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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Two Days, Two Dates

    Girl dates, that is. Dates that are actually, believe it or not, "for me, for once". I am ecstatic at the idea of having two nights this week that I get to hang out with two of my favorite people, eat my own food, and use foul language over a glass of whatever while I just be "Cathy" for a while.

    Mrs M and I will be dining out this evening at a very posh spot here in the big "O", and I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are fairly giddy about the idea. We've been planning to have dinner out together, even dreamt of doing it monthly (gasp!), for two years or better, but this will mark our first outing together sans kids*. There will be much laughing, much eating of roasted garlic ranch dressing (this place has a ranch that will make your mouth SING, trust me on this), much girl talk, and time for us to visit in a way we seldom get to when the kiddos are having their play dates. I cannot wait, and I expect us to pencil in the next before the dessert cart comes around.

    Girl date #2 happens tomorrow night. Ms S and I are old friends. I was in her wedding NINETEEN years ago, and while we didn't always stay in touch through the years when life took us in different directions geographically, I am full of joy at having her back in my life, and this is our second girl date in the last couple of months. A swanky chinese bistro will be the setting for our evening out, one that Greg doesn't care for so I seldom get to go (I last went there with my other old friend E, and she gave me the skinny on what's good there). Our biggest problem when we are together is trying not to pee our pants from laughing too much. And yet she is able to see and find in me the places that need comfort and support and offer just that. We're still catching up after not being in regular contact for several years, and I look forward to another great night of getting all the scoop on what's new with her, and watching her jaw drop as I talk of all the fun that embodies my life these days.

    Good times to come, and I cannot wait. Momma's going OUT tonight, baby...and tomorrow night...who wants to go to dinner with me on Thursday?**

    *Samantha is NOT amused that I am going out with Mrs M and she will NOT being seeing Little L and Big R, so I told her the only reason we are meeting is to set up play dates for them. So Mrs M, remind me that we have to set up a play date or I'll be chastized by the small blonde one indefinitely.

    **OK, maybe better make that next Thursday...I'm not sure if Greg's up for bedtime duty on his own three nights in a row. Bless his heart, he's a first-rate dad, but handling both of them for bed time is a challenge for anyone, and I certainly don't want to use up all my credits with Daddy in one week. OH, and by the way, honey...thanks. You're really, truly the best. I love you.

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    Nearly 1000 Pageviews From 14 Countries

    Quite the weekend we've had here at For Me For Once. I'm loving your visits, both new and old, and I've accepted being the "(formerly)-uninformed-blogger-representative" for MSN, and embraced it wholly. What the hell? There are LOTS of worse things to be known for, am I right?

    Think about it. Brad Pitt started out doing Pringles commercials. Can't tell me he brags about that moment around the dinner table with the fam.

    And what about the guy who got caught on video peeing in the office coffee pot? Did HE have people from 14 countries checking out his blog? I think not.

    Then there was the girl from a neighboring high school, back in the day, who got a hot dog stuck up her whoo-hah? I know, right? I think she had to move away or some shit.

    So, it is what it is. I have actually had about 4 good giggles about the whole thing, and am finding it rather gratifying to click over to MSN and find my blog, even if it's featured as the "deet-dee-dee" perspective of the article in which it's contained.

    No worries, folks. It's all good, and it's not even CLOSE to being the worst thing that's happened to me this month, which puts it all in perspective when you think about it.

    I wonder what other dumb shit I can post and see if I can get ABC to pick me up? Hmmm...

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    The Power of Google or MSN Made A Dunce Out of Me

    My good friend Mrs M called me today, certain I had heard the news. She was wrong. I had not. She informed me that Mr M had just come bursting in, saying that "Cathy's blog is on MSN!". I did NOT believe her, and told her so. Then I saw it.

    Apparently I was one of the first to be blogging about this email forward, because I seem to have come up pretty high on the Google hits when Karen Datko, who writes for the Smart Spending Blog on MSN Money, was looking for who was passing this crap around online. (Yes, I'm calling it crap now, since it is, in effect, a bunch of CRAP.) Oh, Karen, how I wish you would have checked back with my blog before you decided to quote me on an article that has now received, at last check, over FIFTY-ONE THOUSAND VIEWS since it posted on MSN; an article where I am representing all those who read, believed and passed it on. I wish that almost as much as I wish I had run the numbers myself before I posted it. Oh, the things we wish for.

    But, it's been an exciting day because of it, and I can now say I was quoted on MSN, even if I look like a complete mental midget to anyone who doesn't bother to click on the link to come here and see my correction post. So let's hope you're clicking over from there (as hundreds of others have done today) and finding out that I did not fail to do the math correctly, but that I simply failed to do the math. But hey, there is no bad publicity, right?

    So, with that being said...a HUGE, HEARTY, FOR ME FOR ONCE WELCOME to all of you MSN readers! I embrace your readership if you'll have me, and if you stick around, I think you'll find that I am not only NOT a dunce, but am quick with a phrase and a downright pretty groovy girl. A groovy girl who learned today that "usually" verifying information in a forward before you pass it on is just not good enough. So be assured that THAT won't happen again. Hope you'll stick around, read my stuff, and smile while you do it. (Aww, hokey, right? I know, it happens sometimes around here. It'll pass - much like this MSN business.)

    Balls: The Dropping of...and the Absence of Same

    It seems that, regarding my blog post "We Deserve It Dividend" immediately preceding this one, the numbers found in that post are inaccurate. The actual quotient when dividing $85 billion by 200M people is $425.00, and NOT $425,000 as it states. Rather disappointing, yes? I thought so too. Hell, we got more than that from Fabulous Mr. Bush's Stimulus Program. And I only had to figure it once to get that number. I am guessing the original author had a couple too many zeros in his calculations. Once I "worked it out for myself", it was fairly simple to find the correct answer.

    So, you, "anonymous reader", are mistaken in believing I need to work on my math skills. I was remiss in choosing NOT to utilize my just-fine-thank-you-very-much math skills before I posted it, and for that, I accept responsibility. I seldom pass on any forward I receive without verifying its contents first, and I apologize to my faithful readers and friends for dropping the ball on this one.

    Oh, and since we're talking, I do NOT believe everything I read, which is why I have some doubt regarding whether or not you actually "do not know me", since you made a specific point of starting with that statement (me thinks he doth protest too much). Which is interesting, since it's not as though I came UP with the formula used in the post (which I was fairly sure I made clear in saying it was a forward I had received); so anyone who knows me should have known that remaining "anonymous" was unnecessary to spare my feelings.

    So if you DO know me, and you were feeling catty and superior because you ran the numbers on the calculator before I did and just couldn't help yourself...grow a set why don'tcha? Because if you do know me, you know that I admit when I'm wrong, and am generally grateful for opportunities to learn. I am NOT, however, grateful for being called an idiot on my blog for passing on something that, frankly, most of us know is just a joke because it will never happen, so was mostly posted in good, pipe-dream type fun. (You do remember saying that "WHOEVER" is circulating it was an idiot, yes? I would be part of that collective "whoever".)

    And if you really don't know me, as you say...well, I guess, thanks for the info. You didn't need to remain anonymous, either, but whatever floats your boat. I have NO doubt that seeking out blogs on which to point out errors helps to fill up what is probably a fairly droll existence for you. So you're welcome.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    The "We Deserve It" Dividend: UPDATED

    UPDATE: THIS information is incorrect!!! Please see next blog at :

    My good friend Suzi sent this forward to me...sounds like a plan!

    I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.

    Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to
    America in a We Deserve It Dividend.

    To make the math simple, let's assume there are
    200,000,000 bonafide adults in the U.S. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

    So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that
    equals $425,000.00.

    My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a
    We Deserve It Dividend. Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

    That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their
    pocket. A husband and wife has $595,000.00.

    What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

    Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

    Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

    Put away money for college - it'll be there

    Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

    Buy a new car - create jobs

    Invest in the market - capital drives growth

    Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care

    Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

    Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including
    the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

    If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really
    do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive.

    If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's
    bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!
    As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

    Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

    Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work." But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

    How do you spell Economic Boom?

    I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the
    $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC.

    And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Somebody Has to Know ~ OR ~ Can I Lysol the Chapstick?

    How long can sicky germs live on Chapstick?

    Like, if, say a 4-year old has a "bug", complete with fever, aches, scratchy 'froat', and she uses Random Chapstick #3 in the bathroom drawer, puts the lid back on and goes back to bed...

    How long do the germs, that you KNOW she smooshed all over the Chapstick, live? Hmm? A day? A week? Can the Chapstick sustain the germs? Any idea? Is it like the Trojan Horse of viral crap? And along those lines, how am I EVER supposed to get this house clean and free of this "bug" if there is random, pell-mell Chapstick-applying going on and I am not there to somehow, someway, disinfect said Chapstick which has inevitably been goobed on? Hmm? I ask you. Say I Lysol til my head falls off. Get us all "well" again, right? Then one Wednesday, a month or so from now, I'm feeling a bit chapped; I go in the bathroom, roll open the drawer and reach for, say Random Chapstick #3...and as soon as air hits Little Mr Sicky Germ sitting and waiting for me under the Chapstick cap...BLAM! The sicky cycle begins again. Fanfuckingtastic.

    So does it work like that? Because if they die as soon as they hit air, then why do I need to disinfect? See? See where I'm at with this? They clearly can survive on surfaces like doorknobs, lightswitches, etc., so why not Chapstick? And if protected in the hard white bastion-of-Chapstick-lid-peace, why wouldn't it survive even LONGER? Anyone? Anyone?

    See, THIS is why moms need sleep. Too little of the stuff, and we sit up nights thinking of this shit. I'm trying not to think about the window licking that Miss Sicky was doing earlier this week while she was surely already contagious. Aaaand, now I'm going to get the Lysol to wash the kitchen window with it. That oughta smear up nicely.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    The Joyfulness Is Over


    Nap time as we know it seems to be coming to an end in my house. Samantha is at preschool, and as has always been the way, Jackson naps after lunch, coincidentally while Samantha is at said preschool. But the last few days have been unpleasant for both of us, and he is, even now, up there yelling for me, suddenly VERY displeased with where his afternoon keeps finding him.

    So, naps are going by the wayside here shortly, I would guess. Sigh. So much for "mommy down time" every day. Wonder if there's a preschool close to hers that takes 2-year olds at the same time? Hmmm. And I wonder just how much hooking I would have to do to fit that into the already-stretched-to-its-limits-for-preschool #1-budget.

    He is not amused right now.
    I am not amused right now.
    Daddy will not be amused when he comes home to Mommy who is grumpy from no down time, and Jackson who is grumpy from no nap time.

    So if Samantha has a FABULOUS day at preschool, she will probably be amused. But that'll be about it around here. Craptastic.

    There Are No Gangstas In My Hood...

    ...and yet I've been tagged, it seems. (Get it? It's a kind of double entendre, cuz "tagged" can mean more than one th...never mind, let's move on...)

    Who tagged me? Catie, over at The girl's a knitting machine, busy mom, career woman, and all-around good egg. Check her out.

    Anyway, so the tag is "6 quirky things about me". Only six? I exude quirky, are you kidding me? Ok, here goes...

    1 - I prefer s'mores made in the microwave over those made by fire or even stove top. A marshmallow alone cannot properly melt a Hershey bar, period. So if you want it all to be gooey and yummy, you stack it on a paper plate (trust me, you don't want to scrub melted marshmallow off your dinnerware) and give it about 17 seconds. Let it sit a few seconds, and yummo.

    2 - I used to be proud of my sexual prowess and openness, and say things like "I can suck a golf ball through a garden hose" and "I'm the best I've ever had". I didn't think so at the time, but looking back, I think I was kind of a slut. I'll have to ask Greg. If he smiles and says "no", I'll know it's true.

    3 - My dad has been blind since I was 8 years old, and it has changed EVERYTHING about my life, and about how our family was and is, and I used to wish on stars that he would get his sight back, despite knowing they took his eyes and his optic nerves and threw them in the scrap bucket at the VA hospital instead of finding a way to fix him. Hey, at least it was free treatment, right?

    4 - My small toenails, as in the last two on each foot, when trimmed to their shortest comfortable length, are barely visible and not paintable or filable. They practically disappear.

    5 - Despite LOVING all of the music from Phantom of the Opera since I was in high school almost 20 years ago, and knowing the entire soundtrack by heart, I just saw the musical for the first time this year. It was freaking awesome.

    6 - I am a "For Women First" and "Woman's World" junkie - I buy them every week, sure that each one has the secret clues to a happy, organized, stress-free, skinny life. I have about 15 of them right now that need to be clipped and put into my binder of "helpful hints" before I recycle them.

    So there. I kept it to six, aren't you impressed? I thought so. Hey, don't go spreading that "slut" thing around, it's ancient history and the stigma has kind of left me and I don't really want it back. Thanks.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Have You Seen It?

    Nik and I are setting up a site in Aimee's memory. I posted this tonight as a tribute to her. If you haven't been there yet, here is the URL:

    Please visit her site, light a candle in her memory, and know you have my thanks. She was one of a kind and is sorely missed.


    I’ve sat down to write this several times, with little success. Mostly because the idea of writing a tribute to you brings to the surface all of the things I wish I had said to you, or said to you more often, when you were here.

    But, nonetheless, here we are, with me needing to write a tribute to you. Oh, honey, you don’t even know.

    How do I put you into words?

    You were a friend like no other. Your smile lit up rooms and hearts. Your humor was honest, genuine, and capable of soothing broken hearts and brightening the worst of days. Your love was unconditional, all-accepting, and true. You gave of yourself in every part of your life and never asked the cost, and required nothing in return. You were your family’s pride, your friends’ most trusted confidant, and everyone’s “most likely to be there if you needed someone”.

    Your friendship has been a constant in my life for more than a decade, a solid grabbing point amidst chaos, and a large part of who I am. To consider my future without you is…staggering. Painful. Confusing.

    Moments of denial still sweep over me every day. The urge to pick up the phone and call you has not lessened. The hope that it’s you when my phone rings hasn’t either. My brain has not caught up with the loss yet, and still puts you at the front of the mental list before I ever check the caller ID. I don’t imagine it will cease any time soon, and I don't mind that, because for that split second, I can remember what it felt like when I didn’t have to face the rest of my life without you.

    I will never forget our last day together, which was too short, but which we were sure would not be the last. That last time you got out of my van, turned back, and shot me that smile and said “See ya!”, I said the same. And we hugged. But not for long enough. I would pay more than I can say to have made it last longer, to have held you closer and told you that I loved you. I know I told you on the 21st when you called about the baby, but I would have liked to have told you one more time.

    Jackson will never remember having known you. Samantha will most likely forget much of what she knows of you. Those realities break my heart, because you loved them so much, and because they helped you decide that you wanted to be a momma. But we will make sure they hear of you, learn about who you were, what you stood for, and how much you have meant to Greg and to me.

    There is not enough time to write down and spell out everything we’ve shared - the laughs, the tears, and most importantly, everything that we pulled each other through, pushed each other over, and gave each other strength to persevere past. I carry it all with me, and I believe that you carry it with you. And I hope that you can see and feel how much I love you, and how much I will miss you, every day, until I see you again.

    I love you. I will always love you. Please stay close to all of us, check in on Samantha in preschool once in a while, and know that you are always in our hearts.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Worth Remembering X 2

    The Sunday night before Aimee died, the fam made a trip to Walmart. A particularly uneventful trip, and as we walked out to head home, it was dusk. The sunset drew our eyes west immediately as we walked out of the building.

    But it was like no sunset I have ever seen.

    A woman, probably in her 70s, was behind us and heard me say just that, and she said "You know, I've never seen anything like it either." I was not surprised.

    It looked more like a sunrise, where the colors seem to burst up off the horizon, instead of normal sunsets where the colors are seemingly melting into the earth below it. I would not have been surprised to see Christ himself come rising up out of the dark, dark center of what should have been the brightest point of the sunset, where the sun should have been showing its top as it sunk down low beyond our hemisphere.

    The pictures I took really do not do it justice, and knowing now what we didn't know then, I hope Aimee caught a glimpse of that same sunset, her second-to-last that she would have the chance to see from Earth. For us, it was a truly unique, strange, eerie moment, which I said out loud. It was ominous and beautiful, and truly a sign of more things I could not believe that would come to me in the coming days.


    If I live to be 100, I am almost positive I'll never forget that sunset, especially now because of the passing of a friend who I'll also never forget. They are both worth remembering.

    Look, I Appreciate The Thought

    Really, I do. The idea of the whole "verify that you're a person and not a computer" thing which manifests itself in the handy-dandy random letter thingee generator on myspace and facebook, and even here; all very nice gestures from their creators. It's nice to feel protected.

    It's also a HUGE pain in my ass.

    Uh, here's a tip: if you smash the letters and numbers on TOP of each other so they're illegible, it doesn't matter if it's a computer or Aunt Martha, no one's comments are getting posted, asshat. If you're gonna layer them, you could at least make them different colors or some shit. Because when I type in what I THINK it is, only to have you come back at me like I'm a felon asking for a handgun telling me that I've entered an "INCORRECT VERIFICATION SEQUENCE" or what the fuck ever it's called, it really tightens my colon. At least.

    Today it happened on Aimee's memorial site (did I tell you about that yet?), while I was trying to post the tribute post I've been working on for days, and not only did it come back and give me the big virtual Fuck You, but it also wiped out my entire post too. Jim Dandy Dee.

    So to the powers that be in the world of internet security, you get A for effort, and F for execution. Figure out a better way to put those little letters in the box so they are legible to humans without giving them away to computers, or I'm just going to always start typing in FUCK YOU instead.

    I'll show you.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Not As We

    Reborn and shivering
    Settled on new terrain
    Unsure, unkind, insane
    It's faint and shaken

    Day one, day one
    Start over again
    Step one, step one
    I'm barely making sense
    For now I'm faking it
    'Til I'm psuedo-making it
    From scratch, begin again
    But this time I as I
    And not as we

    Gun-shy and shivering
    Tear it without a hand
    Feign brave but still intent
    Little and hardly here

    Day one, day one
    Start over again
    Step one, step one
    I'm barely making sense
    For now I'm faking it
    'Til I'm psuedo-making it
    From scratch, begin again
    But this time I as I
    And not as we

    Eyes wet toward
    wide open fright,
    If God is taking bets,
    I pray he wants to lose,

    Day one, day one
    Start over again
    Step one, step one
    I'm barely making sense
    For now I'm faking it
    'Til I'm psuedo-making it
    From scratch, begin again
    But this time I as I
    And not as we

    ~Alanis Morrissette, Flavors of Entanglement

    Among other things, Aimee and I shared a love for Alanis, and this song has been screaming at me for days, and it speaks to how I'm feeling. It's truly like starting over. She was so much a part of my daily life for so many years that I am unable to truly put into words how it feels to face each day without the possibility of her being a part of it. There is the definite, nearly tangible loss of an important "we" in my life now that she's gone.


    She's gone.

    She died.

    I'll never forget those words as they were spoken to me the first time on September 2nd at 9:50 AM. "...Aimee died..." Nik choked over the phone at me, as I stared at myself into the mirror in disbelief and began screaming into the phone back at him. Couldn't believe it then, wouldn't believe it...

    And even now, it still stabs my heart to write that and know it's true. Things not done and left unsaid between us tug at that heart, and I am constantly missing all the things we'll never do. I will never hold her baby. She will never call and tell me it's time to go to the hospital. I will never see ultrasound pictures. She will never get the promotions within her coporation that surely would have come her way. She will not see my kids grow up. We will not grieve our dogs' deaths together, but I will have to trust she will pick them up at the RB when they get there. We will never sing on the phone together again. We will never have another "You move to you move to you move to you move to Waterloo" argument again.

    I will never speak to her again in my life.

    She will never call and ask me what I'm doing, ever again. We will never enjoy another lunch, another smoke, or another laugh together. My grief at knowing and realizing the factual nature of all we've lost is almost more than I can bear.

    But our alternatives as humans are few: stop life, be overtaken and drown in grief forever, or get it contained enough to carry, and then carry it with us as we go on. And I am blessed with so many other beautiful, wonderful people in my life, many of whom Aimee loved as well, that I have no choice but the latter of the two.

    So I am not forgetting her. I am not over her death. I am not cheering up because I am all better, and life is not rosy once again. But because she would want me to, I am getting back to some things that matter to me, like blogging. As I said before, I have to believe she can still see this; and I believe that she knows my blogging past her death is not disrespectful to her, and getting back to the every day stuff we talk about here at FMFO is part of my healing process. A process I know she would want me to move through as quickly as possible. I will always look for her comments when I blog, always being disappointed when I never see them, and I will surely continue blogging about her as I go through the process of trying to heal this deepest of wounds.

    So, on we go, all of us. I love you Aimee, and that will never change. That goes for all of you who I love as well, whether here or there. Thanks for loving me. Stop back soon for happier blogs to come.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Gotta Go Offline...

    ......for a while, maybe just a day or two.

    As much as I need the online interaction right now to be close to those who love her, and as much as it's so easy for me to kill two hours looking at pictures of her and reading all the wonderful things people have said about her, I have got to refocus my attention on my house and my family for a little bit. We are coasting right now, and my house is paying the price, and projects are piling up around here. Not to mention I don't think we've eaten a meal not out of a bag since we got home.

    I am OK, and I have lot of you looking out for me and checking up on me, so please don't worry about me. Feel free to call me at home or call or text me on my cell. I have just got to get my poop in a group before I am buried in the every day parts of my life that require attention.

    Keep in touch, and I'll be back online as soon as I can.

    Love you all.

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    She Would Be Proud of You

    I'm talking to all of you, who have held me up, supported me, checked on me, prayed with me and for me, and been there at the exact moment I needed you to be this week since Aimee left us. You, who picked up the phone when I called, or who called me to check in, who listened while I sobbed, and gave me your shoulder, kept me from going down a spiral of despair that I may not have been able to recover from. If you sent an email, posted on my threads, sent a myspace or facebook message; if you called, texted, or said a prayer for me - it mattered. Deb and Arun, Barbie, Lisa, Kae, Amanda, Suzi, Brian, Barbara, Crystal, Julia, Erinn, Erin, Jess, Carrie, Angie, Karrie, Nicole, Anastasia, Peg, Kristy, Darlena, and all of my message board friends - you gave me strength, and gave me a clear understanding of what absolutely incredible people I have in my life. I would not be where I am emotionally if not for your endless caring and concern. It's difficult for me to ask for help, but you didn't wait for me to ask, you were just there, whether you knew her or not, giving me what I needed, and carrying me through.

    Mom and Jan, who both stepped in and cradled our kids in your arms, and handled the home front so we could go to Iowa to say our goodbyes and be with Aimee's family - we are eternally grateful to you both. You gave us a gift unlike any other and made the most important part of our grieving process possible.

    Greg. Love, you know more than anyone what Aimee and I meant to each other, and how much she loved all four of us. It cuts so deeply for both of us, and our grief is heavy and thick as we face our life without her. I know that you hurt both because I hurt, and because you loved her, too. And I know you've been so worried and wanting me to be okay, and that makes my heart hurt even more; knowing that my pain flows into you makes it that much harder to endure. You have been steadfast in your love, your support and your willingness to do whatever I need, whenever I need it, and Aimee was no doubt looking down on you and wanting to put her arms around you as you grieved for what we've both lost in her passing. Thank you for being strong enough to hold me up, literally and figuratively, and still being tender enough to grieve with me; and thank you for loving me, and for loving her. She adored you, honey. Never forget that, and know that you being with me during this time has further reinforced every belief I have that I will be with you until my last breath. No road too long, my love.

    Aimee is watching us, I believe that. And she is exceedingly proud of how you have all come to my rescue, and loved me through this most painful loss, I know it in my heart.

    And so we go on, all of us, down this road which has turns we never could have seen coming. I am so deeply honored to be traveling it with you, and I love you all in the deep soft happy place in my heart, which is beginning to heal, little by little, because you have loved me.


    Uh, ETA: I still need you. I am not over this by a long shot, I should clarify that. So while I am all of the things I said above, I am still a wreck in many ways. So I'll need you to keep on pulling me through all of this, and I know you will. You're all cool like that. Thanks again.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Are You There, God? It's Me, Cathy

    I am waiting.

    I am waiting for Your grace to be sufficient for me.

    I am waiting for Your peace that passes all understanding.

    I am waiting for a sign from You that she is with You; that "she and her baby are walking on those streets of gold", as Pastor Jim told us on Saturday.

    I am waiting for the strength to "handle this", as so many have told me in my life that You won't give me more than I can handle.

    I am waiting for the sadness in my eyes, in my husband's eyes, in all of our eyes to clear, and for there to be way to see the joy we are supposed to be able to find as believers. I don't have it in me to survive a Job-like siege of tragedy. Trust me on that.

    I am waiting for the clarity of mind to see the purpose in this; to see how You will take this and turn it into something glorious and wonderful and full of meaning. Because SURELY You didn't watch while my best friend died in her husband's arms, in their bed, and let it happen for nothing. Surely you have a plan. Surely the cost for losing her is going to bring some HUGE benefit to my life, to Nik's life, to Mike and Lori's life. It can't be just a big cosmic "whoops". I refuse to believe You would let all of these hearts be shattered and not have a way to help us find solace, comfort and a way to go on that helps us understand why she was ripped out of her own life and stopped from walking the path she was so happy to be on. The scriptures tell us that You take what Satan intended for evil and use it for good. I am counting on that.

    So I am waiting. And it's just about killing me. So I'm ready when you are - bring on the healing. Please.

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    Aimee Was Part Of This Blog

    Aside from being a most-faithful reader and commenter, there was a day when I gave her her own guest blog post. Go back and read it, and leave a comment, OK?

    There was also the question she asked (you could take a lesson from her, really) which I gladly answered. Read this one and comment, too, OK?

    I have to believe that where ever she is, she can still read my blog. It could happen - you can get online everywhere else in the world for god's sake. If you don't believe there are computers in the afterlife, keep it to yourself. I need to believe she's still out there reading.

    Still not packing. Hmm.

    Put On A Happy Face, OR The Bullshit Facade

    My god, this week feels like it's been my whole life. She's only been dead since Tuesday morning but it feels like forever since I was happy, or able to even fake it well.

    But, that's what the world requires of us, isn't it? Smile, smile, smile. It's not the McDonald's drive thru cashier's problem that my best friend seized and died in her husband's arms on the morning after their wedding anniversary, right? So when she says "How are you today, ma'am?", what do I say?

    "I'm good, thanks!"

    Because we all know, when someone asks how you are, the last thing they really want to know is how you are. They want the standard bullshit response. And so I give it. But the response in my head is much different. She's lucky I was raised right. Otherwise she'd have gotten this:

    "Well, it's funny you asked, um, Maria, is it? My best friend fucking DIED two days ago, and I have to drive five hours tomorrow to go and look at her in a box, wearing super-cute maternity clothes she just bought and never got to wear while she could, you know, BREATHE and stuff, but hey - at least she gets to wear them, right? She doesn't have, you know, organs or eyes or blood anymore, but at least they'll probably fuck up her hair and not do her make up right, that'll be nice. Let's see, what else? Oh, I'm sick that I have to leave my kids overnight again for such an awful reason, have to miss Samantha's third day of preschool, and the mom voice in my head that KNOWS Samantha can't handle a funeral is fighting with the pseudo-Aimee voice in my head who says Samantha should get to go if she wants to. Aimee had a real soft spot for Samantha, even made her the flower girl when she married Nik. She was really looking forward to watching Samantha and Jackson grow up...maybe even some kids of her own. At least one - the one she was carrying.

    But hey, instead, she gets to rot in the ground and have NO rest-of-her-life, while her husband dies inside and her dogs wonder where in the hell Mommy went, and while her best friend tries to find a way to stop the persistent screaming that's going on in her head, bellowing, sobbing and moaning that this cannot. be. real. This does not happen, it can't happen. Even Aimee herself would hear the story and say "NUH-UH! That is fucked up." And she'd be right. I imagine it's about what she thought as she lay there dying in her own bed "of natural causes". As if there were anything natural about a healthy 30 year old girl dropping dead in her husband's arms in their bed the day after their wedding anniversary while she's carrying their child.

    So the short answer is that I'm doing lousy. Maybe the lousy-est I've ever been in my life. And those fries better be fresh or somebody's gonna have a foot in their ass."

    But we are a civilized people, aren't we? Yes. We don't get to say what we think. That would be rude. So I'm not rude. I finish up at Mickey D's and head on home.

    As I get out of the van, the people going by on the street are so oblivious. They are NOT clued in to what's going on. It pisses me off. My heart wants me to stand on the street and scream at passers-by, demanding they explain how they can do things like deliver newspapers or fix bumpers or replace windshields or deliver pizzas, when all the while she is laying in a funeral home while they turn her into a flesh-shell, cut her pretty new clothes up the back and stick her in a box. She is supposed to be at work today, running her shiny new store, worrying about every little twinge in her belly as first-time moms do, vetoing names that her husband texts to her, mulling around how many weeks of maternity leave she will take, calling me to bitch about the little punk who just tried to shoplift from the store, to ask how Samantha likes preschool, or to laugh about everything and nothing at all. Does she get to do ANY of that shit? Right. So what makes the rest of these fuckers think they just get to go on about their business, with all the confidence in the world about their likelihood to go on breathing, living and loving? I want them to know, to see, to realize - it can all be gone in a flash, and for someone REALLY important to me, it IS gone. So how can that lawn getting mowed be ALL that much of a priority? Stop and grieve with me, and show some respect, assholes, I want to shout from my front lawn.

    But instead, I come inside and eat my fries. Beachy? No. Yummy. Yes. Maria's lucky twice today. No Red Foreman action for her.*

    I don't know how I'll ever watch South Park again. Dane Cook is definitely out. I don't know how I'll ever think of ANY of the hundreds of inside jokes we shared again without sobbing. My dear Princess Peach, McBung, Mrs Bunger, or just plain Aimee - I don't know how I'll ever look at her picture and not feel like we got completely screwed, all of us. Me, Nik, her folks, that baby, Cady and Copper, all the people who loved, admired and respected her...and especially her. We all just got royally screwed in a way I may never understand.

    Please don't tell me there's a purpose, or a reason, or that if I just have enough faith it'll all be OK. It's not OK, and I don't know if it'll EVER be OK. There is no lesson I wanted to learn that was worth her life, no moment of clarity that may come someday that I wouldn't trade for one more day with her, one more phone conversation, one more "I love you, man". So please just don't. I'm in desperate need of hugs, and prayers, and lots of support, but at the same time, I just can't handle being encouraged in the traditional ways right now. "I'm sorry", "this sucks", "let me know if I can help", and "hang in there" are all good things to hear. Everything else can go either way.

    I have GOT to start packing, or I'll be showing up there naked. And if you think it's a sad occasion NOW...

    If you're one of the people I love, I love you. Tuck that up inside your heart and carry it with you and know that I mean it. And don't forget to tell someone you love the same thing. Tomorrow, or two hours from now may be too late. Cliche? Sure, but also true. So just do it. You'll never be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you don't.

    *Am I making light of my dear, sweet, awesome friend's death? No. I'm coping. In a way that SHE would think is funny as hell. So frankly if you don't like it, or think it's inappropriate, that's too fucking bad. I mean that in the nicest way possible. Thank you, please drive thru, and come again.

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Aimee...What You Wanna Do? I Think I Could Stay With You, For A While...

    You cannot be dead. Please, honey, please. Please don't be dead. Please? This whole thing is so stupid and fucked up and I don't understand. I wrote to you on facebook, and I hope whereever you are they have WI-FI so you can read, if not reply. Ha ha, right? Except nothing's funny today.

    I will always be so grateful for the lunch we shared on Saturday. What an important trip that was. I'm clinging to those moments, grateful that i can remember the very last time we made eye contact, the last time we hugged, and said "See ya", and you shot me that brilliant beautiful smile. I was thinking that the next time I saw you, you'd probably have your baby. And I guess that's true, you get to hold that baby forever now. What I'll see this weekend is just a shell now - a shell you weren't always that fond of, anyway. And clearly a shell that betrayed you in the end.

    No more psoriasis, love. No more stupid allergies, no more battling smoking, and no more worrying about our weight together and trying to figure out how we're going to get back those kickin' bodies we had back in the day. I'm gonna get on that treadmill, just for you. I promise. I hope they serve you scrambled eggs and have banished all offensive condiments, and never dare bring you a salad.

    I know you. You would love knowing that you touched people, and that people are moved by you, and you would jokingly say "That's right, cry fuckers!". But then you would say, "Seriously, though, please don't cry. I'm OK." You always hated it when I cried, it always got you upset, too - but today I just can't help myself. I know you understand, and I know you're here with me in my heart.

    This fucking sucks, dude. Seriously. You don't even know.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    NO. NO. NO.

    This is NOT FUCKING HAPPENING. It's just not.

    No. NO. NO!!! How do you scream NO on a keyboard.

    Aimee, you said last week that you needed me. But I need you. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.

    How many friends do I have to bury? And how do I bury you and your baby and watch your family die inside. You were their light.

    NO. Just no. No. Please, god, no.

    Lions and Tigers and Bears

    Our last day before Samantha changes everything about our life will be a fun one - we're off to the zoo with a friend of ours and we are all so excited! I am excited because most of everyone 's rugrats are in school already so it will be a quiet day at the zoo. Pics to come at some point - hope your Tuesday is as good as we expect ours to be!