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October 2009

WATCHING THE BOOB TUBE

Watching tv

I imagine this is what they would look like if I stumbled upon their picture in an old newspaper. Grainy and slightly smudged. Mostly though I love how the filter on this picture makes Oly look like she's 9 weeks old again and suddenly Adam appears to have the most AWESOME Groucho Marx mustache. Also, I think they're plotting something sinister.



FOR ME

Did that bit on Tuesday sorta scare you? Last time you checked this blog was a place where some silly girl talked about her dog, wrote tirades about the death of her dryer, and whined on and on about how poor she is. Then all of a sudden, BAM! Heavy shit. Like, 400 bricks dropped on your chest heavy.

I know, wow, what a day!

All month I struggled with 'how to feel' or 'how to deal' with this tragic event. I find myself constantly calling my mother asking if I feel TOO sad about it, if my reactions aren't RIGHT, if it's WRONG to feel guilty, or could she possibly just tell me how I might GET OVER THIS ALREADY? On this particular topic I find myself completely and utterly incapable of sorting through my own emotions. They seem far too powerful, too deep, or to encompassing for one person to navigate through on their own. I often attempt to call in backup, unsuccessfully of course.

Tuesday I took a stab at a new approach, forward progression. And yet I didn't. Because instead of just making my donation and being ok with ME and MY feelings, I felt the desire to lighten the burden, spread the shit, and ask others to carry my weight with me. And then, I instantly regretted it.

Tuesday morning I found myself on the phone with my mother yet again, panicked I had once again gone and done the whole dealing with grief thing WRONG. She reminded me very simply that there is no 'wrong' when it comes to crap like this. How easily I seem to keep forgetting.

Wrapped up in my mind all morning, lost in the maze that are my thoughts I found myself scrambling, knocking on doors hoping others might steer me in the correct direction, when in reality I already had given myself the power and the relief I was desperately searching for the moment I hit 'donate.' 

Suddenly my inbox dinged. It was the PR representative of Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims. She thanked me profusely for my donation. And you know what else she added that momentarily stopped my breathing, 'Please let me know if I can do anything for YOU today.'

ME!?!?!? Lady this isn't about ME. It's about HER, and other victims, and making my family proud, and getting strangers to care, and making a difference, and OMG PLEASE DON'T TALK ABOUT ME AND MY STUPID LAME PATHETIC NEEDS!

Yet in that moment, suddenly those needs I refused to acknowledge were finally met. I wanted to move forward, I wanted to feel as if I made a difference, I wanted to try to lighten the load of another's suffering, and suddenly it didn't need to be about EVERYONE ELSE jumping on board because surprise surprise, I actually accomplished my goals. I got so wrapped up in wondering if anyone else cared, I actually forgot to let myself care.

Thank you for being here. And listening to me. And for not rolling your eyes constantly and then walking away confused and irritated. Because you know what, it finally hit me. I didn't need you to care about this cause just because I feel passionately about it, I just needed you to care enough to be here and support ME while I try to sort through it all.

How embarrassing to realize all I really wanted out of this week was a big internet hug. Have I told you lately what great hugs you all give? No? Well you do. Terrific ones really.




FOR HER

For the last four years, today has been the day where I remember how evil we can be to one another. Where I come face to face with the utter randomness of life and feel my lungs begin to tighten in my chest. I am sick of today being about fear, and anguish, and suffering.

With your help, today I plan to change all that.

What if today is the moment when people come together and inject some much needed love and compassion into an extremely dark day? What if instead, today is the instance where people I’ve never met take the time to give back to this world, refusing to allow others to take away anymore from us.

I want today to be so much more than the day my grandmother was murdered.

I honestly hate to ask anything of you wonderful people who take time out of your lives to come to my little corner of the internet and read my words, yet I feel like I must. I ask that you take a moment and locate an organization dedicated to providing support to families and victims of violent crimes and donate (click here to donate to the charity I donated to). Time, money, support, love, I don’t really care, just give back something positive to someone who truly needs it on this day.

Maybe you don’t have a single dime to spare right now, I completely understand, so maybe try instead to donate some of your time. If that even means calling up your grandparents, or going over and cooking them a meal and telling them you love them I’ll be happy with that.

Today I chose to donate $50 to Families and Friends of Violent Crime Victims. A charity here in Western Washington dedicated to providing victims and families with things like a 24 hour help line, counseling, legal services, meals, resources, and above all support in some of their darkest hours. Although I didn’t really have that $50 to give in the first place (maybe you can only give $5, that's perfect!), knowing that it’s going to help a family, or an individual cope with an absolutely horrific situation makes it worth my sacrifice.

I don’t know. Maybe it is absolutely pathetic of me to think that I can ever make this day something other than what it is, horrible. Yet even if not a single other person donates, at least I know that I finally did something proactive on a day that has always left me feeling helpless. For myself, today can be the day I decided to start giving back in her honor.

Someone took something absolutely precious from my family, but I refuse to allow them to continue to take from us year after year. I want to forever alter the dark meaning surrounding this date. October 27th from this day forward is the day that you and I bring love, and kindness, and support into the world in her memory. And if I keep at it, if people continue to rally with me year after year, who knows, maybe in 5 years this will be a day I look forward to because I know that it will be a time where strangers come together to provide selfless support to victims and shattered families when they need it most.


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Please, send me an email, or a note in the comments and let me know if you did something, anything, in her honor. And if you would, please share this message and this goal with others. Lets not make a dent, but an actual impact in the lives of people suffering today. 

I wont ever be able to thank you enough for taking part in this with me. 

 

DEAR COSMOS,

I am so very sorry. I should have known better than to proclaim publicly that there were serious perks to being a renter when it comes to the whole fixing your broken home thing. I am an intelligent being and I swear I know better than to declare, OUT LOUD that my biggest worry about being a home owner is that suddenly without warning one of my over priced appliances I rely on dearly should stop working. Cosmos, couldn’t you see I wasn’t being ungrateful, that I was just trying to be helpful to a friend who was feeling trapped? In celebrating her renters fortunes I SWEAR wasn’t cursing my own situation. Damn it I was TRYING to be a good friend! Why can’t you see that?

I find it truly unfair that you decided to punish me for bringing up how much the death of my dryer would ruin my life by ACTUALLY taking away my dryers ability to function. And I swear I could have still learned a very valuable lesson (such as NEVER speak about the death of your dryer out loud, EVER) if maybe you’d only decided to have it temporarily stop working. In that momentary loss of service I would have quickly realized the error of my ways, apologized profusely for ever being so callous as to question your power, and then TA-DA you could have turned the dryer back on and all parties would have been pleased.

Personally, I think it was rather over done to have the dryer almost start a house fire when the electrical components completely melted, leaving us with a catastrophic mess. I mean, yes, it was fabulously dramatic, but I think a tad unnecessary to be honest. Not that I would EVER go around questioning your judgment of course, it’s just, fuck, do you know how much this is going to cost?

(Cue overly dramatic sigh)

I guess in the end I just wanted you to know I got the message. After I fix this I promise to be forever thankful for the state of my home ownership, and I wont EVER EVER EVER again speak openly about how lucky renters are when it comes to the death of their handy appliances. Except that last time there. I swear on my life that's the last one.


Sincerely,

Ashley, The Woman-With-A-Dead-Dryer-Who-Lacks-A-Twitter-Following-Powerful-Enough-To-Repair-The-Sonofabitch-By-Snapping-My-Fingers-Therefore-I-Am-Getting-Ready-To-Pay-For-This-Mess-Using-My-Over-Worked-Credit-Card.


P.S. Adam wanted me to tell you that he's pissed about his shattered iPhone and would like some cosmic store credit for his troubles. Unless of course you are punishing him for something I don't know about. In that case I am totally cool with it.

P.S.S. Please go easy on my car this morning while it's in the shop. Just thought I'd ask. 


WELCOME TO MY BACHELOR PAD

Adam has been camping and doing manly things with his brothers and father since Wednesday afternoon, finally set to arrive home here any minute. I knew about this trip for quite a while and to be honest, I was sort of excited to have the house to myself for 5+ days in a row. I mean, I could watch absolutely ridiculous shows like the Rachelle Zoe Project without anyone rolling their eyes, spend as long as I wished tooling around in the bloggoshphere without a certain someone feeling abandoned, read 700 million books, eat nothing but popcorn and drink wine, live in my pj's, and be an all around lazy sack of shit. Glorious!

Except... I totally didn't realize what an absolute nasty ass bachelor I would suddenly morph into. I haven't eaten a real meal since TUESDAY NIGHT of last week. I am living off pizza, taco bell, sandwich shops, mac'n cheese, and cereal. Which was fun as hell the first two or so meals, but seriously I think I am about to die my stomach hurts so bad. Yet, even with the crippling pain I couldn't for the life of me cook anything. I would stand in the kitchen, holding a frying pan and the fridge door wide open hoping for inspiration and NOTHING. Eventually I would just grab my keys and get another pizza and allow the pain in my mid section to increase.

There is a pile of laundry in my bedroom right now, clean even, that if it happened to fall on top of Oly it might actually smother her. Saddest part? That one isn't even an exaggeration. The only dishes I've done all week have been the wine glasses, because lets face it, wine has sort of become my go-to meal in these desperate times, and although I'm lazy, I've not yet resorted to using the water glasses for my wine. A girl has limits. Also, I have watched more tv than I care to admit. Everything from bad reality tv, delightfully sappy chick flicks, animal shows to medical features. You know you're in a bad place when another gruesome show comes on Discovery Health about some kid with 7 legs or something and you actually yelp with glee. 

Even worse is there are people I could have called during this bachelordom, people who would gladly have spent time with me, enabled me to break out of the bachelor funk, yet I was so deep in my pit of nastiness that the idea of getting dressed in real clothes and actually doing my hair to converse with others felt like WAY too much work. Spending time with friends these last five days meant I would have had to think of things like matching, or style, and even try to ensure that my shoes and purse matched and I just couldn't. I had a pizza hangover. Remember?

It's amazing the difference a year can make. Back when I had roommates, even if you liked the person, a weekend, or even better a WEEK with them gone was like winning the Super Bowl. Not because you particularly despised them, but because for a change you didn't need to share your space with a single other human being. I'd lock myself in my home and avoid human contact for as long as humanly possible. Therefore, based on past experiences I was sure this trip would be the same way. But honestly, two days in I missed having someone else to eat dinner with, I missed watching a movie with someone else so I can rattle off impossible to answer questions about the story that make no sense, I missed sharing the daily duties of Oly, I missed feeling completely 100% secure in the house after dark, and mostly, I think I just missed him.

And now I blame the pizza hangover for my utterly sappy outlook on the last week. Either that or the chick flicks. At least one of them has to be to blame.



WHO'S THAT DOGGY IN THE WINDOW?

Oly looking out the window

This has quickly become Oly's new favorite pastime (sorry about the image quality, I snapped this with my iPhone). This new game falls second only to pushing her toy under the couch and barking hysterically for one of us to give it back to her, then once she's received the toy, again nudging it out of reach and barking maddeningly as if she has NO IDEA how in the hell the toy managed to slip away from her, AGAIN. This new game of standing on the futon and looking out the window SILENTLY is really my all time personal favorite.

I can't help but wonder what goes through her mind as she gazes out the window for these long, silent, unmoving stretches of time. Is she looking for someone? Watching over her domain? Taking a new vantage point for another of her favorite games, squirrel chasing? Or maybe she's sending out a silent plea that someone in the neighborhood will notice her and save her from this HORRIBLE life she leads where people take her on walks, feed her far too many treats and give her heaping piles of toys. Ungrateful little brat. 



THERE AIN'T NOTHING WRONG WITH A LITTLE UMBRELLA LOVE

People in the Northwest claim that you can spot a tourist or a transplant by the umbrella they wield during the fall, winter, and lets be honest, spring. (Damn, writing out the months of rain ahead just made it all shockingly real). These umbrella wielders are deemed pathetic, weak little VAGINA'S.

Frankly I think this theory is a tad backwards. When I think tourist I think of someone who came to visit the Northwest in the spring and was stupid enough to pack shorts and a tshirt. I envision them walking through the pouring rain, temp in the low 50’s, holding a newspaper over their head, bolting from store front to their rental car with a look of panic and horror in their beady little eyes. Either that or they’re wearing some ‘I love Seattle’ or ‘I heart ferry boats’ souvenir sweatshirt you know they only bought because they forgot to bring any warm clothes. These are the same people who didn’t own a single decent pair of rain ready shoes so they’re still rocking flip flops in the middle of the winter and their swollen red toes are peaking out at you, begging for mercy from the bottom of their half drenched jeans.

I think the true Nothwesterner not only has a tiny little umbrella in their purse at ALL TIMES (summer is no time to keep your umbrella at home, rain can strike anywhere, and anytime around here), a second one in their car, and an extra rain shell lying on the backseat. This person also owns ‘rain jeans.’ Rain jeans being a pair of jeans/pants that one has calculated so precisely so that they know that with shoe X the hem of their jeans will fall right before the ground, never actually making full contact, thereby avoiding that horrible scenario where after walking outside for mere moments one’s jeans have soaked up enough water to drench not only the area immediately surrounding your shoe, but has proceeded to climb all the way up to the middle of one’s calf. This person most likely also carries reusable shopping bags in their car/purse, they own at least three water proof jackets and at least one Northface fleece, they aren't afraid to rock a pair of rain boots with nice jeans, own like 17 nalgenes, and they clearly understand the life and death importance of water proof mascara.

I refuse to subscribe to the antiquated, and slightly miserable idea that my umbrella marks me as an outsider. And if you still refuse to recognize my membership over six years later into this wonderful yet slightly damp Northwest clan, then SCREW YOU TOO MR. If you're going to be all bitchy about it then you can keep your drowned rat look, and I’ll just continue to rock my pleasantly DRY smile all winter long under the loving protection of my umbrella.

In my book, there ain't nothing wrong with a little umbrella love.