Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The pink house has had a bit of a skunk problem (or “stunk” as my oldest nephew used to call it).

About a month ago, I was standing in the back yard and saw, for the first time in my life, a skunk on all fours, not laying on the side of the road “taking a nap,” as my family likes to call road-kill.  I hurried inside and tried to forget about it, convincing myself it was just passing through.

A couple of weeks later, I was once again in the backyard, this time with Arthur by my side, and he chased it into the garage.  This created much more cause for concern.  The skunk had escaped into the garage, but if Arthur had been sprayed, it would have been quite the ordeal.  I felt that I had seen my life flash before my eyes. 

So, I arranged for the wildlife control people to come and take care of the issue for me.  It's not exactly free, but I am totally willing to pay whatever fee so that I don't have to deal with it myself.

The traps in the backyard have caused us some upset to our routine; Arthur has to be on a leash in his own backyard so that I can keep him from setting off a trap.  He’s turned into such a “yard dog.”  He had been leash trained when we first got him and lived on the 7th floor of a condo building, and would go potty on command, but now he takes his sweet time going potty because, well, he can.  After 10 days of living this way with no catches in the traps, I was about to call the people to come and pick up their traps when I woke to a strange smell and thought that maybe someone had gone ahead and made me coffee already (weird, right, that I associated skunk smell with coffee?  Gross.).  I went downstairs and noticed that the trap looked different than usual.  Success!  We had caught one!

Sorry, Pepe.  He was not quite as plesant as you.
I called the guys to come take care of it, and found out that it was a male, which is good news, because hopefully that means it was just him and no momma and babies, but all I have to say is, I’m ready for this “stunk” issue to be over and get back to normal, sweet-smelling life at the Pink House!

Monday, October 29, 2012

California Girls (and Arthur)

I started off this month with a huge treat for myself; I went to LA to a class at Vidal Sassoon. 

This was my third class there, but the last one that I took was in 2004.  The first two classes that I took there had completely changed my life and my career, but this time I was much further into my career and much more experienced, so I didn’t quite know what to expect from my week there.  I learned a lot, brushed up on the basics a lot, and had a great time getting to relax and breathe into doing hair, having only one client a day and getting to really think about things in a different way.  I really enjoyed it.  Coming back and being in the salon I’ve realized that I took away much more than I thought I was going to when I was in the middle of the class, too, so I’m really thankful that I had the means and the time to be able to do it.  It was totally worth it!

The class was Monday through Friday and I arrived on Sunday afternoon.  I decided to do a little shopping on the 3rd Street Promenade, an outdoor mall, and while I was walking around, someone mistook me for Gwen Stefani.  I had my hair tied up in a bandana and sunglasses on, so it makes a little sense if she had been trying to be incognito.  It totally made my day.

I took Arthur with me.  He did so great!  I swear, I need to get this little dog an agent; he’s such a ham.  When we went through security at the airport, I had to send his leash through the x-ray machine, and he had to sit and stay on the yellow line while I walked through the metal detector.  It was like he was posing, then when I called him to walk through it, he pranced through, then came and sat down right next to me, posing again.  Everyone was laughing and pointing at the adorable little dog. 

Arthur's first trip to the beach.  He liked the action (all the new smells!) but not so much getting in the water.  He's just like his mom.
I got sick, presumably from the airplane, so I laid low all of the evenings I was in LA, until my mom met me out there on Thursday night.  She and I had planned on doing this for years, really ever since I had been to this class the last time.  There were so many things that I had done that had just made me miss her back when I took the class in 2004.  So, when I started planning this trip I begged her to come, and she didn’t need much arm-twisting. 

We went to the Farmer’s Market.  We walked on the beach, and I showed her different places that she would have seen on TV.  We went to the Santa Monica Pier.  We shopped.  The next day we went to the Getty museum.  I had been to the gardens before and wanted to show her.  So we spent a ton of time just going through those, then a short time looking at the artwork.  We also checked out Hollywood and went to the Chinese Theater where they do all of the movie premiers and saw a movie. 

3rd Street Promenade

The Beach, with Santa Monica Pier behind us.  That's me on the right, not Gwen, just in case there's any confusion.

These were growing on a tree!  Any ideas what they are?  They were beautiful (in the gardens at the Getty).

Hollywood, Baby!  We took pictures by Clint's signature because we went to see his movie, Trouble With the Curve, which would have been forgettable had it not been for the circumstances.

Flowers at the Farmer's Market.  Aren't they fabulous?

We had a great time; it was like a dream come true.  In 2004 when I had wished she’d been with me, I missed her and wanted her to join me, but our relationship has grown so much, to be able to be with her at this place in my life, at this place in our relationship was such a blessing.  I’ll remember that weekend for the rest of my life.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I spent much of September feeling so incredibly overwhelmed. 

I added more time to my schedule at work.  I decided to do this to take the pressure off of scheduling clients.  It seemed like that would be easier for me to do than to continue the juggling that I had been doing on the phone.  If I added some more time, then at least I would be making money for that time (no one pays me to talk on the phone, if you can believe it).  So far I think it’s been a good decision.

I was deep in my writing workshop, as well.  I think that for me, because I’m a slow reader and a slow writer, it takes me longer than it takes the average person to do the coursework.  So, I knew that I had made a big commitment when I signed up, but it ended up being 10-15 hours a week of “homework.”  I was totally enjoying it, but it also was deep, painful stuff that I was writing about.  I guess I should say at this point, in case you guys don’t know, that I’m working on a book.  It’s a memoire about Sawan and I, about our love story, and then also about what it’s been like to be a young widow.  I’m very excited about it, but it’s a lot of work, on the writing side, and on the emotional side.

Then, I also had so many friends in crisis.  Two of my girlfriends had had babies.  One was in the NICU.  The other was a less than ideal delivery and she had communicated that she needed companionship.  I wanted to be there for both of them.  I also have another friend, part of a couple, where the man is undergoing cancer treatment, and they’re my age.  I wanted to be there for them, as well. 

In addition to these things and being in a relationship, I also had a roommate move in to the Pink house in August.  She’s awesome!  But it also brings a whole other person to relate with regularly.

I want to do so much to make everything better for everyone.  I talked to my counselor about it.  I told him that I didn’t have enough hours in my day.  I wanted to do so much and I just simply didn’t have time or capacity and I was freaking out.  He told me that sometimes what we want to give, what people need, is a million dollars.  So we reach into our pockets and all we have is a dollar twenty-five.  We have a decision to make.  How are we going to spend our $1.25?  What we want to do might be a visit and a meal, but all we can do is a phone call.  Though that might feel inadequate, he still encouraged me to make the phone call.  So, that’s what I did.

In conclusion, September was mostly about putting one foot in front of the other, doing the most I could each day to get to the next day, knowing that all I could do was my best.  I had to be extremely intentional about my schedule and my time.  And, I survived it.  As I struggled through, I was keenly aware of how different this struggle was from the struggle that I had been dealing with for the last three years.  I had so much relationship.  What a blessing. It's what I call a high-class problem.  Loneliness was so far from me, and, even though it was the other extreme, it was so nice to have the reprieve.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My First Tattoo (or the Third Anniversary)

Remember this?  How I scheduled an appointment to get a tattoo earlier in the spring?

Well, the day arrived.  As with all of my “Hard Days,”  I had a strategy in place, but left lots of room for cancelling everything if what I needed to do was stay in bed.

I began my day with breakfast and a tattoo (that's not a very normal sentence, right?).  The perfect girl to go with me on such a day is my sweet friend, Dani.  She has many qualifications for being the perfect girl to go with me.  Most importantly, she is one of my besties.  She and I worked together several years ago, and then she bought a condo in the same building where Sawan and I lived.  The night that Sawan died she came upstairs to be with me.  She was there when the Paramedics were there, when they told me he died.  She stayed with me until my dad got there that night.  But, she was also perfect to go with me because she is also my most tattooed friend.  So, when I scheduled this appointment I asked her to come with me.  She took the day off work and we planned a day of hanging out.

She took me to an awesome breakfast place, then to the tattoo appointment.  She set me up with all of the things that I would need to care for it (the right kind of soap, the right kind of moisturizer, etc.).  Then we went shopping for a little retail therapy.


He drew it in first with a marker.
It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.


A close up.  Sawan had a tattoo of a large brown trout reaching up for a fly just like this one on his left shoulder. 

By mid-afternoon I was exhausted, as Hard Days can make me be, so I headed home to take a nap, which didn’t work, as is also typical for Hard Days.

I headed over to my parents house to hang out with my mom and dad and sister for the 5:30-midnight segment.  This has been the hardest part in the last couple of years, as 5:30 is the last time that I talked to Sawan on the phone.  Once I get to that point in the day, I can’t help but walk through my day as it was in 2009.  This year proved to be the same.

For me, August 24 will always be the day that took Sawan away from me.  Some who have lost loved ones choose to celebrate on the anniversary, but for me personally that has not felt right.  I do, however want to honor him (and myself) on that day.  So, I feel like getting a tattoo and taking lots of breaks to rest were exactly what I should have done this year, and I’m so thankful for all of the people who cared for me, with sweet messages, cards, flowers and spending time with me.  In spite of such deep loss, I feel so incredibly overwhelmed by blessing at the same time.  I’m so thankful.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Don't Tell the Landlord (or, I Scream Like a Little Girl)

My brother’s new job is in Colorado Springs.  He and his family moved into a little house, which is so cute, but was in need of some love in the cleaning department.

We took a quick break from the moving and cleaning to have a little fun.  This is the exact sort of thing that we would have done at our house growing up when our parents were out of town, but not the sort of thing that I pictured us doing in our own houses once we were adults*.  Good to know that some things never change.

*So, we’re in Gabe’s house, and this was his idea.  He and Jon went first, then Ellie and I took a turn, then everyone else did, too, including Grammy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Vacation and a Wedding

I took a vacation! 

It had been awhile.  I went to Mexico.  I’ve gotten to the point where I feel that I’m not on vacation if it’s not the beach.  I get teased occasionally about my vacation choice, as I’m not actually an ocean lover in the true sense of the word.  I don’t get in above my knees.  I’m scared.  This is totally something that I want to overcome, but every time I think, “Ok, you can do this. Here we go.”  I get in just above my knees and I start to hyperventilate.  So, I’ll try again next time.  In the meantime, I lay on a chair in the shade, reading a delightful book, listening to the waves, when I get hot I go dip in the pool, and someone brings me drinks all day.  Swimming in the ocean or not, if that doesn’t sound like a vacation to you, then, you crazy.

This was my hangout...

When I returned from the girls’ trip to Mexico, I went to my third wedding since Sawan died.  The good news is that they are getting easier.  The bad news is, they’re still hard. 

This was the wedding of a good friend from my hometown that I’ve known forever, but also someone that Sawan spent a lot of time with after we got married, so it was just a difficult one for me.  I spent the day reflecting on what Sawan would have said to him on that day.  He loved being married to me.  It didn’t feel right that he wasn’t there to celebrate with his buddy.  It doesn’t feel right that he never got to meet the bride.

I only lightly shed tears throughout the ceremony.  I totally kept it together.  Then, I had to sign the card.  Still, I kept it together, but I knew that I was falling apart, so I hightailed it to the bathroom so that I could ugly cry if I needed to.

When I got there, and totally collapsed into sobs, they had these awesome stalls that didn’t show the feet, so I knew that even if someone came in and heard me, I could wait it out and they would never know who had been in there.

This is precisely what happened.  The stranger in the stall next to me sweetly asked, “Are you ok?” 

I nearly started laughing, because all I could think of to say was, “Um, there’s *hiccup* no toilet paper.”

I thought better of it, lied that I was just great and waited it out, as planned.

After I got my ugly cry out, though, I was able to mostly enjoy the rest of the time.  I am truly so happy for the sweet couple.
As we got ready to pose for the photo, Cori said, "I guess I didn't get the memo to wear black."  I said, "I know, LBJ."  She says she doesn't know what LBJ means.  "You know, Little Black Dress."  She's like, "That's LBD."  LBJ would be Lyndon B Johnson.  Much hilarity insued.
And after we recovered, the boring posed shot.

So, that should update you to almost the end of August!  Stay tuned for my first tattoo!

A New Space

Wow.  It’s been a while!

It’s not that I’ve not been writing.  I’ve been writing my face off, actually.  I took another class (or actually, it was a workshop) at the same place that I took one earlier this spring.  I think that the process of reading and writing is slower for me than most people, so it ended up being about 15 hours a week of coursework.  I also started working another afternoon a week.  So, between my writer’s workshop and the extra work, I have not had time to update the blog. 

I’m also struggling with how to move forward with the blog these days now that I’m dating again.  I don’t know how to process widowhood without processing it through the lens of a new relationship (holy cow, it brings stuff up), but I also want to be respectful of this new man.  The thing about this blog that has been great is that it’s given me a chance to process my previous relationship, but there was no worry of hurting my love’s feelings.  That is no longer the case, as the man I’m currently in a relationship with is actually living (phew).  So….

I guess, I want to ask you to bear with me as I try to navigate this new space. 

Love to all the tens of you!

*I'm going to attempt to catch you up on what's been going on in my life in the past couple of goes!