My Obligatory Year In Recap Post..

I just wouldn’t be worth my salt as a blogger if I didn’t do something to acknowledge the new year. It being January third, I imagine that, like myself, you’re about all set with top ten lists. So I’m going to keep it simple, and talk about my number one high, and number one low, of 2011. I have to warn you, this might get a tad self indulgent. But, I’m nothing if not that:-)

Jimi’s death was probably the lowest low not only of 2011, but probably ever. When I got the news he was in a coma and probably would not survive the night, I was at work, on Easter Sunday.  I popped into the breakroom to grab a beverage, and snuck a peek at my phone. Saw that our mutual friend, whom I was on the outs with at the time, had called me. Why is she calling me? I texted Jimi and asked “Any idea why she would be calling me?” (How you like that irony?)  He didn’t respond, and he never would again. I checked my voice mail. I heard her voice crack as she said “It’s about Jimi.” I called her back. She told me what was going on. I said “Should I come home?” solidly expecting a “Nah, he’ll be alright.” Because he was always alright. But instead, “Ah..I don’t know man. It’s bad.”

My heart dropped into my stomach. I don’t really remember what happened next. I remember being bent over the toliet, hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath and keep the vomit down. Crying. Lots of crying. My makeup smeared and running down my face. Trying to get my locker open, I was getting the fuck out of there. One of my managers walked into the breakroom, assumably looking for me. He had just started at the time, didn’t know me very well, but took one look at me and said “ ok?” I tried to form a sentence but I think it came out something like “My friend…coma..not gonna make it…leaving.”

He said “Go.”

So I did. I texted John. He didn’t answer me, he was taking a nap. I called my friend Tess. Tried to tell her what was going on but I couldn’t hardly even catch my breath. She kept saying “Jimi. JIMI Jimi?” “Our Jimi?” Because, he was always alright.

Well. This time he wasn’t alright. (Fuck it’s still so hard to talk about this.)

By Friday morning, I was on a plane back to Chicago, seven months pregnant and numb from the pain. I walked around those first few weeks in a haze. It was like my body was trying to protect me from the pain, so I went into an emotional shock, feeling nothing. I remember saying that I was in a shell. Every couple hours the shell would crack and the icy pain would seep through, I’d get a dose of the misery and it would knock me into the fetal position. I’d weep until the hole closed again.

I was not an easy person to live with for the next three months. Third trimester + extreme grief. But that shell protected me. I think, it protected Xavier, really. I put one foot in front of the other, I put my pants on, I went to work, I functioned because I had to. It distracted me enough. But when I sat still…   Hell, when I sit still, it gets bad.

Thank God I was prohibited from drinking. Smoking. Snorting. I’d probably still be on a bender if it weren’t for Xavier.

And that would be the number one high, again, not only from 2011, but my entire life: Xavier James.

I never wanted children. I can’t ever remember feeling maternal, or looking at a kid and going “Aww..someday…” In fact, I begged numerous doctors to just tie my tubes so I could quit worrying about it. I regularly referred to them as “Germbombs” (Oh but they are!). There were a few children I liked, but I definitely didn’t mind sending them home. They were sticky and annoying.

But..I was having extremely painful periods. I was smoking, overweight and getting older. The pain was under control as long as I was on birth control, but being on birth control with those three risk factors for extended periods is asking for trouble. So the doctors were trying to figure out a solution. One possible solution was basically lasering off the lining of my uterus. Which would “essentially wreck your fertility. Forever.”  So. I thought “Before I do this, I better be REALLY fucking sure, cuz it’s forever.” (When it’s forever, think HARD.)

So I sat with it for awhile. A few months, I thought about it. I liked my life just fine without kids. But would I regret it? Maybe. So..this is going to sound crazy, but one day I was watching tv, and a Pampers commercial came on. A chubby, giggling baby..and I thought “I could handle that.”

And just like that, I went from 60/40 against, to 60/40 for having a baby. Uh oh.

A few months later, I went to John with it. A few months later, we started trying. A few months after that, I was pregnant.

Now, I won’t bore you with my birth story all over again, if you want to read that, it’s a few posts back. But I’ll tell you this, today he’s six months old. Not once have I regretted the decision. In fact, it was the best goddamned thing I’ve ever done. For the first and probably the only time in my life, I made something perfect.  The moment the doctor laid that slimy, coneheaded little creature on my belly was the greatest moment of my life. I’m SO obsessed with, so owned, so consumed with this child it’s pretty disgusting. I’m everything I said I wouldn’t be. I post pictures of him on Facebook every day. I talk about his poops at work. I’m overprotective as all hell.  Believe me, I’m aware that it’s all going a bit far.

But I don’t give a fuck. That’s how far gone I am. He brought me back to life.

But they didn’t quite cancel each other out. I don’t feel any less joy at the birth of my son, and I don’t feel any less grief at the death of my friend. But because of the birth, I survived the death.

So that was my 2011.


Everything & Nothing.

I don’t really have anything specific I’d like to talk about this week, so I’m just going to do a general update. I just realized, just this second, that today is my last day off until Christmas. That’s a big ol’ FML for you. Had I realized that…oh well.

We have to talk about my hair, as it is the most important thing ever. (Sarcasm.) It has been falling out in clumps. Xavier has been ripping out what’s left. Birthing a behbeh does weird shit to your body. MY baby sucked the goddamned life out of me. He was like “Bitch I don’t have any hair, you don’t need any either.”

My hair has been a point of pride with me for a long time. I don’t have big boobs or a tiny waist or big velvety lips or long legs. I had pretty hair though.  But about six months into my got duller. I changed shampoos roughly 120 times. Finally, towards the end of my pregnancy, I gave up, and into a ponytail/bun it went.

And there it stayed..pretty much until yesterday. It also refused to take color I couldn’t get it all one color to save my life. Finally..I decided it was time. Fuck it, cut it off.

Now..I’ve had my hair short before so it wasn’t total terror, I know it looks okay short. But last time, I had sideswept bangs, and I feel like it made me sorta look like a little kid. My six year old niece has the same haircut.

So this time I wanted something kinda grown up. Maybe even a little sassy and sexy? I don’t know.

I scoured pictures, got a few ideas..but really, you just have to have a good stylist that you trust. I was lucky enough to find one pretty quickly after I arrived here in Rhode Island. She’s the only one in the 401 who I’ll go to, and she has never done me wrong.

Sue, at Allure Salon in Warwick. GO.

Now that I did that little shout out, I will show you my before, during and after shots. My before picture is pretty embarassing. But it’s the most recent that shows my hair. I want to clarify and really, really, stress the fact that I was attending an UGLY SWEATER PARTY and I DO NOT WEAR SHIT LIKE THIS NORMALLY.  And neither does my friend Cara. Swear to God.

Ready? Okay!

So…yea, we’re idiots.  But don’t let it distract you. Notice the hair. THE HAIR.

That was Friday. So on Tuesday, I donated this to Locks of Love:

Sue participates in the program and donates hair for you, free of charge. Which I think is pretty dope.  This is the second time she’s lopped off and mailed in a metric fuckton of my hair.

I was very scared. And she just kept. fucking. cutting. I reminded myself that she’s never done me wrong. I reminded myself I look okay with short hair. I reminded myself that it grows back.

And when she took clippers to the back of my neck, my bladder released a little. is the final product:

 And I must say, I really, really dig it. Thanks again, Sue!

Now, moving on to other business. Xavier is AMAZING the shit out of me lately. Like..a week ago maybe? He rolled over, belly to back. He was a little behind on this, but his Dr insisted not to worry, that everyone is on their own timeline and he’ll get there. I was so proud. But then..a few nights ago, he started doing this:

Sitting up, all by his damned self. How bout that!

He’s doing okay with solids. Still struggling a lot with constipation, even after we’ve integrated fruits like prunes, pears and peaches..he gets bound up pretty badly, pretty often. Not sure what to do about that. I guess it’s normal to have an adjustment period, but man oh man, I feel so damned bad for the poor kid.

And..speaking of foods.  I went to my doctor today, and we talked about my breastfeeding & supply issues. I told her about my hair falling out, my milk supply going to hell, my body hoarding calories like I’m a starving Ethiopian..and she thinks I may have a thyroid issue. So she tested me for that, and I’ll know the results soon. But she also prescribed a drug called Reglan to help with my supply. One last ditch effort, and if it doesn’t help I can say with certainty that I absolutely tried everything. Even a drug that has been known to cause hallucinations and a disease called Tardive Dyskensia, and “rapid stomach emptying”. But if it’s the thing that works and buys me six more months of nursing, then bring on the hallucinations. Okay..maybe not. But formula IS freaking expensive. Just saying…maybe a few hallucinations aren’t so bad.

(That my friends, is desperation talking. And I’m kidding.)

One more thing I want to discuss before I wrap this shit up. In late October, I wrote a post titled “Six Months.” It was a two parter, about my feelings surrounding the death of my best friend Jimi. It was insanely hard for me to wrap words around the things I was feeling, and even harder for me to put them out into the world. I have recieved a LOT of feedback about these posts, from his friends and family, my friends and family, and our friends that are like family. And overwhelmingly, what people are saying to me is “Ditto. I feel the same freaking way.”

Now, here’s the thing..ever since I wrote Even as I was writing it, I could feel the healing starting. Believe you me, I am never, ever going to be the same again. But talking about it plainly and honestly was evidently precisely what I needed to do. I really haven’t talked much about my feelings since he died, and my reasons for that are kinda stupid. 1. I felt like I was being sort of whiny, and I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I do want to be pleasant company and pleasant company doesn’t spread melancholy around. No one wants to be Debbie Downer. 2. I don’t want to use the word arrogant..but it almost was. I didn’t feel like anyone could possibly understand the pain I felt. People would say “Oh I know how you feel..” and I would think “NO YOU DON’T! YOU DON”T KNOW! IF YOU KNEW I COULD SEE YOU’RE BROKEN INSIDE LIKE ME AND YOU’RE NOT!”

Finally, the few people I felt were close enough to me to actually speak frankly to about my feelings, were the same people I worried about hurting if I were to say “No one’s ever understood me like he did.” or “He was my most loyal friend.” By saying things like that, while true..I worried that I would be saying “YOU don’t understand me. YOU are not loyal.” But that’s not how it was, of course. I don’t hang out with people who don’t get me, or disloyal sonsobitches. It’s just that those were HIS strengths….and other friends have other strengths that are equally valuable to me and I would certainly mourn the loss of those just as much. But that’s a lot to try to explain, and rather than do that, I would simply clam up.

My point, and I do have one is this: Ever since I put those words out into cyberspace, I feel better.

I didn’t realize how damaging it was to my soul to be repressing it. That’s why it was leaking out at random times, and I was bursting into tears over music, any music, all music. I would be standing there washing a dog at work and start to cry and try to hide it before anyone caught me. I was bursting at the goddamned seams with grief. So when I opened the valve I released a lot of pressure, and the healing is beginning.

I can listen to music now. New music only. Music that has nothing to do with anything, is totally shallow and topical and light. But no more talk radio. No more random bursts of tears. I still think about him every day, and I always will, I know. But it’s not so bitter and dangerous anymore.

So if you are one of those people that called me, emailed me, texted me, saying “Me too” advice to you is to find that damned valve and GET IT OUT. Go see a counselor, start a private blog that no one can read. Or be an attention whore like me and let everyone read it. I’ll read it. Figure it out, scream it out, swear it out, sing it out. Do what you gotta do, but letting that repression fester in your soul is going to spoil you, like a bad apple in the barrel.

That’s all for today.



Six Months, Continued.

Yesterday, I talked about me.

Today, I’m going to tell you about my friend Jimi. And then, I’m probably going to spend the rest of the afternoon crying. But for some reason, I feel like I HAVE to do this. So I’m going to put it into list form, because I like making lists.

Ten Things about my friend Jimi (in no particular order.)

10. He was funny as hell. I spent so many nights, laughing until I thought my face would explode. The sense of humor on that guy was incredible. I can’t even spend much time describing this, and I don’t have to. If you knew him, you know this. Dude was funny, and he saw the humor in literally every situation, even really, really shitty ones.  Our last text message, he was laughing at me because I was sick, and because I was pregnant I couldn’t take anything. I shit you not, laughing at the sick pregnant lady. But I was laughing with him. This is what I miss most of all, laughing with him.  

9. He was not two faced. If he was your friend while you were in the room, he was your friend when you left it. When I messed up, he’d say so to my face, and accept my apology if it was genuine. If it wasn’t, he’d call me on that too. And somehow, even though he was delivering a tough pill to swallow, I’d feel like he was doing me a favor, and that it hurt him as much to say it as it was for me to hear it.

8. He secretly liked it when I made fun of other people. He would pretend that I was being a jerk and say with his mouth “Oh Sam, maybe she likes that crazy ass outfit, if it’s what she digs who cares?” But his eyes told the real story, and pretty soon he’d crack a smile. I went through this phase where I would get drunk and steal stuff, thinking it was hilarious to steal random stuff from people. Nothing of real monetary value, mind you. So one night I was three (or maybe seven) sheets to the wind, and we were at some random house, with random people. Someone had gone and gotten burritos..but we didn’t get any burritos. So as we were leaving, I swiped one of the burritos, a big ass burrito, the size of your head (B-towners holler!). We got in the car and I showed him my stolen goods. “Sam I am appalled, what kind of person steals a burrito? That’s some fat kid shit! You should be ashamed. Now give me half.”  

7. He was an old soul, a gentleman. He didn’t discuss women or money with just anyone, so if you had a candid, specific conversation about either of those things with him, consider yourself in the circle of trust.

6. He was superhero strength perceptive when it came to people. He could spot a poser, a thief, a con artist, a liar from a mile away. At the funeral everyone kept saying how he would hang out with anyone and didn’t judge people. Which is true, he would HANG OUT, have a drink, tell a few jokes, and make you think you were the coolest person he had ever met. He was socially brilliant. But he was sizing you up, and all it would take was one shift of a person’s eyes to tell him that they weren’t on the up and up. He was guarded, wouldn’t use a urinal, or sit with his back to the door.  But you probably would never notice because he was cooler than Samuel L Jackson drinking a milkshake in a snowstorm.  I could have a conversation with him across the table without saying a word, because he just GOT IT.

5. He was probably the most intelligent human being I’ve ever known. Don’t get me wrong, I know some really smart cookies. Some REALLY smart cookies. But this guy could talk about ANY.THING, with anyone.  Quantum physics? No problem. He would get to talking with someone and I’d just sit there, blown away like..I have known you for nine goddamned years and I have never once heard you mention this, and you’re sitting here all well versed like it was your major in college? What the hell!! Not once in 10 years did I ever hear of anyone who didn’t like him. Not anyone!

4. He snored when he was awake, hummed while he peed, and could always put a baby to sleep in about 30 seconds. He liked that cheesy ass song “Loving You”. He caught every pun, every reference to every movie, even random ones like “Annie.”  

3. You could count on him. Back in the early days, I thought he was SUCH  a flake, that he couldn’t be counted on at all. But I just hadn’t learned his language just yet.  You ask him if he would like to attend this party with you on Friday. He would say “That sounds pretty cool.”

Notice, he didn’t say “I will go with you.”

Thursday came along, and you would mention it to him again, “Are you still down to go to this party tomorrow night?” and he would say “Give me a call tomorrow, I’ve got a few things to do, but it does sound like fun.”

Friday afternoon..”Well I’m going to make myself presentable, and I will give you a call when I’m ready to make moves.” might end up going to that party alone. But how can you be mad? He never said “I am definitely going with you.” So he didn’t flake. But you can bet, if he said “I will be there.” He would be there.

My wedding day just happened to fall on the same day as a Phish concert. He gave me a ration of shit, but I never doubted he’d be there. And he was, and he told me I looked radiant. Radiant! It was pretty much the nicest compliment anyone has ever given me.

2. He was a genuinely good person. There aren’t many people in the world that I know of that are truly good. I should say that being a good person,and being without sin are not the same thing. He did plenty of sinning, and dammit we had a fantastic time with the debauchery.  He didn’t cheat. He was a REALLY good friend. He listened when people talked. He spoke his mind without being abrasive. He was well mannered but not pretentious, said bless you when people sneezed, held doors open. When I found out I was pregnant, he knew before my mom did. He would say things like “It’s really good to hear your voice, Sam.” and “That’s what she said.”   He saw the good in people.

1. I can’t make a list about Jimi without mentioning music. Oh my god..the things this man taught me about music, I could fill a book with. I never once introduced him to a band or artist that he’d never heard of, no matter how obscure.  I would say a solid 50% of what’s in my ipod came from him. The other half is stuff he thought was stupid. So this is why I can’t even listen to music anymore..I hear him in my head saying “Sam, what is this garbage?” Or “This is the shit right here.”

I see him everywhere, I hear him in my head. I think about him a billion times a day. I miss him SO. FUCKING. MUCH.

So, I’ll end this with a signature joke of his. He taught me this joke to help me sort out the real people from the fake people, and now I’ll share with with you.

Bert & Ernie are playing frisbee in the park. Bert throws the frisbee and it goes WAY over Ernie’s head, and into the trees. Ernie says “Bert, that was your fault, you need to go get that frisbee!” And Ernie replies “Burt, what do I look like? A FUCKING POTATO CHIP??”

Now this part is key, you have to really sell it. Laugh your head off, like you’ve never heard such a funny joke in your entire life, like you can barely squeak out the last line because you’ll bust a gut.

And as you’re laughing, look around. Those wh0 are laughing like they get it, they’re the ones you want to avoid, they’re phonies. The ones who have the guts to say “I don’t get it”…those are the real.

Six Months.

This is not going to be a funny or lighthearted post. It’s probably actually going to take me a week to get through writing it. 

Six months ago, my best friend died.  His name was Jimi. I’m not going to talk about the circumstances of his death, how it happened or who he was with. I don’t talk about him much, I really can’t. (For the record, this is how far into the post I made it without tears starting to blur my vision. Six fucking sentences in six months. That’s how much I miss him.)

Grief is a nasty bitch, let me tell you. When you lose someone that is that close to you, the best comparison I’ve ever heard is that it’s like an amputation of a major appendage. Sure, the pain dulls, and you learn how to operate around it. But you always, always know that it’s not there.

That he’s not there.

(Five more sentences. More tears.)

If you know me in real life, and I’m pretty sure most of you reading this do, you know I’m not walking around, wearing black and acting mopey. My life does not allow for that. I HAVE to put one foot in front of the other. Dogs need fed and diapers gotta get changed. You wouldn’t know that I still cannot listen to music, pretty much at all. The wrong song, even a lame ass Muzak version..has landed me in a bathroom stall at Target, weeping inconsolably. I cried my way through a play a few weeks ago, because between set changes they were playing a Phish of his favorites.  I know this particular side effect of grief would break his heart if he knew, music was SO important to him, I know this is not what he would have wanted. But it is what it is, and maybe someday I’ll be better and won’t have to listen to talk radio on my 45 minute commute every day.

Now I’m not writing this so that you’ll feel sorry for me, if I wanted that I would walk around wearing black and being all mopey and shit.  I’m writing this because I want you to know that about grief, that it isn’t always wearing black and acting mopey. Because I didn’t know that until this year.

Sometimes, it’s anger.

I’m SO goddamned angry about it, I’m ashamed. Definitely not at him..but just at the situation. I’m pissed that I have to listen to talk radio. I feel like I was ripped off, robbed. I feel like the world was robbed, actually. And I’ve had more than my friend taken, it changed me, and not in a good way. I used to think that things happened for a reason and you could just trust fate and the universe would dole out exactly what needed to be. I can no longer genuinely feel that way, because sometimes, bad shit happens to good people and there is no reason. So while I am mourning the loss of my friend, I am mourning the loss of the person I used to be, because now I am broken, an amputee.

I’m absolutely ripshit that my son will never know the man he’s named after. He should have. 

I promise, I’m wearing pink right now.  And most of the time, I’m pretty much okay. Sure, sometimes, I’m washing a dog, or changing a diaper, and my throat closes and my eyes well up.  But I still think of him 2000 times a day. It’s funny, how when you’re close to hear them inside your head, you internalize them. I know what he’d say in just about any situation, I hear his laugh so clearly in my head sometimes I have to look behind me.

I’m starting to really break down now, so I’m going to wrap it up for today. But I’ll try to write more tomorrow. I’ll end this with a photo I took of him the last time I saw him. It got used for his obituary, and the little pamphlets at the funeral. I still have mixed feelings about that. What you should know about this photo is that he was not posing for it. This is the smile he’d give me when I had said something inappropriate, and he didn’t want to really laugh, but couldn’t help himself. Or when we were sharing an inside joke, silently. I was snapping pictures of the kids and dogs that were around, and chatting with him. This was a real smile, for me. So in spite of all it’s been used for, it’s still one of my favorites.