Two Pretzels

April 26, 2016

On Grief. Sitting still.

I am sitting.

By myself.

In my home.

On a Tuesday, later afternoon.

My girls are at swim class with their Daddy.

Even the dogs are quietly sleeping.

I can't hear anything but my wind chime that my friends got me after my Mom died. And birds. (Always birds. Ironically enough for me.)

I feel like I'm reconnecting with an old friend; my blog.

I'm giddy.


Recently I've been so awash in the schedules and the GO! that I haven't taken time to sit, to feel, to think, to write. My day is filled with meetings and errands and children and homework and schedules and coaching and life and, and, and...

We're all busy, I get it.

(I repeatedly choose this life, so no pity requested...)

I think that's why I enjoy these "quiet" moments all that much more.


These moments when I sit and I'm still I realize how much I miss my Mom.

That's a ridiculous way to phrase it. I don't "realize" how much I miss her. [I'm rolling my eyes at myself.] It's when I sit that I am compelled to acknowledge just how much I miss her; just how much I miss her in my daily life.

It's tremendous.


I was listening to This American Life on NPR (I adore Ira Glass) this morning and the podcast was about individuals who have HSAM. Have you heard of it? It's "hyperthymesia." Basically, individuals with HSAM can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some significance to them. One interviewee on the podcast remembered the exact date of the 1989, I think, (I can't remember...) academy awards, and then threw in the fact that Whoppi Goldberg was the host.


I chuckled.

"Man, that would be handy," I thought.

Another interviewee, Jill, spoke of "managing her memories" alongside her HSAM. She has to actually organize them. Jill's memories don't just fade away, like they do for those of us without HSAM. I mean, we move on. We forget severity and the extremity; the highs and the lows and we move on. We block out what we don't want to handle. In most circumstances, we have the luxury of choosing to remember.

(I've noticed that when people die, even if they were jerks, we tend to canonize them. We choose to remember people a certain way. We hold them in far higher esteem than what they ought. It's like the sharp edges of their personality dull in the wake of grief.)

So back to the podcast. This is the part of the interview that got me: Jill, the one with HSAM, lost her husband eleven years ago and it feels like it was just yesterday.

I let that soak in.

She feels about her husband's passing how she felt eleven years ago because the memory is so sharp; it's so vivid.

[This takes my breath away.]

Jill says that her husband's death, "has paralyzed me."

She went on to say, "I will never, ever, ever, ever forget that..."

She'll ALWAYS remembers the pain, the inability to breathe.  She said that it still feels as if it were March of 2005...

She can easily go back to that week, that time in an instance and it hurts just like it happened yesterday.

Can you even imagine?


It's been two years and 7 months since my Mom died.

No, it doesn't hurt like it did the day she died in that car accident.

And sitting here, thinking about her, about all of this... that saddens me. There are moments when I do want it to hurt just as badly as it did back then when the wound was so fresh and so bloody and messy.

The perspective that comes with time isn't comforting; instead, it's creates an insurmountable distance between here and I.


My inclination to call on the phone has vanished.
My quick-response to tell her a story, ask her a question... gone.
My wish that this was all a dream and that she'd just come home now... it's dried up.

Instead, I know with my heart and my brain that she's gone.

[insert heavy sigh]


Someone once told me after she died that "it'll always hurt." This friend told me that when you lose your Mom, it always, always hurts.

Today, I nod. I agree. Still, the pain takes different shapes even today.


I remember going away to college. I wanted NOTHING MORE than to be OUT of my house; away from my Mom. As a 17-year-old, I wanted to be AWAY from her rules; AWAY from her "prying" questions. Gone. Out. Go.


And I left. I would come back to my neighborhood to see my boyfriend (yep, Craig) and I wouldn't even go home. (I can't imagine how much that hurt her...) But I didn't NEED her. (Or so I thought...) I was independent and I wanted to just

And then two years after I went to college, my Mom decided to move to a different state and I stopped, frozen in my tracks and thought, "Oh no. This can't be. I need her. She can't go. No. I'm not ready."

That little "independent" phase that I'd been going through... that "I'll-talk-to-you-when-it's convenient-for-me" thing was done. It was self-indulgent and silly and I immediately wished that I could take it back... I was working so hard to NOT include her in my life that I immediately did an about-face and wanted nothing more than for her to be in my life.

I feel that way again today.

I feel like this silly time apart - this time forced by the hand of death and not the brooding recklnessness of a silly 17-year-old - can stop at ANY time now... because I really do need her.

It would be completely ok with me if she'd just come back.

No questions asked.


But, even if she doesn't, I'm ok.

Life goes on.

Sometimes I go so fast so I don't feel it. It's easier to disconnect.
Other times, I stop myself, and I feel it. Because she deserves it.

Such is grief.


Shirl is in my everyday moments. Her name is on the lips of my family on a dailiy basis. (Thanks in large part to Vivi's Baby Shirley.) She's more than just part of my DNA; she's part of who I am. She's part of who my girls are.

And I'm thankful for that.

And I'm also thankful for these quiet, distraction-free moments when I can let my fingers type,
my mind wander and...

my heart remember.


--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.
May 6, 2014  :: Mother's Day without a Mom  ::  Post here.
June 1, 2014  ::  Moving "forward"  ::  Post here.
July 6, 2014  ::  Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah  ::  Post here.
August 20, 2014  ::  So, I'm 35  ::  Post here.
September 2, 2014  ::  7 days  ::  Post here.
September 8, 2014  ::  The Day Before a Year  ::  Post here.
September 9, 2014  ::  Hello, one year  ::  Post here.
October 11, 2014  ::  The brain is funny  ::  Post here.
November 6, 2014  ::  Love  ::  Post here.
November 30, 2014 ::  Post here.
December 4, 2014  ::  Another feather. Post here.
December 28, 2014  :: All was calm, all is bright. Post here.
January 18, 2015  ::  They're always with us? They're always with us. Post here.
January 25, 2015  ::  And today I remember. Post here.
March 8, 2015  ::  A year and a half later. Post here.
April 16, 2015  ::  And here I stand. Post here.
April 29, 2015  ::  Joan & Shirley. Post here.
August 26, 2015 :: Perspective. Post here.
September 9, 2015  :: Two Years After. Post here.
November 1, 2015  ::  Watching others go through it. Post here.
January 25, 2016  ::  Happy Birthday, Mom. Post here.
March, 5, 2016 ::  Air Tears. Post here.


April 24, 2016

I mean, why not.

I just bought these sunglasses online.

Without ever having tried them on.

They're a final sale.


I'm a gambler.


This may be a personality flaw of mine.

I'll make 'em work.


April 20, 2016

Learning Lesson for Kelly Ripa

I don't watch Live! With Kelly and Michael.

(When I was a tween, I did watch Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee... What? I watched all of the talk shows: Donahue, Sally Jesse Raphael, Geraldo...)

That said, in a world so full of sad news (Trump winning the NY primary) I hopped over to to check out what was going on in La-la land.

It appears that Kelly Ripa is FURIOUS, ya'll.

Piping-hot  mad.

Apparently her co-host, Michael Strahan is TAKING A JOB with GOOD MORNING AMERICA.

AND SHE IS NOT having that.

No one told her.
She's hurt.

She didn't go to work today and "doesn't plan on going in all week" (says a "source.")



Last I checked her name was Kelly Ripa and his name was Michael Strahan and Kelly makes the decisions in Kelly's life and Michael makes the decisions Michael's life.

Now, I don't know these two, as I stated previously, I do not watch the show, but this seems... catty at best.

When you decide to leave your job, sometimes it's not to spite the other person, it's actually because you have a better / newer / cooler opportunity or challenge offered to you.

And when you're the one that's left, sometimes you have to be the Miss America Runner Up EVEN when you don't want to. You've got to look beyond yourself and congratulate your friend on the new opportunity.

Not act like a toddler.


While this situation is just... stupid, I think it's a good life reminder. #teachableMoment

What others do is totally and 100% out of our control. All the time. Every time.

We have a choice: we can offer peace and kindness or we can be angry lunatics.

My guess is that angry lunatics are only hurting themselves*.


*Note: I have been an angry lunatic. I have (and still do) take on stress that doesn't rightfully belong to me and I literally have to make a consistent decision to be Elsa and

So, it's your call: be Elsa of Arendelle or Kelly Ripa of what once was Live! With Kelly and Michael.

I chose Elsa.


April 17, 2016

Head scratcher. GEICO, you're killin' me, smalls.

I still have a few magazine subscriptions. (I like paper.)

I get Bazaar, Vanity Fair and Real Simple. Deep, I know.

So I see this ad on the inside back cover of Real Simple and my eyes are immediately drawn to the panty hose / nylons hanging from clothespins on a clothes line... and not in a great way.

I sort of tilted my head to the side and was like, "Eh? Really? Panty hose? Pink? What's going on here?"

I have pretty much no experience in my adult life with nylons or pantyhose. (It's hot where I live.)

Still, I got my fill of tights and hose between the ages of 4 and 17 when I was wearing shimmery "nude" for dance recitals. The truth is, coffee-colored legs with pale white skin is not natural.  I wish I had the photos here. Anywho...

So, I mean, I speak enough Spanish to not completely embarrass myself (I'm proud of my accent), but I don't really speak "nylons..."

I find it curious that GEICO decided to connect with me, a 36-year-old, educated, female consumer / reader of Real Simple, by communicating that they have been helping customers save money since 1936, "...that's before there were nylons."


Who cares?

Are you telling this because I'm a woman?

{eye roll}

I mean, do you really think that as a woman I instinctively know when bras were invited, when nylons came about and when corsets went out of style?

Do you think that I can only relate to you when you compare your product or service to clothing?


Don't insult me. Or my daughters.

If you want me to buy in to your service, don't try to convince me by using contrived and dated random "female" pop culture history. Maybe consider talking to me like you would a man -- with numbers and stats. And reason. And logic.

I mean if I don't understand, I can always ask my husband.



This is what I think about that:

Nice panty hose.


April 11, 2016

Question of the day - our dinner conversation with a six-year-old

Lila, six years old: "How do you decide which job you're going to have [when you're an adult.]?"

Me: "You figure out what you like, then you go to college, learn more and then get a job doing what you want to do."

(I'm introducing her to idealism.)

Lila: "Oh... so you chose meetings?"



No, Lila. No one chooses meetings.

This is blurry, but it's gold.


April 5, 2016

A peek inside. (And working part time = getting less done.)

I'm hungry.

I need to finish that poster I was designing for work.

I wonder how many steps I'll get in today?

This morning I asked Vivi if she heard herself sneezing all night long. (I heard her on the video monitor.) She responded with, "No. My ears were under the covers."

Swim class starts today. So did school. They're FINALLY back to school.

I'll run from work, pick up the girls at 2:00 pm - the we'll do homework, pay the phone bill and pick up some organic milk and more steel cut oats. I'm out.

We'll go to swim from 5-6.

Maybe we'll eat there? But, I did put some chicken in the crock pot with taco seasoning. So that'll be good.

Where's my water bottle?

I really need to try the teeth cleaning gel I got Ferg.


You guys, this is where my brain is at this very moment.
It's everywhere.

But it's not an, "I hate my life, this is crazy. STOP THE MADNESS" thing.

In truth, I um... well, I kind of like it like this.


My Mom used to constantly be in motion. I'd ask her to slow down, to stop, to just be with us.

She had a really hard time doing that because she was sick, she wasn't well -- and when you're physically not well, if you stop -- well, you fear you're going to have a really hard time getting back in the game again.

Me? Praise GOD I have no physical limitations that prevent me from standing still; from just being.

So, I go and go and go and go all day long and after school and at night... I'm trying to be more present.

That's why the blogging has been at a minimum.

Would I ever "close down" this blog?


I need it. (I have 3,000 blog post ideas in my brain at this VERY moment.)

But where I am in my life right now... well, it's busy. And while I wish I took more time for self-reflection, I don't. And that's ok!

No guilt.

I love where I am right now.
I'm busy. (I like busy.)


For a little while there, I was only working part-time. (From about mid-January to early-February.)

I thought I'd clean out the cupboard that is a wreck, that I'd organize the toys and that I'd finally write the emails that I'd been meaning to write.... but I didn't.

Free time = loss of productivity (for me).

It's incredible how silly I was. "I'll work part-time and get more done."

Um. No.

I worked part-time and got less done.

Now, I'm back to working full-time-ish (Approx. 9 am - 2, mas or menos), plus my coaching and I'm back on my game and I feel like me. I need the schedule.

 I need  the To Do list.

So, I prefer less to call it a propensity for mayhem and more of an appreciation of the fullness of life.


I'm off - I have a meeting in 15 mins.

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