Advertisements

Tag Archives: love

So much stranger, so much darker, so much madder, so much better.

Well, it’s finally happened.

I kind of always knew it would, eventually, once I set my mind to it. It was just a matter of finding the time, which I did over the Christmas/New Year holiday. I saw this time stretching in front of me and thought, whatever shall I do with it? And I looked at my Netflix subscription and thought, well, YOU certainly have been going underutilized lately, haven’t you?

And I fell headlong into a binge I have yet to come back from. (And to be honest, I don’t quite know what I’ll do with myself once I’m finished, so I’d rather not think about that right now, thanks.)

Yes, it’s finally happened, people of the blog.

I am obsessed – BEYOND obsessed – with Doctor Who.

I even hear the theme music and I get all boppy. I've got it bad bad bad.

I even hear the theme music and I get all boppy. I’ve got it bad bad bad.

Now, I know in even writing this, I’m going to be getting comments from people who are all “I’ve been watching this since it STARTED and I’ve seen every EPISODE and I know THE WHOLE STORY and you know NOTHING, Jon Snow” (sorry, sorry, mixing up fandoms, there, I think that’s a excommunicable offense) so let me quantify this situation.

A while back, I watched the first two episodes of the reboot (with Christopher Eccleston) with some friends and liked them more than I thought I would. I meant to go back and continue with that, but my life often gets in the way of my life.

I’d never gotten into Doctor Who because it seemed weird and I didn’t think I’d GET it and it just seemed like one of those odd things that would confuse me if I tried to get involved so I thought it best if I stayed away. Like sports. Or playing an instrument. I AM OFTEN NOT GOOD AT THINGS THAT NORMAL PEOPLE EXCEL AT! It is a sad fact of life.

But then it became clear that almost every single intelligent person I knew was very, VERY into this show, and I needed to be watching it. Which almost made me NOT want to watch it – when everyone loves something, I immediately think, “Well, I hate fads” because I’m kind of a dick (I mean, you all seem to love that terrible Family Guy show, but the one time I turned it on to see what was up, they were making fun of domestic violence and I was so disgusted I never turned it on again, so what the hell, you guys?) but that backfired when everyone started ranting about how much they loved Serial and I avoided it for a while but then thought “What the hell” and downloaded it for a car trip and became SO OBSESSED with it and now look things up online about it ALL THE TIME because who DOESN’T want to know what Adnan and Hae really looked like, right?

OBSESSED OBSESSED!!! And I usually HATE being talked at! COULD NOT STOP LISTENING!

OBSESSED OBSESSED!!! And I usually HATE being talked at! COULD NOT STOP LISTENING!

And OMG, who DO we think killed her? I’m leaning one way, but I won’t tell you which in case you either haven’t listened yet (and if not, GET TO IT, SLAPPY!) or aren’t all the way done and don’t want me spoiling you. Also, my theory has more holes in it than Swiss cheese on the Titanic, you guys, and super-smart reporter friend at work and I were talking about it this weekend and his theory was SO SMART which is why he’s a reporter, I suppose, so now I am AT! A! LOSS! THERE ARE SO MANY WEIRD MOVING PARTS ON THIS CASE. Season two of Serial, please happen now, I want to fall headlong into another case immediately!

That was a very long digression.

ANYWAY. So I thought, “I will start watching this, what’s the worst that can happen” and now it’s been two weeks and I CAN NOT STOP.

NOW! Before I go ANY FURTHER! I have just started what I believe to be David Tennant’s last season so you are NOT ALLOWED to tell me anything that happens after this. I am trying very hard to stay spoiler-free. Unfortunately I’ve been a LITTLE spoiled, but that was before I started watching this and didn’t know I would ever care. So don’t comment all “In Episode Blah-Blah THE COMPANION IS REALLY A CYBERMAN IN DISGUISE” because I will be SO MAD at you!

Oh, BTW, I also finished "Arrested Development." I'm going to pretend the final season didn't happen. I wasn't impressed. Sorry, world.

Oh, BTW, I also finished “Arrested Development.” I’m going to pretend the final season didn’t happen. I wasn’t impressed. Sorry, world.

There’s really too much that I love about this show to go on about it in detail and you’re going to be split into two contingents, here, the ones that already KNOW it’s fantastic and the ones that don’t CARE and therefore have already tuned OUT, but I’m still going to ramble a bit. It’s my blog, I think I’m allowed.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT DOCTOR WHO!

  • It’s intelligent and goofy all at once. It makes me laugh AND it makes me think. Sometimes there are mysteries and sometimes it’s just funny and sometimes (most of the time) it’s a little bit of both.
  • The science isn’t TOO sciency. Andreas picked on me when I said I was watching this because the science wasn’t realistic but I don’t know much about all the science, anyway, so if they were being all realistic about it, I wouldn’t know what was going on. It’s just dumbed-down (and, yes, Andreas, probably wrong) enough that it’s cool with me, yo. (Andreas has other issues with the show, he just told me. I’ll let him tell you in the comments. You know what’s great about him? Well, other than everything? Even if we totally disagree, we still respect and love one another. That’s why he’s my Andreas, you guys. And I miss him and his whole family in the land of the Finns like CRAZINESS every DAY.)
  • There is totally romance and emotional things and I am ALWAYS WEEPING. There was one episode where I had to take a SINCERE BREAK from watching the show because I was EMOTIONALLY DEVASTATED. That’s a good show. I love a good cry. So, so much. Like, break out the Kleenex, here I am, and I’m in seventh heaven. (OMG! Speaking of which, the dad from Seventh Heaven was a child molester? Who saw THAT one coming, right? DISTRESSING!)
  • The Doctor makes me INSANELY HAPPY. He is joyous and childlike but also serious with the weight of the world on his shoulders and he has all the best lines and I love love LOVE watching him. I really enjoyed Eccleston but OH, am I head-over-heels for Tennant and his happy Converse All-Stars and bouncy hair. (I knew I’d like him – I’ve seen him in a couple of other things, the best of which being Hamlet with Patrick Stewart, which was BRILLIANT. I am being very all-capsy today. Why the hell did they waste him so much in that awful Gracepoint? So disheartening.) Tennant is beyond amazing here. I am already pre-mourning his loss. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fall in love with another actor in this role like I’ve fallen in love with him here.

    Loooooove. The most charismatic human being alive, sincerely.

    Loooooove. The most charismatic human being alive, sincerely.

  • I was informed I was going to hate Rose, but I LOVED her. I want all Rose, all the time. Yes, yes, apparently there are Companions upcoming that I will love very much (Martha was fine, but underutilized, yeah? It kind of made me sad. Also, all her PINING. Ugh, I think probably I related to her too much, but she started to make me cringe) but right now I’m all “BRING ROSE BACK DAMMIT” and having some issues with her being gone.

    Good grief, Googling Rose was fraught with spoilery. Don't do that unless you know what's coming up, my little gingersnaps.

    Good grief, Googling Rose was fraught with spoilery. Don’t do that unless you know what’s coming up, my little gingersnaps.

  • There are so many shows I can see took a page from this. There are elements of Doctor Who in so many of my favorite shows – Quantum Leap, The X-Files, Buffy (and a lot of Whedon’s work, actually, now that I’m thinking about it), Supernatural, this weird time-travelly show called Voyagers I used to watch when I was little…and there was totally a scene in one episode where I was all “THAT IS SO THE AMBER SPYGLASS!” and it TOTALLY WAS, per a quote from one of the writers that I read. They also reference pop culture things all the time (I’m sure half of the time I miss it, but when they did a shout-out to J.K. Rowling I laughed my ass off) and it’s just the perfect sci-fi/horror/fantasy/thriller nerd show in the entire planet.
  • You constantly get to see British actors and you’re all “I know that person BUT FROM WHERE” and you look them up and you giggle. Of course I knew who Simon Pegg was, but Carey Mulligan looked so damn young I couldn’t place her. And I had no idea the weird brash British chick from the American version of The Office was famous because of Doctor Who. Kylie Minogue looks old. I remember her in scrunchies and slouch socks. Also, the kid that plays Spiderman and is dating Emma Stone was in one episode (he was young) and whenever anyone was at a loss for what to do I kept shouting at the screen “WHY AREN’T YOU SAVING EVERYONE, SPIDERMAN?” Only I pronounce it “Spidermen” like Phoebe did on Friends. Like it’s his last name. “Irving Spiderman.” “COME ON, SPIDERMAN, SAVE THE DOCTOR ALREADY! SHOOT WEBS OR SOMETHING!” I would shout, and giggle gleefully. This scared the cat.

    SAVE THEM, SPIDERMAN!!!

    SAVE THEM, SPIDERMAN!!!

  • “Blink” is the best episode I’ve seen so far. Closely followed by “Doomsday.” The first is a very good standalone if you are trying to get someone into the series. The second would make no sense to someone unless they were following the series closely. One of these two episodes is the aforementioned cry-myself-sick episode; you can decide which one on your own. Play along at home, kiddos. Fun times.

    Not recommended to watch this at midnight all alone like I did. YIKES. Totally kept hiding my face behind my hands.

    Not recommended to watch this at midnight all alone like I did. YIKES. Totally kept hiding my face behind my hands.

  • The baddies are awesome. Some are scary (WEEPING ANGELS! Those Host angel thingies from the Titanic Christmas special!) and some are kitschy and funny (if the best thing ever isn’t Cybermen and Daleks having a snark-off, I don’t know what is, I laughed until I almost peed) and some are VERY EVIL AND WICKED BUT ALSO FUN (OMG, The Master, right?) Some, however, are just the worst. Who thought it was a good idea to make the brilliant and multi-talented Mark Gatiss into a scorpion-thing? What was up with that woman who was playing a giant red spider-creature as if she was maybe a drag queen trying to project to the back row of a large theater? If they bring her back, I’m boycotting that episode. She was TERRIBLE. I have to imagine she was either some famous British actress everyone loves for no apparent reason, or one of the producer’s wives. I kept asking her to shush it up. Surprisingly, she didn’t seem to hear me.

    Ugh, PLEASE let this be the last time I see this thing.

    Ugh, PLEASE let this be the last time I see this thing.

I really need to end this.

TO SUM UP.

Big apologies, friends who were all “WHY THE HELL AREN’T YOU WATCHING DOCTOR WHO, AMY, YOU NUMBSKULL.” I am apparently attempting to remedy this by cramming it all in my head as fast as I can. Once this is done, the very kind Josh has informed me of the existence of Torchwood (oh, Captain Jack with your dimples, I can’t resist you) and other British shows I NEED to be watching, like, immediately. I think I know what I’ll be doing while Watertown is trapped in what seems to be some sort of eternal winter zone.

Oh, my. So pretty. So sexually and morally ambiguous.

Oh, my. So pretty. So sexually and morally ambiguous.

If you don’t spoil me in the comments, thank you. If you DO spoil me in the comments, I CURSE THEE AND THY OFFSPRING.

Also, I am willing to bet you before the month’s out I will be in possession of a tee-shirt that says “The Angels Have the Phone Box.” I have very little willpower and I need to sleep with that on my body.

Yep. It was really just a matter of time.

Allons-y. There are a lot of episodes left and they’re certainly not going to watch themselves.

Advertisements

Hippos eat hippo bread: Christmas recap, Nephew-style.

I am finally at rest, after a day of running around like a crazy and doing all the things. Dinner is in the oven and there will soon be delicious ham and vegetables and rolls and chocolate, all provided by Mom (thanks, Mom!) and then I will go into a food coma. I have been attempting not to nap for a while. I have to work tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure if I fall asleep and nap at 5pm, sleeping tonight is going to be nigh-on impossible.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases (or Wednesdays, if Christmas isn’t your thing; I’m perfectly ok with you having a wonderful Wednesday.) Today worked out very well here in Amy and Dumbcat-land; it was a very good Christmas. Very happy all around.

This morning I went to visit The Nephew – and yes, as predicted, not a single photo was taken. Too busy hanging with my best little guy. I always do that. He greeted me at the door with an epic case of four-year-old bedhead and wearing the happiest pair of Christmas pajamas you’ve ever seen, with Santa and the reindeer in rocketships. “AUNT AMY!” he said. “Hey, buddy, Merry Christmas! Did Santa visit you today?” “YES!” he said. “Do you want to see my presents?” “Yes, I do, but I have to take my boots off first, ok?” He sighed, a long-suffering sigh. “Oh-KAY,” he said, and waited none-too-patiently for me to take off my outer layers so I could look at all of his Christmas goodies.

He got LEGOS! And an ANT FARM! And a TRUCK! And a SPIDERMAN THAT CLIMBS THE WALL! (That one confused me; I had utterly no idea how that thing was staying on the wall, to be honest. It was loud like a vacuum. Maybe it was vacuuming itself to the wall? No clue. It was pretty neat, though)…

This is the Spiderman that sounds like a vacuum. He also does sweet donuts on the wall which make Nephews laugh and laugh.

This is the Spiderman that sounds like a vacuum. He also does sweet donuts on the wall which make Nephews laugh and laugh.

…and some games and books and cars and a game for his LeapPad where he got to be a pirate and “get DOUBLOONS, Aunt Amy!” He wanted to make things with his gigantic Lego set, but it was time for brunch and that was going to be a whole thing. So we lured him away from Legos with the promise of cinnamon rolls, which he called “monkey bread” and said was his favorite food of ALL TIME! and then we had a conversation called “what animals eat.” “Do you think monkeys eat monkey bread?” “Yes!” “What do you think rhinoceroses eat?” “RHINOCEROUS bread!” “What about hippos?” “Hippo bread!” “What about nephews?” “NEPHEW bread! But also monkey bread, because it’s my favorite!”

This is The Nephew's FAVORITE! (Also universally enjoyed by monkeys, apparently.)

This is The Nephew’s FAVORITE! (Also universally enjoyed by monkeys, apparently.)

Then we opened presents. I got him books, which he was ok with, but then he was like, “Aunt Amy, is there anything else for me, do you think?” and I said, “Yes, I think there might be” and then he opened his remote-control plane and he was MOST excited and ran around driving it here, there and everywhere and laughing when it ran into people and his mom said I won because that was the longest he’d played with ANY of his toys that day. I WIN! (I do so like to win Christmas.)

This was a pretty neat plane, if I do say so myself. You could control it with your body AND a button. Very high-tech and swanky!

This was a pretty neat plane, if I do say so myself. You could control it with your body AND a button. Very high-tech and swanky!

I also got lovely presents like the most beautiful jewelry! The Nephew’s mom is very good as shopping. She has excellent taste!

Then we played Superhero Chutes and Ladders. I got to be Iron Man. (I kept saying, “I AM IRON MAN” in my best Robert Downey Jr. voice, which made me totally happy.) He wanted to be Ice Man, who was really Silver Surfer but when The Nephew says “NO! IT IS ICE MAN!” you listen to him, yo. So we Chuted and we Laddered and when The Nephew realized he wasn’t going to win he was like “I think I don’t want to play anymore” and then cheered for his mom, but then I SNUCK IN FROM BEHIND AND WON! Much like Iron Man would, I think. And then The Nephew said, “I wanted you to win all along, Aunt Amy” which was a very politician-like thing to say. Well-played, The Nephew. Well-played.

Damn you, chutes! DAMN YOU!!!

Damn you, chutes! DAMN YOU!!!

Then it was time for me to go home, so The Nephew could go to his other grandparents’ house for ANOTHER Christmas (he gets lots of Christmases!) and so I could open MY presents. YAY FOR PRESENTS! The Nephew told me he loved me and Merry Christmas AND thank you and gave me a heroic little hug with his cuddly pajamas and poky-uppy sleepy hair and my Grinch heart grew three sizes that day.

Then it was home for me, and I totally put off opening presents for another hour while I emailed and generally futzed around on the internet because a., I wanted to tell my people Merry Christmas, and b., because the longer I could put off opening gifts, the longer Christmas would last. I’m no fool!

But then it was opening gifts time. And whoo, was there a lot of opening gifts all up in here! I got money and an ornament shaped like sparkly bacon and gloves that are specially formulated for using your smartphone while staying warm, and sparkly nailpolish, and honey to put in tea (because for some reason my grocery store is hiding it, and I really wanted that while I was sick and was SO SAD I couldn’t find it) and gift cards and warm socks and super-cuddly pajama pants and lots of soap and pampering-myself things because I am obsessed with them and these solar light things that look like little frogs that I can put on my porch, and a toy for Dumbcat that’s supposed to be a mouse that runs around in a circle but he’s just confused about it and walks away from it whenever I turn it on, and a cookbook of bacon-related recipes called Fifty Shades of Bacon (hee!) and salt and pepper shakers that look like kissing penguins and lip gloss that smells delicious and pins to put in my hair to make me look like a lady and delicious chocolatey treats and all the orange Tic Tacs because I am obsessed with them and MANY MORE THINGS that I probably should have documented but I’m not the best at such things. In summation: I got all the things for Christmas. No one else got any things, apprently, because I got them ALL! (Thanks, Mom and Dad and BFF and Nanny and The Nephew’s Mom!)

Crappy photo of gifts, post-opening. I'm not the best at documenting things.

Crappy photo of gifts, post-opening. I’m not the best at documenting things.

Then I made a delicious meal, thanks to my mother, who provided all the items FOR that meal, and now I am completely all’s-well-with-the-world and watching television and lazily thinking about going to bed so I can be prepared to go back to work tomorrow. Work’s going to be quiet this week. Most people took the rest of the week off. Which was probably smart, but I’m planning on saving as many of my vacation days as I can for next year…because BAM, I’m going to need 10 of them for late May/early June, yo. You need a couple of weeks if you’re flying off to Europe to visit some of your favorite folks, you see. IN LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS NOW! I mean. Not that I’m at all psychotically excited about it or anything. NO NO NOT ME.

So. It’s been a wonderful Christmas. It made up for last year’s terrible Christmas. MORE than made up for it. Also, were you aware that sometimes, the best gifts you get for Christmas aren’t even something you can wrap? I got a few gifts over the days leading up to Christmas that weren’t the kind you wrap, or the kind you put in a gift bag – and you know what? Those gifts won Christmas. They were the kind that you can’t put a price on, because they’re priceless. Actions and deeds and kind gestures. So as much as I like winning Christmas (and I do, I SO do) – don’t underestimate the weight of a simple action, or word, or deed, especially around the holidays. They sometimes mean just as much, or more, than a gift you spent months shopping for, and wrapped in the prettiest of paper tied with a bow.

Huh. Guess you were right about this one, Grinch, you nasty, wasty wump!

Huh. Guess you were right about this one, Grinch, you nasty, wasty wump!

Hope you all had the best of Christmases, or Wednesdays. One more week until 2014. Can you even imagine? Come on, new year, let’s do this thing!


And I’m not even being sarcasmic.

This is the only photo of me at the party. Those are my hands protecting the Buzz Lightyear candle from blowing out in the wind. I AM HELPFUL!

This is the only photo of me at the party. Those are my hands protecting the Buzz Lightyear candle from blowing out in the wind. I AM HELPFUL!

Things The Nephew told me at his birthday party yesterday:

“You can never have enough ketchup, Aunt Amy.”

“I like ketchup on hot dogs. And on meatloaf. And on eggs, but only SCRAMBLED eggs. But not on cake!”

“AUNT AMY SAYS SHE IS BEING SARCASMIC, MOM!”

“Are you done with your drink? Because I need this cup in the pool so I can make a waterfall and also soak the other kids.”

“Nocturnal animals are active in the NIGHT and sleep in the DAY. They are like bats, and also owls. Sometimes bunnies, but not always bunnies.”

“No one ate that cake, so if you hide it, I can eat it tomorrow and it can be all mine. Can you do that?”

“Do I have to eat the eyeballs on the cupcake? I don’t think I would like to eat eyeballs.”

“Do you know what I like to eat the best? Watermelon. If you don’t like watermelon, you COULD eat strawberries. It’s ok.”

“I can’t bring my remote control car in the pool. It could probably float, but battery toys don’t go in the pool, Mom said.”

“Someone needs to go get the car out of the grass because it stopped working and it’s not fun for me anymore. Who do you think will go do that?”

“I don’t want to say goodbye to you right now because I am making waterfalls in the pool but maybe I will later.”

Happy fourth birthday, my most amazing, wonderful, brilliant nephew. You make the whole world better by existing. You can always have my cup for making waterfalls in the pool, and when no one’s looking, I’ll eat those pesky eyeballs off your cupcakes so you don’t have to.

Love you more than I ever thought possible. And then a little bit more besides. You’ve got my entire heart, kiddo.

(He got his wish, whatever it was. Powerful lungs on The Nephew.)

(He got his wish, whatever it was. Powerful lungs on The Nephew.)


I started smiling, ’cause you were smiling…

Once upon a time, a very long time ago (fine, it was about 1.25 years ago) I didn’t know one of my closest friends.

Do you ever think about these things? Like, think back to a time when you didn’t know someone who has become such a huge part of your life you kind of can’t imagine them not being there?

And I don’t mean not being there like once and a while, like email every now and then catching up, how’ve you been, good, you? good, that kind of friendship, or the kind where you comment on each other’s blog now and then, or the kind where you’re kind of caught up on what the other person’s got going on Twitter-wise and you chat now and then.

No. Like the kind where you chat all day long on email; where you share pretty much everything – the good, the bad, the ugly, the things that make you feel like crap for feeling them, the things that make you overjoyed for having experienced them but you can’t really tell the world yet because they’re not for general consumption; the kind where you run ideas past each other for things, like writing and plans and schemes and both long-term and short-term goals; where you have a whole shorthand with each other made up of inside jokes and shared history and just this deep love and respect and joy in this person.

Much like this most excellent interspecies friendship.

Much like this most excellent interspecies friendship.

That kind of friendship. The kind that only comes around, if you’re lucky, a few times in your life. The kind that’s for keeps. The kind that’s real.

In March of last year, I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and, I’m quite sure, one of the best friends I will ever have. But, as these things go, at the time I had no idea she would become that person. When you meet someone at first, you don’t know who they’ll become. That’s kind of sad, to me. And also kind of amazing. That you meet someone that becomes one of your people, and at first, they’re just a person. It takes time before they become THAT person.

I don’t even remember where it all started. I know she found me. Because she’s better at internetting than I am. I’m guessing through Insatiable Booksluts? And then she commented on my blog. And I thought, this chick, she is FUNNY. I like her style, yo. So I went over and commented on HER blog. And she asked if she could email me a blog draft, to see what I thought. And I totally sent her my secret email address because I didn’t know her well enough to send her my real address. Because stalkers, you see. Only my best beloveds get my real email address. (I just looked that email up and laughed at how formal we were with each other. Hee!)

We talked a lot on Twitter; we commented on each other’s blogs; and one day, by accident, she was accidentally cc’d in on an email and SAW MY REAL EMAIL ADDRESS ZOMG. And she was SO EMBARRASSED SHE SAW IT. And I was all, “Um. Actually? That’s the only email address I can check at work. I was going to ask if you wanted to write to me on that, since I can’t check Twitter at work anymore because my job is just the utter worst and I hate it like the fire of a thousand suns?” (I didn’t say that. Probably I cussed more. I really hated that job.)

And she was ADORABLY HONORED and we started what, I am quite sure, is an email correspondence to rival all other correspondences until the end of time. Seriously, we write, on average, 50-100 emails each to each other DAILY. Also we supplement those with texts, tweets, blog comments, and Facebook messages.

And we share joys and sorrows and we worry about each other and we care about each other and we bitch and we laugh and we cheer and we have so many things in common that we just kind of click and we just GET it, and, most honestly and sincerely, I can’t tell you what I did without her in my life, pre-her being here, and I couldn’t possibly imagine a life without her in it now. She makes life easier. She makes the hardest tasks more bearable, because when you have her, you don’t have to do them alone.

And I would absolutely stand in front of a herd of stampeding Zombiecorns in order for her to make her escape.

And someday we will be in the same place at the same time and there will be so much talking and laughing and the joy in that room will overflow and everyone in the whole area will be suffused with it and wonder, what is happening? And we will be happening, is what will be happening. Us us us.

And if any of you says the internet is a thing that drives people apart rather than brings them together, and no real friendships can be made over social media, and that you can’t have a real friendship with someone you’ve never met…well.

You don’t know my sj.

Happy birthday, my most precious lemondrop. You make every day a better one; you keep me sane when everything’s flying to bits; you help me see the hilarity when nothing seems like it will ever be funny again; you are a voice of reason when I need one and a shoulder to cry on when I need one and the person I want to tell things to when they finally, amazingly, somehow work out; you are the one I want to run my words by before I send them out for the general public; you are the one that understands what I mean to say when I don’t know what I mean to say; you bring me music and words and laughter and you paint my life in color and I thank the universe, every single day, that out of all the people on the interwebs, that day a little over a year ago, you found me.

Have the best day. You deserve nothing but the best. Let’s be old ladies yelling at kids from our porches someday, telling stories about the good old days and drinking things utterly cluttered with crushed ice. Let’s still crack up about Sweatband Time. Let’s still make fun of terrible television and swoon over utterly beautiful turns of phrase in books.

Everyone wish sj the best day, please, because if anyone deserves a kajillion comments about the best, best day, it is sj. She is an amazing mom and wife and writer and daughter and sister and friend and…well, shit. One of the finest people I have the honor to know.

Love you, sj. Thank you for being one of the best treasures the internet has ever had to offer. I don’t want to live a life without you in it, not even a little teeny tiny bit, and not even ever.

And of course here’s some Ben Lee. You of course get some Ben Lee today. He’s your teeny singing boyfriend.


Musings on the virtues of a Norse funeral

I am terrible with a lot of things. Most of them social-related. But most of all, I am terrible with the grief of others. Most specifically, the grief when someone has died.

I never know, when someone has passed away, what to say. I assume you’re supposed to say, “I’m so sorry.” But then I think, everyone says that. So does the mourning person need to hear that AGAIN? Really? Don’t they think you’re being very disingenuous if you’re just saying the same thing everyone has said? But if you try to shake it up and you say something like “He/she is in a better place,” well, I think the mourning person has a right to punch you in the schnozz. Dead is a better place? Than being alive? And there next to you so you can talk to them and hug them and tell them how much you love them? I mean, I guess. If they’d been burned over 98% of their body and were in agonizing PAIN or something. But otherwise, no. Earth is a better place. Isn’t it? At least most of the time?

Better to be here than...wherever. Right? I'll take the devil I know over the devil I don't, thanks.

Better to be here than…wherever. Right? I’ll take the devil I know over the devil I don’t, thanks.

Mostly I just give them a hug and kind of a sad face like I am SO SAD that I don’t know what to say. It’s not completely false. I don’t know what to say. Because that grief, that loss, is huge. And my stupid, awkward, clumsy words aren’t going to make it any better.

This is why I avoid going to wakes and funerals as much as I can. Because if you’re not there, you don’t have to say these things. You can send a card. It’s completely acceptable to write “I am so sorry for your loss” in a card. Or “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” Or things like that. That doesn’t seem as weird as those words coming out of your awkward stupid mouthhole.

Also, wakes are the worst because of the dead person. The dead person hanging out RIGHT THERE.

There was a photo of someone glamour-shotting in front of a coffin here, but she contacted me and said there was a lawyer and a stolen photo and something about it being tradition to glamour shot in front of dead people in her family and I don't even know so I took it down just in case of lawsuits.  As one does.

There was a photo of someone glamour-shotting in front of a coffin here, but she contacted me and said there was a lawyer and a stolen photo and something about it being tradition to glamour shot in front of dead people in her family and I don’t even know so I took it down just in case of lawsuits. As one does.

I’m trying to think, and if I’m remembering correctly, I’ve been to maybe four wakes in my whole life? Maybe five. Or six. I wonder if I went to my great-grandparents’ wakes? I was pretty young when they died. As you can see, that averages out to about one every ten years, unless you count my great-grandparents, which I don’t think I will. My plan to avoid wakes so I’m not the awkward weirdo in the room is going SPLENDIDLY. Three were family members and one was a close friend’s relative and I love her and her family so much that I didn’t care about the awkwardness, I was going to be there for her, dammit. And I was.

And I’ve been to two funerals. They’re not AS awkward. And after my first one I was very sad we didn’t get to do that cool “throwing dirt on the dead person’s coffin” thing that they do on television. I always wanted to do that. Do only certain religions do that? I’m honestly curious. Or is that only a television thing?

See? The Pretty Little Liars got to do it. I WANT TO THROW DIRT DRAMATICALLY!

See? The Pretty Little Liars got to do it. I WANT TO THROW DIRT DRAMATICALLY!

Anyway. The dead person. OK, so the dead person is just hanging out there, and the dead person is so made-up they look whorish, and I realize (listen, I watched a LOT of Six Feet Under) that if there was no makeup on the dead person, that dead person would look, well, dead. All gray and sunken and it’d be like four hours in the room with a zombie corpse. I get it. But Andreas told me the other night that the point of an open coffin was closure. Well, wouldn’t people get more closure from seeing the dead the way they really are, as opposed to all tarted up? I mean, sincerely. My poor grandmother was made up like a $2 Amsterdam whore. (NO, I have no idea if there are $2 whores. Don’t all go flocking to Amsterdam to find these $2 whores and report back to me all angry they charge substantially more. I USED $2 TO MAKE A POINT.) My grandfather had so much base on he looked like he’d been tanning. He would have been SO ANGRY about this.

Kind of like this. ONLY IT WAS MY GRANDFATHER. I know, disconcerting, yeah?

Kind of like this. ONLY IT WAS MY GRANDFATHER. I know, disconcerting, yeah?

Also, and I know we’ve talked about this before, but the amount of sentimental crap, the garbage tchotchkes, that people put in the coffin with the dead person? INFURIATE AND DISGUST ME. This is the most hilarious thing in the world to my dad. He knows how much this upsets me so all he has to do to get me to rant is to say, “Hey, Amy, when you die, want me to put little crystal animals in your coffin with you?” and he’ll get a twenty-minute harangue about “WHAT THE HELL OLD MAN? THIS ISN’T THE GLASS MENAGERIE! I AM NOT BLUE ROSES! AND IF YOU ALLOW PEOPLE TO PUT TRASH IN MY COFFIN I WILL HAUNT YOU TO *YOUR* GRAVE! THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BE CREMATED!!!” Then he laughs and laughs.

The dead person does not need a magnifying glass. What, so he can peer around in the afterlife? No. That is foolish.

The dead person does not need a magnifying glass. What, so he can peer around in the afterlife? No. That is foolish.

Also, you get fake-criers? Do you know what I mean by this? People who I think LIVE for death like vultures of mourning and they come up to the grieving family and they’re all “I AM SO SO-HO-HO-REEEE” and then they like shake with all the grief and when they finally move the hell on, one of the family members asks another, “Who was that?” in a hushed tone out of the side of their mouth, and NO ONE KNOWS. Because they’re NOT EVEN TANGENTIALLY INVOLVED WITH THE DEAD PERSON. They are GHOULS. PROFESSIONAL MOURNING GHOULS. Now, before you say “Amy, come on, everyone has their own way to show grief,” no. I don’t even care. Being obnoxious and making a funeral all about you is not appropriate.

BOB IS DEAAAAAAD! And how did you know the deceased? Oh, I read about him in the paper, I didn't know him at all. SO SAAAAAD, THOUGH!!!!

BOB IS DEAAAAAAD! And how did you know the deceased? Oh, I read about him in the paper, I didn’t know him at all. SO SAAAAAD, THOUGH!!!!

(Also, I’ve already informed my parents that when they die, I’m hiding in the back of the funeral home. Or, even better, under my bed. Because I refuse to be in the line of people that all the mourning people come through and condole and touch. TOUCH! Can you even IMAGINE? I don’t know those people. I don’t want my grief on display. WHY ARE WE SO GHOULISH ABOUT MOURNING IN THIS COUNTRY?)

Seriously, I want to put our dead on a boat, light the boat on fire, and set that ship a’sailin’. The Vikings had the right idea. This whole thing is stressing me the hell out.

Yes. This. Please. Thank you.

Yes. This. Please. Thank you.

All of this snarky leadup is to tell you that my beloved great-aunt Jan passed away last week and I will be attending her wake tonight which is an hour away in the town where she used to live and I will be seeing my extended family who I love very much and my father was on vacation but he cut it ten days short because it was his last aunt or uncle left on that side and he’s kind of devastated and made a marathon drive back from Florida for the services and I don’t best know how to handle all of this. Not even a little bit. So what I do when I’m freaked out is I become very inappropriately sarcastic because that is the wall I hide my pain behind. What? That’s not normal? Too bad, it’s all I know.

(Also, FYI, through a snafu of miscommunication, where did I find out about her death? THROUGH A FACEBOOK POST. It was one of those “I thought your father would tell you!” “I thought your mother would tell you!” things. No. I READ ABOUT IT ON MY LUNCH BREAK AT WORK. This is not what Facebook is for. Facebook is for theater announcements, kitten GIFs, and people getting ranty about politics. THAT IS ALL THANK YOU.)

Aunt Jan was my grandmother’s baby sister and she was awesome, you guys. She got married and had three very little kids and then her husband died in a terrible accident only a handful of years into their marriage and she raised those kids all by herself. (And those kids became three amazing adults that I love to pieces, and their kids are great, too.)

And damn, did she rock the cat-eye glasses. She was ADORABLE.

She was tough as nails. She was a nurse and a teacher and she was wickedly sarcastic and funny and one of the most independent and intelligent women I’ve ever had the honor to know. She was never on time for anything and she couldn’t sleep any better than my dad and I can and when she laughed, you couldn’t help but laugh along with her, because she laughed with her whole self. And she listened and cared with her whole self, too. She was just the best. And she was tiny, only a little over five feet, but she was a FORCE. She entered a room and you KNEW. She and her sister, my grandmother, were the best of friends, and went on many jaunty adventures together, just the two of them, getting into all kinds of shenanigans. And when my grandmother died, and I’d talk to Jan, sometimes I would just close my eyes, because they had the same voice. And I could pretend my grandmother was still talking to me and she wasn’t gone from my life forever because, oh, you guys. How much I miss my grandmother. How much I miss hearing her voice. How much I miss making her laugh.

(She liked funny faces in photos, too. I didn't get all my traits from the neighbors.)

(Jan liked funny faces in photos, too. I didn’t get all my traits from the neighbors.)

Two years ago, she had a stroke, which is what my grandmother died of, and I broke one of my most important rules and went to the hospital to see her, because I was not able to see my grandmother before she died because I lived five hours away and everyone said, “no! Don’t worry, don’t bother coming home” and I didn’t and then she was gone and I couldn’t have lived with myself if that happened again. (I avoid hospitals as I avoid wakes or funerals. Hospitals are where they put your loved ones before they die and no one escapes and they smell like death and despair and soup and cheap cleanser and they make my chest hurt.) Even though the hospital still smelled like death and I felt like probably I would die the minute I entered, I soldiered on. She looked terrible and so small and there were a million tubes and wires and her eyes looked so scared and my family was all exhausted and I hate these things, you know? I find death very stupid and very terrible and I don’t know how to deal with it. And, as mentioned, my default is humor, but I highly doubt that’s appropriate there. (Not that it doesn’t slip out sometimes. And sometimes it’s totally appreciated, and sometimes not so much. The phrase “tough room” was built for a room of people waiting to find out if their beloved mother is going to make it through the night, I’d think.)

But she did pull through, only she couldn’t talk or move much, and she moved to Pennsylvania to live with her son, and this past week she had an aortic aneurism and it was fairly quick, I think, only two years isn’t all that quick, not really, not if you think about not being able to talk or take care of yourself when you’ve spent your whole life taking care of yourself and everyone around you.

So Dad wasn’t coming home for the services, but then he surprised me and told me he was, and I might have cried a little because I am most sincerely petrified at these things and it makes me feel more comfortable if he’s there because he knows all those people and he makes sure to introduce me to people and make me feel part of things and he knows I get overwhelmed and sometimes need to go out for some air or maybe just to walk around or something because people make me claustrophobic and death makes it worse.

“You were going to go anyway, though,” he said.

“Of course I was,” I said. “That’s my family, too. Not just yours. I love them. Even if it gives you panic attacks, you do things you hate for the people you love. I know that.”

“Well, huh. You sure are my girl. Huh,” said Dad. Then he got a little teary but if you ask him he’ll say it was the things blooming in Florida that were triggering his allergies and then he said he had to go.

So tomorrow I am leaving work early and driving about an hour to go to the wake and won’t be home until late. Dad says people don’t wear black anymore because we are not in olden times. “Probably I shouldn’t wear clown-colors, though,” I said. “No, probably that’d be inadvisable,” Dad agreed. We have also discussed whether or not I need to go to the funeral and it has been decided no because I would have to miss almost a whole day of work and since I’m going on vacation next week and missing a lot of work that would ALSO be inadvisable and plus Dad says if you go to the wake people don’t expect you to go to both, it’s just nice that I’m going to the wake at all. I feel like this means people think I’m some sort of terrible caveman with the worst manners who never attends family gatherings and the sight of an Amy in the wild is a rare one, indeed, but he said that’s not what he meant at all.

She’s in a better place. She’s with God now. God called another one of his angels home. She’s in heaven with her sister and her husband. She’s watching over us all now.

Don’t. Please, don’t.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Better.

How about, just, I’ll miss her?

Yes. That.

I’ll miss her.

Because I will. Because it’s true.

And I can still hear her laughing in my head. She sounds just like my grandmother. I close my eyes and I can’t tell the two of them apart.

(Photos stolen from my beautiful cousin J.’s Facebook page. Thanks, J. The woman you’ve become amazes me. I love you fiercely and would like to beat anyone who hurts you with a two-by-four studded with railroad spikes. Love you to pieces.)


%d bloggers like this: