Mom + 3 = -1

Whenever someone has died, my mother always tells me the same way. Before the words come out of her mouth, I already know what’s coming and my heart jumps as I wonder who it might be.

The news always comes late in the conversation – close to when we get off the phone. She leads in by saying, “Do you mind if I tell you some kind of sad news?” Her tone is always a little apologetic and hesitant.

Whenever I am hit with this combination of three, I know that someone is gone. This time around, it was my cousin’s daughter (which, according to the Internet, is my first cousin, once removed). On December 7, she went to a holiday party and fell off an eighth story balcony.

I was not close to her – in fact, we only met once when I was eight or nine years old and she was a baby. I remember she had blond hair liked the bubbles I blew with my chewing gum. I keep searching online for articles about what happened, but can find nothing.

I wonder who she had grown up to be and what her hopes and dreams were. I want to know more about the void she has left – as if by filling in the details of her presence in this world I can better understand her absence.

Her name was Holly and she was eighteen years old. I only met her once, but I am sad she is gone.


JP is the sandwich maker in this relationship. It can’t be denied, the boy has a talent when it comes to assembling various items between two slices of bread. But with a craving for grilled cheese and pepperoni and with JP buried in his take-home Civil Procedure exam this weekend, I had to pick up the slack somehow.

Like any good couple, we compromised: With some verbal guidance on proportions, I buttered the bread, sliced the cheese, got out the mustard and the plates and heated the skillet. He swooped into the kitchen and quickly worked his assembly and grilling magic. The end product was delicious.

BUT – oh my goodness, I never know how much butter and cheese he puts in these things! I think we each had a tablespoon of butter on our sandwich, not to mention 2-3 ounces of cheese! It is no wonder that (a) I love these sandwiches so much and (b) I weigh what I do. I’m not sure I’ll be so quick to have these for dinner in the future.

Forget about the colby jack and the premium pepperoni, it turns out that the most important ingredient in these sandwiches was ignorance.

I am for shit when it comes to time management. Case in point: I just decided to bake a quick loaf of banana bread before going to bed. No problem – I breeze through the first steps and it takes me no more than 10 minutes to throw together the batter.

I scroll down on the recipe.

One hour to bake. Nooo! I have to get up in six hours as it is!


JP has his first Law School Exam tomorrow afternoon. Property. It’s one of the subjects that he really likes, so I suppose it’s as good a one to start with as any. [It’s also the class in which adverse possession is taught!]

JP has been holed up in the house since classes ended last week. This evening we popped by a neighbor’s house to sing her Happy Birthday and eat some delicious cake. It was the first time he’s interacted with anyone other than me in a few days and it showed.

Nothing awful – the jokes were off, the comments were perhaps a little weird, oh – and he almost palm-whalloped a friend in the forehead when she went in for the hug because he read it as an incoming high five. Amazing.


Good luck tomorrow, JP! I am sure you will do great. Just remember: Notorious, hostile, and continuous. Or something.

These were a little harder because, somewhat obviously, I remember a lot more about the more recent portion of my life than I do about years one through ten. I am not 19 years old, by the way – I just felt like 18 was a good place to stop.

Year 11: I am in sixth grade now. I still refuse to wear my glasses, even though I really need them. I get poison ivy all over my face during the first month of school and am certain all the other kids think I am a monster. I spend this year hiding behind my hair and stumbling into things. I hit awkward early and hard.

Year 12: I stop playing with my little brother all the time and begin to spend hours on the phone with my friends. Some of them already have boyfriends, but I just have crushes. My friend has make-out parties in her basement, but I am purely a spectator. I secretly think kissing with tongue is gross.

Year 13: I have my first kiss. My suspicions are confirmed.

Year 14: The first day of high school I put my mother’s “body mousse” in my hair because I am trying to be cool and grown up. My hair looks like I bathe in grease – not quite the effect I was looking for. I am one of two girls in jazz band and promptly develop a very high tolerance for dirty jokes as a means of survival.

Year 15: I discover dieting. My mother goes on a diet and I decide I will too. I eat 800 calories a day (two rice cake PBJs, two oranges, a lean cuisine meal, and a jello pudding). I lose 20 lbs, but find out the hard way that (1) this is a dysfunctional thing to do and (2) mother doesn’t always know best.

Year 16: I (finally) hit my stride. Awkward no more! I promptly enter into an ill-advised relationship with a somewhat dim-witted young man. He likes me much more than I like him.

Year 17: I am drum major of our high school marching band, but am not particularly good at it. I don’t want to yell at people – I want everyone to like me. I like to drive around in my car with the windows down listening to The Jackson Five and the theme song from Mr. Roger’s neighborhood at full volume. I think I am very funny.

Year 18: In the summer, I work at Starbucks and go to the movies with my boyfriend multiple times a week. We park in his car all over town so we can make out. We are only caught by the cops once.

My first decade

Year 1: I eat a big cake and look surprised a lot.  I have no memories of this year, but this is what I have learned from photos.

Year 2: My little brother is born.  I am very skeptical about his arrival.  I wanted a sister.

Year 3: I give up my security blanket with no prompting from my mother.  I am a big girl. 

Year 4: Pink and purple are my favorite colors and I refuse to wear anything other than a dress. On my birthday, I ask my mother where babies come from and she tells me the anatomical truth. I tell the other kids at preschool.

Year 5: I am obsessed with Punky Brewster and He-man.  I don’t remember much else from this year.

Year 6: A boy on the playground accidentally kicks me in the nose while dismounting the jungle gym. When I bring my bloodied self to the nurse, she accuses me of picking my nose and refuses to give me an ice pack. I am indignant because I DO pick my nose sometimes, but that’s not how I got my bloody nose. My first experience with injustice.

Year 7: My father brings us candy bars when he gets home from work at night.  We begin yelling “a KitKat and a Snickers!!” when he leaves in the morning rather than goodbye.

Year 8: We move to a new town. I cry and cry because I love my third grade teacher, Mrs. Hubert, and I don’t want to leave her. I have Dorothy Hamill hair.

Year 9: We get to begin learning to play instruments at school.  I want to play the oboe or the viola, but my mother wants me to play the saxophone.  So I play the saxophone.  I am in the only girl in a class of eight children and get a lot of ribbing for being better than all the boys.

Year 10: I find out I have to wear glasses when I’m told to read a word the teacher has written on the board and say “tomato” instead of “tornado”.  I am mortified, because that is how all the young adult books I read say I should feel.

Mea culpa

Many apologies for the lack of posting – I’ve been without regular internet access (in the non-work hours, at least), so I haven’t been able to reliably string my thoughts together to slap on to the web for all you folks to peruse.

As a kid, whenever I was stressed before bed about all the things I meant to do that day but didn’t get to, my mother would always say, “tomorrow is another day”. I have had to embrace that as a mantra lately. There are so many things I want to do and mean to do and NEED to do – and yet I never seem to get around to them. All I want for Christmas this year is to have the weight of all those items lifted from my shoulders.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

I am so not ready for the weekend to be over. I think those multiple abbreviated weeks (and accompanying long weekends) in November totally spoiled me. These normal two-day weekends backed up against a full-on five day week just feel . . . cruel.

To comfort myself, I am binging on crackers and cheddar cheese. Delicious, but I will probably (1) have totally bizarre dreams from eating so close to going to bed and (2) not be able to get up in the morning because I won’t be hungry. I know – it’s a tortured and agonizing life I lead.

Speaking of bizarre dreams, I apparently had one last night. I can’t remember any details, but when JP came into the room this morning to attempt to drag my lazy ass out of bed, I informed him that he should leave me alone because I was busy “dreaming about the Middle East”. I’d like to think that I was dreaming about something symbolic and politically potent, but in all likelihood, it was probably just one of those dreams where I wander around some vast and confusing landscape and can’t get wherever it is I’m going.  Just a generic stress dream.

Actually, I have a few different themes for my stress dreams:

  • Wandering around in the aforementioned vast and confusing landscape, trying to get somewhere important, but not ever making progress;
  • Running urgently all over in my childhood neighborhood, but with the sensation in my legs that I am running through molasses (which, if I’m being honest, is basically how it feels when I run anyhow). I’m never running for any specific purpose in these dreams, nor am I being chased; and
  • Trying to catch a bus and failing again and again OR being on a bus and not being able to figure out where I am in order to get off.

Pretty typical, I suppose. I’ve heard that a common stress dream is one in which all your teeth are falling out of your mouth. I have always been very glad that I don’t ever have this dream. Perhaps tonight will be the night!

Oh my goodness – I just blogged about my dreams. That is just about the #1 most boring and self-indulgent thing to blog about, isn’t it? Sorry about that, folks.

Since I made you read about mine, how about I return the favor: Tell me, what happens in your stress dreams?