Six Years and a Lifetime Ago

Just for fun, I launch up the Timehop app pretty much daily, just to see what I posted to social media on this day in years past. Today, as I was scrolling through photos of my son, tweets about weight loss and running, and photos of snow, I swiped to see this face staring back at me, with the one-word caption, “Worried.”

Worried

It was a feeling I remembered well. It was the day I learned I was pregnant. (more…)

Throwback Thursday: Meta Edition

I know that I’m kind of a dinosaur for still having a personal blog. It’s my thing, though, even if it doesn’t get read as much as it did, say, ten years ago.

I found myself paging through my archives today, and I discovered a few interesting things that happened in years past around the autumn equinox.

Fourteen years ago today was when my blog officially began! I’d updated my own personal site with tidbits here and there, but September 22, 2002 was the first “real” blog entry.

Around that time, I was taking the cab to my job in the Sky Bank Lockbox department, where I would typically work a 12-hour day on Monday, an 8-hour day or less on Tuesday, then clock about nine to ten hours a day for the rest of the week. I had just graduated college the December prior, and was really, really missing the old college vibe (especially since the cab drove me past campus every morning on the way to work).

The Black Swamp Crew, 2002

On September 7th, a couple of weeks before I started this blog, a bunch of us walked from the Schnuth abode to the Black Swamp Arts Festival in BG. That’s me at the bottom left, and Aaron is in the blue shirt behind me.

(more…)

Make New Friends But Keep The Old?

Friend (noun):

 1a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
 b : acquaintance
 2a : one that is not hostile
 b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
 3: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
 4: a favored companion
 5 capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker

I’ve been struggling for quite a while now with what truly sets a person apart as a friend.

I’ve had friends at various stages of my life, and they’ve filled various needs I had at the time — someone to be there, someone to accept me for who I am, someone to be the devil’s advocate, someone to complain with, someone to discuss deep thoughts with, someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to push me out of my comfort zone, someone to remind me not to take life so seriously.

So, what happens when the thing that bound us together is no longer one of my needs in life?

Do we stay friends because of mutual life experience? Once a friend, always a friend (unless something drives us apart, like a major shift in philosophy)? Does someone get mentally demoted to “acquaintance,” but never formally told that we’re just not as close as we used to be?
(more…)

Add It To Your Someday List

I was already in a weird mood. Kind of down, for no good reason.

As I sat at my desk, overhearing my boss’s boss on a conference call, I found my mind wandering, so I pulled him up on LinkedIn — I was curious what he’d done before he started working at our company.

I never found out — he didn’t have that much job history listed on his LinkedIn profile — but I did find that he has his own side gig.

Music and portrait photography.

And he’s good at it, too.

He’s got that kind of photographic style that I wish I had: clean and sharp, with deep depth of field and just enough post-processing to make the portrait pop. (I can never get the shutter speed fast enough in combination with a stopped-down aperture, especially with portraits. I never get the lighting just right. That’s why I shoot wide open and let the depth of field set off my subject instead. It’s become my style and my crutch.)

His day job is Assistant Vice President, Director of Technical Services.

He has enough oomph on the side to freelance portrait photography and get gigs photographing live bands. He also is a musician himself, although I’m not sure how much gigging he does outside of church.

Learning this about my boss’s boss didn’t really improve my mood.

(more…)

Difficult to Hear

I was an asshole on social media the other day.

A conversation about buying pants devolved into a discussion about pre- and post-partum pants sizes and culminated with me (for some stupid reason) posting my weight chart that showed that, yes, I lost all but about 4 pounds of the baby weight by two months post-partum (and therefore fit into my pre-preggo pants and didn’t need to buy new ones).

To which my online conversation partner replied that post-partum women REALLY don’t want to hear that I fit into pre-pregnancy clothing at the end of maternity leave. It’s really difficult to hear, she said.

That was when I finally realized that I was being an asshole, and I hadn’t even meant to be.

I apologized to everyone privately and went about my day feeling like an asshole, even though everyone said we were cool.

But then my brain went somewhere else.

How many lifestyle-related things do I read on social media that are “difficult to hear” from my point of view?

(more…)

Mortality

In the last week or so, a former teacher of mine lost her father, a college acquaintance lost his wife, and a co-worker lost her brother.

It makes a person think.

I’ve been lucky. I haven’t experienced any real loss in my almost 40 years. I’ve had pets die, of course; and my Granny, my ex-stepdad Tom, my Memaw, my Great-Uncle Charlie, my Uncle Donnie, my step-Gary. Most of those didn’t affect me as profoundly as they could have, for various reasons. I haven’t experienced loss like my husband has; he’s still got his brother, but apart from that, Aaron kind of feels like the last man standing at this point.

I haven’t lost anyone where it hurts. I mean, I miss them all, of course, but I haven’t lost anyone while I was sharing a household with them. The closest thing I can think of — and this may sound weird and possibly insensitive in context — was probably when Tom’s dog, Joey, got hit by a car when I was in Junior High. That gave me weird dreams and double-takes for quite some time.

I was pretty devastated by Tom’s death when I was in college, but I hadn’t seen him in months (which was one reason why I called the night I learned he had died — just to touch base).

Memaw’s actual death didn’t hit me as hard as it could have, because the cancer treatment combined with her age made it seem as if she were already gone — not quite herself, not quite there anymore. I had been missing her for months, especially as I had been planning the wedding I knew she would be unable to attend (she died as we were returning from our honeymoon).

And when my step-Gary died, he and my Mom had been living in Texas for something like 10 years, so it wasn’t something that affected me on a daily basis. Plus, it wasn’t unexpected, as he had been ill for years.

I can’t imagine losing someone whose face you used to see every day. It was strange enough helping Aaron and his brother clean out their Dad’s house, watching them decide which things to keep and which to donate, associating memories with all the bits of accumulated stuff.

If Aaron got blindsided by a semi tomorrow, I’d be lost. Just thinking about never seeing him again… Shit, even just hypothetically, I can’t deal. I think about it, and I just — nope.

On top of losing my best friend, I’d have to figure out how to move on, logistically speaking, as we have little to no local support network of friends and family. Not like some people do. Financially, I’d make it work somehow, considering life insurance and savings and whatnot, but what of the simple day-to-day things, like not having an emergency backup to pick up Connor from preschool if I get stuck in traffic? On top of, you know, grieving.

And what if it were me? Especially after helping with my father-in-law’s estate, I think about silly things like how messy my computer desk at home is, or my closet, and how I don’t want Aaron to have to deal with sorting all that junk into boxes or garbage bags. I think about my passwords, and my blog, and how I haven’t printed and bound my online journals like I keep meaning to, for posterity, to store with my longhand journals. I think about the home videos I haven’t edited together into anything yet, all the snippets of memories stored on my phone or my hard drive.

And I think of Aaron, and wonder how he’d cope with everything without caving in on himself.

My brain just goes a million directions, and simultaneously tries to process and is unable to process all the possibilities. What if it were Connor? What if it were Mom?

I have been so incredibly lucky. But someday, my luck will end, and I’ll have to deal with death close-up.

And it scares me.