Monday, June 11, 2018

Remembering A Life

I've been trying to write a eulogy for days and having very little success. A dear friend, who had been my best friend from age four 'til sometime in our 20s, passed away last week after a short but valiant battle with cancer. We had grown apart in the last decade or so, and the last time I saw her was at her wedding in 2011. Since then, we'd talked only a handful of times, and the most recent phone conversation was the one where she announced the cancer diagnosis and terminal prognosis. That news came as my move was getting down to the wire, and I didn't really have the brain space to process it fully, but I made a point of sending her an email every day (or nearly every day -- I missed a few in the whirlwind of life) so she'd know I was thinking about her.

The day came when, several hours after I'd sent my daily greeting, her friend emailed to say she'd passed. I was in the middle of doing something else when I got the message, and again, I put off processing it until later. I knew I couldn't afford to fly down for the service, so I was readying myself to deal with it in small doses over time, which was about all I could manage with the other stressors I'm faced with.

Then another friend made it possible for me to go to the service. That offer was unexpected and heartwarming, and I jumped at it... but it puts a time limit on how far I need to get in the grieving process in order to make it through the service without having a meltdown. So there's work to do.

And I feel like an ass for making it all about me, because that's not the way this is supposed to be... but I'm beyond overwhelmed, and the process of getting through it all is the only thing I can think about unless I force myself to take a little energy from all of that and put it into remembering what a marvelous person she was. And that little bit of energy turns into a massive drain as I connect with the feelings of loss and love and regret and every other complicated, messy bit of it.

Her husband called her an angel, and he's right -- she was the kind of person who exuded and attracted goodness in all its forms. She had her issues and her struggles, and she came through each challenge with a deeper sense of grace and peace than she'd had before. I was struck by the tone of her voice as she talked about her prognosis... I didn't hear sadness or regret or self-pity, I heard acceptance and calmness, and I was in awe. Having known her for so long, I had the privilege of seeing her grow from an awkward, struggling child into a capable, brilliant, joyful woman, and it's bittersweet that the world felt the warmth of that joy for such a short time.

I remember marching with her in the Memorial Day parade, representing our 4-H club. I remember the birthday sleepover she threw for me (because my mother always found reasons not to let me have a party), where we played MarioKart and baked a cake... forgetting to add the milk until the batter was already in the pan. I remember her acidentally knocking over a cup of lemonade in her dorm room and exclaiming, "THIS IS WHY I CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!" I remember standing in her grandmother's house, braiding her hair for her as we got ready for the renaissance faire. I remember how radiant she looked at her wedding, and how happy I was that she'd found someone who saw her for who she was and loved her for it.

I remember how she scrunched her eyes when she laughed, how she wagged her hand in front of her before she sneezed, how she never took herself too seriously... and I remember unhappier things, too... but they all made her the brave, loving soul she was. I miss her, and always will.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

You Keep Using That Word...

Seen on the internet:

"Exclusive pure lenin sarees"

I bet they only come in red.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Age Is Only A Number

Him: "You don't have the face of a 41-year-old."
Me: "That's probably because I'm 37."
Him: "...You don't have the face of a 37-year-old, either."
Me: "I'll take the compliment."

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jump!

Parking out in the boonies to cuddle and listen to the radio is a lovely experience on a warm spring evening, right up to the point where you go to start the vehicle and find that you've drained the battery. Trying to flag down help in an area with little vehicular traffic and no houses is also problematic. Luckily, one of the cars that passed without stopping called the cops, so a State Trooper came to check things out a few minutes later, and he had a portable jump-starter with him, so we were on our way in short order. As adventures go, it was on the mild side, for which I'm thankful -- more fun than scary is always preferable when it comes to unexpected situations.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Innards In and Outards Out

Things you learn living on a farm: how to deal with vent prolapse in a chicken who laid a gigantic egg. Our little Leghorns aren't supposed to pop out eggs that look like they came from a goose, but one of the girls did it, and her innards took a beating as a result. So we got out the hemorrhoid cream, gloved up, and tucked her bits back where they're supposed to be. We'll keep an eye on her for the next few days, but she ought to be okay.

That egg, though... yikes!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Road Trip

A while back, a window colleague in Detroit bought some glass from a deconstruction job site I was working on in Vermont, with the understanding that she and I would see each other at a conference later that year, so I could deliver the glass to her. I ended up not going to the conference, and our schedules got complicated, so the glass moved with me when I relocated to Connecticut a few weeks ago. We finally got our schedules to synch up for a day, so we drove to a halfway point in the middle of Pennsylvania for the hand-off. The trip went splendidly, the glass went home with her, and it's one less thing for me to stress about, finally.

Back when I thought I might be driving all the way out to Detroit to make the delivery, I mentioned the trip to someone who didn't know me very well, and he asked when I'd be going so he could put it on his calendar and come with me, phrased in such a way as to suggest he was making this offer for my benefit, as if I needed help. I scoffed a little and told him I'd be making the trip alone, and he seemed taken aback. I'm far happier driving by myself most of the time -- having all that time to myself without having to strain to hear what a companion is saying or force myself to be social is part of the joy of long trips. I can listen to whatever I like, chatter to myself, admire the scenery, stop when I need to, and not have to worry about anyone's needs but my own. It's wonderful! So his "helpful" offer was an unwelcome imposition, especially given that he didn't ask whether I wanted company first.

Yesterday's trip was lovely, but for the intermittent rain that pestered me all day. Getting on the road at 5:45am on a Sunday made for a traffic-free drive out, and even the traffic I encountered on the way back wasn't too bad. Part of the trip was through an area I've never travelled before, and I loved broadening my range. I did discover that Pennsylvania is awful about picking up roadkill -- I must've seen three dozen deer carcasses, and about as many birds (hawks, vultures, and turkeys), in addition to occasional coyotes and opossums. I passed the hospital in which I was born, stopped for dinner a few miles from where my father grew up, and marveled at how much things have changed.

I'm a little sad that I don't have any other long trips to look forward to in the near future, but I'm sure I'll come up with something. And I'll do it alone, because, for me, that's the best way to travel.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Adrenaline Rush

I have a long day with a very early start tomorrow, so I got up early today and have been keeping active to fend off a mid-afternoon nap. Just as I was feeling my energy start to wane, I glanced out the window and saw one of my housemate's dogs roaming free.

We got her back after a block-long chase, but my heart's still pounding. I'm awake, for sure!