The Women’s March (Or Humankind Needs a Hug)

Today was the Women’s March. I didn’t march… again.

I didn’t spent the day speaking for all women alive.

I spent the day taking care of this woman — the one who needed to deposit money into her account so her checks wouldn’t bounce, the one who needed to call her cable company and fix her DVR so it would function properly and actually record programs while she was at work, and the one who needed to turn off the music, silence the world, and just listen to her baby breathe.

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So what if her baby is a 73 pound beast with bad breath?

He is still her baby.

I am that woman. I am the one who needs to take time to write, to cook, and to handle her business.

I am also the one who needs to embrace love and sadness.

Reading the story today about Tyler Hilinski’s suicide (the Washington State Quarterback) brought a flood of emotions about Phil that needed to be felt in the few hours available before I go to work tonight.

What good would I be to womenkind if I didn’t embrace my own needs as a woman today?

Sure, these all sound like excuses and they probably are, but whatever. I accept that.

We are all doing the best we can most of the time — men and women alike.

I’m ALL for the #metoo movement. I’m ALL for women speaking up and telling their stories — as raw and painful as they are. But I’m all for men telling their stories too — I’m all for men embracing their pain and their emotions… before they pull the trigger.

The human experience: male AND female is painful. Being alive exposes us ALL to unimaginable pain, and I want to give the WORLD a hug today.

I’ll probably settle for hugging my dog, but that’s a good start.

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He gives the best hugs… when he’s not sleeping.

XOXO,

I love you ALL.

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Birthday Scheming (Or Time to Annoy Tim)

It’s that time of year again: Time to Annoy Tim.

See, Tim’s birthday is Thursday, and he hates too much attention so obviously his friends and I are scheming to horrify him with a big birthday display at the bar.

We’re leaning toward a big beer tower like this.*

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But with Sierra Nevadas…

and less Mardi Gras beads.

Our friend, Bobby, requested I make the whole thing totally over the top, so naturally I ordered grosgrain ribbons and plastic puppies of all kinds to adorn the tower of Sierra.

Tim loves dogs, so I thought some plastic pups would be perfect.

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He did give me these wine doggies, after all….

I’m also working on dessert ideas. I’m leaning toward ice cream sandwiches with his favorite Heath bar and coffee ice cream in the middle.

This recipe for the chocolate cookie is the front runner for the cookie part right now.

I’ll get back to you with updates when it all comes together.

* I found the photo on Pinterest, but I can’t find the link to the original source.

Gift Wrap Goodness (Or Presents for People I Love)

I like presents.

I like giving them, I like getting them, and I LOVE wrapping them.

Since we’re just ending the holiday season, I thought I should show you some of my giftiness.

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This was a book for Dan.

Dan is from Minnesota (where the moose hang out). Dan likes Jameson, books, and bread pudding. I didn’t have time to make him dessert, but I did make him dinner on Christmas day, so there’s that.

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This was a bartening book for Tim. (He asked for it.)

Tim can be grumpy, but he always brings me clean socks, new shirts, and salad without tomatoes or raw onions because he knows I hate them. He has like 32,000 dogs, so I had to wrap his present in pugs. (Also? I garnished his gift with a lamb’s ear covered in liver paste for one of his beasts.)

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My boss, Brian, likes bread and recipes, so this was for him.

It was a soup recipe book because he’s bonkers for soup. I added some holiday flair in the way of bulbs to counteract his seasonal “Ba-Humbug” situation.

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This naughty nugget and his gift were for Lauren.

Lauren is my dog’s fairy godmother. She lets him sleep with her whenever he spends the night, and we both love her to death.

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This little mouse and his books were for Jody.

Jody and I have been friends since we were 19 years old. We met while we were having meltdowns in edit bays in Ann Arbor, and the rest is history. 20 years later, we’ve been together for funerals, birthdays, Christmas Mass, and everything in between. This is a stack of Narnia books for her son, Connor, who just happens to be my birthday buddy. 

Jody attended my church Christmas Tea in December, and I gave her a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Connor was HOOKED, so I bought her the rest of the series.

More on the church Christmas Tea later….

Tax Time Again (Or the Ghosts of 2017)

It’s tax time again. That means I’m facing the sins of 2017 head-on.

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God, help me, I swear this mess makes sense.

So… yeah… I had my confession with my accountant this morning, and it went reasonably well.

I haven’t been too bad a girl in 2017… REALLY… honestly….

While adding up my receipts, I came across a few that were related to Phil. (I always write names on my receipts at the time so I don’t have to wonder months later why they’re relevant.) For some cruel reason the Phil pile was the pile that kept adding up incorrectly, so I had to count it three times. I didn’t break down crying. I didn’t lose my mind… but if I’m being honest with myself and you, it was a little sad when it set in that those receipts memories are all things of the past.

Phil’s name won’t show up on a receipt in 2018 — or any year in the future… because THE STUPID FUCKING DICKHEAD IS DEAD.

Sorry…

I was maudlin for a minute…

And I was mad. (I probably still am.)

But, since life is about picking yourself up and moving on, I’m going to eat my CPK salad, drink a glass of wine, and be glad I have all kinds of amazing people in my life.

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Like this cute crew…

They are everything.

Okay, that’s all.

The end.

Bye.

SaveSave

Phil

 

Somewhere in the middle of 2016, I met Phil.

It’s hard to know where to begin telling our story, and I’m not sure I can do it justice in a single post.

This is Phil:

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 He is a stupid dickhead for dying in 2017.

If I sound cold and callous calling him names, you must understand that dickhead was one of his terms of endearment, and it also sums up how I feel about him checking out on all of us.

Went big with the beard

It is a colossal waste. 

The world is a lot quieter without his big, boisterous laugh.

My phone isn’t filled with funny messages or pictures of his dog, and my life has been forever changed by another man who couldn’t see past his pain.

My feelings shift from rage to disbelief and from regret to sorrow, sometimes all in the same day.

Phil broke through the barriers to love that I had built over the years. He was the first and only man in five years who did, and even though I miss him every day, I will be forever grateful to God for sending Phil my way.

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He and his big heart opened mine.

So many songs have brought me to my knees since I heard the news, and perhaps no other one more than this:

See, it all started when Phil drove me home — or rather it all changed the first time he drove me home. It all started when he kicked open the swinging doors of the Saloon.

No one is easy to love, least of all me. I can be aloof. I can be opinionated. I can be intimidating, but Phil was never scared of me. He was a force of nature strong enough to meet mine.

I celebrated the first hours of my 38th birthday with him watching videos on his cracked iPhone screen. He was my first kiss at midnight in 2017, and my best hug of the year. The last day he held me was July 3. If I had known then what I know now, I would have chased him and his stupid Uhaul all of the way back to Minnesota. I would have booked that flight I kept pricing. I would have told him I loved him.

I’m not saying I could have saved him with my words or my actions, but selfishly, I think it might have made this mess just a tiny bit easier for me if I hadn’t held back here and there.

There are so many things that were left unsaid between us, and maybe the only thing I can do now is promise myself I will never hold back the important words from anyone else who means as much to me as he did.

I missed his funeral because I got the news a few days too late, and I’ve been looking for ways to find my own closure. I took up a collection from our friends to send his parents flowers. I’ve been trying for weeks to write his parents a letter. I bought Modelo tall boys from the liquor store where he bought them for us the night we rearranged the rulers and t-squares mounted on his wall.

It all sounds so small, but the best memories often are.

Phil never hesitated with me — or in anything — even death.

God, I wish he had hesitated just that last time.

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If he had, I wouldn’t have to sit on a sidewalk outside his office and cry in his favorite beer.

Cheers, Phil.

“Have good times” in heaven.

I love you.

Birthdays, Bows, and Banana Leaf Jammies (Or Hedy’s Birthday)

Monday is my Aunt Hedy’s birthday. (It also happens to be Tom Cruise’s birthday too — in case you care.)

Hedy’s leaving tomorrow for her annual holiday in Hawaii, so it was imperative that I deliver her present today.

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OK, technically it was presents, plural, but whatever. 

I put shells on her plunder because she’s planning to bask on the beach for two weeks like a boss, and I like to be thematically appropriate when I can.

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I may have used a glue gun… and paint pens.

Also?

I made sure the ribbons matched the card because I’m me — and I care about things like that.

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Please ignore the dog toys on the floor. 

My attention to detail only goes so far; sometimes usually there’s an errant dog toy in my pics. (I’m all about gift wrap, but photography and I are NOT friends.)

So that’s the latest in my life.

Well, that and the super important thing that happened yesterday: my Katie Kime jammies arrived!!! They are a banana leaf print with a pink monogramed breast pocket and they are the absolute PINNACLE of bedtime fashion.

More on that later… I promise.

Now I need to kiss my beast on his gorgeous dog face 14,000 times before I go to work.

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Enjoy your nap while I slave to keep you in kibble, kid.

Just kidding!!!

He’s the best baby ‘roo who ever lived, and I’d do anything to make him happy.

Sad Sushi and Book Recs (Or Random Procrastination)

I have a confession: SugarFish has basically ruined all other raw fish for me. Today I thought I’d make a feeble attempt at frugality, so I walked to the Sushi Stop up the street for lunch instead. I saved myself a sad $18 and ended up with salmon I wanted to feed to the dog because it just wasn’t on a bed of warm, sticky rice.

Albus will now have albacore for dinner because I just couldn’t choke that down…

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And because I love the goofy bastard more than I love people.

He really is, like, literally a bastard. He doesn’t actually have a daddy — a truth that troubles my grandmother during the rare, lucid moments when she remembers who I am.

She recently asked me no less than four times in the span of a 15 minute conversation if I had a boyfriend. Each time I simply answered, “no,” while my aunt sniped at her in the background a) for repeating herself, and b) for caring more about my relationship status than my career. My grandma finally said, “Hedy said I asked you that question five times.”

“It was four. Tell her she can’t count.”

We are not nice people.

I don’t mean to mock dementia because it’s awful watching the woman who used to send you care packages full of homemade cookies forget how to turn on her stove, but if I’m being honest I must admit we ALL feel like we’re losing our minds with the situation. It’s hard on everyone — including her.

The whole thing has given me an idea for a novel, though, so I’m starting to outline the story beats.

I have procrastinated by reading other people’s books long enough. It’s time to try to write my own.

But before I do that, here’s one last ditch effort at procrastination:

A short list of the best books I’ve read recently while not writing my own stuff.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – This book is super disturbing and you may not want to be my friend any more after you read it, but I promise you won’t be able to put it down. I finished it in 24 hours.

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall – This is one of most delightful books I’ve read in absolutely forever. I devoured it in four days and was devastated when it ended. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Polly. The woman shoots blanks at squirrels, doesn’t understand why her daughter’s Jesus doesn’t let her drink margaritas, and brings a falcon to a parent-teacher conference. I want to be Polly when I grow up.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This is not to be confused with Still Alice, which I can’t bring myself to read because of the whole-my-Grandma-doesn’t-know-who-I-am-thing. Coincidentally, it also deals with memory loss, but in a charming, Moriarty kind of way that leads to love and stuff.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Yes, Liane again. This woman can write. Trust.

And now I really will work on my outline because I’m not trying to wait tables for the rest of my life.

Also?

I need to make more money so I don’t have to make any more sacrifices that involve cold sushi rice.