Uncategorized

Beer. Day 308.

Roger had a traditional, simple palate. He wasn’t into bold flavors or robust foods or drinks. He liked his coffee light and sweet, and although he was an evolved foodie, gourmet was not his thing.

“Take a sip of my merlot,” I’ve said to him.

“No,” he said laughing.

“Please? Just a little one.”

He was either over my annoying pestering or he loved the attention, so he took my glass and sipped a small amount of the deep, rich wine.

The face always changed immediately. I don’t think he could have possibly stopped it.

“Why do you make me do that?”

“I don’t make you!” Of course, by this point, I’m laughing.

He was like that with beer, too.

“Roger, we bought you that water you like,” my dad would tell him.

He was referring to Busch Light, his favorite beer, always in a can.

Today, I raise my tepid can of Busch Light and toast my husband on what would have been his fiftieth birthday.

Cheers to the gray that never was. Cheers to your birth and your legacy. Cheers to you!

Uncategorized

Life Blocks. Day 307.

Life changes very fast, and not in little pieces, but in blocks. Large chunks of big deals, life events, well-contained chapters.

This new series of being in North Carolina again seems to be contained in a tidy section of our life with new degrees, careers, friends, and a home we are completely comfortable in. Tucked in.

I feel, though, that although all is good, I still haven’t mourned my life in Massachusetts, what could have been, and even what was. I still dream of my house while I’m awake and inhale the rich sent of history. The places and the people still rest there all snuggled into that beautiful state I called home, the one I can’t imagine stepping into again.

The haunting of my potential life in Massachusetts hasn’t approached me in a diluted form, not yet. Maybe I don’t want it to or maybe it’s just not time.

It’s odd that even what we do or did want to happen can still cause pain, and although I’ve moved on, there are times the what-ifs still drag me down.

Uncategorized

(Would Be) Fifty. Day 306.

Roger has a special birthday this week. The twelfth is his 50th birthday.

As always, I wonder what we would have done to celebrate, but there would have only been one way.

A party at our house would have been his choice anyway, a cookout with burgers and his favorite sides, enough pineapple upside-down cakes for the masses. Busch beer.

The boys and I would buy him some shirts from faraway fire departments, maybe a Red Sox hat, and a power tool.

There would be a fire in the back yard for after dinner and cake, and he would be cheerful and very happy to have his people all in one place, and we’d play country music, his favorite.

Now, it’s just another date to wonder, one which chills sloppily atop the others, not leaving when the clock strikes midnight, but resting in their little closet with the missed anniversaries, Memorial Days in May, and the thirteen Christmases that have gone on without him.

The woulds are annoying, quite honestly, so very annoying.

Uncategorized

Bullets to Organize My Thoughts. Day 302.

  • Shade is underrated.
  • Change is scary but also very exciting.
  • My chicken, Elsa, has a new roommate, Romanoff.
  • Baylee is my favorite son today.
  • Why do fools fall in love?
  • Sammy helped me come up with a name for my brand. It’s a secret still.
  • There’s a zucchini in my cup holder.
  • It feels like 108.
  • We’re having southwestern egg rolls and guacamole tonight.
  • Life is so dang good.
  • Sam is our new egg collector.
  • Made appointments with a new vet.
  • Kayaking sounds so fun, even amongst the alligators.
  • Wear sunscreen.
Uncategorized

Milky Way. Day 301.

“I don’t understand how people can take a photo of the Milky Way if we’re literally on it,” I said to Sam.

He looked at me for once, eyebrows raised and said, “right?!”

I’ve seen photos of it for years and years and can’t process the concept that photos exist, and I stand by my curiosity and confusion as not a sign of dippiness or naivete.

It’s just weird, but either way, I would love to see it.

Uncategorized

A Storm. Day 298.

We’re having a little tropical storm named Collin today. It was last minute. The air is so muggy and thick, warm and misty.

As the rain was pouring on my Jeep, giving it a much needed bath, a rinsing off of the poor juicy insects who found their demise on Interstate 40, I was reminded of past hurricanes, and of one moment in particular that wasn’t funny then, but I guess is now.

Max was a baby, only a couple months old. He still used a baby carrier because he wasn’t quite ready for a car seat yet.

I worried about the storm and potential for tornadoes so when it was time to sleep at night I locked him up tight in his seat so if anything happened, he would have a fighting chance.

That’s paranoid, right? I thought it was genius.

It’s frightening to sit through sometimes days of violent winds and darkness. News on the battery operated radio talked about tornadoes lifting houses high in the air and flooding chasing people away from their homes.

I was simply afraid.

Uncategorized

How Do You Do It? Day 297.

Single moms out there, how do you manage? What do you leave undone? I need to choose something.

How do you:

  • paint your toes
  • clean out closets
  • brush the dogs
  • weed anything
  • deep clean the house
  • organize kitchen cabinets
  • cook dinner
  • not freak out
  • catch up on personal emails and Facebook messages
  • reach out to old friends
  • keep up with annual appointments and tasks
  • schedule service on your vehicle
  • play a board game with your kids
  • not pull your hair out

I’m waiting.

Uncategorized

Quiet House. Day 293.

All of the boys are working today, and I am too, but they left and I stayed. It’s just me, the cats, the dogs, and the chickens today, and I thought it would be nice.

It’s too quiet, and I haven’t had a second to myself until now. Once the boys all began working, the others would take over their chores. Now, today anyway, it’s only me. I worked until after two, then did the chores.

I had to tend to the chickens which included feeding them, making sure their water was fresh, counting them, giving them treats, chatting with them for a bit, and collecting their eggs. I also had to peek at the garden and pick what was ready, take out the trash, empty and fill the dishwasher, and so much more that I simply don’t want to list.

While I do all this I have nobody to talk to, not one person to hear me fall in the shower, and the silence is deafening. It’s funny because even the dogs are quiet. It’s eerie.

So, I have made a decision: If I am still single when the boys all move out in fifty years, I will become like Forrest Gump’s mom and have boarders here who I will cook for, rent out rooms to, and share stories with. It actually sounds kind of nice.

Uncategorized

Gisele and her Person. Day 292.

We had a beach day at Tyler’s today and Gisele came along. It’s sweet to see her niece, Maxine, and her nephew, Belichick, love on her and show her the respect she deserves.

She got to see her person, Tyler, and she knew where we were going once we turned down his very long road.

Life is good. I just can’t stand it sometimes.

Uncategorized

Life Goes On. Day 287.

Daily observations:

  • I need to do some lat exercises.
  • Time goes too fast.
  • I’ll never outgrow peanut butter.
  • Hot sauce with jalapeños and Cayenne peppers from the garden is in the fridge for two weeks then we can use it. Try making it yourself. It’s easy.
  • Yogurt with granola is underrated.
  • There are so many last names in the world.
  • Stuff is getting expensive!
  • If I could meet the person who invented the undo button, I would buy her a Coke.
  • There are good people in the world, but we focus too much on the bad.
  • Pizza or tacos? You can only choose one forever.
  • My dad used to talk to me about a rocket that had unlimited gas and time. It can go go go forever. He would say, “Does it end? If it does, what’s on the other side?” There’s an other side to everything. Whoa.
  • I slouch too much but it feels so good.
  • I miss reading.
  • Get blue light glasses.
Uncategorized

Jealous of Roger. Day 272.

Sometimes I was jealous of Roger, well envious maybe. He’s traveled the world and has been to places like Turkey, England, Italy, Malta, and I could go on. He had friends in the Marine Corps, experienced adventures like sky-diving and visits to Las Vegas, and was able to nap. A lot.

Continue reading “Jealous of Roger. Day 272.”
Uncategorized

Away. Day 264.

A book I read, with a bright orange, non-glossy cover and deckled edges, Where the Crawdads Sing, is about a girl/woman who raised herself in the marshes of the South amongst the tidal swells and swinging, gray air grass. She had no friends for most of her life and her family was not around for the most part. The novel has lingered in my mind, popping up randomly for years, for no reason. I imagine it would be lonely out there amongst nature only, rough nature, but I also imagine there is peace as well. And if you've never known company, would you know, recognize, and understand loneliness? She has nobody to answer to, no bills to pay, no comments to respond to on Facebook, and she will suffer no great loss. She also is not privy to the heartache we all read about on a daily basis, the happenings in the world that are potential for harm and sadness. I became lost in that novel by Delia Owens, and still fantasize about what life like that would be. It takes me back to camping, which I desperately want to do, and nature in general, the woods, ocean. The peace that God has offered to us all. It's what I appreciate the most, what grounds me. It's what offers me stillness and hope. It's fuel and vitamins and life. Real life with death that is cyclical and necessary, not to be feared or mourned, but to be comprehended and respected. There's no make-up or processed diamonds or five-hundred dollar handbags made out of nature. It's authentic. 
Uncategorized

To His Brothers. Day 263.

Memorial Day weekend has always been one for us to reflect and remember. The more years that pass, the more privately we want to do that. Our time is spent together and not on our screens, so I did not write anything new.

Today I share a post that Tyler wrote over two years ago to his three younger brothers:

Uncategorized

Saturday. Day 256.

The whirring of the green and yellow lawnmower becomes loud, then fades, and repeats over and over again while Baylee attempts to created the best lines, the ones that will look better than Max’s, or so he hopes. Curving so gracefully and in cadence with the shape of the front yard. Long slim letter S after long slim letter S.

Continue reading “Saturday. Day 256.”
Uncategorized

Chill, Girl. Day 252.

I realized something today. I don’t let life be. Everything I do is for the next step, whether it be an event, a purchase, a far-fetched dream.

This week alone I looked into going for my master’s, purchasing a pool, planning a trip to Boone.

I need to learn to leave life alone and enjoy the moment. I have no idea how to do that. Let it happen. Just live.

Uncategorized

Work Friends. Day 251.

I wiped the tin lids, put round, brown paper stickers on the jam I made last week, and wrote the words “Strawberry, May, 2022” on them. I also put some eggs, blue, tan, brown, and white, in the brown six-pack egg cartons, wrapped them in twine so they stay closed, and placed a sticker on each one that says, “Fresh eggs from happy chickens.” (I’m an 80’s kid. Stickers are everything.)

Continue reading “Work Friends. Day 251.”
Uncategorized

Missed Connections. Day 249.

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

Missed Connections is a type of ad that is taken out by a person to find a stranger from a chance meeting they had. It is still being used in this modern day even though social media would most likely be more feasible. I think it’s sweet.

Continue reading “Missed Connections. Day 249.”
Uncategorized

A Dollar. Day 248.

With a possible recession in our near future, it’s hard not to think of a dollar. We have been told to not spend too freely, save if we can, and watch out for the creepy scammers. I understand the domino-effect of recession, but not inflation. I do not know why it exists, but that it truly does, and here’s why:

Continue reading “A Dollar. Day 248.”
Uncategorized

For Alyssa: Boys. Day 247.

I’ve talked about Kim quite a bit in my posts, my friend I’ve know since we were kindergarten-age, the one I used to sneak out of the house with. (I told you that, right?) Her sweet niece, Alyssa, is about to have a baby boy, and she asked me recently to send along any advice about having sons her way. Here are a few things I thought I should mention:

  • Let him pick out his own clothes as much as possible. It’ll amuse you and grant him a sense of confidence and self.
  • Injuries will happen. Just keep your composure until you pass him over to the nurse or doctor. (Once I had to unscrew a screw from the bottom of Max’s foot.)
  • Try not to fear how much you love him.
  • Share music, all types, not that baby stuff, but real music from every genre, and if it has bad words, teach him not to say them. If you censor, it’ll fascinate him.
  • Trust him. Always trust him. (Or at least pretend to.)
  • Don’t wait to tell him bad news. He will be more secure if he doesn’t think something’s coming.
  • Don’t allow others to compare the progress of your son as a baby, in school, in sports, or ever, to their son. Nobody is the same.
  • Whomever your boy decides to love, be nice to them. Some of my favorite people in the world are ones my boys chose. They know what they’re doing.
  • Teach him how to swim.
  • Teach him how to cook, clean, use a drill, and read a paper map.
  • Show him Sesame Street!
  • Don’t be afraid to get dirty, sticky, poopy, pukey. Also, don’t feel compelled to always keep him clean.
  • No matter how many times you put your hand up as a guard, you will get peed on, so keep your mouth closed when you change his diaper.
  • It all goes by so fast.
  • Encourage him to play an instrument, juggle, do card tricks, do crafts.
  • Let him wear pink or flowers or anything else that is socially normal for girls.
  • Frame his art.
  • Teach him how to build a fire.
  • Let him wait on you if he likes. You deserve it and he’ll love to help.
  • Weirdness is simply fine.

The more I list, the more I realize any of these would work for a girl or a boy. I wonder if that’s my advice to you, just treat him like a human, and although you may not agree with some of it, or you choose to do things differently, just love him as you will and let him be whom he is.

Oh how your life will change, and the three of you will figure it all out, especially with your auntie only a phone call away. You are going to be such a good mom. My love to you all.

Uncategorized

Multiverse Mind. Day 241.

Wanda Maximoff

The boys and I went to see Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness today in Wilmington, and our chats have been deep dives and twisted ideas since we tossed our popcorn buckets into the cans at the end of the carpeted ramp. Because of that, I simply cannot organize my thoughts in any type of intricate way, so I will bullet my own madness:

  • I’ll never look swag while using a credit card machine, but tapping is pretty fun.
  • I buried a chicken this morning. RIP, Tuesday.
  • I don’t spend money on fancy purses, jewelry, or going out, but I do love Bose.
  • What is grief, if not love persevering.(?)
  • I still can’t believe we climbed 43 stories.
  • I like how people pat the seat next to them to say sit down. Well, most people.
  • I miss Kmart.
  • Nobody calls me Teresa or Teri in my house.
  • I love my job.
  • If I’m enjoying the present, is it a time thing or a really great gift?
  • I wish more people would recycle here.
  • Roger and I always loved mint shampoo.
  • I don’t like artificial sweetener.
  • When the boys wrestle with the dogs I always tell them to guard their wiener.
  • I think I like the cold because I like to make myself warm.
  • Weight Watchers must miss me. #chipsandcheese
  • With forward movement comes separation.
  • Are there multiverses?
  • I’m working on a nature-vs-nurture piece.
  • It’s the coolest thing to shove a seed into a tiny peat cup of expensive soil and eat what it grows. Come on. That’s so cool.
  • Watch AJR YouTube videos if you’re sad.
  • French toile makes me happy.
  • I can’t believe we’re in North Carolina.
  • My best friend is a 10 year old German shepherd.
  • Favorite colors are silly.
  • Roger put so much effort into being open-minded even if it made him uncomfortable. He was willing to learn. Gosh that makes me happy.
  • I’m working on a piece about my Uncle Lee but it’ll never be good enough to show what he means to us.
  • I wouldn’t mind a little Dark Hold adventure as long as there was a safe word.
  • The Easthampton Diner had really great mozzarella sticks, maybe still does. I miss that place.
  • Jim Halpert will always be Jim Halpert.
  • Turtles are better than people. Actually non-people are always better than people.
  • Exposure therapy is dumb but effective.
Uncategorized

A Reminder. Day 230.

Working has put a hold on my memoir editing, so I wanted to remind myself that I’m not done.

Here, I talk about the day in 2009 when I had some ashes removed from Roger’s urn to have transferred to the cemetery:

I couldn’t help but wonder what was next. People started to leave and as much as I wanted to restore life back to normal, it was impossible. Also, when things calmed down, something else came up. It was a time of unrest and confusion, and the tasks I had to do kept me busy and were welcomed; well, most of them.

In order to have a marker put down at the veterans’ cemetery in town, they needed actual remains, so I made an appointment to go in with Roger’s urn. The day came to transfer some of his ashes into a smaller urn to be buried, and I was thankful to still have my friend staying with me. I didn’t have to go alone.

Auntie and I got into her avocado colored Jeep Wrangler which never had its doors or top on. I remember wearing a black sundress, my hair was in its North Carolina muggy messy bun, and my turquoise flip flops were tucked under my left arm. It had been weeks since his death, so I believe I was wearing lip gloss again. Light pink.

I cradled Roger’s urn tightly to my chest, buckled my seat belt, and lit a cigarette. I dragged deep onto that, inhaling my own death, as we made our way.

Mercedes with chrome details and lifted pickup trucks with big tires swirled around the road as I held my dead husband’s ashes. I moved him to the floor between my bare feet after a bump in the road concerned me. Delirium circled us in her glorious clouds as our little hairs stuck to our sweaty cheeks. There was sun but it wasn’t showing. People were going to K-Mart, first dates, baseball practice, and McDonald’s. They were driving along with their music, smiling at what their boss wore, or griping about their broken acrylic nail. They were late for hair appointments and early for affairs. It was simply absurd. We talked to the urn pretending or believing it mattered to him.

The funeral home was only five minutes from my house on Shamrock Drive, but I remember the drive lasting longer than that. Laughter was trapped in my chest and gut as I wrestled with the absurdity of my life and current place in Jacksonville’s daily events. I wanted to cry with and laugh with delirium. I felt the air tug at my body and imagined tumbling out of the Jeep into nothingness or a nice peaceful rest. Auntie and I knew we shouldn’t really look at each other.

The Jeep’s tires crunched the asphalt as she turned into the parking lot at the funeral home in Jacksonville, NC. I wriggled my feet into my teal Old Navy flip flops and jumped down from the Jeep. I picked up his urn from the floor and pressed it to my chest. I embraced it in a strong squeeze, purposely making it hard for me to breathe, making some of my pain physical. We walked into the front lobby and I felt the cool air envelope my bare shoulders and face as we left the July air. The front room was darkened and empty, and our feet were cushioned by soft, Turkish rugs. The chairs looked too nice to sit on with their velvet crimson cloth. A little man came out, light brown hair and wearing jeans and a polo shirt.

“How much do you need?” I asked the funeral director who usually wore a suit.

“About a handful,” he plainly yet politely said.

I looked at Auntie and she mirrored my face. I handed my husband in his box over to the man, and he nodded and said, “It’ll only take five minutes.” I prayed for his hands to not be sweaty.

We sat on the imported furniture with our Target clothes and looked around. What we were doing was ludicrous like something one would watch on a sitcom, yet it wasn’t funny. I touched the plush carpet with my big toe to feel its softness as I starred in my own sitcom. The man entered our silence with outstretched arms. He was holding Roger’s condensed body in the urn. I couldn’t help but believe it felt lighter as I received it and hugged its squareness. 

“Thank you.”

“Have a good day,” he nodded, and walked away before we did.

We drove home with less craze and confusion than our ride there. Our shoulders were a little lower and the clouds were grayer. I lit my menthol cigarette, and intentionally inhaled more of my life away. I placed his urn carefully between my ankles and squeezed it so he wouldn’t fall out. We made our way back to Shamrock.

A day or two later or who even knows, I filled out the paperwork for the cemetery.

“What am I going to write on his marker?” I asked Auntie, “I only have a few spaces.”

“You’ll know when it comes to you.”

I could have written “Father and Husband,” or “Proud Soldier.” Instead, on his marker in the cemetery, under his name, rank, and awards, people read:

SIMPLE MAN, QUIET HERO

Uncategorized

First Beach Day. Day 229.

We went to Tye and Deaven’s for a beach day.

Max is driving home currently.

I’m ok. Sam is riding captain. “One thing Tyler taught me was it’s better to hit someone’s grass than to hit someone on the left to ya.”

It trickles down.

My boys. I’m a proud mom, sitting in the back seat, enjoying the ride.

Uncategorized

Kevin. Day 216.

Kevin

We have an old cabinet I purchased at an antique shop in Jacksonville. It’s been a snack cabinet, a place to put things we only use once or twice a year like canning jars or Easter Egg trays, and now it’s a small office space with the printer all snuggled up inside it. We call it Kevin.

Continue reading “Kevin. Day 216.”
Uncategorized

The Coaster is Rolling. Day 152.

So Tye, Deaven, Sam, Max, Doo, and I each chose a series we’re watching. We watched the first episodes of six shows today.

Here are the series and their sponsors:

  • Tyler–Ted Lasso
  • Deaven–Peacemaker
  • Sammy–Punisher
  • Max–Agents of Shield
  • Baylee–Stranger Things
  • Me–This is Us

So because I need to process my emotions due to the Space Mountain of genres we’ve viewed, and also because I am practicing posting on my phone, my words will be few today.

Cheers to a peaceful Sunday.

Click Here: 543

543 Day Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Parenting Fail. Day 101.

Sweet Max sending a gift to a friend.

My kids don’t know how to address a letter. Well, some of them don’t, and I take most of the responsibility, and blame the rest on technology.

“Why are you writing the town right after the street address?” I asked Max. He was addressing a package with a Christmas gift for a friend.

Continue reading “Parenting Fail. Day 101.”
Uncategorized

You’ll Think You’re a Tough Guy Too

Other than a slashing burn on your tongue, gums, and delicate throat, Da’ Bomb hot sauce offers your guts twisting cramps that begin at the base of your insides then dillydally through your organs and fat bubbles to your lower back. There it lingers until it casually fades leaving a dull ache. You are then gifted with about five minutes of hope that it has passed, until the warmth reappears and recycles with its crimson heat.

This challenge is the product of a well-calculated peer-pressure type event, and in my case, it was caused by my oldest son, Tyler. He watched a show called Hot Ones on YouTube that is hosted by the babyface, soft-spoken Sean Evans.

Evans speaks with the enthusiasm of a middle-schooler proudly reciting the preamble to the Constitution with a background of inspirational Olympicesque tunes all while directing your eyes with his finger guns. On his porcelain palette of a cleanly shaven head he wears a neatly manicured red beard and mesmerizing psychopathic green eyes. The angel of light shares the experience with his guest, reacting like a crying defendant with no wet tears.

Evans interviews celebrities like Idris Elba, Kristin Bell, Paul Rudd, and my favorite, Pete Davidson while they eat wings, sometimes bird, sometimes vegan. The sauce used on the wings becomes progressively hotter forcing the interviewee to be stripped down to their vulnerable, gelatinous core. And you can’t look away.

“Hot sauce has a way of humbling you, especially this one,” Sean Evans said in an interview with Drew Barrymore in August of 2020 via Zoom. He was speaking of their seemingly hottest sauce, which is number 8 out of 10. It’s called Da’ Bomb. (See below.)

As the veteran actor is visibly distraught from the effects of the bite she just took which was dressed in Da’ Bomb, Evans politely continues to rattle off questions about her career and daily life, a tactic he uses in all of his 219 episodes, showing no remorse or concern as he inquires. It’s brilliant!

I wondered why Tyler kept asking me if I watched the show so I did, and became hooked. Then, Tye said he ordered some of the sauces from the show, and that’s when my nerves started. We tried it. It was me, my three youngest sons, and our family friend, Ben. I tried to talk them out of it and especially concentrated my lessons of peer pressure on my youngest, Baylee.

I took some Morning Star Farms Chik’N nuggets, dunked them in the sauce that’s the color of dried blood, then baked them for 18 minutes. The world stopped as our past few days of anticipation was finally in our sites. We all took a bite, and while I was taking my second, the boys’ eyebrows lowered, and their weight shifted from foot to foot. Their mouths were opened like comedic alligators and their hyperventilating breaths were doing no good with the inhaling and exhaling “hees” and “haws.”

They paced and did pirouettes with their six-foot frames as their inner little boys took over causing them to alternate guzzling milk and lemon-lime Gatorade. The constant dancing and drinking lead them to the bathroom or nearest trash can where they unintentionally gifted their mouths with another taste of the putrid mash. I posted a video of our challenge for your diabolical enjoyment.

It burns down deep through the thin skin at the roof of your mouth through your nostrils creating the most unattractive drip. There is an overwhelming desire to wipe your eyes and dab your forehead which is thinly veiled in a cold sweat, not like you just ran a mile, but like you’re ill with the flu. You tell yourself not to lick your lips and no matter how hard you try not to, you just do with the instinct of a dog who kicks the ground after he pees.

There’s a sense of camaraderie that accompanies the challenge. People don’t just do this without video evidence or by themselves on a Tuesday night. That would be weird. It’s social. They do it to complement their fists while they pound their chests, to simply create new commiseration material, or for a spicy dose of relativity, as told my son, Baylee, 14.

After his pain began to subside, he said, “I feel really good, like better than I did yesterday.”