The Longest Week

This week has been long.  People say that time is the same, and that there are the same number of days in a week every week, but those people are awful liers.  I think even my dog knows I’ve had a tough week, because she’s letting me lay on her right now while I’m typing on the laptop, and listening to Gillian Welch.  Girl’s best friend, indeed.

Yesterday was the WORST of the days this week.  I haven’t felt myself the past month or so anyway, but yesterday was bad.  The wind was terrible, but somehow, someone’s Christmas tree ended up in our front yard, propped neatly up against one of our trees.

Now, I’m not unreasonable.  Maybe the tree blew into the street, or someone’s driveway, and someone else thought it might be ours, so they put it in our yard.  One time, one of our tree branches fell into the street, and a neighbor dragged it into the driveway of another neighbor.  But when I saw it, I knew immediately it was from our tree, so I dragged it back to our house, chopped it up, and disposed of it.  Because it’s rude to leave a huge tree branch that’s yours in someone else’s yard.

But no one came to get their tree.

They just left it there, thinking we’d just dispose of it.  We knew whose tree it was too.  Because, you know, it’s almost February, so we noticed a Christmas tree out in front of someone’s house pretty quickly…

The rest of the day continued along these same lines.  People just being generally rude to each other, and being inconsiderate.  It overwhelmed me.  For some weird reason, despite the fact that the news reflects strongly the inhumanity of humans, I couldn’t believe people could be so mean.  The suburbs are weird and there is a psychological warfare in which I’m just not familiar.

Today feels better though.  Or, at least not as bad.  It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’ve got a little dog running and barking in her sleep under your head.

On a totally related note, I decided to give up my smartphone.  I argued with Zach about it almost the entire day yesterday, but I ultimately won.  I would like to be less connected, or at the very least, I would like to be less connected constantly.  The “constant” aspect is draining me.  Not to mention, smartphones are so expensive and sexy and addictive.  I don’t know if this will be a permanent move, but it’ll be my move for at least a couple years.  Zach will still have the smartphone, so it’s not like I’ll be suffering.  The first thing he asked when I said I wanted to go back to feature phones was, “But how will you get directions to places?”

It’s true, I heavily rely on my phone for it’s GPS qualities.  But, before I had a smartphone (around 4 years ago), I just looked it up beforehand, and if I got lost along the way, I got lost, and sometimes had to pull over in industrial complexes to pull out a [gasp!] real map.  I learned how to read maps VERY quickly that way.

But then again, I’m also the person who got on the wrong bus, A LOT, throughout my college days, never learned my lesson, and once had to hitchhike to a theatre because of a bad bus mistake.  So, it’s not like it’s the end of the world for me if I get lost…

And for the record, don’t hitchhike, kids.  It’s not safe.  I was lucky it was just a really awkward experience.

So aside from being more lost than usual, I can do without the extra tech.  I will still have a laptop.  I’m still studying computers.  I’ll longingly gaze into the shop windows at Apple, etc.  But it’s time to cut the chord.

Until next time.


Cookies for Breakfast are Fine

A post on a Saturday?  What?  I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “wow, I can’t believe she found time to post on a weekend, because she’s so busy and popular.”

No?  Fine, you’re mean.

Actually, I’m still in my pjs, I ate cookies for breakfast, and I’m just a little bored.  Normally, I look forward to Saturdays because we go out and look around town and play with the dogs.  Right now, the dogs are sleeping on my feet on the couch.  Alas, Zach is out playing hockey.  I would have gone, but it is an all-day event, in the snow, and I’d have to hang out by myself with smelly hockey players.  Not exactly ideal.  If I’m going to hang out alone all day, I’d rather be warm and with my dogs.

It’s probably a good thing I have a day off.  Things have been getting tense around my home lately.  I hope it’s not an indication of the entire year (I doubt it), but still, it’s something that has to be dealt with.  It sucks that half the winter vacation will be spent away from Zach (hockey and skiing with family), but sometimes life gets in the way.

I talked with my sister yesterday, and she thinks that her dad only has a few days left to live, so she’s been extra sad lately.  He’s been fighting a brain tumor for over a year, and lately, he hasn’t been doing too well.  It has made all the holidays really hard on most people.  Even though he wasn’t MY dad, he was there for all my major life events (including my birth and wedding).  We went on trips with him every year, and he’d visit all the time.  My brother and I even took a road trip with him and HIS mother – a kind of family/last-trip-for-grandma trip.  To be honest, I was closer to him than almost all of my extended “blood” relatives.  And while we differed and bumped heads a lot (I was an artist, and he didn’t like that a ton), he still loved me and tried to understand.  That’s all that matters, right?

But my fond memories are nothing compared to the relationship my sister has with him.  Not only did they have passionate fights and bumped heads on 80% of everything, I doubt you could find a father and daughter that loved each other more.  They not only fought each other, they fought FOR each other.  It takes a really special kind of love to love someone unconditionally that is harder to love.  I know it will be hard on my sister, because she will be losing her biggest rock in life.

I don’t think I’m the best person at dealing with death either.  At my grandpa’s funeral, I felt like I was on the outside of something, looking in.  It felt surreal.  I felt bad for my grandma.  And I didn’t know anyone there.  I mean, yes, I was related to them and might have known them at some point, but I didn’t really KNOW anyone.  Also, funerals are a terrible backdrop for family reunions.  When my friend Jhade passed, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and I just miss her a lot (I’ve almost sent her number text messages multiple times, including these recent holidays).  And right now, I’m dreading every time my phone rings, because I’m going to get “the call.”

So, despite all the best efforts, there is a feeling of being in limbo still.  There are aspects of 2014 still holding on.  All I can do is just to try and push forward, while at the same time, handling the bits and pieces being thrown at me.

If I managed to depress you on your Saturday, I guess I’m sorry, but why are you reading sad blogs on Saturday?!  Just kidding.  I needed to vent out a little bit of sadness, because it has been giving me crippling anxiety lately.  It makes me feel isolated and alone.

Ugh, now that I’m naked and you’ve seen my insides, I will go now and do something productive or at least happy on this Saturday.

Until next time.

'”Be thankful for the bad things in life. For they opened your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.”

– Jim Henson


What’s in a Name and Peppermint Mocha?

So, a good friend of mine brought up the topic of names and how people address you.  We apparently had some common ground, common worries, and unbridled rage towards some issues.  So I decided to post about my personal issues.

I want to clearly state right off the bat:  I love my husband more than anything (except maybe the dogs).  I would do almost anything for him and he’s my best friend.  However, I am not a reflection of him, nor am I an extension of him (and vice versa).  We are completely separate people, we do our own things, and we choose to be together every day.

It all started with the wedding, and the wedding guests.  At first, I brushed off all the letters and cards and gifts to “Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Swensen” as people trying to be cute and as a casual throwback, rather than casual misogyny.  When I decided to change my last name, it was a big deal.  I loved my last name.  I had done so much with it.  My art was all under my last name.  I had bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and I registered for classes under my name.  My name represented my Irish heritage.  It was a conversation starter.  And most of all, I loved it because it reminded me of one of my favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor.  It was a huge internal debate for me on whether or not to change my name.  Zach never pressured me either way, so my decision was my own.  I ultimately decided to change it as a symbolic gesture.

So at what moment did I lose my first name as well?

There are a lot of people who don’t see the big deal.  It’s just a stupid card, or a stupid letter.  People say, “Meg, it’s just a generational thing.”

Yeah, a generational thing that symbolizes ownership and takes away the identity of the wife.

Besides, MOST of the “Mrs. Zach” shit that comes to our house are from people around our age.  In fact, the OLDEST MEMBER of all our families has no fucking issue with addressing my name as well.  Someone actually tried to make the argument that it was less writing to leave out my first name.  It’s not.  Same writing (I counted!).  Also, why not leave out Zach’s name then?  Or shorten my name to Meg (which is the name I prefer anyway).

So what’s the big deal about the whole name business?  Imagine going through the rest of your life, and everything that is addressed to both you and your husband never has your name on it.  You’re just Mrs. Husband.  You’re Husband’s wife.  You’re Daughter’s mom.  It’s a lot of pressure.  It’s a huge loss.  I hate the concept of ownership of a person, even symbolically.  That’s why Zach never asked my father’s permission to marry me (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that can consent to that/I would have been super angry with both Zach and my dad) and that’s also why, when we planned our wedding, Zach’s grandpa (the officiant) asked, “how do you want to be introduced to the world?” I answered, “I want my name spoken.”  Actually, he never even said “Mr. and Mrs.”  I loved that.  It was just Zach and Meg.  It was just us being introduced to the world.  Grandpa John got that, and he really heard me when I told him how worried I was about being lost.

I still have a lot to do in my life.  A lot of my own stuff.  It’s going to have my name on it.  It’ll be mine.  Not my husband’s.  I still exist without him.

I know there might be people out there that think I’m overreacting, or I should feel honored to be a part of someone.  I feel honored about being a part of my husband’s life, not my husband himself.  Plus, it’s my name.  I want to be able to see and hear it, even if my husband is around or involved in something.  He doesn’t cancel me out.  I’m not a redundant version of him.  And for people who enjoy the “old” ways, that’s totally fine.  Let people know.  Because the “old” way shouldn’t be the default.

Marriage aside, names are important.  Some may change their name to reflect their preferred gender identity.  Saying another name is just disrespectful.  Or, in my friend’s case, names can be intimate, and saying an intimate version of her name when she doesn’t have that relationship with someone, is just as disrespectful.

I’m going to quote Star Trek real quick.

There was an episode in TNG where Doctor Pulaski keeps mispronouncing Data’s name incorrectly (she uses the other pronunciation for the word).  When she asks him why it matters, because they are both the same word, he replies, “One is my name.  The other is not.”  Sassy.

Okay, I think you all get the picture.  Now on to Peppermint Mochas.

I decided to try something this morning because I was craving a peppermint mocha, but neither wanted to pay the money for it, nor consume so much sugar.  So I made my own mock-up version.

Meg’s Peppermint Mock-a

Mug of brewed coffee (I used Ehtiopian from the Sprouts bulk section)
Peppermint tea (I used 1 bag of the Celestial Seasonings)
Hot cocoa powder (I used NOW brand organic cocoa)

Steep the tea in your mug with the coffee for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the bag, add the cocoa powder to taste (I like mine pretty chocolatey).  Add creamer or milk (I used a tiny bit of flax milk this morning).

It’s delicious.  Play around with it so you get the right amount of peppermint taste.  See?  No need for tons of dairy or an espresso machine.  Still get tons of caffeine, and that’s what’s important, right?

This will be my last post until after Christmas.  So, I would also like to share my favorite Christmas song and moment.  I can’t really accurately describe what this song means to me, but if I tried, it would be”home.”

“Bless Us All” Lyrics

Life is full of sweet surpises
Everyday’s a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam
Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love eachother
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams we ask you
Bless us all


Until Next Time.




It’s Actually Snowing on the First Day of Winter


I honestly thought that it would be like, 50 degrees today.  Colorado doesn’t like to fit neatly into seasons, so having a warm and sunny winter day isn’t uncommon.  But this morning was icy, and right now it’s snowing.  I managed to get up nice and early this morning, got ready, made coffee, took the dogs for a walk, and finished all of my grocery shopping and was home again by 10 am.  A miracle, really.  I even took the dogs with me, because I truly hate running errands by myself.  I get stressed and lonely, and the dogs actually make all of that better.  I also beat the crowds this morning.  Yes, there was a tiny bit of traffic on the highway, but it wasn’t too bad, and all the shops were basically empty.  No crazy people!  Yay!  Plus, look how beautiful it was this morning on our snowy walk:


The picture really doesn’t do it justice, but this was right at sunrise, when the sun started peaking through.

This past weekend, we had a blast.  We hosted our first cookie decorating party, and had so much fun with the sugar cookies, we never got around to the other cookies.  Not that it really mattered, because those other cookies WILL get made AND eaten, so I suppose it’s best to stagger them out.  I’m also ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t even get to use my decorating gun!  I’ve had it for years, and it’s gone unused.  I mean, we weren’t having trouble without it (people busted out the toothpicks for detail) but it would having been fun.  Next year.  Or this year.  I brought it out so I’d remember it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


As you may have noticed, our table is, ahem, still not done.  Apparently, we use it a lot during the holidays, so we’re going to start it afterwards.  We’ve given up the fight.  Either we need the table for entertaining, or the weather is terrible, so it’s made it hard to even start the sanding process.

I also wanted to make a note today of Joe Cocker’s passing.  I saw him at Red Rocks when I was 16.  It was a pretty memorable concert.  He was an amazing artist, and I really can’t believe he’s gone.

So, to all of you out there, happy winter, and enjoy your day.

Until next time.

Thanksgiving Recovery

It’s the Monday after a big holiday, and I’m definitely feeling the repercussions of all of my bad decisions.  It was probably the most productive holiday I’ve ever experienced.  While we didn’t have time to get the table done, we managed to throw up all our winter decor, and completely rearrange the living room upstairs.  What was once a weird room with hardly any furniture, has become a cozy sitting area equipped with a TV and coffee table.  And enough seating for more than just a couple people.  We are finally “adults!”

I will be turning 29 next week, and it’s weird to think of how long it can take to set up a house.  We’re really good at all the other “adult” things – we always pay our bills on time, there’s always food around (and it’s never ramen), we maintain our truck, and we maintain the house really well (sidewalks are always shoveled, and the filters cleaned regularly).  All that stuff on its own is a lot of work.  It’s also generally financially consuming.  So it takes a while to gather the “homey” things.  It takes awhile to even get around to thinking about that stuff.

I’m not complaining though.  I’m pretty much happy wherever I live as long as I have my family and friends around.  I’m like the dogs that way.  Plus, there needs to be food.

Thanksgiving this year was fun, though I have to admit, for the first hour of the day, I had a lot of anxiety because I was just sitting on the couch watching the parade.  I was worried that I was forgetting something, or that I needed to do something.  Nope.  I got to sit and relax.  I drank tea.  I ate my yummy breakfast.  We did our meal at lunch, and we ate in our PJ’s.  The cleanup was easy.  We took the dogs for a walk.  We talked.  It was nice.  When we went to Zach’s parents’ place for dessert, we came with an arsenal of treats, because I actually had time to bake.  And we had fun, leaving at a reasonable hour only because Zach was falling asleep from working the night before.

I expect Christmas will be similar, because of our on-going effort to try and make holidays special and nice.  We’ve even made sure to see our friends more, because it’s always something we regret every year.

But I will go into holiday stuff later.  Right now, I’d like to mention an article I read about turning an age that ends in a “-9” and how I’m more likely to kill myself or run marathons (probably not both though).  I can’t find the article, but, I would like to say, while I always struggle with having bouts of depression, they generally never have anything to do with my age.  I did, however, freak out when I turned 22, for some reason I can’t figure out.  For another unexplained reason, I’ve thought I was 29 all this year, so perhaps that’s why I haven’t freaked out yet.  All you assholes that write about being millionaires before you’re 30 have never broken me [insert evil laugh].

Seriously though, I’ve always felt, even at a young age, that I would hit my prime in my 30’s.  I think I’ve always known what I was up against, and to be one of those lucky success stories, there is a perfect storm.  My 20’s were designed for all my terrible decisions (including those wonderful “terrible” ones), getting chunky, accepting myself, and deciding what I want to do with my life.  I honestly don’t feel like I’ve wasted any of my time (except for maybe a few Netflix marathons, and anytime I play Skyrim longer than 4 hours…).  Don’t get me wrong, I totally admire all those successful youths.  But I mainly admire that they’re successful, and that they’re doing what they love.  Age has very little to do with it.  I have no shame in looking up to someone that’s like, 10 years younger than me.  And if someone is shaming you for your age (or if you’re shaming yourself), give them the finger, because age really is just an age.  It means whatever you want it to mean.  I know we like to celebrate the young, but in reality all of us are the future.  It’s not just in the children.

I am deeply sorry for that whole “children are our future” thing.

And for the record: I will NOT be running any marathons anytime soon.  This is something I plan to do in my 40’s.  Perhaps when I’m 49?  Now, 5Ks – those I can handle.

Until next time, enjoy this picture of Layla:


‘Tis the Season for Excitement and Cleaning

So, I think maybe I mentioned I bought the pumpkin spiced coffee from Trader Joe’s to drink for fall.  Well, to be honest, it’s like, way too spicy.  I tried it a couple of times, once in the French press and once in the regular auto-drip, and both times were disappointing.  But I pushed through, and today, I tried one last ditch effort to make it taste good.  I added hot chocolate to it.  Bingo.  Sorry I said Bingo.  But yes, it worked well, and now I have an acceptable fall coffee drink.  Not the best, but it’ll do.

I’ve found myself lately in a “fall cleaning” mode.  I’m trying to get everything taken care of before the cold weather hits.  It’s not enough to just do spring cleaning.  It’s weird, but I’ve never been in this mode before, because there was always school, and I think it took a few years to get the hang of natural cycles.  We are borrowing a power washer and leaf blower from Zach’s parents in order to shine up the outside of the house a bit before it’s cold.  Zach sprayed some weird Halloween stuff on the window LAST year, and it hasn’t gone away, so hopefully this will help.  As for the leaf blower… we’ll eventually need our own, because we have a locust tree with tiny leaves that a rake just can’t pick up.

Today, I’ll actually be doing some raking, some weeding (the last of the season, everything is starting to go into hibernation) and I’ll start to cut back some of our plants.  And finally!  I’m going to look for some photo evidence of myself and my family that I can hang on the wall/put up in places.  It’s about time!

But all in all, the air is a mixture of excited and frantic energies.  Everyone is getting settled, but there’s so much excitement about the season, school, holidays – everything!  It’s an interesting time of the year.

I was going to post a recipe that I’m doing today, but I haven’t had the chance to make it yet.  It’s supposed to warm up to the 80’s today, so I want to get outside to do work before it gets too warm.  Which means the recipe will have to wait until next week.  I was also going to post a few pictures, but, again, I just haven’t made it outside yet.  Next week!  Tomorrow, I’ll have a Halloween-type movie to review.  I’m getting a head start on the season so you’ll have plenty of recommendations!  I’ll also put a list together at the beginning of the month of my favorite films to watch for Halloween.

Until next time.

We’re Back! What’s Next?

I’m back!  It was a nice 2-week hiatus from this blog, but I definitely missed writing in it.  I did manage to finish my short novel, so I’m not only happy, I’m relieved and not stressed about it anymore.  It is perfect timing, because now I can focus on music, as well as some much needed house stuff.  We are refinishing the dining table (hopefully starting next week, maybe even this week) and we’re going to attempt to make the house look like a home in the main living area.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I think our house is super comfortable, but, seriously, there are no real personal touches.  In fact, if a stranger walked in, they’d probably think my sister and her family lived there because that’s the only photo evidence we have…

Also while I was gone – I managed to reach 1,000 views!  I know in internet standards, that’s not a lot for 9 months, but seeing as how I never expected anyone to read it, it makes me happy.

Today feels like fall, which is convenient, because fall starts tonight.  It won’t last long though, because we’ll be back in the 80’s for the rest of the week.  But for now, it’s raining, leaves are starting to fall, and it’s cool.  If I could drink that pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks, I would.  But instead, I just may have to make a large mug of pumpkin spiced coffee that I got at Trader Joe’s.

And I need to reveal a secret.  We started watching Halloween stuff last night!  Which reminds me, I’ll do my best to try and review Halloween-type movies for the month of October for Friday film review!  (insert squeal)

I decided I needed to start Halloween stuff before October because a month isn’t enough for me.  Before you start to judge me, you should realize stores are already putting up Christmas stuff.  THAT’S ridiculous.

This morning on our ride to the bus stop (seriously, I have no idea how Zach and I have such in-depth conversations in the 10 minutes it takes to get to the bus stop) we talked about fall and Halloween and all that good stuff.  We talked about how there’s this magic in the air during the fall season, and I aligned it to our ancient roots, when our ancestors did their harvesting.  That’s a magical time.  And I think it still carries over today.  We really wished we lived in CT or NH, where fall and Halloween are the most serious of business (and in summer, CT has the best Farmer’s Markets!).  No one in our neighborhood gets into it.  We stick out like sore thumbs.  But we still love it.

Here’s what will be coming up in October for the blog:  I’ll be learning to sew, making curtains in the process.  A new table will be brought to life from an old one.  I will share my spooky decorating projects (building scenes).  I will share recipes I find/create.  I’m getting rid of “Products I Love,” because honestly, I don’t love it – I’ll share things I love whenever I want.  I’ll share some photography, art, and a chapter from the book.  And finally, I’ll be sharing how we do Samhain.  It’s probably one of the few spiritual rituals/traditions I do, but it’s incredibly important to me.

I did miss this blog so much, I’m giving it a warm, virtual hug.  If you’re reading it, you’ll get caught in this hug.

I’ll stop being weird now.

Until next time.

Birthday Madness

Have you ever had a day where you just did NOT feel like getting out of your pj’s?  Well, today, I got up, made breakfast, fed the dogs, got dressed, walked the dogs, worked out, went grocery shopping, pulled weeds, cleaned the kitchen and THEN I showered and got BACK into my pj’s.  But I have a perfectly sane explanation.

Zach’s birthday is today, so we’re going out to dinner with his parents.  I don’t want to get ready for that several hours early, but I also don’t want to be smelly for the rest of the day.  There.  That’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I’m in my pj’s.

Anyway, today has been hectic.  Currently, Penny is growling at me because she thinks I’m typing too loudly.  And it’s going to rain.  It’s been THAT kind of a day.  I would make myself more coffee, but whenever I drink coffee later in the day, I get an upset stomach.  Not good.  My body knows I need to sleep at night.

Lately, art has been calling me.  I have this strong inclination to be creative.  In all aspects.  Like, do something different every day.  I think I might do that.  Set aside an hour every day and work on something creative.  Mix it up.  I think I’ve been stressed more than usual lately, and I’ve had no outlet.

So I’ll make this short.  I’ve had a few post ideas in mind, just not had enough time to do them.  However, tomorrow, I’d like to start a “products I love” page so I can talk about, well, products I love.  For fun.  Trust me, I’m not getting paid to do it.  I just like promoting things that are awesome.  For free.

Until next time.

Earwigs and a 5K

I wish I could say this weekend was super eventful, but alas, that’s not entirely true.  We lost a whole day because Zach worked all day Saturday.  It was productive though.  We spent some time with Zach’s grandma, Zach got overtime, I finished a lot of house projects I’d been putting off…

Ugh, but it makes for terrible weekend stories.

We did, however, jog a 5K in Denver for the Donor Dash on Sunday.  That was a lot of fun.  Even though I had been slacking for 2 weeks in the fitness department, I did my best during this race.  It just goes to show, the more fit you get, it not only gets easier, but it’s also not the end of the world if you slack off occasionally.  Just don’t make a habit of it.  But I inspired myself yesterday, so I’ll be hitting some strength training this morning after I write this post!  We are doing the Color Run next month – I think 5K’s are my sweet spot.

Photo from Instagram
Photo from Instagram

I also continued my war on earwigs.  I made these little traps to kill them.  They didn’t go over well.  First off, don’t use water, use oil and soap, because it won’t evaporate immediately.  Secondly, that didn’t even matter, because one of our dogs ate the traps.  It was a yummy, Mediterranean/soapy aluminum foil snack for her.  The Sluggo pellets are doing a good job though… if we can keep our dog from eating that too…

I spent all that time make dishes for nothing!
I spent all that time make dishes for nothing!

Lastly, I am starting a new class today through Coursera.  It’s a music class.  I needed something to help me be a better musician.  I’ll be starting private guitar lessons next month too, because I feel like I need to be able to do an alternative folk rendition of “Let it Go” in order to be the best I can be.  I have dreams, man.

Until next time.

This is a Sad Post

I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to write about today.  What with everything going on in the Middle East, and Assange’s hearing on the Swedish rape case, there’s a lot on my mind.  And still, there’s something else that’s been bothering me and consuming my mind more than these huge events.

My friend, Jhade.

I don’t know what happened yesterday, but I just spiraled into sadness.  I’m still feeling the effects of it today, so I decided I might as well write everything out.  Normally, I would call Jhade up and make her hang out with me when I just felt overwhelmingly sad.  And I made her do the same when SHE was overwhelmingly sad.  At the end of our time together, we would be laughing and sharing all our favorite songs of the moment.

Unfortunately, Jhade isn’t here anymore.  She passed away a little over a year ago, from complications of an illness she mostly kept hidden from friends.  I was stunned and upset in so many ways.  Because I found out on Facebook.  Because I thought about calling her the night before but didn’t.  You know, the usual gut-wrenching guilt and anger that generally surrounds the death of a loved one.

Let’s rewind to oh, around 2008.  I got a voicemail from Jhade, stating she was in the hospital, she was fine, but she almost died, and had a serious condition.  Naturally, I made my way to the hospital as fast as I could, and with a half-crying, half-trying-to-be-lighthearted, I told her if anything EVER happened again I needed a call (I never got a call – but I think that has more to do with the fact Jhade hated when people worried about her).

Life was hard for Jhade after that.  She was this amazing singer, writer, painter, and artist of all sorts, but her limitations changed her, made her sad and hopeless a lot.  She was literally told by doctors she couldn’t sing anymore, because her heart couldn’t take it (how sad is that?).  She was a singer.  And you know what?  She probably had one of the most beautiful voices on this planet.  It’s a shame the world never got to hear it (though I feel lucky I did – and can still hear it in my mind!).  I tried to encourage her to do things she COULD do, and she did them.  But it wasn’t the same.  I understood that.

But Jhade, like she always was, took care of everyone else, no matter how bad off she was.  We went out to lunch one day and talked about music.  There was a Guitar Center right across the parking lot and she wanted me to go look at guitars.  So we walked over.  Even though she struggled with the short walk there, her face lit up and had 3 people working there tending to my every need.  I had no money in my bank account, so she told me to just put the guitar on my credit card.  Ha!  Oh, she forced me into the best bad decision I’ve ever made!  And I could never turn her down for anything when she used her “mother” voice at me…

I still miss her every day.  Some days, like today, it just hurts my heart how much I miss her.  Days like now, I wish I had called her more, I wish I had talked her into a few more “bad” decisions and I wish I had listened to her good advice.  Days like today, I would give anything for a letter from her, and I wish I could write her.  I don’t believe in heaven, but she did.  Either way, I know that her soul is still out there, doing things.  I dream about her all the time.  So much reminds me of her.

But nothing reminds me more of Jhade than music.  That’s where our souls totally linked.  And she did this really annoying thing all the time, and I do it too, when she really liked a song, she’d play it on repeat until it was burned in your brain forever.

One night we had a sleepover and watched 50 First Dates and she played IZ’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for like, 3 hours afterward.  I was annoyed by the song, until now.  Now, I can’t help but cry when I hear it.  It means a lot more to me now.

So here’s to you, Jhade:  I will always love you, you’re always on my mind.  And I promise to never again waste a moment of my life not doing what I love doing.  Life really is short, but it can be a great ride if you want it to be.

Until next time.