That’s a groovy button. What does it say?


That’s a neat button. What does it say?STTPC

Thanks to my Monkees concertgoing friends, a lifelong dream has come true!

On seeing The Hobbit. With my dad in my purse.

Oh Lord! Another one of those kinds of posts! No, not really, but well, a little, maybe.

I was in Chicago for a few days for work, and came home with a flu like no other. I thought I had pneumonia, and the worst part of it was that it hit me about twelve minutes after I came home from my grandma’s 95th birthday party. (“Party” is a stretch, as I brought her a pizza and some cheesecake, and I fussed over her as little as possible, per her staunch wishes.) And I had a flu shot! So on top of the chills, fever and all that jazz: betrayal! and fear! Grandma was completely fine, though my croaking calls to check in on her made her worry even more than usual. Just balls all around, this flu. I was down for the count for a full week.

Silver lining: I was far too sick to see The Hobbit during its opening weekend.

My original plan was to see Les Miserables today, but all showings were sold out when I tried to buy a ticket yesterday, so, with a lump in my throat — imminent blubbering, burbling there — a trip to Middle Earth was booked before I could lose my nerve. What a perfect mix of really wanting to see a movie and completely being so fucking indescribably sad about it. And while maybe it wasn’t completely necessary, I did indeed tuck my little pouch of his ashes into my purse so he could literally be there with me.

I got there early and plucked a plum spot, and the theater was jam-packed by the time the previews started. The only open seat I could see was the one I’d joked about saving for my dad, and I almost wished some late jackass had butted his way through the sea of legs to sit there, because having an empty seat next to me was just a little too symbolic, you know? So it goes.

I loved the movie, and dad would have too. Hell, he would have seen it about eight times by now. As my stop-bawling pep-talk goes: I’m so grateful that he shared his love for those books (and so much else) with me. That’s one way he’s always with me, whether he’s in my purse or not.

And so this is Christmas

Stockings hung by the chimney with care, the yule log channel ablaze on the big ol’ television contraption, and me, curled up with a Christmas book, a cup of tea, and Obi the Obnoxious sprawled over me in a sort of feline Pietá reenactment.

It’s snowing outside, and beautiful, and it’s been a bummer of a Christmas for so many people I know, so I’m sending my love and groovy hippy-dippy good vibes in so many directions. Surrounding myself with comfort and loveliness helps make that easier to do.

White Christmas

A brownish area, with points

I was daring this summer and went for as pixie-ish a haircut as I’ve ever had, and for a little while I loved it. I feel trapped by it now. After my last maintenance session I, my glasses removed so the hair-artist could snip away, squinted at my blurry self in the stylist’s mirror and thought: Lucille Austero, not Fantine. You are a brownish area, with points. And I put on a broad smile for my stylist, who is a doll, and was so proud of her razor-handiwork, as she should be I suppose. Maybe I’ll leave it alone until summer, by which time it might brush my shoulders again, and be ponytailable.

Speaking of Fantine: I spent much of today listening to various Les Misérables cast recordings, and trying to cope with the giddying excitement for the movie, to which I am taking myself as a Christmas Day present. And I’m really not that much of a theater-nerd! I wasn’t overly nutty for the original musical back in high school, when some of my friends were wearing out their original Cosette T-shirts! The trailers are so perfect and thrilling and yeah, I’m all a-shiver and kooky with anticipation.

On the flipside of this goony nerdiness, I think that being overly excited for that movie is a way of avoiding how bittersweet The Hobbit is for me. My dad was the world’s biggest Tolkien fanatic, was completely smitten with the films, and the bit of his ashes I received after he passed away currently reside in a light-up Aragorn goblet from Burger King because shut up, that would make him laugh. I’ve joked for months about tucking my dad’s ashes into my pocket so he could come with me to the movie, and believe me, I still will, but holy shit, it hurts. Grief has this way of fucking you up, of being bigger and deeper and more raw than you thought it was. I find that I just have to let myself cry when I feel like crying about it, and even though that doesn’t make me feel better, exactly, I don’t feel worse.

When you’re sad, be sad. Seems simple but it’s not always easy to do.

Well hey, since I’m on a bummer-roll, let’s talk about Glitch. Sad. A couple years ago, I pined for an invite, and when I finally nabbed one, was completely smitten, head over heels in love with that gentle, ridiculous, beautiful world. I fell away from it after awhile, and when I heard it was closing I wasn’t exactly surprised… it’s an odd game, the opposite of the money-making Facebook money-grinders, and seemed too sweet and strange to actually be profitable… but oh, it’s heartbreaking. I’ve been back, wandering the world, soaking it in before it goes away. It might be even more beautiful now, with everyone so sad and especially kind and sweet, the wondrous world infused with an apocalyptic melancholy.

I’ve added some of the game sounds and tunes to my phone so that I’ll carry some of the love around with me. And I really look forward to seeing what Tiny Speck does next.

*~*-*.*. Beep be deep deep beep beep beep .*.*-*~*
We interrupt this bummer with some lighter crapola

A couple of my friends were headed to see the Monkees in New Jersey tonight, and I’m excited to hear about it, and even more excited because at the merchandise table there is a set of buttons that fulfill a long-held dream, and my friends will attempt to buy them for me. A Save The Texas Prairie Chicken button? Are you kidding me? If I could go back in time to my fourteen-year-old self, nothing, and I mean literally nothing, would impress her more. Well, maybe if I pranced in dragging Simon LeBon by the arm, but I’m not sure even that would stand up to those buttons. If they come through, and I get that button, mark my words: the first thing I’m going to do is wrap toilet paper around my head and re-enact this blooper reel bit. I’ll probably make a cat play Micky’s part. It’s going to be amazing.

Yet who would have thought the old woman to have had so much snot in her?

When I really get going, I go so far beyond the Ugly Cry Face that it’s something truly fearful to behold. Tentacles of snot, geysers of hot tears so destructive to mere Kleenex that I end up with an old T-shirt to swab the swampy decks of my face. I have drowned myself time and time again in my own salt water and mucus, flailing on my bed as though I was pinned to it and wriggling helplessly. None of this made me feel any better, but if I learned anything at all from my father’s death last year, it’s that sometimes nothing will make you feel better and you just have to muddle through.

I’ve been doing a fuck-ton of muddling lately.

The harshest rawness of it all has softened and given way, at any rate, as it does, to a simpler sort of sadness. That gaping hole will always be there. Another lesson I learned from my dad. If you fill it with love, the empty ache will ease up a bit, so get to it.


I spent the past week or so making what amounts to a fort, a writing cave, a magical little dim and cozy cavern where I can hide with my computer and write, or stare at a wall and think about what I’m going to write. I was calling it The Office and then The Computer Nook, and then I took a step back and was like… this thing I’ve made is a single draped bedsheet away from the most glorious fort you could have dreamed up as a kid, and so I dub thee The Fort. And how great a word is fort, anyway? Pretty great.


I took a week off of work — my longest vacation in years — and am a bit heartsick over this being the last day. I’m hiding on the balcony, where the weather is finally not overly reminiscent of an armpit, drinking my coffee, getting a bit of sun to fend off rickets. (My vitamin D level was the only ding on my annual bloodwork. Does it seem pitiful that I was so excited to look at my lab results that I ran up the stairs and tore into that letter like it was a Wonka bar containing the golden ticket? I want to embroider it onto a shirt and point at it whenever anyone rolls their eyes at me for being vegetarian. My cholesterol levels always shut ’em up, as they should.)

Louisa is still sick. A bit better, maybe, but only a little bit, though it does still only seem to be a very bad sinus infection. We gave her some anti-nausea meds and took two days off of the antibiotics to see if that helped with her appetite and, in hindsight, that was a mistake. By the next day her nose was in full-gore mode once again. And yet, she still jumps up into bed with me, still bumps her head against my hand, and, if encouraged with much gentle cheering and ear-scritches, will lick at a saucer of mostly-cat-food-gravy. I pity anyone who might overhear me during these meals with her, as I say things that no human should say. Oh, Louisa, this smells so good! Like fishy garbage that has been sitting in the sun for three days! Mm delicious nom nom I think I will eat some if you don’t!

I spent last weekend in New York, a family reunion of sorts, also sort of an extended Irish wake. There were a lot of tears, but also so much love and laughter. I hadn’t seen some of these cousins since I was a kid, and the visit turned a bit into something like the trips we made to New York when I was a kid. The uncles and aunts in one corner, and all the cousins (and now the cousins’ kids!) in another, talking about video games and planning great escapes. My sister was able to be there as well, and being able to literally chase my nephew (thank you, Couch to 5k!) and play hybrid badminton/volleyball/soccer with him, was a victory.

After I got home, Jay and I spent a day in West Virginia following the history of some of his ancestors, and it was a beautiful drive and we saw some wonderful things, but I was struggling against the after-effects of a tetanus booster shot. My arm still hurts, five days later, but the first couple days were the worst. I suppose it’s better than lockjaw, I said, though I am still dubious and annoyed that it put a damper on my week off of work. I felt battered and exhausted and took way too many naps, and yeah, that’s not what I wanted to be doing on my vacation. But all’s well that ends well, and now I am free to trod upon any rusty nails that come my way.

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