Monday, September 25, 2023


Need your help.

What do you say or do for someone you care about who's in a physically abusive relationship?
And is in denial about it?
"But she's not always that way."
"It's my fault. I made her mad."
"She's really sorry."
All the cliques. 

What do you do?

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Grief Counseling

Imagine you are standing at the edge of a dark, dense forest. The ground behind you has fallen away, you cannot go back the way you came. There is no way to skirt around the forest ahead; you must enter it or exist forever where you are.

Next to you are four people you've chosen for counsel.
The first person says, "When I went through this forest, it was awful. I got lost and wandered in circles for the longest time. It was just awful."
The second person says to the first person, "If it makes you feel any better, when I went through this forest I got stuck in a swamp. Never saw it. Just stepped right in it and sank up to my knees. I struggled so hard to get out. Lost one of my good boots and my walking stick." And to you, she says, "Those things can be replaced, of course, but still."
The third person says, "If you think that's bad, when I went through this forest I had to deal with the monkeys. The biting, the scratching. The little buggers throwing their feces from the trees. But the constant screeching! Oh, that was the worst!"
The fourth person says, "I'm so sorry you have to go through this forest. We all have to do it some time, and it's different for everyone. Here's a map to help you find your way, and here's a flashlight for when it gets really dark. And here's a satellite phone so you can call me when you need to talk or hear a friendly voice."

Now imagine the dark, dense forest is your future after someone you love has died. And the four people are friends and family members who are trying to help.
I've traveled through that damned forest several times, and I've had mostly lousy counsel. Usually, they were more interested in talking about their own experiences than listening. 

I've been fortunate to get some professional grief counseling. But three out of four non-professional encounters have been unhelpful and sometimes harmful.

I had a well-meaning relative who wondered aloud which was worse: knowing ahead of time that a loved one was going to die, or having a loved one die without any warning at all. She then told me that other relatives had hoped my mom wouldn't die on the one-year anniversary of another relative's death and how relieved she was that it turned out not to be the same day. Her advice to me, which I hadn't asked for, was to touch my mother's body because that's what she did at her brother's funeral, and it helped her come to terms with his death.

A coworker asked me what kind of cancer my sister had. When I told her the tumors were on my sister's liver, she was relieved. She told me about someone she knew who had rectal cancer, and it was the worst. "Can you imagine?" she said. "Ass cancer!" And she walked away very sure she had cheered me up.

Three out of four people absolutelylet me down.

If someone you know is grieving, be their fourth person. Acknowledge their grief, express sympathy, and offer support. Don't try to tell them how they should feel, how to get past it, or to be thankful it isn't worse.

Be their fourth.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Long Week, and it's only Tuesday

More than one person today commented how It's been a long week. 
I, for one, have been a super cranky pants. The Husband, who normally would never say so, has said so.

What is it with this week?

Saturday, August 26, 2023

This Soda Says Love

These might look like regular bottles of soda to you, but they are a representation of how The Husband is the most thoughtful, wonderful man. Let me explain...

He called me at work. "I'm stopping at the grocery store on my way home. You need anything?"
I requested some Dr. Pepper.

When I got home, this is how the soda was set on the counter with one bottle of Dr. Pepper missing from the 6-pack.

"Aw, babe. You are so sweet to me!" I said.
"What'd I do?"
"You put one of my sodas in the fridge so it'd be cold by the time I got here."

That is first class love and devotion, y'all. I chose wisely.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Who What Where When Why-Fi

I tried to connect to Younger Son's wi-fi while cat-sitting for him this weekend. 

He and his neighbors are quite clever.

Here are some of my connection choices:

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Many Words With Many Friends

I spent a good part of today trying to find a couple who could come to a Friday night show with The Husband and me. We already paid for 4 tickets, so we needed to find two more people.

I went through darned near every local contact stored in my phone. I reached out to people I hadn't heard from in over a year. The Husband and I were getting so desperate,  we discussed GOING OUTSIDE and TALKING TO NEIGHBORS. IN PERSON! The horror!

We were naturally relieved to eventually find a couple that didn't already have plans. Whew!
But I was rather embarrassed to have gone through so many people and extend invitations with shorter and shorter notice.

"On the plus side," The Husband said, "everyone you called now thinks we're really good friends to have thought of inviting them." 😁

Barney On His Way

Barney, the man I left behind when I moved from Michigan to Wisconsin, continues to pop up in my dreams. His appearance often represents things that aren't related to the relationship we had.

We ran into each other in my dreams once again last night.

In the dream I am walking through an auditorium. It's the kind where the the floor is both the seats and the steps that lead down to the performance area. I'm passing through this space on my way to get somewhere else.
I feel amazing. I am confident, strong, invincible. I'm wearing my power suit, and for once, having a good hair day.

There's a small group of people gathered a few steps down from me.
Barney is one of them. A rolling suitcase is at his side, his hand rests on its handle. He is headed somewhere important, and he is dressed to impress. 

The moment I recognize who he is, he looks up at me. There's a golden glow around him as his smile lights up the room.

"There she is," he says. And he beckons me to come over.

I step down and approach, but the people standing next to him keep shifting and moving between us. About the time I realize they'll never let me reach him, he fades away, and the dream disintegrates.

I woke up feeling very good about this dream. It had been truly good to see him, and to be seen by him.... before he left.

And I wonder now if Barney in real life might have left this world last night and had stopped by to see me on his way to somewhere important.

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Brownie Power

There was a special work event last week. The company bought lunch. Included was a giant platter of decadent, caramel-topped brownies cut 3 inches square.

These things were HUGE!

I'd greedily consumed half of my brownie by the time a co-worker across the table from me declared, "Oh, this is too rich. I'm out."
Another dropped her fork. "Yeah, I'm struggling."

"Quitters!" I said. "I'm powering through!" And I ate the whole thing while they laughed.

I regret nothing.

Thursday, August 03, 2023

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Things that are keeping me from sleeping tonight:

1) People die so randomly. It would be much more simple if everyone would leave in the same order they entered.

2) Bunch of work garbage. Too many changes over the past year. Too few answers to why the things under my responsibility are not performing well. Trying to focus on the reasons and not the excuses.

3) I don't feel well. I don't feel ill, but I am not at my best. Stress. Thyroid. Lack of sleep, obvi.

4) I don't have any friends nearby. Not any close ones, anyway. I have plenty of acquaintances, plenty of people like me well enough. But I'd be hard pressed to know who to call if something happened to The Husband and I needed help. Hell, I'm hard pressed now to think of anyone to invite to events I want to attend. The Husband and I bought 4 tickets to a show next week, and we can't think of any couples to take with us.
I tell myself this item isn't true and that I'm just tired and obsessing, but it doesn't help.

4) My boobs are giant, and hot, and uncomfortable in the summer.

5) I want a snack. Yeah, maybe a little self-care by way of a banana and handful of peanuts is the answer tonight.

Sleep well, friends. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Kitty Play Date

As promised, Elder Son brought his cat along when he came home to do laundry this weekend.

His cat headed straight for the litter box and pooped in it.
Then she made a beeline for the food dish and told me it was empty. (It was not.)
She then strolled casually around the house, silently judging the changes that have happened since she'd last been here.

The whole while, Cat 3.0 followed her. Giving her side eye the way a toddler watches another kid touching his toys.

They played some. Chased each other around some. Wrestled some. Lounged in windows watching critters some.
Eventually, they each curled up and napped in their favorite spots.

They packed a lot into a couple of hours.

When Elder Son was ready to leave, he held out the cat carrier, and she hopped right in. No fuss, no muss.

Cat 3.0 watched them leave and spent the rest of the day following me and The Husband around. Asking for scritches. Rolling over, exposing his belly. Purring loudly. Much like he did when we brought him home from the shelter.
So content. So happy.
So grateful?

He does not appear to miss his feline companion.