Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Came home from work and managed to change my sheets. I don't really want to even think about how long they had been on my bed.

Kind of wanted to be a couch potato today but knew that I should hit the pool to calm my mind. I swam a modest 15 laps and I did feel less tense afterward.

Had a nice outing with some of my family the day after my birthday and, this weekend, I hung out with Patti who took me to brunch for my birthday. The food was amazing and the dessert was too. I had not planned to get dessert but Patti mentioned that we were celebrating my birthday and they brought out an amazing beignet. I want one for every birthday from now on.

Delightful Little Beignet
We also stumbled upon the Edwardsville Art Fair where there was a lot of interesting art but Jenna McNair's paintings really spoke to me.

Afternoon Cheeseburger, McNair
I'm reading Roxane Gay's Hunger which took me a while to get into. It's kind of sad -- the things that happened to Gay and, also, how we beat ourselves up about weight etc.
People don't expect the writer who will be speaking at their event to look like me. They don't know how to hide their shock when they realize that a reasonably successful writer is this overweight... (264)
When I told Patti about my wish to take two months off from work (under good circumstances, duh), she said that I'd already had three weeks (overseas trip) of my two months off. Leave it to Patti to throw some reality into one's daydreaming.

Monday, September 18, 2017

And The Days

B-Day Card From  My Aunt's Daughter
I took the day off from work because, honestly, I don't want to be aggravated on my birthday. Didn't really feel like a big celebration either and I'm usually on the low-key side to begin with soooo...

Of course, my aunt is on my mind and the days will get to you  -- birthdays, holidays etc. The first "xyz" you are without that person.

Regarding my aunt, I find myself going back and forth between I can't believe this, anger and partial acceptance. I think that my aunt was such an amazing person that she is still vividly alive for me, a notion that was confirmed when I saw the Instagram post below. I'm sad but know that I have to honor life and her life too.

Flower Near Car Dealership
Flowers on the Desk at the Car Dealership
From the 'Fugee
"I came to see what he'd become, or always was—the father who will never cease to be alive in me." —from "I Wanted to Share My Father's World" by Jimmy Carter  #mondaymotivation  Thirty-nine years ago, when the 39th president of the United States was in office, my dad wrote on his list of life goals, "Talk with the President." I wonder how he'd feel knowing his newborn baby that year did that yesterday. President Jimmy Carter was 54 years old when my dad made that goal, the same age my dad was when he was killed. Yesterday, when I told him why I was meeting him, he said, "Very good." Then he shook my hand and said, "Come back down and see us again." Just before I met him, he said, "Sorry to keep you waiting." Thirty-nine years is a long time to wait, and I wish my dad could have checked off this one himself. Luckily he's still alive in me.
A post shared by My Father's List (@myfatherslist) on

Thursday, September 7, 2017

To Wrap Around

Buddha at a Local Store
My cousin was supposed to go to a family birthday party last Saturday with my aunt Al so I accompanied her and I joked that while I wouldn’t be glad to go, I would go. I knew that it would be an awkward experience since, outside of my father’s siblings, I don’t really know a lot of my paternal relatives.

At the birthday party, a second cousin came over and asked if I knew who he was. I did know his name but I didn’t know him. He immediately said that one of his regrets was not getting to know parts of his family and I said that I felt similarly. I mean, I had to be introduced to many relatives at that party that, in theory, I should be familiar with.

On tap for the next day was a reunion with many of the same family members. One of my second cousins, D, kept saying that she looked like my aunt Al in response to people saying that she looks like her grandmother. D didn’t get along with her grandmother and I feel bad about that too because I think that if they had put their differences aside, they would have really enjoyed each other’s company. D has a great sense of humor and a big personality -- just like my aunt L. Anyway, I have enough to feel bad about without adding more regret for something that I had no control over...

Scene of the Reunion
Tug of War: Females vs. Males
Photo Booth: D's Family
At any rate, the birthday party was nice and so was the family reunion. Both were well organized and the credit goes to my second cousin, S., who is a superb event planner. The party MC even joked that the birthday woman is very laid back but that her daughter, S, is another story. When S asks you for something by a certain time on a certain date, you get it to her without questions...

Once a friend suggested that I go to Al-Anon and I scoffed out loud and had a For what? tone to my voice. I considered my father a soft and functional alcoholic but I can see how my father’s pursuit of alcohol et al. affected me by, say, his lack of interest in family gatherings.

As I listened to my cousin, C, talk about his 40 plus year marriage to the birthday woman, I wished that my father had been more invested in marriage. You get to play the “wish game” but you don’t get to alter reality and, while my father was not more “invested” in marriage, he was super invested in me, so I won’t cry over spilled milk. Okay, I’m whimpering a bit but whatever...

Birthday Prizes, Decorative Boxes that S Made
Additional Giveaway Boxes (with scripture chosen by birthday woman)

As an introvert, I felt the strain of being around a lot people for the Labor Day weekend but I did enjoy the family reunion. There were games, plenty of food, a photo booth and, of course, lots of interesting people.

I found it frustrating that I got almost nothing done, outside of cutting the grass and cleaning the fish tank, during the holiday weekend but I guess I’ll put that in the That’s life column. Plus, when family is gathered, you have to set other things aside.

The Friday before the holiday was busy at work and so was this Tuesday. I kept feeling the need to scream and I did but not loudly because screaming at work is frowned upon. My urge to scream made me think of this Primal Therapy scene in some goofy movie. And other than wanting to scream, I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that my aunt is gone.