Progress

So when you lose someone people tell you “it will get easier with time.” This like most everything society has been trained to say when someone dies a load of bullshit. It does not get easier over time to not have a mom. Sorry, it just doesn’t.

However, over time the complex feelings that you carry around because that is your truth do change. I could see how people might mistake that for easier. It’s not, it’s just different and more manageable.

Case in point: I don’t remember my dreams all that often but sometimes I have dreams and my mom is in them. In the beginning when I would wake up from dreams where she was there I’d be pretty much a complete mess. However, today I woke up from one of those dreams and instead of wanting to crawl into a hole and hide the rest of the day I thought “it was nice to see her.”

That might be a crazy person thing to think but I really don’t care. I’m going to take it as a sign of progress. Not that it’s getting easier to have lost my amazing mom, but that me and my subconscious are finding some really creative ways to deal with it.

I think that really all I can hope for. Mom, it was nice to see you last night, I hope you’re enjoying watching me write this while I listen to the playlist I made for your retirement party. Maybe next time I dream we can do The Twist.

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Buzzing Thoughts: An example of What It’s Like To Be In My Head

Does anyone else experience that feeling where you know something but at the same time you don’t know anything at all?

I was just reading an article about bees. Evidently over the past few years it’s been hard to be a bee and whole colonies have been dying sometimes for what appears to be no reason at all. But who cares? Well Obama cares, because he just created the pollinator health task force.

Image credit: frank.itlab.us

Image credit: frank.itlab.us

The thing is I know that bees are responsible for pollination. That’s elementary level earth science. I get that. And I know that plants have reproductive systems and most rely on pollination to prosper and reproduce. I think that was middle school science. So logically I 100% understand that bees must be important to agriculture.

Except in reality I obviously don’t understand, because when I read the article title about Bee Die-Off, my first reaction was “so what?” And even reading it, I’m thinking “have we seriously not found a way to pollinate our crops without relying on annoying little bugs?”  Totally, suffering from a human-superiority complex thing over here.

So now my hippie-dippy, side has perked up and I’m spiraling in this whole thought process around how intrinsically linked all things are. It’s amazing really, the connections and cause and effect.

But what else do I know but not know? Here I am, I’ve been walking around completely ignorant of the plight of bees having given absolutely no thought to their really very vital role in food production. How many other topics are there where I am several steps away from really putting 2 and 2 together.

I’m definitely going to need another cup of coffee with all these thoughts….coffee, made from beans, which come from a plant, which likely requires pollination, back to the bees.

June 2014, A Success Story

So circa Spring 2012 I decided to give running a try as an adult. Up until then I had negative bordering on traumatic memories of running having been subjected to mile runs in gym class as a chubby asthmatic kid. Somehow I turned a corner on it and me and running worked out our issues. I’ll never love running the way I love say, cheese, but since running helps me eat cheese without turning into the 600 lbs woman we have come to an agreement.

I have no desire to be one of those insane people that runs marathons. Sorry, just no. However, when  I moved to Austin I was working my way up to a 10K having completed several 5Ks and having settled into 3 miles as a standard run.

Yeah, well a lot has happened since last August and since running doesn’t make me happy the way cheese makes me happy I have seriously slipped. And it’s whatever. I’m not going to beat myself up about it . Perspective, it’s one of the only good things that comes from unthinkable loss.

So at the start of this month a bunch of people in my life were talking about starting 30 day challenges: abs, yoga, etc. I was feeling a little left out, until I decided to give myself a June challenge, too. I opened my Nike+ Running App and figured out how many runs per month I had averaged in the last year as well as how many miles.

Then I set my challenge, beat my average of 7 runs and 13 miles with an 8 run/13.1 mile goal. Not exactly a Herculean feat I know but hey judgey-mc-judgey-pants it’s a start.

We’ll there is a solid week left in this beautiful month and by using an aggressive red sharpie on my lovely Boston wall calendar to mark my progress I have hit my goal. 8 runs totaling 17.92 miles.

June

None of those runs were 3 miles. None of them were at the pace I used to run. But that’s not the point. The point is that I set a goal and I met it. And it feels good. It was such a little thing but life is totally in the little things. Like sweaty runs, achieved goals…..and brie.

I’d Take Mean Skies Over No Sky

Dear United Airlines,

I wanted to let you know that there is a serious flaw in your current tag line. Unless Wikipedia is failing me it is currently “Fly the Friendly Skies.” The thing about that tag line is that is assumes that you actually get up in the air.

I used to be the type of person who scoffed when someone said they had a preferred airline. Must be nice to be so wealthy so as to be able to afford being picky about flights.  What a luxury!

But, you know what? I think I’m getting close to understanding those people. I cannot say I have a favorite airline. But I’m narrowing the field. Because, United, I’ve ruled you out. In the past 9 months you have delayed a flight I was on so long that I very nearly missed one of my oldest friends weddings. When my mother died and my best friend was rushing to my side you diverted and delayed her so long it took her well over 24hrs to get to me. And then,  this very evening due to your inability to appropriately schedule a flight crew you have made it so that instead of seeing my Dad promptly at 10:29am tomorrow after many moons apart, I will see him at 10:05pm…maybe, who knows, knowing you.

I know what you’re thinking. Boo hoo, what’s 12 hours? Well 12 hours is actually a really long time when you’re a girl on the brink of her 25th birthday sans mother, in a city where you can easily count your friends on your hands and your close friends on just one.

So I just think you should consider a different tagline. Because in all honestly I’d rather mean skies over no sky. And I’m really not convinced you’re all that friendly. The thing about a friend is that you can let them know when they’re being a dick because you’ve got an open line of communication. Your customer service section is a fucking maze and you practically ask for my finger print to leave feedback. Those shenanigans are not those of a friend, on the ground or in the air.

I am sure operating an airline is quite complex. I mean, seriously the fact that a giant hunk of metal can carry a bunch of humans through the sky is impressive, gets me every time. But, maybe go with that as a tagline: Fly, it’s kind like magic and you should be happy with that because chances are the rest of it we’ll fuck up. That’s kind of a long tagline, I’m a media person not a copy writer so you’ll probably want to get someone on that but I mean it’s a start.

Sincerely,

I Just Ruined My Chances of Ever Working For Whatever Agency Currently Has You (WPP?) But It’s Ok Because You Seriously Need To Re-evaluate Your Operations, Customer Relations & Brand Touch Points Anyway

Knowing When It’s Right

No, this is not a post about finding a Valentine. I have absolutely no idea how to do that right. This is actually a really belated post about my trip to San Francisco.

Like Austin, SF was also on the list of cities I considered calling home post-college before I landed my first job and was able to stay in Boston for a while longer. (Other cities on that list are Seattle, Atlanta, and NYC, though I remove NYC pretty much every other day) So in early December when I saw JetBlue was having a sale that could get me there for under $250 I couldn’t help myself.

It also happened that my BFF’s b-day was one of the sale weekends, so it was pretty much a sign from the universe I needed to be there. If I had any doubts about whether or not I should have taken this trip they were erased once I boarded my flight and realized I got a whole row to myself and could therefore lay down and sleep the whole way. What a beautiful way to spend money that I should have been using to pay off debt. (oops, #sorryimnotsorry).

Until this trip the farthest west I’d ever been was Austin, but I always thought I’d like SF. Here are some reasons why:

  1. I crush public transit, driving makes me nervous
  2. I love the LGBT community and find my closest/best/most inspiring/most fun friends are often part of it
  3. Wine
  4. Water, sometimes knowing I can’t get to the ocean in 45 min makes me claustrophobic

I was completely right about all the reasons above. All of those things contributed to an amazing weekend there. Here’s some photo evidence of a time well had:

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I really loved Philz Coffee. That was a last day discovery and the moment I took my first sip I knew I’d made a huge mistake missing out on drinking it exclusively for the previous 48 hours. I’m not exaggerating. Other than my friends it’s the #1 thing I miss about that place now that I’m back.

San Francisco is a beautiful city and I loved my time there. However, the best part of the trip was the confirmation it gave me that I’ve landed in the right place. I missed Austin while I was out there. Not in a “I miss my bed and my stuff way” but in a “I miss breakfast tacos, and being warm and dry, and juice, and yoga, and brisket” way.

I’m a city girl through and through; I thrive in cities and wilt in suburbs. However, San Francisco is a huge city. Which isn’t bad. But right now I’m really happy in my small city. Am I taking SF off the list? Absolutely not. It still has a spot. I just know now that I’m in the right place on the list for the person that I am in this moment and that’s a really awesome feeling. It’s also a significantly better souvenir than the 80 count Ghirardelli bag of chocolates I may or may not have considered bringing home with me.

Another year…Another Spotty Commitment to Blogging

Happy 2014. Another year…another spotty commitment to blogging.

Typically I get overly apologetic about my long hiatuses between posts. But this go around I’m going to give myself a free pass. If you’re reading this, chances are you are a family member or a friend and you know full well why I’ve been MIA. If you happen to be a reader coming from across the interwebs to enjoy my ramblings (first thank you!), I won’t tap dance around it. My absence has been a direct result of losing my mother to stomach cancer in November.

Before you race to the comments section to tell me how sorry you are, don’t worry about it. I know you’re sorry. Who wouldn’t be sorry? You’d have to be Satan incarnate to not feel bad for a girl who lost her Mom. I’ve drafted a lot of posts about losing her, and I fully intend to actually follow through and post about it at some point. The sub-title of this blog promises wit, but let’s be real, it’s really just a collection of stories that could more easily be called “The World According to Amanda, In Case You Might Care.”

So yeah, there might be some semi-downer posts coming out in 2014. Potential titles include: Fuck You Cancer…No Really, Fuck You; 10 Things Not to Say to Someone Who’s Mom Died; Dear Hallmark, Fuck You Too, Sympathy Cards Are Dumb; Why You Should Definitely Drive Half Way Across the Country With Your Dad; Some Awesome Things My Mom Taught Me That I’m Willing To Share With You. All working titles and subject to change, obviously.

One thing I am willing to write about is one of the many reasons my Mom was quite possibly the most selfless and freakin’ genius mom ever. So I moved to Austin a little over 4 months ago knowing full well that my Mom’s time was limited. The prognosis was never great, but my mom was a fighter and you kinda just enter this alternate reality of wishful thinking with these things. So when I got offered the interview for my current job I called my mom hysterical crying. I was jumping ahead in my mind to getting offered the job (cocky I know, but hey, I did get it so….just sayin’) and I was terrified of leaving the east coast and her feeling like I was abandoning her while she was facing this terrible thing.

First, she calmed me down by pointing out that I didn’t have a job offer so I needed to slow my roll. Then she said she’d never tell me I couldn’t go. I responded that she could totally tell me I couldn’t go. She was the one with the Big C and she got to make the rules and if she told me I needed to stay in Boston, I would suck it up and stay. Period.

When I actually got offered the job, and visited Austin, and started to feel like this was just the change I needed I called her again. She told me I needed to do this, not despite the fact she was sick, but because she was. She said I needed to take the job because I needed to have a life that was my own.

At the time I didn’t understand that. I told myself I’d be budgeting it in to fly home every other month to see her, so that I was home just as frequently as I had been when I lived in driving distance. It didn’t occur to me that she’d get so sick so fast. And I certainly didn’t anticipate starting 2014 already half an orphan. But now that that is my reality I understand what my Mom did for me in helping me make this huge move.

As I walked from my downtown one-bedroom apartment to the farmer’s market I’ve posted about in the past, green juice in hand, about to see all the dogs and the children and buy local farm fresh produce to begin the post-holiday detox I realized exactly what she has given me. She has given me a place that is all mine; that is proof that I’m going to be ok without her. It’s proof I’m going to be ok because I’ve already laid the foundation for this happy chapter in my life and I did it all on my own. I couldn’t have had a happier Saturday morning yesterday and when I swapped out my finished juice for a cup of coffee it honestly felt like she was smiling and saying “I told you. I told you’d be fine, look how fine you are.” You were right Mom. Totally right.

I’m a Grown Up, I Have Throw Pillows

It’s not that I don’t think of myself as an adult. But for some reason adult and grown up are different to me.

I’ve been mostly financially independent for quite a while. I’ve lived in cities for the past 6 years. And I’ve lived completely on my own here in Austin since I arrived 2 months ago.

But today I really felt like a grown up. Because today. I rented a Zipcar. Drove my butt 30 min north to the closest IKEA. And a bought a couch y’all.

This beauty is all mine.

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And it pulls out to be a bed so that people can start visiting me already!

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And to think it started out as this

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I’ve always loved being independent. But for some reason this whole couch thing symbolized a lot more. I’m really on my own. I really live in Texas. I’m really a grown-up. I mean I’ve got throw pillows and everything!