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in the bleak midwinter

You guys, I hate winter. I don’t know when this happened. When I was a kid, I was great with winter. I loved sledding and ice skating and if there was a pile of snow somewhere (the taller, the better), you could probably find me climbing it. Again and again. Because who can get enough of climbing snow piles? Not me when I was under 5 feet tall, that’s for sure.

When I was in third or fourth grade, we had this righteous pile of snow that had been pushed to the edge of the playground by the plow, and at recess, all the kids walked along the top in a single-file line. Why? Because that seemed like a fun game, that’s why.

It was kinda like this:

Instead of mountains in the background, though, there was just a tall chain link fence.

Instead of mountains in the background, though, there was just a tall chain link fence. But otherwise, I think that’s fairly accurate.

Ah, sweet nostalgia.

These days, though, I doubt anybody would find me climbing snow piles (at least not willingly) and if there’s a question of doing an outdoor activity in the winter, my answer is usually something along the lines of “Can’t we just wait until April?”

I guess this is because I’m turning into a grumpy old lady who doesn’t like to be cold. Hey snow, get offa my lawn. Something. Or maybe it’s because I can just sit on my couch and watch Netflix and I know I can do that at any time of the year, but it seems more okay when it’s a frozen wasteland outside.

Winter: no pressure to stop wasting my life.

(Maybe I should reconsider how I feel about it.)

So anyway, here are some things I’ve been enjoying so far this winter while I haven’t been climbing snow piles:

1. The Fall. I watched the first series of this show over the summer, and just binged the second series on Netflix last weekend. Have you seen it? I read awhile ago, I think in The Guardian when the second series premiered in the UK a few months ago, that the show was terribly misogynist, but I tend to agree with Jezebel’s take, that it’s a feminist crime drama. Gillian Anderson is fantastic in it and it’s creepy and smart and did I mention Gillian Anderson? Because Gillian Anderson. (People are excited about The X-Files coming back, but I never got into this show. My jam in the 90s was Homicide: Life on the Street because I guess I love murder stories.)

2. Reading some books. Right now I’m into The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but I’ll write more about it when I finish. I’ve heard that winter is a good time to read Russian novels (I guess because they are long and bleak just like winter), but just like every year, I think 2015 won’t be the year that I finally finish Anna Karenina.

3. Buying things from Amazon, because then I don’t have to leave the house. I bought a spiral vegetable slicer, because I think I’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest. But it’s stupidly fun. Tonight I’m going to spiralize (apparently a word, according to blogs about spiral-cutting vegetables) a butternut squash and I’m excited about it and I should get out more.

4. Snuggling Sweet Pea because she is the cutest.

And sometimes she will even let me take pictures of her.

And sometimes she will even let me take pictures of her.

5. Having my life revolutionized by an electric blanket. About five years ago, I explained the problem with my bedroom, in that it is cold all the time. On a typical winter night, I used to have to wear a couple of sweatshirts and a couple of pairs of socks just to be able to get some sleep (instead of lying awake and shivering), but this year for Christmas, my mom bought me an electric blanket. If I remember to turn it on about an hour or so before bedtime, when I do go to bed, everything is nice and toasty and I can turn the blanket off and stay comfortable. Even without extra layers of clothing! Miracle! But sometimes I don’t remember to turn it on an hour or so before bedtime, so I turn it on when I get into bed and forget to turn it off before I fall asleep, and then I wake up at about 2 a.m. nearly roasted to death, which is unpleasant, but you know? I’ll take it over being cold.

the ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman

the ocean at the end of the lane

the ocean at the end of the lane

The first time I read anything by Neil Gaiman was, I don’t know, approximately a decade ago, when Levi sent me a copy of Anansi Boys to review. I read the entire book in a single day, sitting at my dining room table (though certainly, there are more comfortable places to read) with my feet propped up on the chair across from me. I’d opened the mail at the table a day or so before and left the book there. I thought I’d read for maybe an hour, but instead I read the whole thing cover to cover because I couldn’t stop. It was wonderful.

I’d heard of Neil Gaiman before, of course; I grew up a Tori Amos fan, and it’s impossible to be a Tori Amos fan without hearing of Neil. (“Neil says hi by the way” is where it starts.)

Over the years since, I’ve read a few more of his books and discovered that my delight at Anansi Boys was not a fluke: I really do dig the hell out of Neil Gaiman. I’ve not read all of his books, although they’re easy enough to find. I like to go slowly with writers I like — if I read everything in one go, then I run out of things, and then it’s like when I watched all the episodes of Doctor Who and now I have to wait for the TV to give me more. Sigh.

Anyway, book #2 in my 26 books for 2015: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by the aforementioned Mr. Gaiman. From the book’s cover:

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

You know how, when you’re a kid, you believe in things like ghosts and monsters? Your imagination runs wild with them? And at bedtime, your mom or your dad tells you it’s okay, that there aren’t any monsters under the bed or in the closet, and the shadows on the wall are just shadows and they won’t come to life and eat you when you close your eyes, really, so just go to sleep already, kid. But you know different, you know there are monsters, and that furthermore, they are going to GET YOU just as soon as the adult turns around and goes back down the hall and leaves you to their mercy. But after enough time has passed without you being eaten alive in your pajamas, you begin to think maybe the adults have a point and after awhile you’re all grown up and you don’t believe in monsters under the bed anymore?

Neil Gaiman writes from the imagination that didn’t grow up and side with the adults, and bless him for it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is scary and sad and sweet. It is of the things you can believe as a child and no longer fathom as an adult. It’s a lovely book, and getting lost in the story was a good way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. Loved it.

of murakami and chicken stock

Kafka on the Shore, and a Christmas cactus.

Kafka on the Shore, and a Christmas cactus.

Well, it’s 2015 now, so I thought I’d take the ol’ death blog* out for a spin. I’ve decided that I’m going to write more about books here this year (instead of death) (I hope). I’m pretty good at getting reading done over the winter, since it’s cold and dark and I’m not doing much of anything anyway, other than curling up under a blanket and wishing it was warmer, so I might as well add a book to the mix. I get more terrible at it as the days get longer and warmer, because I’d rather be outside than inside, but I set myself a goal of finishing 26 books this year, which equals a book every other week, and I think I can handle it.

So, book #1, which I finished last night: Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami. (I began 2014 with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, so maybe Murakami is my writer of choice for beginning a year.) I think, having read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I was prepared for Kafka on the Shore to be odd, but still. I’ve been done with it for about half a day now and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel, other than somewhat… head-fucked.

I didn’t mind the elements of the fantastic — such as the talking cats — because really, the best part of being a writer is that you get to make stuff up, and as long as the internal world of your story remains consistent, then you can pretty much do whatever you want. So, talking cats? Sure.

Kafka on the Shore is — more complex than this, and I’m glossing over a lot — basically Oedipus Rex in Japan. And weirder. Oedipus is, of course, everybody’s favorite “Hello, Mama” story, so much so that we named a complex after it. The book is about a 15-year-old runaway named Kafka Tamura, and also a 60-something simpleton named Nakata and tells their stories in alternating chapters. Their quests are different, but interrelated, and by the end, there are at least as many questions as there were in the beginning. Just not the same questions.

Do I know what happened? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sorta. The book does not provide clear answers, which makes it a head trip, or at least it left me with a lot of things to turn over and over in my head. Did I like it? Yeah. It’s incredibly readable, fast-moving and engaging. It has a sense of humor, and it kept me turning pages all the way to the end. According to Murakami (research!), “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write”.

So there’s that.

And now that I don’t know what’s real anymore, I’m going to make chicken stock, because cooking a delicious kitchen staple item should root me back in reality, yeah?

I’m not sure who invented chicken stock. Like, hey, we have some chicken bones here, why don’t we throw them into a pot with a bunch of garbage and water and see what happens? I don’t know. But whoever you are, I salute you. Making chicken stock is kind of like being a writer, in that you can throw whatever you want into the pot, as long as it makes sense in the world of chicken stock, and it works.

This will be chicken stock. Oh yes, it will be chicken stock.

This will be chicken stock. Oh yes, it will be chicken stock.

For my part, a few times a year, I buy a whole chicken and I roast it for dinner. The following day, I throw the bones into a stock pot with some junk that’s handy. Today’s chicken stock has carrots, celery, onions (you don’t even have to peel them!), garlic (you don’t have to peel that, either!), thyme, bay leaves and a handful of peppercorns. Sometimes I use leeks instead of onions. Sometimes I throw in one of those tiny cans of tomato paste. You could also throw in some kitchen scraps, like potato peelings, or a shoe**. Whatevs. Seriously, as long as it adds flavor, you can put pretty much anything in there.

Plus, it makes the house smell incredible. Bonus.

_______________________
* I think over 40% of my posts so far at least reference the death of someone I love.

** A shoe: most likely flavorful, not recommended.

nine years

I don’t remember if it was one of those snowy Novembers nine years ago, but I do know for sure that it snowed and snowed the day before Thanksgiving in 2005, and that was the day — November 23 — that my best friend Stacy was killed in a car accident on her way to work. It’s hard to believe it’s been nine years, and yet it’s also completely believable. When I take a moment to think about my life — then versus now — almost everything has changed. But there’s still the one thing: I miss her.

I miss Stacy in big and small ways, at major life events and in tiny moments. There are times when I’ll hear her voice in the back of my head, not because I’ve gone mad (I don’t think), but because I know exactly what she would’ve said right then. I miss the sound of her laugh, I miss her perspective on things, I miss the way she ordered food in restaurants.

But I don’t want to be sad today, because even though I still think sometimes that dammit, it’s really not fair that someone so bright and so full of life and love had to leave so early, I was lucky that we were friends. And when I miss her, I remember her, and I can’t remember her without smiling. I wish we’d been able to have more time to make more memories, but the ones that I am left here with are really pretty fucking great. In this season of thankfulness, I like to take time to be grateful that life brought us together and we got to be friends. I won’t be sad for what I have.

So I will leave you with a photo of the two of us spinning around in the mountains in Poland, singing “The Sound of Music” because why not, really.

the sound of music

I miss you, Stace. Today and always. But I’m smiling. God, we had fun.

thirty five

Annual birthday self-portrait. Years ago, I decided I would take a self-portrait shortly after midnight on my birthday (I've come to hate this rule because I'd rather be sleeping) with no makeup, no special lighting, no fancy processing, just me. So here it is for this year. I need a nap.

Annual birthday self-portrait. Years ago, I decided I would take a self-portrait shortly after midnight on my birthday (I’ve come to hate this rule because I’d rather be sleeping) with no makeup, no special lighting, no fancy processing, just me. So here it is for this year. I need a nap. Also I am now concerned I might be somewhat cross-eyed.

Twenty years ago now (good lord, I have to let that sink in for a minute), I had an assignment in my 10th grade English class, to write about what I’d be up to in 10 years’ time. I remember being 15 and thinking that in 10 years, when I would be 25, I would be so cool and such a grown up and I would have it together at last. (My 15-year-old self imagined that my 25-year-old self would be a writer who worked on a typewriter — I worked on a typewriter at the time, so it seemed logical — and had a tattoo. Writing would, of course, be my full-time job. I’m sure there was other stuff, but those were some of the things I remember.)

When I turned 25, I was disappointed when I realized that I was not a grown-up who had it together at last. In a lot of ways, I felt much the same as I did when I was 15, and also I didn’t have a full-time writing career or a tattoo. I remember, when I turned 25, that I had some anxiety over the fact that instead of having it together (I was an adult, after all, halfway through my 20s and at what point was I supposed to have it together if not then?) I felt restless and confused.

And now it’s 10 years after that. I still don’t have a full-time writing career, but I do have 2 tattoos. I still don’t have it together at last, but I have realized that there’s actually no such thing, so that helps. And my 15-year-old self would never believe this, but I am really good at accessorizing now.

Who says I’m not accomplished?

Anyway, it’s my birthday. I haven’t come out and said it, but if you are able to do math, you will know that I am now 35. Hello. This is my first post as a 35-year-old. I’m sure it will be monumental.

There’s one slight problem — I don’t have a lot to say. My birthday this year kind of came out of nowhere. I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I haven’t really thought about it much. I’m not sure how much I ever really think about it, but this year I’m a bit blindsided by it, mostly because I’m still slightly surprised that it is not, in fact, still mid-July. Not sure where the summer went. It just kind of disintegrated. All of that to say I guess my biggest birthday surprise this year is the fact that oh hey, it’s happening now.

I find that I don’t care much about turning 35. I thought perhaps I’d feel something about it, the fact that I’m now officially halfway through my 30s and turning 40 is no longer a vague concept for the future but a highly likely possibility, provided I don’t get hit by a bus or something between now and then. Now that I’m here, though, I realize that I am pretty okay with it. (You want to know a dumb secret that will no longer be a secret once I finish typing this parenthetical statement and don’t you love when I get all meta? The age that freaked me out the most so far? It wasn’t a milestone year and there wasn’t anything outstanding about it in any way, but I was really bothered about turning 33. For whatever reason — and I have absolutely no idea what that reason might’ve been — that shit freaked me out. But I lived through it, and here we are and I’m going to stop with the parentheses now.)

Typically in one of these birthday posts, I’d spend some time reminiscing about the year past, but I don’t think I will this time around. Oh sure, stuff happened. Some of it was good and some of it was bad. I find that I’m not interested in the majority of it, though, the most recent collection of 365 days that brought me here to this post. It happened, but I don’t have anything much to tell you about it. It was pretty quiet, fairly solitary, and I don’t know. I read some books and I think I still have PTSD from this past winter, but overall, 34 was a rather nondescript blur. But that’s okay. I had a lot of drama in my 20s, so maybe this is the decade when I get to be more even-keeled and spend my spare time binge-watching things on Netflix. Could be worse.

One nice thing about getting older is that I am definitely more at peace with the fact that life doesn’t have to be exciting all the time.

So. Now that I’m 35, I use anti-aging moisturizer on my face at night, not because I’m concerned about wrinkles (I’m not; they’re going to happen regardless), but my god my skin has gotten so dry and that stuff really hydrates and what did I tell you about not being exciting?

I’m going to have a year. I’m going to try to write more, though I don’t know how much of that will happen here. A week or so ago, I found a recording on my phone of my grandmother telling a story one Sunday afternoon when my mom and I were visiting her, and though it was a weird, meandering, circuitous story, it reminded me of a book I was writing. Not because it was weird, meandering or circuitous (though it may in fact be all of those things), but the rhythm of my grandmother’s speech patterns when we would sit and she would tell me stories about her youth in Arkansas was one of the things that inspired it in the first place. The story I was writing back then in 2009 when I first started it still nags me, and I owe it to myself to finish it, although I have a feeling that might mean scrapping everything and starting from scratch, but scrapping everything and starting from scratch is kind of my thing anyway, so that works. I don’t think I was ready to write it when I started it back then. I think I am now.

Writing still won’t be my full-time job, but it’s about time I got closer to the dream I had forever ago, even before I wrote it down for an English class assignment. So there’s that.

Happy Thursday.

throwback thursday: happy birthday

That photo was taken on my birthday, when I turned 2. I remember the tea set.

Today would’ve been my grandma’s 100th birthday. Our birthdays are two weeks apart — first hers, then mine, then my mother’s. The three of us would usually go out sometime in the middle and celebrate all three, and my grandma would always say she couldn’t possibly eat a whole dessert, but then her sweet tooth would take over and she would inevitably eat two-thirds of whatever we ordered to share.

Today at lunch, I had a piece of pie (key lime). I would’ve been okay if my grandma had been around to eat two-thirds of it, but instead I got to eat the whole thing myself. This day was going to be a big deal, but then it wound up being a Thursday.

Might as well have pie, yeah?

Speaking of pie, here’s a picture of balloons, because non sequitur.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Happy birthday, grandma.

hi

forget me not

The photo, that’s of forget-me-nots from my grandma’s garden, taken ages ago, when I was into flower macros.

I’m here. A bit on the pensive and sad side, now that I have time to be both pensive and sad (last week, with its funeral preparations, was far too busy for either). Every day on my way to and from work, I drive past the exit I’d take if I was going to visit my grandma. I drove past it twice a day before, and I realize now that it was where my brain would shift over to her and think about what she was doing, the answers being, depending on whether I was going to or coming from work, either a) sleeping, or b) eating supper. I still think those thoughts when I drive past, just now I have to remind myself that she’s not there. And I get a little teary-eyed. And I keep driving.

It’s funny, going back to life as usual, after life has tilted to the side a little and everything looks the same but it isn’t. It’s working and driving and eating and sleeping just like before, but it’s not anything like before because it’s after. And I know that after becomes normal, becomes a new before, and that’s how it works, but there’s that time, however long it lasts, before it becomes anything else, when it’s after, it just is, and it’s weird.

Good luck making sense out of that paragraph.

Not sure where I was going to go with this, but that’s okay. And I’m okay. And I suppose that for now, that’s enough.

mary, full of grace

my grandmother

My grandmother passed away yesterday. It’s been a weird time warp since Thursday morning, when I learned she’d had a stroke, and now — it was forever and much too fast all at the same time. As much as I’m glad she went peacefully, and that she didn’t linger indefinitely in death’s waiting room, it all seems to be over too soon.

She lived nearly 100 years, but when it comes down to it, there is never enough time.

My grandmother has been there for me since I was born, and I’m not sure how the world works now that she’s no longer in it. Years ago (seven of them, if we’re counting), she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She wanted to tell me one on one, because she knew I’d be upset. I took the news okay as she spoke, then I went home and cried for two days. Not because I didn’t believe that she could beat cancer (she did), but because it was the first time in my life that I had to confront the idea that she was mortal after all. It’s hard to learn that your heroes are susceptible to death, and I hadn’t considered the possibility before that she wouldn’t actually be around forever.

Over the past few years, I’ve watched Alzheimer’s change her from the sharp-as-a-tack, memory-like-an-elephant, never-misses-a-trick woman I knew into someone different. The truth is that I have missed her for years now, missed the person that she was, even as I continued to love who she became. The grandma I had known all my life was different, gone in a lot of ways, but sometimes the disease would let her loose long enough for the old her to peek out from the shadows with a joke, with a nagging question about when I was getting married, with a comment about my hair (because my hair was always apparently cause for concern).

I have missed her for years, and at the same time, I didn’t miss her yet. She was still there, still present, still available to be visited on the weekends, to tell stories, to eat chicken strips.

And now she’s not. I spent much of the past few days keeping vigil with my family, but I wasn’t there when she died. I got the call, I left work immediately. Every other truck on I-94 had to pass every other truck on I-94, and I missed her last moments by just a few minutes. This is probably for the best, although I know she went peacefully, and fortunately I had already spent some time the night before sitting with her alone and saying my goodbye, there is still a part of me that thinks, “Thanks 94 for always being the absolute worst.”

What to say? There are so many things. I could write nonstop for days and never get it right. Should I write a funny story? Should I write something else? I don’t know. The world’s a little darker now, and I am a little more rootless.

My grandmother was beautiful. She was stubborn, she was smart, she was opinionated. She could do math IN HER HEAD (so, clearly, she was also a magician). She was not particularly patient. She liked to be on time. She wasn’t good at sitting still. She could grow flowers like mad. She once stabbed a snake hanging from rafters in a barn in the head with a pitchfork, which is — let’s face it — a pretty incredible level of badass. She was a Godly woman who wanted the best for the people in her life.

She was a lot of things, could do a lot of things, but the reason she was so loved by so many was because she loved them back. She wasn’t one for particularly grand gestures or flowery words. Her highest praise took form in phrases like “That’s pretty good,” or “Not too bad,” or “That’s alright.” But she showed love by serving others, by doing. It would frustrate me to no end when I was a kid on spring break and she would call me at 8 a.m. to come over and rake leaves in her yard, because I shouldn’t still be in bed and I shouldn’t spend my time being idle, but now that I’m older, I understand that she would come over early on her day off (if she wasn’t retired before I was born, that is) to do something for me, because doing stuff was how she loved, and doing stuff was how she felt love back.

If I needed help, she was there. If I walked out of school with a group of friends in tow and asked her to give them all rides home, she would do it. If I showed up at her house, she would feed me. If I showed up with anyone else, she would feed them too. She drove me around, she bought me stuff (including pantsuits when I was 15, to which I finally said I was not 80 and didn’t want to dress like I was, so she was going to have to stop buying me clothes). She worried when I traveled, she liked when I called, she said whenever I was ready to leave after a visit, “You hurry back.”

She taught me how to make a pie, how to embroider flowers, how to sew a throw pillow. She was proud of me, and she liked to tell people I was her granddaughter. Her single granddaughter. (She really really wanted me to get married, and used to say she couldn’t die until I did; I apologized to her for never getting there, and promised I’m ok just the same.)

And, in the middle of all this sap, let me take a moment to point out she was also a little weird. She had this hanging in her garage for years:

weird things in my grandma's garage

Later, she embellished it like so:

weird things in my grandma's garage redux

It took her awhile to realize that her clothespin holder looked like a quilted pair of underpants, but still. That never stopped her from using it, because hey, it worked. Practical. She was always practical.

I loved her for all of these reasons, and for others too. How do you sum up a life? How do you explain why you love someone? It’s a task beyond me and my ability to manipulate words. She was an incredible little powerhouse, and she’s gone. I am glad she no longer has to fight against disease and decline. I am sorry she couldn’t stay forever. I haven’t truly realized yet that I won’t be able to visit anymore and see those beautiful blue eyes of hers sparkle when she said something she thought was terribly clever. I will realize it eventually. I’m not looking forward to it.

The best I can do is remember her, and remember the things she did and said and tell her stories, because telling a person’s stories is how you keep them with you.

And Grandma, I just want you to know I am truly sorry about my hair.

(…)

Yesterday, which happened to be three weeks from her 100th birthday, my grandmother had a stroke. Today brings the news that she is dying. Exactly when is unclear, but it will be within the next few days.

When I was a kid, I used to watch the Today show in the mornings with my grandma before she took me to school, and would take delight in Willard Scott wishing a happy birthday to all the folks who turned 100. “Will you be on TV like that someday?” I’d ask. “Yes,” she said.

Jinx.

There are a lot of things I could write about the woman who helped raise me, and I will, either here or somewhere else. But this morning I remembered a photograph, and I dug it up just now (the quality isn’t the greatest… it’s been a bit damaged):

photo(46)

I’m 3 in this photo. We’re in her bedroom, and you’ll note the floor was covered with red shag carpet. Why did she ever think red shag carpet was a good idea? I don’t know. I used to roll around on it and when she’d tell me to get off the floor, I’d say “I CAN’T! I’M TRAPPED IN THE SPAGHETTI!”

So many memories, so many stories, so many things to tell you about my grandmother, the snake slayer, the proper Southern lady, the woman. I am blessed that I got to spend my life around her, that I grew up to be like her in so many ways (and just enough her opposite to be frustrating myself). She has done so much for me all of my life, and now, at the end of hers, there’s nothing I can do to pay her back, except to be near and to hope there is mercy in her passing.

And my god, I’m going to miss her when she’s gone.

what do you do when you have the day off and no plans?

If you’re me, which you’re not, but if you were, the answer is to get a tattoo.

photo 1(2)

I was sitting at home, and I thought to myself, “Eh, I don’t have anything to do this afternoon, so why don’t I call that tattoo shop in Ann Arbor and see if they have any free time today?” So I did, and they did, and I drove to Ann Arbor. I’d been thinking about getting another tattoo for awhile, kind of in an unfixed, conceptual way, like “Maybe someday I’ll get another tattoo.” And I had a couple of ideas in my head, but hadn’t settled on anything specific. And when I got them on the phone, they asked what I wanted, and I said a firefly.

If you know me, then you know my love of fireflies is enormous. They are my favorite thing about summer, and the reason why, when people bitch about this season, I want to question their sanity (well, one of the reasons). Are the neverending February nights full of magical insect-fairies? No? Your argument is invalid.

And since my dad died last summer, whenever I see fireflies, I think of him. I think of the night I found out he died, watching the marshy grassland in the park sparkling with fireflies. Since that day, I’ve been thinking of a way to do a memorial, and I have a bracelet modeled after his signature, but I wanted something I could carry with me all the time (I don’t wear the bracelet as much as I thought I would; the S in his name catches on everything). So yes, a firefly tattoo. Why not?

The artist drew it up for me, I liked it, and he inked it on.

photo 2(1)

It’s inside my ankle, right above my heel (a spot which, I have now learned, hurts like a sonofabitch to get tattooed). I love it. And getting a tattoo sure beats sitting at home reading the internet all day. So, all in all, a total win.

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