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Something on my drive home just made me think of the time when Ryan and Wayne and a couple other rotating guys lived in a big house on Bertrand street. One year, to decorate for the holidays, they plugged in some outdoor Christmas lights and dropped them in a tangled heap onto the bush out front. Then they left them plugged in for an entire year.

It still makes me laugh.

In my last year of college a good friend went with a group of people to the spillway attached to the reservoir outside of town, and ended up drowning after saving one of the girls that had waded in too deep and had gotten caught by the undertow. A few months later Ryan’s best childhood friend (and very close friend of mine as well), Wayne, and I, attended a wedding for a friend in the group. After the reception, more than a little drunk, we drove out to the spillway to see where Ryan had died. I remember being furious. Inexorably furious, that you could actually hear the water rushing from the reservoir, and that somehow my friends had been dumb enough to come here and attempt to get in the water, even jokingly. There was no mistaking that despite the calm surface, the water was roaring off the dam just around the corner. I remember that it was an icy cold December night, but surprisingly not very windy, which is odd for Manhattan, and that at some point after silently sitting on some rocks for a while, I just stood up and started hurling things into the water. I stood there and threw as hard as I could anything my hands snatched off the ground, and then I lugged big heavy boulders, discus style, into the water with big splashes. I don’t know how long I did it, or that I did anything much more than scream and throw rocks. But whatever I did was enough to make my right arm almost useless for many days afterward, and that this soreness was oddly comforting to me. It seemed defiant, this attempt to fill up the particular bend of the river, and was was by far the most cathartic and freeing thing I did during the grieving process. I needed to do something with that much powerless grief, so I filled up the river like a big fuck you. Because what I really wanted to do was yell at Ryan for being so stupid, but I couldn’t.

Hmm where to start, where to start.

So I’ve moved back to the neighborhood (more or less) that I used to live back in my other life. And I’m going to the old stores and driving the old streets, and there are times where I’ll zone out for a second and suddenly wake up and immediately think what the hell am I doing here – this isn’t where I live. But then I remember I do again, and that’s just sorta weird. I see people I used to see and it all seems sort of foreign. It’ll be normal again soon, but for now it’s kind of like purgatory, if I’m honest.

And of course, because I moved here for the sole purpose of keeping Jack in his school, ‘discussions’ about switching school districts to Jon’s new neighborhood have been stonewalled, and probably will be for a while. Things on the communication/respect/co-parenting front seem to be getting worse and worse as our lives diverge further. It just fucking blows, to put it simply. But I guess even the best of intentions and relationships can disintegrate when too many priorities conflict, and with each thing that comes up that makes me wonder who in the hell this person is now, it also simplifies my role as mamabear first and foremost within that interaction. It will get better or it will plateau at this point. But so long as it doesn’t get any nastier and involve court, I can deal. C’est la vie and all that.

I’ve been at my job now for about a month I think? It’s well. I like it and I’m good at it. Whodathunk, eh? I think the idea of getting my first full-on full-time job in 8ish years, a week before I was set to move, was in retrospect a very stressful thing for me. But it’s always odd to me to see how I compare stressors in my life, and how even despite not sleeping well because my brain is in high gear trying to just simply remember everything I have to do, I’d still prefer this over the past couple of years. Or even the year surrounding Jack’s dx or Lo’s birth. Things are falling into place, and as one ladder rung begins to stabilize, another builds on that.

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

BUT SPEAKING OF LADDERS! Went to the lake this weekend. I could use this as a tangent to rail on the UTTER and TOTAL inadequacy of Lake Jacomo’s campground and marina, but I’ll just say that aggressive raccoons + teenagers giving directions + broken pontoons + smashing fingertips +  boat ladders + emergency room visits in bikinis + pre-dawn thunderstorms and no rain tent cover = surprisingly a lot of fun. Though maybe not for Tami who had to have her sutures put through HER ENTIRE BROKEN AND FLAPPING FINGERTIP TO KEEP IT SEWED ON.

(I’m squeamish about very little, but I heard the doc describe that and I saluted them all and walked out.)

(..And what are you eating for dinner tonight?)

Hmm. Brandon’s mom mentioned taking us all to Disney World in the fall, and though I’m totally itching to tell the kids, I won’t yet, because Jack’s head will straight pop off from excitement and perserveration if I did.  I mention this less because it’s a future vacation I might take with my family and more because my sister and I watched the Harry Potter trailer and I am excited about possibly visiting the amusement park they’ve opened up. Yeah, I said it. I am.

But speaking of my sister, she’s working with me for the summer doing a filing kinda thing, and I’m so happy to have her there. She’s a cool chick and I’m old enough to know that this might be the last time we have concentrated time to hang out before she finishes high school (she’ll be a Senior this year. Truly. My baby sister is a SENIOR in high school. It’s nuts.) and goes to college. She was mentioning an art school in Seattle and I told her to do everything in her power to go as far away from home as she can while she’s young. God, the older I get the more I wish I had had wanderlust when it was more convenient in my life. I could never have been Alex Supertramp, but something closer to it than I was would have sufficed.

So that’s it. Really it’s just been a long day. And as I was driving home and some dumb teenager on her cell phone with white sunglasses pulled across FOUR LANES OF TRAFFIC to decide she needed to go left instead of right – with no blinker, which actually was the cherry for me on the whole thing, – this song came on (‘It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning’ by We Were Promised Jetpacks), and I cranked it. And I know I’ve linked it before, but this really just encapsulates my feelings on my life in the past few years. It doesn’t make me angry or sad or pumped. It is simply a song that I turn up really, really loudly.

Happy Tuesday. I’m opening some wine if you’d like some.

And these are untouched! Go check her out at www.cassywilson.com for the even gooder goods.

1. The new health care bill. I have no insurance (for those that might remember that I had gotten that job at the spa, I never bothered to update that for a variety of reasons on their end, it didn’t work out and the insurance was never started. No ill will from either side, but obviously no insurance either. And yes, I’ve tried through the state – but since I am not pregnant, I don’t qualify); I haven’t seen a doctor for the rotator cuff I’m preeeetty sure I tore a year ago. Because, it will then become ‘pre-existing’ for me to qualify to actually get insurance, and that’s just ridiculous bullshit. Plus we all know there are people out there for which naproxen isn’t enough.

2. Jack starts soccer tomorrow. I hope something fierce that he loves it. His friend’s dad is the coach, and that’s a huge relief for me.

3. Lorelei in this video from a couple weeks ago. She had been singing the damn Heyawk song all afternoon, and had just started singing some made up lyrics to the alphabet song. I tried to snag it and obviously my impatience at her Benedict Arnold leanings showed. Check at the end where she tucks her marker – uncapped – into her sleeve before walking off.

4. How far my Cats will go, and how difficult it’s been to not be more of a wench to those KU fans that are so obnoxious the other 97% of the time they don’t dramatically lose.

5. How much the new Gorillaz album kicks ass. This is “On Melancholy Hill”:

6. This nebulous zone I’m at now with old friends. My world has (logically) divided into PRE- and POST-DIVORCE, but I guess I never would have thought I’d lose touch with so many people. For some I’ve tried sometimes successfully to keep up, others I’ve waited on them, and licked my wounds. The rest were not unlike slicing off a tumor, and couldn’t have come at a better time. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t fairly hurt I didn’t get more Christmas cards from the people I thought had ‘crossed over’. I admit that this is pretty superficial to care about, but really, aren’t the point of cards simply to acknowledge that someone thinks you count enough to get a greeting? There is no one I want to see that I don’t have some sort of interwebs connection with, so the idea of my being un-findable, sadly, can’t count. I’m thinking about shearing off the hundred or so people on Facebook that I either don’t honestly care about, or I feel relatively confident are just keeping the friendship to stalk my goings-on when they so desire. My boyfriend hates FB, and I can’t say I always blame him. Shrug.

7. Somewhat in the same vein, that Jon and I have decided to throw Jack’s birthday party this year jointly, including new significant others and estranged previous in-laws. Plus all the friends who had to choose Team Jen or Team Jon when this began. We’re hoping that if we can act normally, then everyone else can stuff it and follow along. I personally think handing out shots called Tension Relievers might facilitate this progress, but we’ll see. Either way the intent is good, let’s all hope it can be done.

8. That J. Davo is moving back. Hooray for Kedzie Hall reunions in the near future!

9. How much every year at the beginning of spring I look back and realize just how incredibly affected I was by winter’s lack of sun and warmth. And how every year I tell myself I’ll be better about taking my vitamin D, and YET I NEVER DO.

10. How much I loved the movie Alice In Wonderland. I love Tim Burton. Love, love, love. Also that the main girl looks like the child of Gwyneth Paltrow and Claire Danes. Right?

11. I’ve noticed a few wrinkles lately – which wasn’t a panic of vanity – but was a wake up call that I have got to start being better to my body. There used to be a time when eating Taco Bell would have made me sick. Now it’s gotten to where I look and feel blah all the time. I’m going to try to wean myself of coffee, and along with the CSA we just joined, eat more fruits and vegetables. BECAUSE I’VE EATEN ONIONS RECENTLY, PEOPLE. MORE THAN ONCE. DO YOU KNOW HOW HUGE THAT IS?

12. My beloved friend, the beautiful Miss Emily, has asked me to attend her birth as her doula, and I can’t explain how excited I am. I. Love. Babies. And. Birth.

Happy (sunny, hopefully) Tuesday, y’all.

Until Where The Wild Things Are opens. Giggitygiggitygiggity I’m excited.

So, I got busted recently by a friend who accused me of falling off the earth, and I couldn’t really defend myself because I’m not sure if the writing’s not on the wall for ye olde Huzzah. It rolled through my brain yesterday while I was mentally writing a sarcastic letter to the makers of this product (the letter saying roughly that perhaps putting MENTHOL in a product made to be used around EYEBALLS might not have been the best idea) that I should possibly abandon this blog and start one where all I do is write letters to people. Shrug. We’ll see.

Until then, an update, more-or-less.

Work has been good. And crazy. And de-cluttering. Which is soothing. Which is odd to say about your job, but there you go. One of my latest projects is separating old files that go back before 1983 (!!). Holy batman but my relegated space to do this is filling up. The files are beginning to grow like moss onto other walls and furniture. And what you can’t see are the.. oh.. 15 other boxes out of the picture?

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The kids are doing pretty well. We’ve started the token/marble earning system for good behavior, and it works pretty dang well, except that Lorelei has no idea what she’s earning or that she could/should start using those tokens to get things she wants. Jack uses all of his up for DS/Xbox time, and is learning the hard lesson of saving versus immediate reward. We’ll see..

Lo’s been extra-clingy lately, but I’m trying to roll with it. She’s not doing it always or to all of her loved ones, but when she gets her genuine sad look and asks for a 50th hug? Your heart breaks in half.

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I also think what’s compounding my own sadness is that the best friend of some of my good friends died last week, and his service is this Saturday. Doug had a just-turned one year-old, and your mind can’t escape the what-ifs of that whole situation. He was a super, super cool guy, and my heart goes out to not only his wife and sweet babe, but also my friends who are hurting so deeply. I know that pain – and maybe not even as much – and it just.. friggen sucks. Blerg.

But my overall contentment is pretty even. I tentatively feel like maybe things are settling down and becoming less turbulent. Most of the wounds from all facets of the divorce have closed up, and I think most of the relationships that were going to be salvaged, were repaired. I love and feel loved again. That’s comforting.

So yeah.. I think that’s about it at the moment. I’m doing fairly well in my fantasy league, cool weather has set in, and RW/RR has begun a new season. Life isn’t too bad.

But now I gotta run and get the kids from school so I can give them a big hug and be thankful they’re safe and happy and healthy. Do the same with your loved ones.

First, I’ve totally jumped on the Fleet Foxes bandwagon. This is “Blue Ridge Mountains”. Sometimes they sound almost 50s-ish, but I think this song taps into a CSN&Y sound, with Young being the main comparison to me. Regardless, it’s just a cool band.

So I don’t really have a whole lot of time to delve into big stuff, thus this will be another fairly simple post: updates and pictures. Like everyone else, things are just kind of flying along, with periods of quiet when I try to catch my breath and collect my thoughts.

[Speaking of, I’ve been thinking lately about the benefits of meditation. I get the point, but how does one center themselves smack in the middle of a stressful moment? Don’t you need to be able to be still to access that tranquility? I’m curious.]

Things are picking up at work; I’m understanding things better, and for the most part it’s beginning to click. My doula couple is now technically “past due” [insert placemark for future rant here] and I’m never far from my phone  (of which I have a new one, and though I dig it, I’m obviously having a hard time mastering the dumb thing, as the picture of Whomp and me below attests).  Jack graduated from Kindy last week, and it’s simply surreal to think that three short years ago he was non-verbal. As in unable to talk or carry a conversation at all.  It’s just nutso to think how far he’s come, my sweet, tenacious little fartknocker. I went to a Killers concert recently (SO much fun) and hopefully will go to the Ben Folds coming up (come on out, Baby F!). We also have a float trip the first weekend in June (Seriously, Baby F, I’m not kidding.).

And that’s about it. We’re going to my ‘rents today for a cookout to celebrate a belated Mother’s day, and that sums up the rest of my weekend. Hope all is well out there. Ciao amicos!

I just can’t get over how she annihilates an ice cream cone.

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Meg and I celebrating her birthday. Apparently in mime paint…

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Happy, toothless Jack on the last day of school.

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1. I learned today I’ve been writing the ampersand ( &) symbol facing the wrong direction.

2. I have the capacity for a lot of grace. Out of a hundred conversations, I’ve only had maybe a dozen people approach the subject of divorce objectively and/or non-judgmentally. I get that; I really do. It’s a painful thing all-around. But some of the things people have had the audacity to say to me are inexcusably out of line, and though I realize I’m sounding arrogant, I’m trying to say that I get why they said it. It hurts, but I understand the near-impossibility for impartiality.  People bring their own crap to the table when this subject comes up, whether they even realize it or not. This is definitely not something I would have known in any other avenue in my life – despite regularly making unpopular decisions –  so this really has been a pretty big insight into how people connect.

3. I apparently say the word “asterisk” without the second S consonant. I have zero idea why, since pronunciation is pretty important to me. I also can’t say ‘rear wheel drive’. My mouth sounds like I have palsy when I try to sound it out.

4. I am not so good, in fact, at the little details. I’m totally lying when I say that on my resume. I can spot editing mistakes because I’m a visual learner, but otherwise I’m a total cheddarhead.  Know what happens when you realize you’ve made a very stupid mistake after editing 6 images, making a preview sheet, printing aforementioned things off on expensive photo paper, making a .jpg release CD for the client AND burning back-ups of all your work? You feel like a total loser and start over, cussing that you numbered two of the images the same.  THANK GOD I’m working for a family that has six children. My boss is a father first, and must have realized he was taking another goober under his wing when he hired me.

5. I am actually capable of athletic competitiveness, even if it doesn’t actually include athletic ability. We played a team in kickball the other night that irritated me so much it was a toss-up between my desire to (as the catcher) sweep the leg of the girl trying to crowd me off the plate (seriously you asshat, it’s friggen KICKBALL) or just miraculously homer the ball and be carried over the plate by my teammates. Which means, of course, that I didn’t get on base for the first time ever in a game. Regardless, I reveled in this new feeling of aggression, and I’d like to learn how to harness it for rude people in customer service positions.

6. Most people probably are good at heart. The mechanic bought my car (sniff, goodbye sweet girl, you were great while you lasted) and is trusting that I’ll actually pay off the rest of my car loan  so I can get the title and give it to him. Kansas is wiggedywacked in this regard, and I don’t actually own my car until I pay it off. So I could take his money and run, and he’d never be able to sell the broken piece of crap in his lot, but he risked it anyway. And he gave me a fair price. Good guy.

6. I’m doing some on-line scoring for a company where schools send their standardized testing, and I actually was unable to qualify to score the writing samples of 4th graders in California. Apparently the rubric was just vague enough that despite hours of poring over examples, if they say Joey got a 4, I only gave him a 3. Or I thought Sally didn’t really understand her prompt and gave her a 1, but they say she got a 2. I had to match perfectly on 70% of my qualifying scores and 60% was the highest I was able to do. Holy batman I was pissed off.  So they put me on the next assignment, which is to score 5th grade math. If you know me, that’s pretty funny. But, as someone pointed out, I don’t have to actually DO this math. I’ll have the answers right in front of me! No ambiguity! Huzzah! And the best part is that I got a check for a whopping $46 dollars for that infuriating night I spent trying to qualify.

I got paid to fail people, and that kicks ass.

Surely there’s some philosophical lesson in that, no?

I managed to.. hmm… bumrush an old friend, Anthony, into being a ‘jailbird’ for me when I was doing my stint at MDA, and now he needs to raise donations because he’s a nice guy (and happens to work in the call city I worked on). I had thought his company would just make a donation but, uh, I guess not. Zoinks.

So do me a favor friends o’mine and go here, to his donation page, and give him a dollar for me? Por favor? It’s for a good cause, all the money goes to the kids locally, and if he raises the full bail he gets a trip to Vegas, so I’d like to repay the favor for helping me out.

Thanks~

So this will be quick pictures and a song d’jour (Creature Fear by Bon Iver). Congrats to Brandi on beautiful baby Harper, Shelly on her wedding tomorrow and Mike and Emily on their engagement! Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Pretty nails on chubby fingers, pre-clean up.

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It’s tough to be the redheaded stepchild of the house. He’s so old and cantankerous he can’t even scrounge up the energy to run away, so he just sits and looks grumpy.

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I embarrassed my friend by taking pictures of this lady’s car, but.. wow. This doesn’t do it justice, I swear. I don’t know how she compacted the vast amount of crap in there enough to keep her seat clear. It was.. wow. Really.

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Requisite adorable kid inclusion, of course.

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Every year we host the everyone’s-back-in-town Christmas party, and this one was especially memorable. It meant a lot to see those we did, and we missed those who couldn’t make it.  I’m sorry the quality is poor; I tried to clean it up, but methinks in retrospect our photog possibly wasn’t in a state to do the job successfully, though God love him he tried cheerily enough.

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Who would have named Maire Venkman if he could have.

Without actually having the capabilities to do so. I just don’t have very much I can talk about right now, but I know that’ll change soon, so uh, yeah. There you go.

Saw my beloved favorite New Yorkers last weekend:

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Sam got some video of Lo hamming it up, and Maire’s cackling was the sweetest thing I’d seen in a long time. Love and miss you all, friends. It was great seeing you.

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Let’s see.. Here’s a story that I realize has to be worded this way, but just struck me as such a colossal NO SHIT kind of obviousness:

Evangelicals, Republicans were biggest backers of gay marriage ban.

Whatever. Ridiculous all-around.

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So officially I want to be Dooce. Well, I want to write like Dooce. I’m not the first to say it, either. I had a conversation recently about writing for fun vs as a living, and she flitted across my mind, along with the daydream of getting paid to blog. (Well, ok the last few months would be a poor portfolio, but let’s pretend this is a hiatus.) She is my current hilarious and self-deprecating writer heroine.

[Love the Fug Yourself girls also, but I have a harder time convincing people it’s the writing that keeps me going back there, so Dooce lends some credibility. Snort.]

And I think that’s it for today, which is good, because I just looked over and saw Lorelei finger painting with my coffee on the white chair rail. Woot!

Happy Thursday, everyone.

This guy continues to be one of the most fun concerts EVAR. Thanks to J for going with me at the last minute, and sorry I missed you Jamie!

(Sorry for the shaky cam. It surely had nothing to do with the $10 beer.)

OR: I steal everything from Jamie McJ (and should be paying her some sort of fee, perhaps).

So check your status and/or register to vote, before you miss the deadline.

I’ve been sitting at the computer for about an hour now, trying to think of a cohesive way to talk about this thing that’s been weighing on my mind. Unfortunately, I can’t do it, because I can’t still my emotions long enough to decide what I think. But that’s not new, so whatever.

In the past couple months I’ve made some decisions about my life that are unpopular with some people. And it’s been so incredibly humbling to know that even if I think I’m right – or at least not categorically evil, there are some who will just never agree. Different worldviews, narrow minds, lack of empathy – it doesn’t matter. It hurts, because so much of my worth has historically been dependent on others’ approval, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

But in what could be called the most complicated time of my life thus far, I never imagined that in six months’ time I would lose four of the closest friendships I have, for reasons that range from valid to incomprehensibly cruel. It just never occurred to me that I’d have to deal with something like this on top of everything else. And let me tell you, the timing of this is almost comical it’s so poor.

And my first instinct is to be just.. furious. I value my relationships. I have an amazing memory for remembering the smallest facts about those I care about. I’m empathetic and non-judgmental. I’m an amazing friend. But.. when the anger fades, I am left admitting I’ve dropped the ball on close friends a stupid number of times. I have a habit of being incredibly self-centered, and some of the hardest lessons I’ve learned were taught by friends I had made think by my actions they didn’t matter. Because of that I’ve learned the comforting fact that real friends are the ones you can hurt, and they’ll forgive you, knowing you will do the same for them. But what I’m struggling with now is the realization that I don’t know if I can do that this time.

Usually I’m one of those people who thinks that some things probably happen for a reason (whether karmic or divine or simply as an opportunity to grow) but I don’t think there is hidden meaning in everything. So if someone else were explaining this to me, I assume I’d gently suggest that the main connection in it all sounds like them, so perhaps they have more culpability than they’re ready to admit. But, I’ve thought a lot about this, and I still come back to the fact that there was only one whose decision I respected. The others were all totally different (and shockingly selfish, for all three of them) reasons, and after this most recent time, well, I’m basically crushed.

Mostly this shit just hurts. A lot.

So I’m left with just trying to find the appropriate amount of energy to waste feeling sad, because really, it’s out of my control, and I think there’s only so much good that can come from perserverating on it. And actually, if I let myself go Philo 101,  I will guess this is just another example that my lifelong internal need for some sort of justice-compass is unrealistic and impractical. Sometimes life just sucks because it does, and not because there’s a reason. Luckily I don’t need this to remember that I’m still loved and supported by many; I don’t take my friendships for granted and appreciate that. (i.e., There’s no need for cheesy supportive comments, por favor. The rest of you out there are still my rocks, and this isn’t a pity party, just a sad vent.)

Really I think I’m writing about this because it just sort of feels like I’ve got a new pair of glasses on that are forcing me to change how I look at things, and it’s unnerving, and it makes me worried that the view will turn to cynicism as my life gets even more complicated. So maybe this is an attempt to convince myself that this is an aberration, and not indicative of anything else. Because I don’t believe that people are inherently going to hurt you in life.

But damn if I just want to have a better radar for those who will, because mine apparently broke.

So. Good times, good times. I’m sorry this was a downer post. Maybe as an addendum later I’ll tell what I learned from this, because there must be something. It’s all pretty fresh, so check back in oh, 2024 m’kay?

And to end on an attempt at a funny note, want to know the song coincidentally playing on iTunes right now? “Bullet Proof” by Radiohead. Awesome.

I bet that’s a sign of something. Like my amazing taste in music, most likely. Too bad for those who don’t get a Jen mix CD anymore, RIGHT?

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