One Year Gone

Song Lyric of the Day:

Oh the tree of life is growing / Where the spirit never dies / And the bright light of salvation / Shines in dark and empty skies

Bob Dylan / “Death Is Not the End

Today is the day after my birthday. Which means that today is the anniversary of the day my Abuela Tulita passed away, what seems like a lifetime ago. Today also marks the first anniversary of the day our dog Caleb died.

I like to think my abuela was the reason Caleb died the same day she did. Because, to be honest, the woman was a klepto when she was alive. So why should the afterlife keep her from snatching something else — say, a beloved family dog. When Caleb died it felt like we wouldn’t get past the shock and grief. We were completely blindsided by his passing. The worst thing for me personally was seeing the horrible depression his brother, Troubadour, was plunged into. It took weeks for him to come out of it.

Caleb and puppy Troubadour

Caleb getting to know his new little brother, Troubadour (May 2008)

Six months after Caleb’s passing we happened to see an adorable little Chihuahua listed on Facebook. His family was looking to rehome him because they felt like he needed more attention than they could give him. When we showed Coraline his photo, she held up a hand, looked away, and said, “He’s so cute I can’t even handle it.” We contacted the little dog’s mom and arranged a meeting so we could see if and how Capone would fit into our family. He and Troubadour hit it off immediately, to the point that Capone barked his head off once he was put back in his carrier to go home and Troubadour got mopey when he left. That was a Sunday. That Wednesday Capone came to live with us for good.

We’ve never owned such a small dog before, so that was an adjustment. I have to laugh thinking how this little guy, who is literally one-seventh the size Caleb was, would have terrified Caleb. I also have to say how grateful I am that Original Mom chose us to be his new forever family, because we all love him so much. Especially his new big brother, Troubadour.

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

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15 Years Later

Song Lyric of the Day:

I thought a light went out, but now the candle shines / I thought my tears wouldn’t stop, then I dried my eyes / And after all of this, the truth that holds me here / Is that this emptiness is something not to fear

Mary Chapin Carpenter / “Between Here and Gone

I’ve written before about what this day means to me. This year it meant a new, fresh fear: Would Coraline ask me about it? Because I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell her about it without becoming a blubbering mess. How could I explain to my 5-year-old what I still don’t understand myself 15 years later? Thankfully, she didn’t bring it up, likely because she still hasn’t heard about it. When she does, though, Rich and I agreed that he will be the one to tell her about it. I’m sure I’ll be sitting right there with them both, but he’ll be able to maintain his composure where I wouldn’t.

Today, as always, I’ve been thinking about Adam. And Adam’s family and friends, which leads me to think about Ryan and his family and friends. To be honest, though, I think about both Adam and Ryan a lot, not just on this day.

Earlier this year my sister and parents went to New York City. While paying their respects at the World Trade Center Memorial, they took a picture of Adam’s name etched into the stone for me. They also brought me a little card showing the location of his name. I keep it on a shelf above my home desk so I see it every day. Because I, like so many others, will never forget.

Adam's memorial

Adam’s memorial

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 20

Day 20. The last argument you had

I don’t remember what causes most of the arguments I have, so I’ll go with one of the few I do remember. It was while I was pregnant with Coraline. Rich thought it would be a good idea to share with me some artwork he was working on of his ex-girlfriend, as well as the (sweet, he alleged) story behind it. I argued that maybe that wasn’t what his pregnant wife cared to see. He didn’t get it. It took him a few days to come around and agree that maybe it wasn’t the best idea in the world to show his pregnant wife artwork featuring his ex-girlfriend. And yes, he did apologize. Also, no I never bothered to ask to see that artwork.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 19

Day 19: Something that never fails to make you feel better

I can say sex, right? This blog challenge warrants honesty, so I’ll go ahead and say sex.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 18

Day 18: Disrespecting parents

This is, I think, a stupid prompt. Unless you have the world’s worst parents, they deserve at least some respect. I say this from the point of view of someone who is now a parent: I (along with the spouse) do what I think is in Coraline’s best interests and hope she doesn’t end up screwed up down the road because of those decisions. Knock on wood, so far, so good. At least she respects me right now. As much as a 5 1/2-year-old can, anyway.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 17

Day 17: Things that make you scared

Ah, this list could go on forever. I already wrote about the horrific political climate. In addition to that, there are plenty of other real-world things that scare me: terrorism, health epidemics, the possibility of economic and social collapse, my recurring nightmare of being in a car accident, home invasions, being terrified of dying young and leaving Coraline without a mom, family and friends dying. Real, legitimate fears.

There also completely unrealistic things that scare me. Which is largely where my love of horror movies bites me in the ass. Despite knowing better, I usually end up watching scary movies when Rich is out of town. Which then makes me paranoid and reminds me of other scary movies, all of which basically are about the worst possible kind of home invasion: The Purge, You’re Next, The Strangers. I won’t get into how horror movies have also made me worry about camping and trick-or-treating.

Finally, there are these fuckers:


Wavy tubes are the devil’s advertising. Image found via Google search and Satan’s guiding hand.


Completely unnatural and totally terrifying.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 16

Day 16: 3 things you are proud about your personality

Loyalty: I’m pretty damn loyal, but cross or hurt someone I love, you’re dead to me. Gotta earn that loyalty, and it is not gained by treating others like crap.

Honesty: Granted, I can be brutally honest at times, which has resulted in certain people being afraid to tell me pretty much anything of substance. Which is fine, but remember: just because I’m being honest doesn’t mean I’m being judgmental. I’m not going to coddle you and tell you what you want to hear to humor you. I’ll try to help you figure out whatever it is that needs figuring out by being honest.

Weirdness: I’m delightfully offbeat. Remember that as you read this blog, since, like my talent for sarcasm, it doesn’t always translate well to the written word.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 15

Day 15: The best thing to happen to you this week

After last week, I’ll go with the obvious: no family members have received grim prognoses, no one has passed away, and no one else has been diagnosed with cancer.

Fucking cancer made last week a living hell for me and many of my loved ones.

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 14

Day 14: Something disgusting you do

I’m going to go with something I do that never fails to gross out the spouse: I snack on Pringles with ketchup. Which I LOVE. And the very idea of which makes Rich want to barf, which I don’t understand — to me it’s the same principle as fries with ketchup. He vehemently disagrees with me on that point. No matter what he thinks, though, this is still one of my all-time favorite snacks.

Just add ketchup!

Just add ketchup!

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 13

Day 13: A date you would love to go on

Most of my and Rich’s dates consist of dinner and a movie. Assuming money wasn’t an issue, I guess a dream date would be somewhere far away from everyone and everything, and where we didn’t have a set agenda and could take our time deciding what to do. I’d also love to do something we’ve never done before: a hot-air-balloon ride, renting a boat for a weekend, visiting a new-to-us country (Spain, anyone?). Needless to say, this date would also involve Coraline overnighting at my parents’ house.

Since those kinds of dates are literally just dreams, I will continue to enjoy and appreciate the rare dates we enjoy these days, which are often dictated by a big Marvel movie release. That’s right — our next date night might very well be the day Captain America: Civil War comes out.

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