Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Snap out of it!

I think Seasonal Affective Disorder is setting in. Damnit!!! So, I'm going to inject myself with holiday cheer today and put up a tree and make cookies. Doesn't that sound like it could work? This weekend we head to Cleveland. The next, I head to NYC to see Dewey and Hugh Jackman. (My god, if that doesn't work, what will???) It's these gray skies...and the COLD setting in. I need to snap out of it. No one wants to feel Scroogey.  I definitely don't. I probably  need one of those lamps. I just need it to shine on me for a bit. Rochester doesn't get a lot of sun normally--and now it's brutal.

I need someone to ring the doorbell and smack me in the face.

I need to feel like this girl:


Okay, it's not just me. I am counting about 5 other FB friends that are also down in the dumps. It's just in the air. I need Christmas lights on houses in my neighborhood. I need carolers nightly. I need spiked eggnog. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

hold still!

It's Monday and it feels like one. It was dark all day. The cold rain matched my mood. I HATE when I'm blue...moody and tired. It really annoys me. I spend the entire day trying to figure out what my problem is. Is it the let down after the holiday? Is it that J is gone again for a long week? Is it that it's freezing cold and walks are not enjoyable? Is it that Christmas is coming and we have to travel? (Not that when we get there it won't be great...but traveling with Z is not fun.) Is it that I'm overwhelmed with the amount of laundry I have to do? (My god, wouldn't that be sad if that were it?) No, I think it's the winding down of the year. Z is going to be 2. Geesh. Soon. It's the realization that all that happened this year is over and it is permanent. It's the fact that Melissa is probably more alone now than ever...and that this festive holiday season will be hollowed out. Not to take away from the happiness of the season, but isn't the end of the year a bit doom and gloom for everyone? (watch it just be me.) Another year down. It's over. Our child is older. We are older and have more lines and cellulite saying so. Time is marching it should. Here is the real kicker--it would suck if it halted as well. If we never aged. If our children didn't grow stronger, older, wiser, kinder. If we didn't learn from our mistakes. If we were stuck in our 20s...a time period of questions and fuck ups. Well--I'd take my body and keep it, but I'd want the experiences (good and absolutely shitty) to continue to form my mind. I'm just trudging through the dark of the year and putting it all together. It takes a while for me to process things. Then, I'll bounce back.

Time ticks on. We need it to, but it is so hard to try to see it all go by. Like a spinning globe, I guess I just want to be able to stop it for a minute and really look at it, but then let it keep spinning eventually.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Repeat the sounding joy.

I swear sometimes I've had past lives. At times, I feel such reverberations of them. I feel things and "remember" things that I've never experienced. I have memories of a certain street (one with a tree lined median and snow covered houses)  and sometimes if the light hits a room just right...I feel as if I've been in that moment before. Makes you wonder about the time-space continuum. Not to get so deep on a Sunday, but it just happened again. At times, the loneliness of a moment can almost make you crack. Then, all at once, you feel comforted if someone is there holding you tight. We are not alone. I am convinced of that.

The holidays also stir up emotions not felt for a while. As I get out the decorations I've put away, the feelings I've put away come out as well. Ugh. Although I'm a "feeler" I do seem to pack away certain things in order to move along with my life. Then, when all that resurfaces, I feel as heavy as a house. Earlier, I took a nap and could barely muster up the strength to get back up. It was a 30 minute depression. So, I do what I normally do...I take a shower and wash it all away. I think happy thoughts and formulate future pictures of my life. I create the movie of my life so that I know I can make it to the end. "It's just getting'll love this next part."

It's become the hour when the sky is just barely lit and the ground looks black. I've got to find the twinkly blue lights to put up soon. This house needs a couple lit trees to create the feelings of joy that Z can remember and tap into when she needs it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

take pictures

I'll be up making side dishes...worrying about the turkey...watching Z play with her Aunties and watching the parade. It's something I look forward to. My sister and I enjoy it. It's magical for me. Not sure why. I'm hoping Matt will host...that would make it even better. Seeing all the BIG balloons and the Broadway shows performing--just gives you a taste of the big city. So cool. It's a great way to start off a day---anticipating the arrival of the other guests and eating all that food!

I woke up and wrote a list of the things I forgot at the store yesterday. I glanced out the window to see the rain soaked maple and felt lucky to be inside. I'd heard about a car accident in Rochester last night that involved five 18 year olds. One died. I'm sure they were all friends. The driver had been drinking. Two days before Thanksgiving...and now these families have to deal with this loss. And, to know that next door (the house I can see through the window behind this computer), everyone will be gathering and missing Bill and Lynn. It's just a weird time. Happy...and heartbreaking.

I am lucky. You are lucky. Cherish your family and take mental pictures of your happy times. Think of those who are no longer with us...and know they are still close by--most likely smiling upon all of us.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

every year.

Home for the Holidays. I own it. I watch it as therapy.

Happy Thanksgiving. Good luck out there.

T-urkey minus 2 days

Today I woke up at the crack of dawn to go the grocery store. Jason met me at the door and asked that I go at 10 instead. I went back to bed. At 10 thirty I went to Wegmans and shopped to my heart's delight. I bought things for my turkey that I've never bought before. Candied ginger, fresh sage and rosemary. I had to look for the fresh herbs...had no idea where they were. When I finally asked a lady where they were, I was standing right in front of them. Go figure.

I've now made the brine--added some apple cider to it because I was on the phone with my friend Becky and she said she did last year. Why not? She and I chit chatted while I admired my bubbling mixture.

I am proud. Bill used this recipe. I know others are making it this year as well. I'm perfectly happy making it a part of my tradition. I have my paternal grandparents here in spirit with their cranberry-orange relish, hanky pankies and the meringue on the pies. I wish they were here in person to see me make all of this food. They would be shocked (but would not say so)--they'd be proud (and would say so.) The holidays make me miss them so much that I ache.

Today I wish Bill were here to text questions about my turkey. He'd probably just text back, "Coming over." Always being available to help anyone...he'd fine great joy in coming over and helping. There are few in the world like this. (But I happen to know some and feel awesome about that.)

I look forward to everyone finally arriving. I look forward to watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade--( it's on at 9AM people!! NBC). I look forward to all of the loving comments about Zoë. I look forward to eating all of the food. I look forward to seeing everyone next door.

This Thanksgiving is as about as bitter sweet as you can get. There is a constant reminder that we are all not here--there are people missing. But there is also a constant reminder that we are loved by all that are here.

Happy cooking today. More tomorrow.


Here is Turkey recipe!!

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.


Monday, November 21, 2011


There are is one of them...where I wish that living on another planet was an option. Ok, maybe not living there, but at least to have the option to vacation there. And let's go one step further and populate that planet with people that are only the best versions of themselves. They have reached their potential. They've made good decisions. They are happy. They are balanced. They have inner peace. And I am my ideal self. I've finally become happy with who I am. There is no negativity. Nothing but good feelings and met expectations. Everyone who has ever had an impact on my life is there...whether they had died on Earth or not. Everyone who has ever made you happy. Anyone that will make you happy. Fantastic people all around.

That's what I want today.
Too much??

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For Melissa

Author: Indigo Girls
Album title: Indigo Girls

Love's Recovery

------ --------

During the time of which I speak it was hard to turn the other cheek

To the blows of insecurity

Feeding the cancer of my intellect the blood of love soon neglected

Lay dying in the strength of its impurity

Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together

They've all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather

And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery.

There I am in younger days, star gazing,

Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be

Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection

My compass, faith in love's perfection

I missed ten million miles of read I should have seen

Meanwhile friends we thought were so together

Left each other one by one in search of fairer weather

And we sit here and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery.

Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream

I search for our absolute distinction

Not content to blow and bend

To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures

Eating us away, eating us away

Eating us away to our extinction

Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me

I'd still have two of the same to live

But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we're universal

To let this love survive would be the greatest gift we could give

Tell all the friends who think they're so together

That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather

Though it's storming out I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery

Friday, November 18, 2011

comfort and joy

Watched Regis' farewell show and cried...I need to get a grip.

Z is watching her "dragons" movie (How to train your dragon) before her nap. Jason comes home today. Our girl weekend is ending. I am exhausted. She had a big week--shedding her high chair. She has new phrases, "I'm HAPPY!!!" (that is a nice one.) "I'm at the table!!" (that's cute, too.) "Mommy...go! Alone Please!" (not as cute) But, I'll take the please.

Last night I got a sitter and went out on the town. Not that exciting...but I did get out of the house on the one night it was freezing and snowing. Go figure. I got our Turkey!! It's 19.75 lbs. (My year of birth...thought it was a good omen.) I also got window markers to decorate the kitchen. We're celebrating Thanksgiving and two birthdays...this should make it easy to change them up. I'm too concerned with such things.

I met my friend Carin for dinner. She talked about how much she loves her new job and the people she will be working with...and I thought, "I miss that." I will feel it again. I miss office gab. But, office politics sucked, so I'll stay home for the time being. Plus...I know I'll cry like a baby when Z goes to her first day of school--and long for days just like today.

With the holidays literally starting next week...I miss my grandparents even more. I miss the light they brought into my life. I keep reminding myself that I, too, can have that light. With Z being so obsessed with "HAPPY"...that is a good sign. We have a dance party every day. We laugh, dance and act ridiculous. She won't remember these times...but I will. My aim is to inject her with as many feelings of joy, memories of happiness and have a base of good feelings about her life to help her in the future. Every parent wants this. Sadness is always nearby. Disappointments. Anxiety. Frustration. Fear. All of these things I feel I bathed in for several years. I don't want that for her. Will she feel them? Of course. But when she heads home from school, or wherever she is...I want her to have the feeling of comfort that she is coming home. You have to have that touchstone in your life. So many don't have it. The more I talk to my friends--the more I hear their disappointment in not feeling accepted. Damn. What a shame. I figure...if you can't go home, come here!!

If I can make my home welcoming and a place of laughter for anyone that walks in the door--I'll feel as accomplished as my grandparents.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Z is on the floor behind me sweetly playing with her farm set. She's been learning about farms on her Baby Einstein video. She would normally be in bed right now, but she's been having such a hard time getting and staying to sleep that I'm trying to tire her out.

The day was slow. Last night was long. When Jason is gone, the nights are harder now. I used to sort of enjoy the alone time, but ever since the horrible knock on the door over a month ago, I just sit feeling scared. Not that anything will happen to him, just scared in general. I jump at everything. I feel anxious. I feel sad. I replay the whole night. Then I think..."if I'm feeling this, how the hell is Melissa feeling?" The shock waves just keep hitting everyone. Bill and Lynn are gone. WHAT???? It's just so fucked up.

I keep trying to read some pages in Diane Keaton's book, Then Again, while Z doesn't notice. There are times when Z is so needy...then are the times of great independence. I love both. I hate both. It's odd. But, I am loving the book. She's reading her mother's journals right now. Fascinating. I know Z will discover this blog one day. She'll also discover my journals. I've been writing since high school. Well, there are a couple from grade school as well. I doubt my ramblings of being in love with a 7th grade boy will move her too much. (Besides, the boy changed on the next page...)

My  mom doesn't journal. Well... now. She just found a journal she wrote in 1960. It covered her frosh year at KU. I want to read it. I wonder if she'll let me. I wonder if I'll ask her.

There are many I wish I were closer to, or just knew more. It takes two to be close. I wish about being closer more than actually doing something about it. It's fear of rejection. It runs deep. It keeps me away from so many people. I feel like an odd duck a lot. My way of being close is having long deep conversations with people. Most people are not like this. (especially in my family) I am definitely an alien in my family. None of them really like to talk. They are very private people--with many walls up.  I tried to push through the walls all during the wonder years of my life to no avail. Now, if I see even a spec of a wall....I leave it alone. I even struggle with Melissa. I want to be closer...thinking I could help her in some way. I talk myself into thinking I'm being annoying with my frequent visits...wanting to leave her with family and her close friends. I've never been so close to a tragedy as an adult. (Adulthood came to me around 32, before then I was a bit clueless.) I over think. I over feel. I obsess. It's really quite annoying. I figure, if I'm annoying myself, I don't want to be around anyone else.

Z is starting to rub her eyes...might be time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This helps.

Expectations...too Great.

Jason is gone this week and I've been putting myself to task with a to do list from hell. Staying at home is such an odd state of being. I find myself trying to be overly domesticated. Trying to be Martha Stewart. I'll never be her. I'll never have the perfect Thanksgiving decorations or table arrangements, but I can try. I've been going nuts over Z's 2nd birthday party theme. Do 2 year olds really need a theme?? I called a woman about a cake--just to give it a little oomph. I'm getting a birthday wishes/memory book for everyone to sign. She'll love to look back on that one day. I'll make my angel food cupcakes because I want my grandparents to be there in spirit. I was going to see if I could get some sort of backdrop to hang over the windows to create some type of cool aesthetic--seems a bit much.

I'm cooking the turkey this year. We're hosting Thanksgiving again. I love it, but I'm a bit overwhelmed by all the things I said I'd do. One at a time. I love all the little comments about how domesticated I am now...always little surprised comments from people who knew me "before." I know they are trying to be nice--many people say these things--but I find them like little digs. I'm too sensitive. It seems so condescending. I know I was a slob people. I know I didn't cook. I know I didn't do much...but let a girl grow up and be a mom and wife!! Geesh. Coming from Kansas...most of my girlfriends were so "domesticated" at an early age. They baked, cooked, sewed, babysat constantly--crafted. I wasn't that girl. They were about decor much earlier than I even thought about it.

But, here I am. 36. Struggling over decorations and menus and expectations.

On another note. I downloaded Diane Keaton's book today and already love it. Here is the first sentence: Mom loved adages, quotes, slogans. There were always little reminders pasted on the kitchen wall. For example, the word THINK. I found THINK thumbtacked on a bulletin board in her darkroom. I saw it Scotch-taped on a pencil box she’d collaged. I even found a pamphlet titled THINK on her bedside table. Mom liked to THINK.
Her mother was extremely influential to her. I can't wait to read more.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Being Elmo

It's Sunday morning. Z woke up right at 7am. She's in the loft with her dad watching something Elmo. His voice this early grates on my nerves.  However, I did see that there is a new documentary, Being Elmo, that looks really good. It would be fascinating, I think, to see how Elmo was born. I'm thankful to Elmo for helping me teach Z about potty training. For helping her learn her letters. For explaining emotions, but mostly for entertaining her while I unload the dishwasher.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Can't wait.

Hugh Jackman on Broadway. Dec. 11th at 2pm

Monday, November 07, 2011


I grew up watching When Harry Met Sally. It was my favorite. Not only did I love the story, I loved New York City. I loved the shots of the city in the Winter. I loved Harry running down the street to get to Sally at end of the movie on NYE. Everything that was happening was happening in that city, in that moment. I also love Woody Allen movies. I love the lives of these people in their big city apartments. I loved watching them walk around the streets. So many different people. So many types of food, music, styles...surely you could find something that you loved. Surely you could find the perfect city friend, the perfect city apt., the perfect job in a bookstore. Then, Sex and the City came on and I loved it even more. I loved watching their lives that were SO FAR away from where I was living in Kansas. It just seemed more alive. I've always had a feeling about it that I was suppose to live there. When I was there with Dustin we just KNEW we were suppose to be there. We loved the village. We loved the city shots that matched the pictures in our heads. We were merely tourists. We took in the parts of NYC that everyone does. Visiting Jeremy helped ground the daydreams. His real life...his real apartment...his real neighborhood restaurant...all so damn cool. I still felt I wanted to live there. I'm not there yet.

But, I'm 6 hours away and when I finally get to walk in Central Park I feel happy. I feel happy walking down the busy, loud, rude streets. I love the museums. I love the shows. I love the promise of BIGness. Big emotions. Big insights. Big excitement. Big memories.

Each morning, I love watching the talk shows that are filmed there. I have a daydream life of being among them. That, I too, walked thru the park and down a beautiful historic street to get to work. I took the subway. I haiedl cabs. (Chicago helped me live out some of these daydreams.)

It could be that I have these feelings because I've never lived there. It's all in my head. It can be whatever I create it to be. Carrie Bradshaw is not my best friend. But-- I wish she and I were at least in touch.

November Rain by Linda Pastan

How separate we are
under our black umbrellas—dark
planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault
of weather as if water
would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies
could protect us
from whatever is coming next—

December with its white
enamel surfaces; the numbing
silences of winter.

From above we must look
like a family of bats—
ribbed wings spread

against the rain,
swooping towards any
makeshift shelter.

I heard this on The Writer's Almanac this morning...couldn't have fit my mood more. Unreal. I swear...the universe told me to turn o the radio.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

snapshot moment

As we walked through the neighborhood today...this warm day in Autumn--I felt every word of "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." The leaves are beautiful. We were watching Z run ahead, laughing...on her safe little street--creating her childhood and creating memories for me to yearn for later. Feeling loss and such happiness at the same time. So bizarre.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Too much theraputic crap for a Friday

All my life I've always struggled with wanting to be someone else. Someone cooler, someone who made people really laugh, someone who was quick witted, someone prettier, someone smarter... I think Jr. High fucked me up. One year of total self doubt and without a friend in the world puts a little anxiety chip into your head forever that you might not be good enough. (I realize that most get over this feeling...) As I constantly think about how to help someone or how to be better for occurs to me that all I can do is be okay with what I put out into the world. I am always annoyed with people who accept their fate of personality. "This is who I am, I'm not changing." "I've never been that way, I can't be that way." I speak from a place of knowing that you can change. Maybe not at the core...but at least you can change habits, you can learn. I was a slob, I'm not now. I was lazy...I'm (not as much) now. I was a victim, I'm not now. There are times when laying down for a while--feeling beaten by okay. Take the beating...relish it...but then get back up. Some seem to take punches and then immediately push forward. I have friends that are tough as nails. They are warriors. They don't let self pity get in the way of their life. I've always watched them in awe. Where does that come from?? Even if they had the shittiest childhood...they are just strong and wise and resilient as hell. I laid down for years. It makes me feel ill to know how many years I wasted on self pity, self doubt and feeling defeated. Gross. But, I'm learning every day. I keep meeting people who are just so present in life. They feel what they need to feel. They say what they need to say. They are just doing what they need to do. They aren't wondering how else to do it--each person is so different. I'm an observer. I've never been a leader, I've said that many times. I feel as if I'm suppose to understand something more than just the average person. I am very aware of what I want to learn from others. I am constantly trying to grow and be different--better. My 7th grade self is never too far away.

Yesterday I felt like shit. Z came in and wanted to watch the video where she danced to a band in the mall when we went trick or treating. She kept saying it..."Watch Zoë dance!!!" I thought, exactly...we should just dance it out. I put on some music and she danced and hopped and laughed. I did, too. I literally have to shake myself out of it sometimes. The sun is shining I felt it would.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Some days are harder than others. Some days your heart feels as if it's sinking. Some days the day looks more gray than normal. These are the times when you have to remind yourself it won't always be this way. Tomorrow, you'll feel better. The sun will be shining and you'll feel it.

The dead leaves on my deck are getting to me. I'll go sweep them off. I'm not depressed, just heavier today than yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be lighter. Or, maybe later today. I normally give myself pep talks and it goes away.

The Fed Ex lady rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. My heart sank and I immediately felt ill. Jason had left the house an hour before. Ugh. It is 4 weeks today that I got the doorbell and knock about Bill so late at night. I want my doorbell removed.

Here's the thing--we all feel like shit some days. We don't need to focus on it, but acknowledge it and move on. Ok, now, shit....go away.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

shock and awe

It's been awhile. I'm disorganized and feeling disconnected. I'm exhausted. I'm thankful. I'm full of anxiety. How are you?

While Z is sleeping this morning, I'm trying to get done all the things I've been neglecting. She had a scary run in with a skeleton and is still traumatized, so I'm quickly taking down the Halloween decorations and trying to make it look like Thanksgiving. Let's move on from the ghouls and into giving.

This morning I was thinking how hard it is to tread through life. Yes, it's beautiful, it can be wonderful, it can be full of laughter and friendship and love--but when a tragedy rocks you to your core, it's just damn hard to get through. I try to go next door each day, even just for a min, just to see how everyone is--see how their faces look, see how Melissa is feeling and it's difficult to figure out how to be...what to share...what to do. I look for a certain smile or a glimmer...but it's not there yet. I somehow want to see a face I saw before Bill died. I want to feel the way I did before. I want her to feel the way she did...but it's just not the way it is...or will be. But, when I walk in, for a moment, everyone smiles, everyone greets me and everyone asks how I am. They are comfortable enough to share their misery with me...but, they are unselfish enough to ask about me. These are such great lessons for me to learn and to share with Z on the way to gracefully move through grief. Some find the dark and can't get out of it enough to still participate in life. They become black holes of their former selves and unfortunately, the life lost of their loved one isn't the only death. Having the group at Melissa's still able to laugh and really care about others is a testament to Bill, Lynn and the entire family. Good people. Damn it for happening.

Dustin left yesterday afternoon. Z was all out of sorts about it. She enjoyed him. I do, too. We spent our days talking, walking, laughing and trying to do as many Fall activities as we could. I baked for him and cooked for him and listened to him about his life. I wanted him to feel as much at home as possible--I know he currently doesn't have that outlet. I think there are times when we do feel lost and alienated from our families...or our friends. Either we do it ourselves or we are misunderstood and let down. Families are suppose to love unconditionally--and sometimes we just don't do it well. It sucks. But, creating family wherever I can is important to me. My friends are a part of my family and always have been. Dustin is Uncle Dustin...and Z has MANY Aunties. I want her to understand that blood doesn't make family--love does.

Well, on to my chores. I promise lighter posts in the future...but for now, learning from others is in the focus.