Monday, February 28, 2011

Insert Catchy List Title Here

Here’s another list of things that are making me happy.  I need to start a regular column for this, but I haven’t thought of a catchy title. 

  • ·      You know how I said that I would have dramatically changed my hair by now?  I thought about doing something VERY different, but I decided I did like being blonde.  When I had to go see someone new for my color appointment last Friday, I told her my dilemma and she suggested we do platinum.  This has always been my favorite of all the colors my hair has ever been, so I was like “Twist my arm!”  and so platinum it is!  I feel very fabulous!

  • ·      Last night I went to a friend get together/Oscar Party sort-of (really I was pretty much the only one who wanted to watch the Oscars, and they humored me) and we made quesadillas.  I was responsible for bringing cheese, tortillas, cilantro, and sour cream.  I showed up with everything on the list, except I bought parsley.  That’s what you get for sending the widow who doesn’t cook to the grocery store.  The sign said “cilantro” above a mass of green stuff.  How was I supposed to know?  I think it was safeway just being mean, and trying to trick me, but I definitely got some teasing.  We all got a good laugh.

  • ·     I have had lots of people offer to help me move, as that chore is looming it’s ugly head on my horizon, and this makes me feel so loved, because I know how much my couch weighs. 
Um, how do I use "photobooth" again so I can show pictures of my new hair?

Oh, yeah.  Here I am, with my new hair.
Ok, that’s enough procrastinating, I have to pay bills, clean my room, and make 1000 phone calls before my coffee date with my friend this afternoon.  What a glamorous life this blonde bombshell leads!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hip! Hip!

Arthur passed his training!  It’s not official yet, I have to go to our last class on Saturday to do some paperwork, and then we have to send it in, but he’s passed all of the tests that he needs to pass to be a full-fledged service dog.  The really good news about this is that I was supposed to sew “in training” patches under the “service dog” patches on his vest, but due to my lack of domestic skills and also to procrastination, I never did it, and now I don’t need to worry about it!  Yay for procrastinating!  Also, it means that we no longer have to go to class at 3pm on Saturday afternoons, so I no longer need to start my Saturday at the salon in the middle of the night to get everyone in before I leave early.  Yay for sleeping in!  Yay Arthur!

The other big news of the week is that, well, let me back up.  Five or six weeks ago, I lose track, I put in an offer on a house.  Because it’s a short sale, we’ve been waiting to hear from the seller’s bank about my offer, and we finally heard from them yesterday.  I agreed to their concessions, but they have to sign paperwork so it’s not “official” yet, but should be by this evening, and I should have a closing date.  Yay for a new, permanent place to live!  I’ll post some photos soon.

And boo for packing.  It starts next week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

More Magical Thinking

I took Arthur to a new place for a haircut today.  Now, this may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it was huge for me, and has me doing some major processing.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:

 Sawan used to handle the grooming well, everything with the dog.  So, when he first died, I took Arthur back to the place that Sawan had chosen, and tearfully explained that Sawan had died, and did she remember what she had done?  Good.  Then just do the exact same thing.  I wanted to keep everything the same as much as possible.

I have the same car, even though I had planned to replace it the summer that Sawan died.  I have the same hair color, even though I’m a hairstylist and I typically would have changed it pretty dramatically by now.  I took several months to change my nose ring. 

I have a friend that was widowed a few months after me, and almost immediately she went and got her nose pierced for the first time.  I thought that was so strange (no judgment, I just thought “Whoa, that’s different from how I did everything.”), but I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on inside of me that wanted to keep everything, particularly mine and Arthur’s appearance, so much the same. 

Fast forward a few months, and, Arthur had gotten very, VERY shaggy.  When I called to schedule him an appointment at his usual place, though, they were booked for a month.  So, I needed to go with plan B.  I called a different place that had been recommended to me, and made an appointment, and have been freaking out about it ever since.

I tried to get a picture of his new haircut, but he was pretty bored with having his photo taken today.
I realized today what was going on in my head.  I wanted us to look the same, so that if Sawan came back, he would recognize us.  Ugh.  He’s never coming back.  I guess this is just more of that “magical thinking” being uncovered.

Well, the good news is, I have realized it and now feel free to move on.  I may go out and buy a new car, but probably not.  I’m not thinking I’m going to change my hair color just yet, because I really do think that blondes have more fun.  But I’m feeling like I need to do some big change…Hmm.  What will it be?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Half an Hour?

So here’s a little insight into Noel’s brain.  I’m obsessive about anything that I do.

So, now that I’m blogging, I do it obsessively.  I’ve actually had to sit myself down and have a talk with myself about not obsessing about it.  Like “Noey, you don’t have to be the best blogger in the whole world.  You don’t have to post every five minutes.  This is a hobby.  Stats don’t count.”  So I’ve changed my language, even in my own head, about having “goals that I’ve set for myself” for blogging and let myself think more of guidelines, like “it is helpful for you to have a routine.”  So if I want to post three days a week, then it’s helpful for me to sit down and write that often, but I can let myself off the hook if I don’t feel up to it that day.  I don’t have to do it.  Yes, I was setting goals for my hobby.  Yes, I’m that big of a dork.

Also, I watched a movie last weekend where the scenario was the guy was being a major d-bag and was making fun of the girl he was on a date with and he accused her of… blogging.  I thought “Oh, no!  Is it seriously un-cool to blog?”  I’m worried.

Sorry, that was a side-note.  Back to my story here.  So I obsess.  I obsessively check my “stats.”  For those of you non-bloggers, you can see how many people are reading your blog, and where they are coming from (both countries and how they’ve found you on the web) and fun stuff like that.  So I mostly get hits from people that I know, people that are friends on Facebook, other friends' blogs, or from other widows that are searching either google or networked blogs for “widow blogs.” 

I’m telling you all of this, though, because I got a hit from google that I just had to share.  When I get google hits it tells me what they searched for, and I got one yesterday that said “How long to wait after drinking coffee shoveling snow.”  I find this hilarious.  I didn’t know that drinking coffee and shoveling snow were like swimming pools and food.  I feel sorry for whoever was looking for this, because they didn’t find the answer on my blog.  But, if it’s the same, then I’d say a half an hour.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Turning My Head

Well, it’s another beautiful day here in Colorado, and I’m up here writing, trying to put off going to pick up dog poop in the back yard.  I’m doing good so far.

I watched another “widow movie” this weekend.  I watched “Love Happens.”  I have been obsessed with widow movies lately.  I went through a phase where I was so mad at Hollywood, felt like they couldn’t get anything right about widows, and wouldn’t watch any movies that had anything to do with death or dying, but lately I want to watch them all.  I guess it’s just the phase that I’m in.

I actually really liked it.  I felt like they got a lot of it right.  It’s actually a widower, so I can only somewhat relate, but he struggles with feeling responsible, and he really struggles with how to deal with his pain.  As with anything in a movie, only some of it will be “relate-to-able” but it worked.

The hardest thing for me was thinking about it afterwards.  Sawan and I had been to a movie the weekend that he died and had seen a preview for “Love Happens.”  All the previews for DVDs that were on it were for movies that he and I saw that summer, like “Julie and Julia” and “Funny People.”  I couldn’t help but think about our last movie date together, and it made me miss him so much.

In spite of that, though, I seem to be doing better these days.  I miss him so much, and I think that I always will.  In some ways, I hope that I do always miss him.  But it feels different lately.  A friend of mine, also a widow, left me a message last week and she put words to what I’ve been struggling to communicate:  It’s like for the first time I’m starting to look forward.  I never stop loving him, I’m just no longer looking back, I’m beginning to look forward.  I’ve begun to turn my head.

Friday, February 18, 2011

An Arthur Update

Arthur has developed a taste for chocolate.

When he was a puppy, I left a single Hershey kiss in a candy dish that was apparently in his reach.  We barely let him out of our site at that point, but when I came in from the other room, he was licking an open wrapper from the kiss.  I freaked out.  I started putting my shoes on, getting my purse, etc., ready to take him to the vet.  Sawan said, “Hold on a minute, lets look it up.” And found on the internet that milk chocolate is better than dark chocolate, and your dog can eat up to one ounce per pound that they weigh and it won’t be an issue.  So one Hershey kiss is less than an ounce.  Not so much a big deal.

Over the probably two years since that has happened, I’ve gotten more and more lax about leaving stuff out around him.  He really is such a good boy that I’ve never really needed to worry about it.  I used to crate him whenever I couldn’t be with him, but eventually I could just leave him to wander around the house and he never did anything but sit in the chair by the front window or lay on my bed.  So the day that Ellie left for London she walks into the salon in a panic.  Arthur had opened her purse and gotten into her snacks for the plane ride, which included chocolate.  I asked her how many he ate, and she told me four small (milk) chocolates.  He was also started on a snickers bite when she caught him.  He had it neatly opened, as though he had opposable thumbs, and had one corner bitten off, looked up at her, not like he had been busted, but sweetly, as if to say, “Hey, Ellie, thanks for the treats!   I’ll split this one with ya!”  So, I knew that less than 4 oz to a 19lb dog was no big deal, I needed to watch him and he would probably be sick, but I didn’t need to take him to the vet.

She just got back from London and he got into her purse once again.  (Knocked it off the chair, opened the snaps, then got three bags of candy open.)  This time, he got all of her special treats that she bought while over there, special stuff you can only buy in London.  Lemon bonbons.  Treacle toffee.  More chocolate.   We’re not quite sure how much he ate, but a lot.  He acted completely normal.  Now, this dog is a puker under normal circumstances.  I can’t feed him any food or treats that have egg or chicken, because I’ll be cleaning up puke all over my house.  But feed my dog a half a pound of expensive candy and he’s just fine.  He’s just like his mom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Memory Quilt: Finished Product

The quilt on my bed with two "fishing shirt" pillows.

My memory quilt is finished!

I got to pick it up on Sunday and I just love it.  The weather here in Denver has been just beautiful, but I’m having a hard time motivating to get out of bed, I just want to lay on my quilt all the time.  I spend hours just touching the little pieces, remembering when Sawan wore that shirt…

I keep looking at each individual square, trying to pick my favorite.  I haven’t decided yet.  I think it’s this one.

(It includes all of my favorites, you see.)
Also, it's Arthur approved.
My friend that made it for me put a little tag on it that says, “This quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.”  And it’s so true.  There are truly not words enough for how amazing this piece of fabric is.  I so love it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

In August of 2006, Sawan and I went on vacation in Montana.  I grew up there, so I took him to all of the places that I had gone as a kid, and we even went *gasp* camping.  I wanted him to get to fish at the place where they filmed “A River Runs Through It” which I had made him watch, even though he had resisted, because it had bastardized fly-fishing or something like that (when he watched it he loved it).  It had made people think they could fly fish when they really couldn’t.  My family had gone camping in that area every summer of my childhood and I wanted him to see it, and we had a great time.  Sitting around the campfire that night, I had made him the perfect s’more.  I’ve had years of practice at this.  The key is to get the chocolate melted by setting it next to the flame while you roast the marshmallow.  How could any man not be in love after you’ve made him the perfect camping desert?  It had been a day of perfection, and he was looking into my eyes, and started to say something, and stopped himself.

Sawan always said that I could read his mind.  We would often be in situations and I would ask him a question and he would say, “Get out of my head!”  I think that this is due, not to the clairvoyance that he gave me credit for, but actually more that I’m just pretty intuitive.  Back to the camping scenario, it was one of those perfect moments that I knew that he was thinking that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and was thinking about asking me to marry him.  But he didn’t.  I didn’t ask him about it, though, didn’t bring it up.

But, Sawan couldn’t keep a secret, and didn’t keep stuff like this to himself.  The next morning, he told me “I almost asked you to marry me last night, but I don’t have a ring and I haven’t talked to your dad.”  So I thought that we would come back to Denver and he would buy a ring and talk to my dad.

Weeks passed.  Then months.  I thought he was maybe waiting for our anniversary that was in October, but that came and went as well.  Finally, I was unable to not bring it up.  Sometime in November I finally did.  Well, I shouldn’t put it mildly.  It became a huge fight.  I just couldn’t understand why he had been sure about me in August and now he no longer was.  Had I done something wrong?  Plus, I felt that he had inadvertently asked me for my answer, which I had given just by nature of still being with him, but he hadn’t asked me the question, so it was just hanging out there, and this made me feel that I was somehow more committed then he was.  It was a very uncomfortable place to be in.

So in November we went and looked at rings.  He got an idea of what I wanted, but was still just not really on board, and for some reason he was mad at me, felt like I was pushing him, even though I felt that it had been his idea all along.

That was a rough couple of months.  All through the holidays we fought often about it.  It came to a head on the day of New Year’s Eve where, I don’t remember what started the fight, or what all went on, or how we worked it out, but I told him he better not ask me to marry him, because I wouldn’t say yes.  Then I left.  But we didn’t break up, somehow.  I think it’s because we just really loved each other.  Somehow, for me, this felt like I was able to take back my answer.  The next few weeks were just about the best few weeks of our entire relationship to that point.  It was like we fell in love all over again.  I no longer felt the pressure about my answer being out there, I just was able to remember all the reasons that I loved him.  I had, however, set a date in my mind, that if he hadn’t decided that he really wanted to be with me by Valentine’s Day, then I needed to probably move on.  I was old enough that if I wanted to have a family, I needed to be thinking about that, and I shouldn’t waste any more time.  I wasn’t one of those women who would issue an ultimatum to him, I didn’t want to be controlling, but I had that date in my mind.

Sawan worked in the restaurant business.  There are dates that you are never allowed to ask to have off work- Mother’s Day, Easter, and Valentine’s Day.  So he was working on the 14th.  He made plans to take me to dinner on the 13th

Like I said, Sawan couldn’t keep a secret.  So I totally knew he was up to something.  Well, I was pretty sure.  He had never made a big deal about Valentine’s Day before, so him making a dinner reservation was a pretty big tip-off.  Plus he kept dropping hints.  He was just so little kid-ish in his excitement.

That year the 13th fell on a Tuesday.  I had a training conference for the company that I’m an educator for starting Sunday and ending that Tuesday.  I came home, exhausted, but excited about my date, and started getting ready.  He came while I was still in the middle of getting ready, and was anxiously trying to hurry me along.  I was expecting him to ask me while we were at dinner, so I couldn’t understand why he was trying to get me to hurry so badly.  Finally, at one point he says, “Baby, I have something we could do before dinner, so if you could hurry up, it would be good.” 

I thought, “Wow, does he want to stop for drinks before hand or something?  He’s really trying to make this special.”

So I finish up putting on mascara and flat-ironing my hair (and I can hear his heavy breathing in the next room because he’s so nervous.  It was cute).  I come out to my living room where he’s waiting and start to put my coat on.  Now, I wish I had a video of this.  He says, “Wait one minute before you put your coat on.”  And I realize, “Oh, my gosh, he’s gonna ask me right now!”  But I already had one arm in my coat.  I’m sure I looked hilarious as I tried to get my coat off and hang it back over the back of the chair.  I was so NOT smooth.  He pulled me in the living room and got down on one knee.  He told me that I looked beautiful, and he would never be the one to give me fashion advice, but my outfit was missing something.  Then he said, “Noel Hoggatt, will you marry me?”

And I said, “Yes.”

He thoughtfully had decided to ask me at my own house in case I got emotional and I didn’t want to be in front of people, this had happened to a woman the night before when he was working and he felt so sorry for her.  So like him.

The rest of the evening is a blur, except that I remember looking down at one point at my ring and thinking, “This is the most beautiful piece of jewelry I’ve ever seen and I get to wear it every day for the rest of my life.”  This is why I have trouble now with taking it off.
February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day, Baby.  I miss you.

Friday, February 11, 2011


“I never knew that grief would feel so much like fear.”  C.S. Lewis

For me, this has certainly resonated.  There have been so many times that I’ve felt so afraid.  But lately, the way that I would describe my grief is this:  “I never knew that grief would feel so much like homesickness.”

I’m homesick.  There have been times that I’ve felt this way before, I remember in the first couple of weeks, my sister was still here from London and she asked me what I wanted, and I just told her “I just want to go HOME.  I want to go home to my husband.”  And now I’m feeling that again.  Just a longing to be home. 

There are so many love songs that talk about this, so many people that say this about their spouse, and it’s so true, that THEY are home.  That home is the person.  And now, for me, it’s a place that I can never return to, and I miss it so deeply these last few days.

You know, I always enjoyed being alone.  I always enjoyed coming home on Saturday nights after a long week of people intensity at the shop and knowing that I could lay on the couch and just “veg” and watch whatever I wanted on TV, but I knew that at the end of the evening, there would be a phone call from Sawan, saying he was on his way home from work at the restaurant, and then we would get into bed together, and I would fall asleep in his arms.  That’s what I miss.  I miss that place in his arms.  Home.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


So I lied.  Or I should say, I misspoke.

I am SO SORE.  I shoveled some more.  After my fun morning of shoveling on Sunday, I was rarin’ to go for some more.  Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long.  Monday was a really warm day, and melted off quite a bit of what we got over the weekend, but we were supposed to get 6-8 inches by Tuesday morning.  Since I don’t start work until 10:30 on Tuesdays, I had a delightful morning of drinking coffee and then I got to work shoveling.  I shoveled my front walk and the neighbor’s, then I walked the block to the shop and did that one as well, and the neighbors there, too (we’re in a duplex at the shop and I couldn’t NOT do it, I thought it looked tacky).   It was great fun.  I woke up this morning and just about every muscle in my body hurt.

The good news is twofold.  One, I already had an appointment with my bodywork guy (bodywork is kind of like a combination of massage and chiropractor) for today so he got me all fixed up.  This also motivated me to clean my bathroom (I needed to shave my legs beforehand and thus the bathroom got cleaned).  The other thing is, it always feels good to me to have a little soreness in my muscles.  It makes me feel like I’ve done something.  This is motivating me to work-out for the first time in a year, so YAY!

Other than cleaning the bathroom and a massage, all I did was go to Target for groceries, and I feel like I’ve had the longest day and am so exhausted.  How is that possible?

Monday, February 7, 2011

The place for me...

I have been reading a book about grieving, by a guy from the band Rush, where he loses his daughter in a car accident and then within a year loses his wife to cancer.  So he just gets on his motorcycle and checks out for a year. 

About a week ago, I was reading a friend’s blog, and it was about getting in the car and driving.  In my estimation, it was also about the need to escape.  It reminded me of a time in my life, several years ago, where I felt that way, too, and I posted on her Facebook wall my theme song for that time, Counting Crow’s Holiday in Spain.

Listening to that music, combined with reading this book, has me feeling the wanderlust a bit.  There’s something about that idea of just getting away from it all, escaping.  The timing of that really sucks, since I’ve decided to buy a house in Denver (little update:  I’m under contract with the sellers, but it being a short sale, we’re still waiting to hear from the bank.  I have no idea how long that can take.).

But this week I’m reminded of why I thought it was a good idea to go ahead and make a permanent housing decision in Denver.  My folks went to visit my brother, and my sister that I live with went to visit my sister that lives in London.  I’ve had a couple of times in the last year and a half where I’ve been totally on my own like that here and I implode.  This time has certainly been an improvement, and I also have friends that are calling to check in on me and have made plans for later in the week just to make sure I’m ok.  But I still am recognizing that I need my fam, I do better when they’re around, so I think Denver is the place for me.

Arthur and I tried to get in Ellie's suitcase to go to London, too.  Didn't quite work.
Plus, if I went somewhere else, I wouldn’t get to shovel snow (I’m not kidding, I actually love to shovel snow) and yesterday I shoveled my front sidewalk and then went to a friends house and shoveled their sidewalk and whole driveway and I’m not even sore!  Yay!

Friday, February 4, 2011

In His Own Words: Casting for Recovery

I seem to be in the anger phase of my grief these days, and so everything that I think about Sawan has a negative slant, and I hate that.  I hate how negative I seem to be about him on this blog lately.  So as I was thinking about what I would post today, I wanted to make sure I was reflecting on something positive, on something that I really loved about him.  A couple of months ago I found this article that he wrote for a friend’s fishing web site and I’ve been saving it to share on here.  He was so amazing as a guide, as an angler, as a communicator, and also, I think it’s so interesting how he talks about grief, and how the ways that he grieved his mother (right and wrong) prepared me in so many ways for how to handle losing him.  I didn’t do any editing, this is his article in his words, and this is the photo that he had chosen to go with it.  Enjoy.

Casting for Recovery
I hadn’t been thinking about my mom that morning, but as anyone who has lost a love one can tell you, sometimes thoughts of them can just creep up on you. A song or a smell or a random encounter can send you into the grieving process even years after they’re gone. I had lost my mother to breast cancer five years prior. It was a difficult time for me, and the grief demons still haunted me sometimes, and actually, they still do on occasion. 
      So there I was going about my usual duties in the fly shop when in walks Dana Rikimura. Dana is one of the coordinators for Casting for Recovery here in Colorado. I had heard of the program where guides volunteer to teach women recovering from breast cancer how to fly fish, but never researched it or knew how to get involved. Dana was asking for gear donations for an up-coming retreat, and I immediately started asking how I could get involved. I told her briefly that I had lost my mother to the disease and was interested in volunteering. She got my email address and told me someone would be in touch. True to her word, it wasn’t long before a woman named Kris Tita contacted me and asked if I would like to be a “river helper” at a future retreat. A “river helper” is basically a guide for the day. I emailed back and told her my whole story, she was moved by it and invited me to the very next retreat they were having. It was to be located at the famous North Fork Ranch just outside of Bailey Colorado.
     I was excited and nervous at the same time. I had done some guiding before, not a lot, but some. I knew the program was full of volunteer “professional” guides. I wanted whomever I guided to have a memorable experience and in my na├»ve state I was convinced that meant catching fish. Would I be able to get someone on fish? Or, would I fumble through everything while everyone else did? The morning of the retreat I awoke nervous that I wouldn’t “stack-up” against the other guides, but as I drove into the mountains I had an epiphany. This day was not about me. It was about the women who had decided to try something different in an attempt to experience life in its entire God-given splendor. I was just a medium through which that could be accomplished. So, I decided to just allow God to work through me and hopefully together we could give someone a splendid day.  
     I arrived at The North Fork Ranch early on the day of the guide. It is located on the north fork of the South Platte River. They own about a mile or so of river where they have stocked some big fish, mostly Rainbows, and done some river improvements to maximize trout habitat. Kris and Dana were there to instruct us on the procedures for the day and assign us our ladies. The hosts at the ranch provided coffee and breakfast for us. The ladies had been there all weekend and the guides only come in for the last day of the retreat to help out. Group pictures are taken and then everyone spreads out on the river to start fishing.
    That first day I was assigned Maggie. Or maybe, she was assigned me. Either way, we were to be partners for the day. She was an elderly woman who had never fly-fished before. I remember asking her that morning what her value was for the day. Was she dead set on catching a fish or was the over-all experience what mattered? She responded like the gentle woman she was and said she wanted to have fun, maybe learn a little, and if catching a trout was somehow managed in the process, so much the better.
     I had walked the river when I arrived that morning in order to scope out where the fish would be and look for easy places to stand, cast, and hopefully net a fish. We walked to a spot on the river where I had seen a couple of fish in the morning. We talked and introduced ourselves and shared our stories a little. I rigged her rod for her and explained what I was doing and why I had chosen the flies I had. We were going to be nymphing (using flies that drift in the current under the waters surface) that day and I put on a big fuzzy indicator so that we could detect strikes. We began with an easy short-line cast into a promising looking area. She struggled at first, but after a quick demonstration she was placing those flies exactly where I asked her to. I’m not sure how many drifts through that pool she made, but it wasn’t long before WHAM her indicator disappears into the icy depths of the river. In my excitement I practically screeched “lift, lift, lift!” The next thing I know, a beautiful rainbow trout comes leaping out of the water in front of us. Now, I have seen many a trout clear the water in my days but I can’t ever remember being more excited about it. I have a still photo in my memory of that fish glistening in the sun tethered to a little old lady who could have been my grandmother. She fought the fish well and followed my instructions perfectly, and before we knew it, I had sixteen inches of beautiful, spotted, pure muscle in the net. I looked up at her and saw an expression of pure joy on her face. I’m sure that it mirrored mine.
    When someone catches a fish on one of these retreats it lights up the river with congratulations and excitement. The other women up and down the river hoop and holler and scream things like “way to go”. Someone invariably comes running over with a camera to get a snapshot of the moment and there is an overall feeling of genuine joy. We took a quick photo and returned the fish to the cold, clear water from whence it came. We caught a few more fish that day, but nothing sticks in my mind like that first one.
    I had a quiet moment in my own head where I thanked God for providing us with a fish to catch, and then another one where I thought of my Mom. A few days before she passed away she asked me to make her a promise. I was expecting something dramatic. But, what she said was “promise me you’ll never stop fishing, it brings you so much joy”. I told her not to worry, I was sure it was a promise I could keep. Part of that experience for me now is the joy I receive in teaching others.
    I have since done six Casting for Recovery retreats. Every time it brings something a little different. Each woman has her own story and her own personality; her own challenges and her own demons to conquer. But each and every time we catch fish together it brings a sense of accomplishment and an appreciation for the beauty in life. The spring retreat is around the corner and I can’t wait to offer my time, skills and heart to the day.

Sawan Nail     

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Spatula War

When we got married, Sawan moved into the condo that I had already been living in for several years.  I owned it, he was renting, and it never occurred to me to sell it and move somewhere new together, and he never suggested it.  So, we kicked out my roommate, I did some purging of my stuff, we painted my pink bedroom, and he moved in.

I think that learning to live together always creates conflict.  At least, I’m pretty sure that this is pretty classic first year of marriage stuff or just moving-in together stuff that people always say is difficult.  I will say that I was glad we waited to live together until we got married, because without the covenant of marriage, I think that there were a few fights that I would have told him to pack his sh#! and get out.  One of them involved a spatula.

We got married July 1, and it was Labor Day weekend.  I always take the 3day weekends off of work, and so I didn’t have to work that Saturday, but Sawan did.  I had plans to meet some girlfriends at the pool in the afternoon, but being an early riser (ish—at least compared to Sawan), I wanted to make him breakfast in bed so that we could spend a little bit of time together before parting ways for the day.  So with him still sleeping, I pad into the kitchen to make scrambled eggs and whatever else I could find.  Well, the kitchen was Sawan’s domain.  There was nearly nothing left of mine.  I had made room for him on the bookshelves, and we had cleared out the guest-room closet to be his, he actually had that whole bedroom, and there was room for fishing stuff in the storage area downstairs and in the front closet (plus whatever shelves and stuff in the bedroom), but he had packed up nearly everything that I owned in the kitchen and we had given it to my sister.  Every dish, every pot and pan, every utensil.  His were better.  He was in culinary school at the time, so he had a million gadgets and we had to make room.  As I got out the stuff that I needed for scrambled eggs, I couldn’t find a decent spatula.  The one he had brought was flimsy and flexible, I’m sure it’s for a specific purpose, but not useful for things like getting cookies off a cookie sheet or making scrambled eggs.  I was furious.  I wasn’t SURE that he had gotten rid of the solid spatula, though, because he never put things back in the same spot, either. He was a stasher.  When he emptied the dishwasher he would just find an empty spot in a cabinet or drawer and stash stuff there, so I could never find anything.   So I spent several minutes slamming drawers looking for the decent spatula, at which point he came in and wanted to know what was going on.  HUGE, daylong fight ensues.  I’m pissed that he got rid of what I wanted, he’s pissed that I haven’t welcomed him into my house.  We eventually worked it out, and he bought me a new, solid spatula, and we kept both, for their separate purposes, and would laugh later about the daylong fight over a SPATULA.

"Mine" that he bought me is on the left.  His flimsy, not good for scrambled eggs one is on the right.
Fast-forward 3 and a half years.  This is why I can’t cook.  I can barely re-heat anything in my kitchen without there being pain.  I’ve started to do a lot of things that I didn’t think I would ever want to do again.  I’ve watched movies where the main characters are widows (I put P.S. I love you on my Netflix queue.  I can’t believe I did that).  I listen to the radio sometimes, because lately it’s been worth negotiating the minefield.  I heard a Sarah McLaughlin song (she was his favorite) in a store the other day, and I found myself singing along and enjoying it, it didn’t even occur to me to run out.  About halfway through I noticed this and was so surprised at myself…I thought “Whoa, that’s movement!”  I’ve gone to nearly every restaurant that I avoided for the first year…I still need to make it back to our favorite date place, Hapa, but that’s it.  So I’ve really made progress.  But when I was re-heating a sandwich in my skillet the other day, and I reached for the spatula, I started to cry.  I guess this just goes to show that you never know what will set you off.  Ugh.