Preserve Your Memories; They’re All That’s Left You

A few nights ago, my brother, his wife, me, and D all sat around their kitchen table, eating dinner together and shooting the shit. It was my brother’s 42nd birthday, and so we were spending the day together, relaxing and hanging out. It also happened to be the day of my cousin’s funeral. Continue reading

Oh, hai.

I like to think I’ve been getting better about writing more regularly, but I just realized I haven’t been posting as consistently as I thought. I blame this in part to the fact that we are somehow barreling through March at a breakneck pace (seriously, I’m pretty sure it took twice as long for us to get through February and it’s 3 days shorter!), but it could also have something to do with the fact I’ve been busy. I am taking comfort in the fact that this is partially due to the fact I’ve been writing other things for other sites. That counts for something, right? Continue reading

Basking in my 15 minutes

Well, I can’t post much right now because I need to start my work day soon, but I wanted to share some exciting news for those of you who might not already know: xojane.com published one of my articles yesterday!! I am so beyond excited and thrilled for the opportunity and am completely blown away by the response I’ve received so far, both from people close to me and from people I’ve never met. It’s been so awesome to read all the responses and get so much feedback, although admittedly it’s a bit bittersweet (it sucks to know so many other people understand the pains of Alzheimer’s firsthand…).

But the experience has definitely reenergized me and I’m even more focused than before to get my writing out there and to keep finding avenues where I can promote my work. And I really hope I get the opportunity to work with xoJane.com again–what an awesome publication to write for! (The same day my article premiered, they posted a piece by one of my favorite comediennes, Lisa Lampanelli!!)

So… I’m stoked, and humbled, and grateful, and overwhelmed, and excited. 2013 is my year, damnit, and this is just the beginning.

May All Your Christmases Be Bright…

Today the Holiday Music Bracket officially started at my work. My friend Dave and I put it together, using suggestions from our co-workers. For the first round, we had a little fun with the match-ups, pitting songs against each other that created some kind of theme. We had one battle royale of “A Very Motown Christmas,” which had Otis Redding vs The Drifter’s version of “White Christmas.”

Continue reading

And here is love…

I will admit it: There are times where it’s really hard to be married. There are times when I feel like me and my husband are living in two separate worlds, speaking two very different languages, throttling towards the frustrated complacency that so many try to tell you is inevitable after you are married.

And then, on a random Tuesday while making dinner, my husband jumps away from his place by the sink and assumes the raptor position and we leave the macaroni to boil on the stove while we spend the next 10 minutes squawking around the downstairs,  awkwardly jerking our necks around and running/walking around like creatures from The Dark Crystal, half the time chasing the other, the other half being chased.

And then, without any discussion at all, we both silently agree that Raptor Time is over and walk back into the kitchen, slightly out of breath, one stirring the orecchiette, the other quietly waiting for the spinach to finish sautéing.

never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps…

When I was in second grade, I was enrolled in CCD at our church. The point was to instill me with a more fundamental knowledge of our faith — to help me realize more fully what it meant to believe in God, and what it meant to be Catholic. There was a textbook, with pastel paintings of Jesus and his disciples, helping the sick and feeding the poor. There were tests — memorizing the Commandments and reciting the Our Father. I needed to learn these things to make my first Holy Communion, to advance in my faith. The weight of the spiritual world was essentially resting on my shoulders, being this was the first rite of Christian passage that I actively was participating in.

But none of that mattered. The fear and anxiety of the tests and the practicing and the ultimatums (“If you don’t learn this, you won’t be able to get Communion,” which loosely translated into “You won’t be able to wear a pretty white dress and have your own special party”) completely paled in comparison to my true source of anxiety every Sunday: the open staircase that led to our classroom. Continue reading

5 (+1) things.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to come up with shit to write in here. Granted, once I start writing, I’m good, but finding the topic/inspiration to open WordPress to begin with can be trying.

So, I’m going to pick up something I tried before–both in this blog and back when I was a kid: Gratitude postings. Basically, I note 3-5 things from that day that were good/I was grateful for. It’s a good way to help shift perspective, and a good way to take the time to acknowledge some of the “little things” that otherwise might pass you by…

  1. It was a beautiful day. Seriously, pitch-perfect fall weather. I was in the office for most of the day, but I took a couple breaks and was able to step outside for a few moments each time and just freaking love the hell out of feeling the muted sunshine on my jacketed shoulders and watch the stark white clouds sail across a bright blue sky.
  2. My co-workers are hilarious. Now that I’ve been with my new job for almost a year, I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to work in a place where I like everyone I work with. Beyond that, they are hilarious. The past couple of days have included numerous e-mail chains with YouTube link one-upmanships, Photoshop/MS Paint fun, and various entertaining/clever exchanges that make daily office drudgery less drudge-y.

    In my next life, I will be an artist who exclusively works in MS Paint...

  3. Breaking bread. Dinner wasn’t anything particularly fancy tonight (although I did enjoy the Illiano’s yumminess), but it was nice to actually sit around the table and have a conversation with my family. Especially considering so many of our meals end up on the couch/in front of the TV, it’s just nice to exercise some of those good ol’ fashion nuclear family values every once again awhile.
  4. Rediscovering a favorite song. I’m still trying to figure out my new ride, but one of the big benefits (beyond 40 mph on the highway to the gallon) is the fact I can sync my iTunes to the radio. This morning as I was driving in, I was skimming the music I had on there and came across a song that was one of my obsessive jams from last winter:I really enjoyed listening to this about 10 times on the drive in, volume blaring, while I sing along. It was like catching up with an old friend after a long absence.
  5. A silver lining. This doesn’t really fall under “happy” news, but my friend called this morning to tell me her beloved bunny, Alejandro, passed away. She and her 2 sons were absolutely devastated by his passing and hearing the news made my heart sink, too. But there was some positive to the sad news: so many people expressed genuine remorse for their loss throughout the day via FB, which I thought was not only nice for my friend and her kids to see, but it also shows how people really are connected to their pets. Whenever someone apologizes to me for their emotional response when their pet is sick or has passed, I make sure they know no judgment is being passed their way and that I understand completely the love one feels for their anipals.Beyond that, I’m proud of Heather for really going above and beyond to help her kids process Alejandro’s death and to make sure they understand that it’s OK to be sad and OK to grieve. I admire the loving, intelligent way Heather handles her boys–letting them fully be children, but also taking their feelings, thoughts, and concerns seriously and always speaking to them like people whose opinion/thoughts deserve to be heard. Her FYI later in the day that there may be a memorial service for Alej, and it may be open to the public, only further proves the sweet, quirky, and brilliant lengths she goes to make sure she does right by her children.
  6. Light at the End of the Expressway. Super bonus that I almost forgot until just now: For the first part of my commute, I was followed by a full rainbow for a several miles of my morning commute:

    Not the best picture ever, but you take what you can get at 70 mph...

     

An open letter to Ian Sherr, on the eve of your marriage to my best friend.

Hello, Ian.

I guess we knew this day was coming for a while now—although the two of you have been engaged for less than a year, it was pretty clear from the first conversation I had with Laura after her date with “the opera singer” that you’d be sticking around. And perhaps your knowledge of me did not come as soon as that first date, but now, after years and years of visits, and phone calls, and Facebook bantering, well, I’m sure you’ve resolved I’m probably here for the long haul, too.

So here we are. Continue reading

9 years gone, 9 years too long…

When my grandfather died, we all put our own mementos in his casket: sentimental photographs, print-out copies of lyrics to songs, and dirt from the fields he spent decades upon decades tilling, planting, and harvesting. Each was a remembrance, a memory, a hope that maybe these things could help him cross to the other side and us let him. It was our pithy way of feeling like we might have some control over the situation.

After the funeral, the burial, the melancholy luncheon that allows everyone to feel temporarily normal–as if we were at a family birthday instead of a funeral reception–and so painfully punctuates the reason why we are gathering in the first place (Who would sit at the head of the table? Who will say grace), we were back at my parents house, changing back into our ordinary clothes, pretending to not feel hollow.

I walked upstairs to my childhood room that already felt unfamiliar after only 1 year at college, and passed my dad, undoing his tie in his room.

“Hey kiddo.”

“Hey dad.”

We talked awkwardly, professionally, about details of the day’s events: who was there, the name of the woman in the choir who sang amazing grace, the quality of the meatballs served afterward.

“What did you put in Pop Pop’s coffin?” he finally asked.

I mentioned the lyrics (“I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” and “In My Life”) and the letter (I honestly can’t remember a single word I wrote), then listed the things my sibling and cousins had included.

“What about you dad? Did you put anything in there?”

“I put my father in there… And that was the hardest part.”

06.28.02: Miss you, Pop Pop

Father knows best

I was probably 9 or 10 years old? I was already working on the farm full-time in the summer, and my cousins and I were making boxes (this process involves this big, stapler machine–at least for the ones that hold the heavier produce). Anyway, as we were working, we noticed this little baby bird had hopped over under the packing shed. This thing was little–barely could open its eyes–and we were worried that it would get hit by one of the forklifts. So, we found a small box, filled it with those cloth-like paper towels that come in a box (rag-in-a-box, I think it’s called?), and then maneuvered the baby bird into the little refuge we created for it. Continue reading