing up, and doing it sneaking isn’t how we roll here.

But his room looks great now.

Today I am exercised, sitting in the big sunshine window of my favorite cafe, drinking tea with my hipster (fingerless) gloves, working on my Mac, listening to Neil Gaiman being the man that all men should aspire to be. I’m smiling. I’m working. I’m fully here and sorting it all out.

For about a week I’ve been 20% – 40% sick most days with a head cold of some sort.
My dad had a couple of medical things at the end of last week and the start of this week (all of which went well).
I made my way back to the gym yesterday (to walk slow enough I could also read a book) after having not been around much for weeks.
Friday I ate can of spray cheese and the mandatory column of Ritz crackers that were used as a transport device.
It was a weekend full of John memories.
I have a freelance deadline on Thursday which is taking longer than I thought.

So, what doe we have there?
Sad? Yes
Scared? Yes
Eating Well? No
Moving Body? No

So when today has devolved into a glut of YouTube Darren Criss / Doctor Who / Vlogbrothers binging I started to be disappointed in myself. Unhelpful conversations about the ability to maintain my end of the bargain.

Then, Wil Wheaton came to my rescue. He wrote. Now, to be clear – I don’t think I’m headed into a Major Thing of any sort – but I’m sure not doing much to keep myself healthy at the moment either.

I’m going to fill up my water bottle.
Check that my gym bag is packed for tomorrow.
Make something.

I claimed my sad day. I’ll see ya tomorrow.

A continuation from yesterday.

(a) – I talk about how my dad is preparing for cancer treatment, and he is old, and sick, and what I wish for him no clinician, or healer, or mystic, or madman can give him.

My dad was 42 when I was born, and I have spent my entire life afraid of the fact that (in that time) (in comparison to my mom) he was old. I remember clearly the first time at McDs when someone asked me if I was having a day out with grandpa. I never trusted that he would be alive when I got married.

All of that was balanced out over time with the fact that he was older but made of awesome, strong, kickass-ness. He smoked (clearly bad), but he wielded a chainsaw at 75, he drove my belongings all over hell and gone when I needed him to, he has incredibly comforting shoulders.

A decade ago he had a bout of lung cancer. He had surgery and rebounded wonderfully. About 3 years ago a series of medical stumblings began and they just have never really consistently let up. His age has caught him, and it sucks. He has a new cancer now, docs are going to see if they can make him glow in the dark.

What I wish for him. I’d like for him to have one safe corner where he can talk about whatever he is thinking about these days. He tells people things, but the great protector in him isn’t interested in standing down – so he keeps other parts hidden away. It is his prerogative, clearly, but the idea of a confessional, or postsecret or something that was 100% safe just seems nice.

I’d wish for him a clarity that modern medicine just doesn’t offer. He’s going into treatment soon, and it shouldn’t be “too bad” – because he is doing it I would like it to work as advertised, so that he can get back to … whatever comes next.

I’d wish for him a content heart, and I think it mainly is.

(b) I talk about how a lot of my widowhood is non-standard, and still I wonder if I get to write on my own blog about my dead husband because (damn girl) it has been 12 years. If my widowhood was a baby it would have gotten a damn phone of it’s own for Christmas.

My widowhood is non-standard. I was 28 & we didn’t have kids. It is non-standard in the most noticeable way because I have a great relationship with his family who love me and my husband and son the way they do. I’m grateful for that it a way that defies measure.

Still, I am a young widow who has continued to have a good life, is loved and loves back, and is generally an in-the-moment kind of person (ish. Most of the time. At least I try). So when these days roll around, I can’t help but think of the things & people I have lost since then. The things that he missed (iPhones, Call of Duty, etc…), and the strange ways the world plays out. Over 12 years you end up with a lot of Alternate Universe scenarios.

Most of the people I see routinely only know John through stories, because I moved after he died and created a new life. I’m fortunate to know people who have been through similar stories, and that is infinitely comforting (as much as it is heartbreaking because we really LOVED these people who are dead now). Still, after 12 years, it seems like it is something to be witnessed privately, because we leave so little room for the memorializing of those who are dead. We don’t have a Day of the Dead, and that is a real loss. There isn’t a person I know that couldn’t use one.

(c) I look at the sparkling number of 150 posts, and feel proud of that, and move on to tomorrow to see what it has in store.

Heh. 150 posts, for the number of times I’ve staked out a corner of the internet, I think that is the longest I’ve kept one blog going. Hee hee.

I’m about 35% sick right now, so the early parts of today have been pretty low key, and I’ve started reading a book. A physical, FICTION book!!! Harry Potter, because I’ve never read it. Maybe if I get through all of these I’ll take on Tolkien who I have also never read. Or not. Shouldn’t get too ahead of myself.

Happy Sunday all. For those of you who commented or reached out to me personally. Thank you, I felt comforted and surrounded by good company.

Been a minute I suppose.


Strange days.

It used to be that Halloween through mid-January was my Season of Discontent. It encapsulates the anniversary of my first marriage, my first husband’s birthday, the standard end of year holidays, and the high holy cap of Jan 11-13 – the days it took him to die.

At this point, 12 years out, I spike on Nov 2 (our anniversary) and Jan 11-13 – for the rest of it I pass as a normal-ish person. The memories of the time before, and of John’s last year interspersed with so many other memories.

I went back tonight and read what I wrote last year during these days. It still sits about right, even though tonight I am thinking a lot about when John called to tell me his new heart had arrived and my mind first thinking he was playing a joke. I’m thinking about falling asleep under the couch table in the waiting room under a blanket my best friend gave me (that is on my bed right now). Still, it is about right.

Twelve years ago tonight I had heard his voice for the last time, but I didn’t quite know it yet.

Here is where this turns into a Choose Your Own Adventure Blog Post –

Route A: I talk about how my dad is preparing for cancer treatment, and he is old, and sick, and what I wish for him no clinician, or healer, or mystic, or madman can give him.

Route B: I talk about how a lot of my widowhood is non-standard, and still I wonder if I get to write on my own blog about my dead husband because (damn girl) it has been 12 years. If my widowhood was a baby it would have gotten a damn phone of it’s own for Christmas.

Route C: I look at the sparkling number of 150 posts, and feel proud of that, and move on to tomorrow to see what it has in store.

I’ve mentioned that my son dances, and I have mentioned that organization supports boys in the arts by letting them dance for free. I think that the wide age range of their male dancers comes, in part, from that decision.

This week my son was at trapeze camp.

Ok, yeah, I’ll start there. Athens has a trapeze school which has been in place for more than 10 years. Not a standard thing, I know, but it is really pretty cool.

They had a kids camp this week (which even met on NYE & NYD – huzzah) and I signed up Jeff on the suspicion that perhaps being around kids this week would be good for all of us (and I was right).

Sitting Star

There was a big range of age & experience, and their days had a lot of variety in activities. I learned about a game called ant hospital and it is the single best version of tag I have ever seen in my life. If you are teaching cooperative game play it is THE BOMB.

The end of camp show was this morning, kids on trapeze or on silks (which is sort of trapeze via drapes). The final performance was a male solo on silks. He was 10? 12? 13? He was (as Jeff said), “AH MAZ ING.” Really spectacular.

For a big part of my life I scoffed (in ways) at things designed to make X accessible to girls (engineering, STEM, athletics) because I have always just thought that people should look into things that they find interesting. Still, and much to my own surprise, I get gender sensitive to the performing arts and making sure there are examples of men for Jeff to see.

I think it is cool that the single most mesmerizing performance today was a tween boy.

Which is NOT to say that there aren’t tons of great writers on the internet, because clearly, there are. They write stuff, and blogs, and fanfic and all of the rest of it. I love those folks, even when I’m not interested in what they write.

But as a note to Ryan Murphy and Steven Moffat — they do not replace the comprehensive mind of a show runner.

I’m on record as being delighted the Murphy appeared to have listened to the internet a lot when he was writing both the Kline proposal, and The Quarterback. I stand by those being some of the best shows I saw in the last of 2013. Moffat did the same with the 50th anniversary show. Again, some of the best TV I saw last year (even with the systematic dismantling of RTD years and the rage sputter that creates for me).

But what happens when you write yourself into a corner, wait too long, and let the internet dig you out of a hole? From the write ups I have seen so far about the new Sherlock episode, you get stuff like this:

From collar pop to hair ruffle it is a perfect rendition of what a chunk of the fan base wants – and not the answer. As are a number of theories that are worked through – but not the answer.

Watching twitter & tumblr last night it was all giddy reaction and happy screeching. A fair number of those folks have come back online today and talked about how it didn’t feel cohesive, it was out of step for the characters, that it was too disjointed, etc …

(See also Glee’s puppet show & Christmas episode, also the Doctor Who Christmas episode).

Fandoms have the real potential to be like children. We want what we want, but it is actually better for us if it isn’t constantly handed to us by a fearful show runner who is afraid of the internet tantrum that will ensue if he follows an inner vision as opposed to fanfic.

Now watch, when I finally see the Sherlock episode the emotional skill of the actors will cover up all the rest of all of it.

Because that is what they count on.