1. The first thing I am thankful for this week is that I got to celebrate my friends birthday party. I don’t usually use names in this blog so I will refer to her as the Slap Bet Commissioner. She had a lovely birthday party at a bar called Wellington’s in Downtown Albany. I got a baby-sitter, got a chance to catch up with friends and I even enjoyed a vodka club with a splash of cranberry because I am watching my macros. I am thankful that the Slap Bet Commissioner included me in her special day.
2. The second thing I am thankful for was being invited to my friend’s Oktoberfest party. It was a fun afternoon with good food and good company. And I even learned that there is a book genre called the Existential Detective novel or something like that. I also learned about LARPing which is Live Action Role Playing. Do any of you LARP?
3. I already blogged about it but the third thing I am thankful for was our trip to the Springfield Museums because I got to see my cousin, her kids and my uncle. My cousin’s son is 5 months older than my daughter so they get along really well. It makes me happy that our kids are going to grow up together. It gives me the warm and fuzzies.
4. The fourth thing I am thankful for is my gym. I joined an awesome gym recently. I don’t know the actually technical fitness terms to describe the workouts but there are a lot of weights. And the workouts change every day so you never get bored. I can feel my arms and legs getting stronger. Everyday is a challenge but it is worth it.
5. The fifth thing I am thankful for this week is that I am able to watch my daughter at dance class each week. I am in awe of my daughter because she learns things so quickly and I love watching her grow and learn.
And who can resist this girl?
What are you thankful for this week?
Last Sunday my daughter and I drove to Springfield, Massachusetts for a very special outing. My cousin drove out from the Boston area to spend the day with us, along with her two kids (including her 3 month old daughter) and my Uncle. It was our first time meeting her daughter, who my daughter calls “Baby Cousin”.
First we hit the Dr. Seuss Museum. At first I thought that admission was a bit expsensive but the admission is good for all five museums and they are located all together. You can easily hit several museums in one day. After the Dr. Seuss Museum, we had lunch at the cafe on the premises and then we explored the Science Museum, which was kid friendly.
After the Science Museum, we tried to go to the Fine Art Museum but the kids had too much energy and after they kept trying to touch peices of art that had signs asking “do not touch”, we abandoned the mission. I love art museums so maybe when they are older.
I am thankful to be building a closer relationship with my cousin. Even though my family is spread out between Maine, Massachusetts and Florida, I appreciate that members on both sides of my family make an effort to be a part of my daughters life. It is good to know that my cousin and I can meet in the middle and get the kids together. I love knowing that my daughter will have cousins to play with. I appreciate all the time my family makes for her.
I have a lot of pet peeves.
I don’t like it when people block intersections.
I don’t like people who stand too close. I value my personal space and am big on people respecting each other’s “hula hoops”.
People who don’t cover their mouths when they cough.
People who rush into an elevator without waiting for people to exit the elevator. I may have picked up that pet peeve from Bryon.
People who refuse to apologize when they are clearly in the wrong. There are bonus pet peeve points if that person says something to the affect of “I am sorry that there was a misunderstanding” instead of saying they were sorry for what they did or “I am sorry you feel that way” because you may as well say “I am sorry you are mad”.
But the thing is probably my biggest pet peeve is the double standard. You know, people who have one set of rules for themselves and another set for others.
I was thinking about a situation that illustrated this concept. It consists of something that can be quite controversial- the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees Rivalry.
I am from New England. I was born in Boston, lived in the suburbs until I started high school (though outside the 128 loop) and I lived in Maine from the ages of 15 to 30. So I am unapologetically a Boston sports fan. Because I am from there. Duh.
Now I live in New York. I am still a Boston sports fan because I am from there. But the majority of my friends here root for the New York Yankees. Some of the people I love the most root for the team I like the least. Because they are from here. Duh.
My Facebook newsfeed is pretty interesting when the teams play each other. It’s actually pretty awesome.
Usually we joke back in forth, all in good jest. It’s great. Because the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry makes baseball fun. We love to hate each others teams and I am sure there are no other teams we would rather hate than whatever team is opposite of you in this rivalry. And I am sorry to all the other sports fans who don’t have the privilege to experience this rivalry.
But I have met people that could not handle the jest. I would barely say anything and then get an earful about how horrible Red Sox fans are and how polite and courteous Yankees fans are. While I have witnessed firsthand a Yankees fan getting heckled in Fenway (ironically we were playing the Baltimore Orioles that night) I was told that this would never happen at Yankee Stadium.
I am sorry at what I am about to say. Actually I am not sorry. I don’t care what team you root for or for what sport, every team has asshole fans. I don’t believe for one second that I could go to Yankee Stadium wearing a Red Sox shirt and not get heckled. I would expect it. And as long as no one gets hurt, who really cares?
But the thing that was particularly frustrating was that if I even mentioned my team, I would get barraged with comments about how horrible my team and it’s fan are. But I would get shut down when I tried to defend myself. Personally it got very tiring being around this person. So I just dealt with it because I had nothing to prove and didn’t need to waste my energy.
Bryon was a Red Sox fan but while he had his teams that he loved, he was still able to look at all sports objectively. Bryon was the first one to tell me if I was being oversensitive. I was a homesick New England girl after all. But in this situation, he pointed out that while this person was busy calling me a rude fan that that person was really displaying the behavior of a rude fan. He also thought this person was insecure and would try to bully me on other occasions but that is another story for another time.
Why did I go through a long drawn out story that I am pretty sure is going to get me defriended on Facebook by a few people this morning? Or at the very least, the recipient of a few rude comments? Because it this story is a good illustration of the double standard. One rule applied to me, the Red Sox fan and another rule applied to this person, a Yankees fan. At the time, it was incredibly frustrating and annoying but now I think it’s just silly.
After losing Bryon, there are more important things to worry about. On Facebook I had several friends at the Yankees game the other night. And I liked seeing those photos because I love seeing people out enjoying life and that is a beautiful thing. Because life is too short. Be passionate about your team. Just don’t be too much of a dick about it. (To my readers who never knew Bryon personally, “Don’t be a dick” was his catchphrase).
This story also reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit from 1992 where Stuart Smalley says that when you point a finger, you have three pointing back at you and a thumb pointing up at God or something. It inspired me to find a video of it which you can find here.
But double standards can be real problems in relationships.
Like the friend who takes another for granted. It’s a problem when Bob never makes time for Bill but then expects Bill to drop everything when Bob wants Bill to tag along.
It’s also a problem in families where one child and one set of grandchildren is favored over the other. I could write more about this but then I would be sitting here for hours. That might be for another time. Or maybe I will keep it in my personal journal.
And while I do ascribed to the theory that fair is not always equal, there should not be a clear discrepancy of treatment between two individuals. And if you find yourself in that predicament with the shorter straw, just remember that there are no laws stating who you have to keep in your life.
And while playoff tensions may be high, don’t give up on your friend who may root for another team, whichever team that is. Just grab a beer and enjoy the game. Because that is what Bryon would do.
My heart has been with Vegas today. There are literally no words to give justice to what was lost today.
While I know Bryon’s death isn’t the same, my world was shattered. I was in a dark place. Over time, I came to realize that alongside my sadness, there was still beauty in this world.
This morning I got my daughter ready for school. Even though She has been to Vegas, she has no concept of what happened. She doesn’t know hate. As long as she could watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, all was perfect in the world.
I said hello to a few other parents who were also dropping off their children.
I dropped my daughter off at school and her classmates were just as oblivious as she was. The only people who knew besides me were her teachers as we recounted what we saw on the news in words that wouldn’t draw any attention from the kids.
I went to the gym. Everyone was working out and talking and providing encouragement.
I went to the grocery store. An old man made a joke that he didn’t know what I was buying, but I was paying too much.
I came home and chatted with my neighbor in the driveway.
It is hard but we need to remember that there really is love in this world.
Yesterday my daughters Godmother had posted an article on Facebook about the scientist behind the research of BRCA1. (BRCA1 is one of the gene mutations that is linked to breast cancer. This research has positively impacted cancer treatment.) This scientist had had a string of bad luck. Her husband left her and her home was burglarized. Also within this story was a random encounter with Joe DiMaggio in an airport.
It made me think of the a few encounters I had with famous people. Now I have met many famous politicians at political events and I have met authors at book signings. I am not referring to these encounters. I am referring to random encounters.
Now I know the featured photo on this blog post is not a random encounter but I didn’t have any pictures of random encounters. So I thought I would put a picture of Bryon with Speaker Boehner. Bryon loved him so much that he named our cat Boehner. And I actually agreed.
This is the story of some of those encounters.
Random Enounter #1
Early December 1992
My first random encounter was at a Celtics game at the old Boston Garden (now the Fleet Center). They were playing the New York Knicks. It was a Friday night and I was in the eight grade. My aunt was given the use of her boss’s season tickets so she asked my parents and me to go to the game with her. They were floor seats and I remember that the players were so tall that it hurt your neck to look at them.
I wasn’t into basketball so I didn’t even have a Celtics shirt. I wore white leggings and this horrible light purple sweater with white stars. I got rid of that sweater a long time ago and now I kind of wish I had it.
I remember my mother saying “Isn’t that Michael Douglas?”
I had no clue at that time who Michael Douglas even was.
The people sitting next to me were taking a picture of him and then he left.
I wasn’t that impressed with the encounter. I was more excited about seeing myself in the game highlights on the news. I even recorded them on a VHS tape with a VCR.
Shop ‘N Save
I was a junior in high school and it was my first day training as a cashier at Ellsworth Shop N Save. I would ring up each order while my trainer Martha watched and guided me.
I rang up my fourth ever customer. Martha asks me a question.
Martha: “You know that was Paul Stookey, right? He lives in Blue Hill.”
Martha: “Don’t tell me you don’t know who Paul Stookey is…Peter, Paul and Mary?”
Me: “Oh yeah!”
Little Rock, AK
I was at my second ever Young Republican event and I was in an elevator and someone told me that Congressman J.C. Watts was at the hotel. He wasn’t part of our event so he counts as random. I had just read Congressman Watts book, What Color is a Conservative. The elevator stopped on a floor as did the one immediately across from it so you could see into the elevator car. I look and I see Congressman J.C. Watts.
“OMG! It’s Congressman J.C. Watts!” I exclained. I was giddy.
Congressman J.C. Watts just kind of smiled and waved though I could tell he thought I was nuts.
Sometime around 2007, 2008ish
There isn’t much lead up to this story. I was in Borders shopping or browsing. Then I see Stephen King. I don’t say anything because anyone from Maine knows that you leave Stephen King alone.
I am sure Bryon had many encounters. I am sad to say I don’t remember. It never dawned on me to try to memorize everything he told me because he wouldn’t be around to confirm any stories.
But I do remember one encounter.
A hotel, I can’t remember which
It was the Young Republican National Convention. I was still the Maine Federation of Young Republican Chairman and I was running for Northeast Regional Vice-Chair.
That same weekend there was some sort of swim championship. Bryon was in an elevator and Michael Phelps gets on the elevator. According to Bryon, there were a bunch of girls on the elevator who got giddy and started to fangirl Michael Phelps. Bryon said he just looked at Michael Phelps and shrugged and shook his head.
I assure you that when Bryon found me, he gushed to me about being in an elevator with Michael Phelps.
Have you ever had a random celebrity encounter?
Year Two- 1-2/52
I am two weeks into my second year of this thing called widowhood.
And I am tired. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
I am tired of the pity.
I am tired of being patronized.
I am tired of being told I am strong. As if I really had a choice.
I am tired of being a sole parent.
I am tired of being told how to grieve.
I am tired of trying to stay positive.
I am tired of looking into my future and seeing nothingness. I miss having long term plans, goals and dreams. I have none of that now.
I am tired of pretending that I am somewhat okay with what happened.
I am tired of people not understanding that I just need to be sad. There is nothing wrong with me. If you lost your spouse, you would feel sad too.
I am tired of being sad and lonely. Because as much as I love my Albany Family and my biological family, there is a loneliness that no one can remedy. No one knew me like Bryon did. There is that stuff that only someone intimate with you would know. I think back to my frustrated days as a single before meeting Bryon, but I wasn’t as lonely as I was now because I didn’t know that closeness even existed.
I miss being married. But I don’t want to date. At all. In fact, I am angry that I am this position. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. We were happy. Now I am the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, eleventh, etc wheel. It sucks. But I don’t want to date. I want Bryon back. I want to be living the life I was supposed to be living. But the reality is that someday I will have to because I have long life genes. My Grandma Sullivan lived to be 90 and my Nana Crowley is still alive at the age of 95. It is not unreasonable to think I may live that long and I know I don’t want to be alone for another 60+ years. Being alone and dating are equally dreadful to me.
I also truly doubt I will ever find anyone who captivates me the way Bryon did. Or even if I found someone who captivates me, I doubt I would captivate them. As each day goes on, I am convinced more and more that you only get one and I had mine. And it’s over.
During year one I bounced between feeling raw grief and an almost Zen-like state. But now I just feel blah. Grief is no longer raw and being Zen is just too much work. I am too drained to do anything. I know that this is supposed to be the year that I put myself first, but even that seems like too much work.
They say year two is the year we are supposed to leave again, but currently I feel so uninspired.