Sunday, April 21, 2019


Many Christians and just Anglos are getting up today and doing Easter traditions. Butter lambs, special creamy ooey gooey rolls, baskets, eggs. Why does everything I think of revolve around food? There's also church, of course, for the devout and the Chreasters. I just learned this new word (or old word). Me, I'm going to take a bike ride and give my feet a rest this morning.

This was  not a biggie growing up or with my own kids. Ever since we moved to the Mac town, Pat had his "Golf Ball Hunt" where specially marked found golf balls translated to $$. He may have even done it in New York, who can remember that far back?? I would get the kids some candy, but never, ever presents or even elaborate Easter baskets.

Yes, we will have a nice dinner with family. 3 years ago Ethan serenaded us with his song from "Grease" and it feels so bittersweet, as we were fresh off the loss of Adam.

Here's something to make your day. Adam around May 1989.

Here is the watercolor likeness my friend Chuck Melvin did. The expression is a little different, but definitely captured him.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A Cat's Tale

(By guest author and friend, Alyson S.)

The Characters:

An outdoor farm cat.  Fearless slayer of birds, rabbits, and anything else that dares to encroach on her turf.  Mostly lives outside, comes inside when it's REALLY COLD and when she deigns to allow us to feed her.  I started buying meow mix at sam's club awhile ago and she LOVES IT.  

An aging border collie that is a ball of love.  He is total goodness and has determined that his retirement job is to take care of me by following me around.  This role in this story is mostly bystander, but let it be known that HE ALSO loves meow mix.  Sonic and Fiona run a scam on me REGULARLY when there is meow mix in the house.  Fiona meows to come in the door.  I let her in.  She goes to her bowl, meows, I scoop in some food.  Fiona eats ONE BITE and decides to go back outside.  Sonic gets up and eats the rest of the cat food.  10 minutes later...Fiona meows at the door to come in and wants to be fed again.  I now put her bowl on top of the freezer (who is the next character in this tale.)

The Chest Freezer
In the kitchen is a small chest freezer.  I have broken all kitchen rules of a child of my mother (Maggie) and feed the cat on occasion on top of the freezer.  It's the easiest solution and needs must when the devil drives.  The freezer is pulled out from the wall slightly because there is a HEAT REGISTER behind it.  There is also a glue trap for mice from last fall when war against the migrating herds of mice was at it's height.  NB (this means nota bene in latin, or note well.  Just making sure I don't lose anyone due to an obscure reference)...the HEAT REGISTER does not have a cover.

Mark the tired painter/farmer goes to bed at 7:30ish on a regular basis.  He paints and then comes home and plants these days.  Just for visual purposes...he was asleep with red plaid boxers and a t-shirt.  He is not at his best when he is awakened and has no idea what is going on

The Domino's Pizza person who came home on the phone with the supervisor, Heather, and was outside on the porch around 10pm with her AirPods in.

Alyson had been to Quincy for the first time in like 2 months so she stopped at Sam's Club on Wednesday night.  Brought home MEOW MIX.  We had been out for a couple of weeks and the animals had been suffering through Purina cat chow from the feed store...I think they may have lost weight in protest.

Mark carried the bag in and set it on the floor against the chest freezer in the kitchen.  I usually take the cat food and put it in this plastic pet food container we have but I hadn't done it yet.  Fiona came in the house, smelled the bag, and began caressing the exterior of the bag.  I was not particularly worried as no one is starving to death but Mark decided that he would open the bag and give Fiona a handful to make her (and Sonic, because he was lurking) happy.  Everyone had a taste and life was good.  The bag was picked up off the floor and put on top of the chest freezer awaiting the pet food container.

Fast forward to Thursday night.  Alyson comes home.  It's dark.  Mark is in bed sleeping.  He gets up for a minute, we talk, I say I'm going to do some cleaning/cooking.  Mark goes back to to sleep, Alyson goes in the kitchen.  The phone rings, it's Heather, so I go outside on the porch so I don't talk loudly (like that ever happens) and wake Mark up.

It's maybe 10 pm.

The porch door slams open...Mark took the closer off when we were carrying stuff in and out and we haven't put it back on so it really rips...and Mark is yelling about WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

Alyson has her AirPods in and is looking at him likes he's crazy and saying what?

Mark runs back in the house and Alyson is still going WTH is going on and talking to Heather.
Alyson continues talking to Heather for a minute and says "maybe I should go inside and see what's going on."  She opens the door and Mark is running around the living room and then up the stairs and Fiona is WAILING.  Lots of scuffling and swearing is heard from upstairs.  

Alyson asks "hey, what's going on?"  In her mind all she can think is maybe she woke Mark up from a bad dream?  Maybe?

Mark comes back downstairs.  "Did you not hear what was going on?"

"Umm, no.  I had my earphones in and I was talking to Heather."

It wasn't the best answer.

Fiona had jumped up on top of the chest freezer and CLIMBED INSIDE THE BAG to help herself to some meow mix.  Somehow she managed to TIP THE ENTIRE 25 lb bag over in to the heat register with herself inside of it.  After evidently what was a very loud tussle she managed to climb her way out of the heat register with 15 pounds of meow mix on top of her and escape in to the glue trap.

And then proceeded to perform acrobatics all over the downstairs trying to escape from the sticky embrace.  

Mark awoke at some point and started chasing Fiona around the house.

After cornering her upstairs and having a clawful encounter being her savior (he has battle wounds on his chest) he got the glue trap off.  

I asked what happened.  

I'm not always that smart.

I thought it was the funniest thing in a LONG a Jerry Springer sort of can't make this stuff up.

Mark didn't think it was quite as funny that I was oblivious and on the phone.

The worst part...Its getting cold again with this storm thing going on and THE WHOLE HOUSE SMELLED LIKE BAKED MEOW MIX.

Friday, April 12, 2019

So weird

I got a piece of mail for Adam today, from Film Streams in Omaha, an advertisement, but still. I never got mail for him before he died (or I don't remember because it wasn't significant then), so I find these little pop-up surprises quite delightful.

I'm reading a newer book on grief called "It's Okay That You're Not Okay" by Megan Devine which turns traditional grief models and theories upside down. Maybe that is why Adam has been more or less on my mind all the time lately. One thing that struck me was the observation that everything becomes a trigger, or reminder because you can always think "he's not here for this holiday" "he'll never see this" "he wasn't alive when this even existed" and on and on.

It doesn't mean there is anything wrong. I consider myself rather well-adjusted in fact. This quote fits perfectly here.

After attending AFSP volunteer training last weekend and realizing the suicide rate is going up not down, I am even more committed to fighting this battle in whatever way I can. It is a large war, and the answers aren't easy. They are bigger, bigger than me or my community. The most hopeful thing I heard again last weekend is, Suicide is Preventable. On a personal 1:1 basis I can make a difference, and I can keep raising funds for research and advocacy on the macro level.

I met some amazing women at my table at the training. I got all their emails and am going to connect with them again. Suicide is hitting our young people hard, and I feel so much for them.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019


"You have suffered enough and warred with yourself; it's time that you won" -line from Falling Slowly "That line kind of hits me deep. All my life I've felt I've suffered with loneliness, mild depression and just generally feeling like I'm not nor ever have been good enough. Maybe one day, I'll "win".

This is not my quote, but certainly could be. Been listening to sad songs on YouTube and reading different comments. Music brings out so many emotions. I won't stay here too long. I don't have time for that.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grandparents are so important

The first of Adam's grandparents has passed onto another life. I'm glad I had written this letter to them last fall. Rest in peace, Grandma Colleen, Adam's biggest cheerleader. 

November 25, 2018
Dear Gary, Colleen, Richard and M. Anne,
As we move through this third holiday season without Adam, I wanted to take a moment to let you know how thankful I am that he had the four amazing grandparents that he did. Unlike the grandparents in Willy Wonka, you were all physically active in Adam’s life, but he loved you like Charlie loved his Grands! You provided comfort foods, cards, exciting travels, stories, letters, sleepovers, stimulating and open conversations, lessons in boating and linguistics, Strawberries, books, and many, many car miles.  Most of all, you doted on him and loved him like the first grandchild he was. This represents mutual Love.
The first grandchild is special, and I patiently wait my turn with your good role models in mind. I can only Hope I get to spend the quality time you did with Adam growing up. From his first weeks, until that last year, he was always up for a visit to Riverside Lakes or Cedar Drive. His last birthday was spent toasting cocktail hour with Richard while M. Anne made his birthday dinner. In October 2015 he made a special trip to Nebraska to make more memories and probably eat Elgin sausage and Italian Beef. Through the divorce, Adam always knew he had a home with either of you and it was clearly a stabilizing force for him.  This was his happy place and where he felt unbridled Joy.
I appreciate all your efforts to keep Adam’s memory alive, and share the good times and stories of his life. We are blessed to have had him 27 years. As you know I am not religious, but I am spiritual, and I know we are all going where he is sooner or later. Whoever gets there first, give that boy a big hug or a mind meld, or whatever you can for me. You may notice, I have woven the four virtues of Jesus into Adam’s life. I pray we all find Peace this Advent season and always, and that Adam is at rest, peaceful and free.

Humbly yours,
Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.
—Kafka and the Doll, The Pervasiveness of Loss

Friday, March 15, 2019

NH memories

It's been well over 10 years since I stepped foot on this soil. Too long. The drive into Nashua from the airport immediately reminded me of when we visited Chris when Adam was one. And other times he was here either with us or with my parents.
Then a message from my former brother-in-law. Adam's other grandma is in ICU in Nebraska. I reflexively imagined her dying and meeting Adam and all the love that would be. It was comforting, not to wish that on her in any way.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Taking Time

I am taking some time this rainy, dreary morning to get some things done. In Adam's memory (at least in my mind) I am delivering some care packages to friends (one laid off, one lost her father). I am wearing an old hoodie of Adam's and ran across some reminders of him this morning as I was trying to finish KonMari-ing some of my closet collection (jewelry, knick knacks that have been put away for a long time, but can't be parted with, the boys hand built clay pots, Pat''s dog tags, Ethan's snow globe, that kind of thing). As you recall, I KonMari-ed my clothes a couple of weeks ago. I paired down to having no boxes in storage or need to switch out my collection for seasons. I'm so over that whole thing. I realized what a poor condition my closet is in, wallpaper falling off the walls, nails with carpet snags sticking out of the floor, clothes bar way too high to be comfortable for me. But that is a project way down on the list. We must have a new roof this spring, and I have been diligently saving for a year now, so we can pay cash.

This turned kind of stream of consciousness. Forgive me, I may have had too much coffee.