Thursday, February 7, 2013


live band on rooftop overlooking the Austin capitol

Friends, it's been forever.  Fifty million swirling things to write about in my head but I'm in one of those stuck places.  Like I can't just sit down and empty my thoughts out here?  Um, yes.  This is exactly what a blog is for.  

It's 11:50 A.M.  I'm still in my pajamas and the T.V. has only been on cartoons.  I made three pieces of bacon and ate a sandwich for breakfast.  I just called the hubs and asked him to fax a death certificate to Wisconsin Public Service.  What the hell?  I hate even saying the words "death certificate".  How did we get here?  How did I make it five months since Mom died?  And why is my word not enough to explain that I need to stop auto payments?  Bite me.  And she didn't even give me the standard "sorry for your loss."

January 23 marked the second year anniversary of my MIL's death.  And I forgot.  I completely forgot.  Am I so consumed with my own grief, my own life inside my head that I forgot to acknowledge it to the hubs?  But I'm not writing about grief today.  The more time that passes since Mom died the more I am able to compartmentalize.  To make room for it.  To put it away sometimes.  To care for it.  To let it unravel.  To be strong for others.  To dwell in it.  To be okay sometimes.  To still be angry.  To go through it and not around it.  Still sucks.  Still in shock.  

I just read this essay about distinguishing between pleasure and joy.  Very interesting.  This got me thinking.  I recently attended a friends wedding in Austin, TX with a group of long time friends.  And by long time I mean like love-me-long-time since grade school kinda friends!  Precious golden gems.  The kind you can never take for granted because they are so far superior to the rest of life's acquaintances.  My Mom always said that you have many acquaintances in life and just a few friends.  She very well may be correct.  (Aren't Mom's usually right?!)
The Elephant Room for live jazz...

Anyway, my mantra/motto for the trip was JOY RISING.  Because really people that is exactly how I felt.  From the time I departed for the airport, alone, no kids, no hubs I literally felt like I was going to jump out of my skin.  I haven't been on a four day trip like this since Lauren was two years old.  But this time felt different.  Turns out it was exactly what I needed.  I felt at any point in the trip there were tears behind my eyes.  But not because I was sad.  Because I was so filled with giddy JOY.  

And on a side note it was planes, trains and automobiles to get to Austin but not one bit of that mattered because we were all together.  That, and we had many mini bottles of liquor on the plane.  I'd also like to send a shout out to Michael at the San Antonio National car rental who literally said, "You can have any car on the lot."  Group morale soared!  Then we carried on like the road warriors we were in our big pimpin' black Yukon.  

"MOM, come and wipe me." (that was Evan.  I get this interruption once or twice per day and I got it approximately 30 minutes after I arrived home from my JOY trip.  Nothing like wiping a butt to bring you back to reality.)  Record scratchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Angelina Jolie said it best: "The great thing about having a bunch of kids is that they just remind you that you're the person who takes them to go poop."  Amen, sista.  
Austin city lights...

So back to the JOY trip.......surrounded by friends that love and accept you for who and where you are in life.  All stuck inside a two bedroom condo.  I pretended it was college again.  I didn't care if the bedroom was a disaster.  Clothes, make-up, jewelry.......scattered everywhere.  Getting ready together like before you'd head out for 25 cent tappers in college on a Thursday night.  Sharing clothes, make-up and jewelry.  I'm the eye shadow girl.  Sista's had smokin' eyes!  Taking turns for the shower.  Making sure we would eventually get out of the house.  All of it, just glorious.

And the below is primarily for my own benefit.  So I don't ever forget the fun time charlies.
Bloody Mary's for breakfast, food stands for giant hot dogs at 2:30 A.M., roadies, frontal lobe development, acknowledging change in one another, having conversations with love even though we disagree, listening to healing stories of death, divorce, pain and hope.....sharing food and passing around plates so everyone can have a taste, convincing the D.J. to play "It Takes Two", opening champagne when a friend arrived last minute, alka seltzer, Sandeep....these are a few of my favorite things.

And JOY vs. pleasure?  Well, I'm not sure I have all the answers yet.  But what I felt on this trip was that being 40+ really does wonders for all of us.  C-section scar comparisons, school curriculum discussions, rehashing who stood up in our weddings, our sex lives (egads!), why we named our kids what we did..........laughing until we cried. Drinking too much and doing shots (always trouble).......bring it.  

Bring all the joy and freedom that comes from being 40.  When I was 21 I would have been far too self conscious to get up on a bar and dance or get my photo taken on a jackalope or ride a mechanical bull.  (for the record I was the jackalope gal and all other rock star activities were done by my girls)  Staying up until 3:00 A.M. every night.  Feeling those freedoms all over again is damn good for the soul.  Feeling that level of connection and bonding..........what a gift!  

Watching our dear friend finally get married.  Feeling like family amid her family and friends.  Knowing that we wouldn't have missed this for the world.  Because showing up in the good times and the bad times is what we do.  
Sparkler send off at the wedding...

I wrote a bunch of cards out today to friends and family.  It's my thing.  I love writing a handwritten card and thinking of it as it makes its way to the person.  It's like a little bit of sunshine in the world when they open their mailbox and find it.  I said in one card, "Our family may be small but it's MIGHTY."

True dat boo.  

Then my sister received this email from a friend today:  

Family isn't always blood.
It's the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.

Remember the show Thirtysomething? 1987 premiere.  Yikes.  I was obsessed with this show.  As my Great Aunt always said to me, "You are an old soul."  So perhaps this would explain why my sixteen year old self enjoyed this show.  Well I distinctly remember Polly Draper's character Ellyn Warren dating a divorced man with a small child.  The child had to do a streaming consciousness journal for a school project.  Ellyn became kind of obsessed with this journal.

I just feel like this was a stream of consciousness post and I thank you for your support!  I swear no drugs or alcohol have been consumed yet today.  Yet being the operative word.


  1. Welcome home! What a fun read. Life is full of pain amidst the joy but this post radiated MUCH more joy than pain. :) Also, I loved "thirtysomething" as a teenager too. :)

  2. Joy Joy Joy!!! I'm sooo glad you had an amazing time on your trip!