Thursday, October 28, 2010

It'll be my first pah-ty, Fah-tha!

Me: The hills are aliiiiiiive...with the sound of muuuuuusiiiiiic...
Joe: Have you been watching Moulin Rouge?

I've been walking around singing songs from The Sound of Music for the past few days and WITH GOOD REASON. For, you see, there was a Sound of Music sing-a-long at a nearby movie theater on Tuesday and I went (DUH) even though it was on a school night and I'd be up past my bedtime.

I saw an advertisement for this sing-a-long a few weeks ago when Joe and I went to see The Social Network. When I saw the preview for it, I believe my exact words were, "OMFG OMFG I HAVE TO GO TO THAT OMFG," and Joe was all, "...eff," because he was afraid he'd have to go with me. But. I posted something about it on (the) Facebook and soon had tentative plans to go with some of my family members, because they're awesome like that. And really, I told Joe that the only reason he wasn't excited about it at all was because he's never seen the movie, something that is GROSS AND WRONG, but not quite as gross and wrong as never having seen The Goonies.

So last week was total shit, right? Right. And I've been pretty Debbie Downer lately as a result. Anyway, it turns out that Julie Andrews works kind of like anti-depressants. Like, I cannot be in a bad mood if Julie Andrews is singing, I just can't. I love her.

You know what else I love? When crowds sing along to songs at concerts. Not, like, one really loud guy who is singing so loud that I can't hear the artist (JOE) but when the whole crowd sings and you can't make out one voice from another. The sing-a-long was like that plus Julie Andrews, which equals NOW WE ARE SO HAPPY, WE DO THE DANCE OF JOY. Truly. I did the math just now and it totally worked.

I went with two of my cousins and two of my aunts, and everyone had such a good time, which is really what everyone needed. I highly recommend going to one of these if you have the chance. Obviously, you should go if you love The Sound of Music, but who doesn't love The Sound of Music? I'll tell you who...NAZIS.

It'd been years since I'd seen the movie all the way through. Especially considering that, when I was younger, I used to fast forward to my favorite parts, which were: the nuns singing about how terrible Maria is, Maria singing about how she's all confident and shit, Rolf being all patronizing and telling Liesl she needs someone to take care of her (I was young, I didn't know that Rolf was a big turdface until he blew his stupid whistle), Do Re Mi, the creepy puppet show, the party where Maria and Captain von Trapp dance and have all the UST, Baronness Bitchface getting dumped so Captain von Trapp can go dance and sing and make out with Maria, and, OK, all the singing parts, especially Captain von Trapp singing because he is dreamy with a capital D that stands for DAMN which rhymes with BAM I JUST PASSED OUT BECAUSE HE'S SO DREAMY.

The only singing part I didn't like was when the Boss Nun sings about climbing mountains because it was boring and I wanted to get back to watching Maria and Captain von Trapp make googly eyes at each other. Now that I think about it, they might be the first couple I ever shipped, except for maybe Red and Gobo on Fraggle Rock which is TOTALLY NORMAL SHUT UP.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

one more sad

Last week was a weird one, I must say. I worked Monday and Tuesday and had the rest of the week off. My company does a lot of things wrong but they do bereavement leave right. Not sure what to make of that.

I went to volunteering on Tuesday night, something I was more than a little worried about, as it is a group for grieving children. I worried about bursting into tears as soon as I walked in, but it was actually the perfect place for me to be. Which in hindsight is a big, fat DUH but my foresight is absolute shit.

I saw my family almost every day last week, which was good, but also cried a lot, which was not so fun, actually. I held it together for most of the viewing, even though I had to go hide in the kitchen (under pretense of water-getting) a few times, and I held it together not at all on Friday at the funeral. I did manage to read this:

The thing about having a grandma is that you think she’ll always be there, because she’s always been there. From the moment you’re born, she’s with you, cheering you on and letting you stay up too late and pretending not to notice when you swipe a peppermint from the candy jar when your parents aren’t looking. She’s just as proud of you for graduating as she is that you didn’t fall down while walking across the stage. So when your grandma dies, you feel it instantly. That person who used to let you win at board games and who totally believed you when you said you were going to grow up to be Mary Poppins is gone.

The hardest thing about losing someone you love is the realization that you’ll never see them again. That all of the memories you have of that person are it, there will never be more. You realize how very little time we actually get and you wish, desperately, for more.

We must remember that the memories we have of Grandma are ours forever. We might feel like we’re losing them or that we don’t have enough of them, but the memories we have of her are like puzzle pieces and each person in this family holds different pieces of the puzzle. Late night card games and camping trips, watching Disney movies over and over and sleepovers on New Years Eve, walking up to Lincoln Park and feeding ducks at the pond, chocolate martinis and Happy Birthday Jesus cakes. We all hold these memories and when we tell stories about Grandma, we’re putting the puzzle pieces together. We’re a family of storytellers, a family that can’t get together without telling stories of times past, and as long as we can share our memories of Grandma, she’ll always be with us.

But only because the eulogies were first and especially only because I ran up to the mic before anyone else got a chance to make me cry. After I sat back down, though, all bets were off. TEARS. EVERYWHERE. But I suppose that's what funerals are for, really, so...whatever.

I feel very whatever lately. Very blah. Very other words for depressed. Things are getting back to normal, I suppose. We watched Chuck last night and walked Max and laughed about stupid things and I read my book and went to sleep and had crazy, crazy dreams.

Which I expected, as I have been having some wicked crazy dreams lately. I've dreamt of zombies at least four out of the past seven nights. The other night, I dreamt that I was in that movie Skyline. Have you seen the preview? It looks pretty run of the mill alien-movie until the last shot, which is of lots and lots of screaming people being pulled into spaceships by a beam of light. Freaked my shit out, that did. Anyway, some other people and I were running from this light, obviously, and we took shelter in a house. Someone realized that the light couldn't pull up people with dyed hair (what?) so we all dyed our hair. Mine was dark, dark black, like Evil!Willow black. We went outside to test it but mine didn't work, the light still came and I started getting pulled away and that's when Robert Downey, Jr. flew over in his Iron Man suit (minus the helmet) and saved me, which was pretty awesome because Robert Downey, Jr. is totally on my list, only I woke up before I could dream-cheat on Joe. Oh well, maybe next time.

(I love you, Joe!)

Anyway. I don't know what all the zombie/alien dreams say about my psyche right now and I don't want to know, thank you very much, I just wish they'd stop.

I am, however, totally OK with the Robert Downey, Jr. dreams. HINT HINT, UNIVERSE.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


On the first day of training to be a volunteer with Oak Tree Corner, we did an exercise where we had to come up with different ways to say someone died. Passed on, passed away, went to Heaven, pushing up daisies, sleeping with the fishes...these are all examples of things people say instead of, "so and so died." Obviously, ones like "passed on" are used more often than "sleeping with the fishes," unless, of course, you're living in some sort of Sopranos world, in which case you might say that a lot. But I digress.

There's a point to the exercise. Kids find death just as confusing as adults, but the difference is, kids are very literal. If you tell a kid that someone who died went to Heaven, the kid might think they're coming back some day. Like Heaven is just somewhere people go on vacation. So we're taught to say someone died, not someone passed away.

After I did this exercise, I began to notice more and more that no one ever wants to say died or dead. It sounds too harsh. Too final. If you look at the obituary page, it's full of "passed aways."

I don't know why I'm talking about all that. Stalling, maybe. What I'm trying to say is that my grandma died on Friday, but I don't want to say died because dead is forever and that, well, that totally sucks.

My mom called me at work on Thursday to tell me my grandma had a fever and they thought she might have pneumonia. Later on, I found out that they might soon be calling hospice in. And I spent the majority of that afternoon running to the bathroom to cry in the stall.

My parents picked Joe and I up Thursday evening so we could go to the nursing home. My aunt and uncle were waiting for us. They'd already been in to see grandma, and since their eyes were red-rimmed from crying, I knew things weren't good. We went back to her room. She was lying in her bed, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't fall out, and she wouldn't wake up at all. She looked so small.

My dad spoke to her nurse and then we met back up with my aunt and uncle. The words, "end of life," were used. My mom called my other aunt, told her to come see grandma, but not by herself. Still, we thought we had days yet, to say goodbye.

Mom called me Friday morning. I already had the day off of work, so I was still lying in bed. She told me that she and Dad were meeting hospice people at the nursing home because Grandma still had a fever and wasn't getting any better.

I got up, got dressed, and was about to take Max out when my phone rang again. My heart jumped into my throat when I saw it was my mom calling. I choked out a hello and knew, knew before my mom even said it, that she had died.

I tried Joe's cell phone, but he was at work so he didn't see it, and I was getting angrier and angrier with myself because I couldn't find his work number. "Idiot," I thought. "Why isn't it in your cell phone?"

Finally, I emailed him and asked him to call me. My phone rang almost instantly and I wondered if I'd even be able to talk. I didn't know how to say the words: Grandma died. But when I answered, all he said was, "Do I need to come home?" and I managed to squeak out a "yeah," and he was on his way.

It was a strange day. I mean, obviously. What a stupid thing to say. Of course it was strange. But Joe came home and I cried. He made me eat breakfast. I cried. We watched The Daily Show. I cried. I talked to my mom and cried and showered and cried and did I mention I cried? My head ached from crying, but by the time we went to my parents', I had mostly composed myself. We met with the pastor to go over the funeral service and we looked through pictures of my grandma. We told stories and drank wine and ate pizza.

Yesterday, I walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and we took my sister to dinner and watched football and drank beer and ate junk food and it was almost like I was a normal person again. Look at me, I'm joking with the waitress and reading my Google Reader and cooking banana bread and watching Jurassic Park and you'd never know my heart broke wide open just two days ago. Don't worry, though, I found all the pieces and I think I remember how they go together. Just might take me some time, is all.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

thank you!

Thank you to all who donated! You are my most favorite people, right up there with Joe and Mr. Darcy and Hermione Granger and don't start on how two of those people are imaginary because in my head they are as real as you SO THERE.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is thank you very much. Hee.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I need your good thoughts. Also, your money.

We lived next door to my dad's mom until right before I started third grade, when we moved into a bigger house across town. While we lived next door (which was a street away from where Joe grew up, btw), she used to baby-sit me after school. At some point, I don't remember when because I'm old now and those memories are fuzzy, my Granny moved in. Granny was not blood-related to any of us, but had raised my Grandpa and so she was family. I think that's how family works.

Granny died a few years after we moved, and my grandma moved into the condo that Joe and I are now renting. Life hasn't been very fair to Grandma, and yeah, yeah, I know life's not fair but that's not going to stop me from being pissed off about it. Her husband, my grandfather, died before I was born. He was only 46. When I was in college, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat that and was diagnosed with diabetes. And a few years ago, doctors found a cyst that was pushing on her brain, causing confusion and other physical problems.

I remember being relieved when I found out that it was a cyst and not a tumor. But now I think, "fuck that cyst," because it has been nothing but a pain in the ass (brain?) ever since it turned up. It's required two of the same surgery, a shunt, and a temporary-turned-permanent stay in a variety of nursing homes. And the surgeries? They seemed to work at the time but she's been in a spiraling state of confusion ever since. She became paranoid and was sometimes mean. Sometimes funny mean, like when she threatened to punch my dad in the gonads, but other times mean mean. Mostly she was just confused. She sometimes thought she was back in her childhood home. She thought she had more than one room at the nursing home and always insisted that we take her to it.

She did have moments of complete lucidity, where she was all there, all Grandma again, and she'd make a joke or tell a story from when my dad was a kid. My sister and I visited once, and I spent the majority of the visit pushing Grandma's wheelchair up and down the hallways of the nursing home because she insisted that we go to her "other" room and no amount of me telling her that there WAS no other room was going to dissuade her. We spent a good hour exploring the halls and we never found it, of course, but when we got back to Grandma's room, she looked me square in the eye, all there, and said, "You're a good kid." I laughed it off, as I do whenever anything gets too serious, and made a comment about how I hadn't been a kid in a very long time. Then we talked about the new Where the Wild Things movie.

That's the last time I remember seeing the Grandma I grew up with. Since then, she's only gotten worse. She was recently moved to a home that specializes in Alzheimer's and dementia patients. I won't go into details, but she's been a handful, to put it mildly, and this was primarily the reason she couldn't come to the wedding.

Last weekend it reached epically bad proportions, as her doctors try to find a balance in her medication. They need to keep her calm without over-medicating her. I haven't seen her yet in the new home but I imagine it's not good, as my parents have forbidden me or any of the other grandkids to go see her without one of our parents. She's not eating. My parents couldn't wake her up when they visited last, she was so over-medicated. So. It's bad. I feel stupid and naive for thinking it would ever get better.

This coming Saturday, I'm walking in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk in honor of both my Grandma and Aunt Kathy, both breast cancer survivors. I've done a pretty piss-poor job raising money, so if you can find it in your hearts (and wallets) to make a donation, I'll be your best friend. Or say really nice things about you on the internets. Or write a post about anything you want. Hopefully not one as sad face as this one, though, I had to take a lot of DON'TYOUCRYRIGHTNOW breaks.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear!

I think weird thoughts, like, all the time. And after I think these thoughts, I wonder what's wrong with me. Like, sometimes I'll be having a crazy thought and be all, "STOP THINKING THIS RIGHT NOW...WTH IS WRONG WITH YOU? STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT," like if I'm home alone and trying to go to sleep and suddenly I'm imagining someone lurking into the dark room and when I open my eyes, I know I'll see someone standing over me, swinging an axe over my head, I just know it, but can I stop thinking about it? No, I cannot. I can never stop my brain from thinking a thought it's already started thinking.

Like, every morning, since I get up first, I take Max out so his bladder doesn't explode all over the house because that would probably be messy, and I already have to clean up Phoebe's barf so I'm not cleaning up exploded bladder, too. And since I have to get up super early so my corporate overlords don't fire me, it's still dark out when I walk him. I also usually forget to put on my glasses, so everything is all blurry around the edges, but blurrier than it would normally be when I'm not wearing glasses because I'm all half asleep. And bra-less. That has nothing to do with this story, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I'd share it.

ANYWAY. We're walking and it's dark and blurry and I'm stumbling over my flip flops and shivering because I'm wearing pajama pants and when did it get so cold, Ohio? And every time I hear a noise, my mind immediately goes to zombies. I don't know why. It just does. I mean, sure, I've been reading World War Z every night before bed, but I think that's irrelevant because I've had this zombie-phobia for YEARS now. So then I start imagining what I would do if a zombie ran up behind me. I'd have to protect Max, obviously, but I'd need to find a weapon and THERE ARE NO WEAPONS OUTSIDE. I'd have to rip a branch off of a tree but I'm pretty sure that by the time I managed that, the zombie would have already ripped off an ear or something. PLUS. Since everything is all no-glasses-blurry, I might not even notice that the person approaching me is a zombie until it's too late. My point is, I'm screwed if zombies attack in the morning unless I start remembering to put on my glasses before I go outside.

I have a lot of these weird (ok, crazy) thoughts while I'm walking Max. Last night, I was walking him and listening to my iPod and this little girl was playing with a giant stick in her yard. And as I passed her, I thought, "What if she hits me in the head with that stick and goes all Lord of the Flies on me or tries to steal my iPod? I'd have to kick her or something. Would I get arrested? I'd just be defending myself. But she's like 8." Luckily, I'm really short so we were almost the same height and I think the police might have let me off with just a warning.

Last week, I was walking Max at night through a neighboring neighborhood and he totally pooped in someone's bushes! When he did it, I was all, "Are you KIDDING me?" and no, he was not kidding me, but it was so dark that I couldn't find the poo to pick it up and I'm not proud of this but we had to run away. And since we did that, we couldn't walk back to our house the same way or we would have passed the scene of the crime, so I had to cut through the wooded/pond area that is TOTALLY SCARY IN THE DARK. And I kept picturing the headlines, "WOMAN DISAPPEARS FROM PARK, DOG FOUND CHASING DUCKS AT POND" and hoping that if any serial killers were roaming the woods that night, that they would stay away because of my vicious, 25 pound dog. Sigh. Or. OR! That if they attacked me, I'd like, tap into some previously unknown Slayer powers that are lying dormant inside me. IT COULD HAPPEN, SHUT UP.

Also, the other day as I was driving home from work, I wondered what I would do if I turned into some sort of fish mutant while I was driving and could no longer breathe oxygen. I'd have to just drive my car into some water, right? But, like, how would I call Joe and tell him I'd turned into a fish mutant? Do cell phones work underwater? Or would I have to drive into a lake, let the car fill up with water, and then drive home and hope the water didn't leak out during the drive? And, I don't know, live in the bathtub for the rest of my life. You have to prepare for these things, you guys, I'm serious. You'll thank me if you ever turn into a fish mutant.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

the Ken Doll

I first heard of the Kindle back in 2007 from one Heather Anne Hogan. It was the Thanksgiving that I drove to DC to meet The Collective and when I'd finally found my way and parked and lugged all of my stuff into Kat's adorable apartment, Heather Anne told us all of a magical device called the Kindle.

She'd been sitting next to a woman with a Kindle on her flight to DC. And, being Heather Anne Hogan, she became best friends with this stranger and learned all about the wonder of the Kindle. How it was magic and could hold practically a million books inside and also how it cost a lot. We were all amazed, if not slightly suspicious, because who doesn't love the feel of a real book in their hands? In any case, I filed this information away because I didn't even have an iPod at that point, so it wasn't like I was going to go run out and buy this mysterious Kindle. (At the time, I thought everyone was saying Ken Doll instead of Kindle and I was all, "How do you read off of a Ken Doll?" but don't worry, I eventually figured it out.)

Last year, Joe started a new job. Since he started when everyone was getting their Christmas bonuses, he wasn't going to get one. So his boss gave him a Kindle. Yeah. No bonus for you, but here's SOME MAGIC instead. I'm not going to lie to you. I was jealous. And not JUST because my Christmas bonus consisted of a booklet about the history of the company and two movie tickets. But, I was also happy for him because I love him blah blah blah and anyway, he let me read books on it sometimes.

The brand new tiny Kindle came out right before we got married. My coworkers gave me a gift card to Target that was JUST ENOUGH for a Kindle, so we tried to find one before the honeymoon. Unfortunately, we weren't successful so, AS PER USUAL, I ended up packing five books in my carry-on, oh, and buying two others over the course of the trip.

But when we got home, we found a faraway(ish) Target (around Hoover Heights, Heather) and soon I had a Kindle. It was like POOF here's your Kindle, that's how easy it was. I soon had it loaded with a couple of books, but it's so hard to stop at a couple of books. Especially when it's so easy to buy them. You only have to click ONE BUTTON on Amazon's website and then it's loaded onto your Kindle. I had no idea books could disapparate, but they keep doing it! From Amazon, straight to my Kindle! IT IS MAGIC, YOU GUYS, DON'T TRY AND TELL ME DIFFERENTLY.

I need to stop, though. I am exceeding my book budget by, like, a lot. Luckily, there are a lot of free books for the Kindle, classics like Pride & Prejudice and Gulliver's Travels. So I loaded all the free books I could find onto my Kindle. I found about 40 of them. I'll be taking all of them with me to DC this weekend and I just hope it's enough.

Monday, October 04, 2010


I'm trying to decide whether to do NaNoWriMo again, but I don't know why I'm even questioning it because I have absolutely no reason NOT to do it. I'm not planning a wedding anymore, so that excuse is out, although my version of wedding planning didn't really take up that much of my time. We're talking about taking Max to some obedience classes, but that wouldn't really use up much of my free time either. Honestly, the only thing that might eat into any writing time is TV or my Kindle. Neither is a good excuse so I think what I'm saying is, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. And also NaBloPoMo because I think doing that last year is why I finished NaNoWriMo. So. Yeah. Don't let me forget by the time November rolls around.

I'm considering posting it all on A Story a Day, but the thought of doing that terrifies me with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for Pool. As in, I'm so terrified of that idea that I will soon be standing in a pool of my own urine. But I'm beginning to realize that I write more consistently if I have an audience, especially if said audience is nicer to me than it should be because I need constant validation, people, CONSTANT VALIDATION.

I've always been this way. I wrote The Evil Summer to send to my friend Erica (Chris, in the actual story) so she could write back and tell me how awesome it was. Erica is the daughter of my dad's BFF Larry. My dad and Larry have known each other since, like, birth and at our wedding reception, they danced to Sonny and Cher's I've Got You, Babe. I think they invented the bromance, I really do. Anyway, Larry and his wife and my parents have been friends since the beginning of time, so my sister and I spent much of our childhood with their kids.

We used to spend weekends at their house in the country, making up games and roller blading around their unfinished basement. There was a wooded area across the field by their house that we called The Swamp. We spent many hours there, trying to catch snakes and frogs, or "fishing" in the two inch deep puddle of stagnant water that made up The Swamp when it rained. And. AND. I cannot believe I'm about to share this, but Erica and I would tape record ourselves singing Wilson Phillips songs, play them back, and congratulate each other on how AWESOME we sounded. The Swamp is where we practiced.

So my point is, maybe I should write a story about The Swamp for NaNo. Actually, that's a lie. I didn't have a point.