24 September, 2009

Home now


I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and bright and
sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who
grieve to dry before the sun,
of happy memories that I leave
when life is done.

The memorial was beautiful. It was a fitting tribute to Jimmy, with all the people he loved together in one room, telling stories and tall tales. He would have loved to be there.

Jimmy was very specific about his final arrangements, two things in particular. 1) He wanted us to sing Amazing Grace. All the verses, no skipping, that was non-negotiable. 2) He wanted us to play Jimmy Cliff's "I Can See Clearly Now." That was made all the more fitting when we learned that Jimmy's corneas had given sight to two blind people. Of course both of those things, along with the speeches from 10 of the people who knew my cousin best, made me practically incoherent for two hours. I actually have bruises on my arms from where I was gripping myself so hard to keep from sobbing. I kept quiet, but tears were streaming down my face all day long. Not to mention on the plane coming home when "I Can See Clearly Now" came on my iPod, immediately followed by "When I Get Where I'm Going."

So it's been a gut wrenching couple of days. And I realize that it's because I've lost someone I love. Someone who was so much a part of my life. And I will go on, because there's no other choice. Because Jimmy would be so disappointed in me if I didn't. And I can't stand the thought of him being disappointed in me. But for now. For now I'm sad. And I think I will be for awhile. And for now I cry at the most random things. And I don't know how to stop that. So I hope you'll bear with me while I figure it out.

What has helped has been the amazing outreach of support. The people I love who've reached out and offered their love, support and prayers. My friend J's sister, who lives in Atlanta, and offered to drive me around when she found out that we were having trouble getting a rental car because of the flooding. People I haven't seen since grade school who found out and posted immediate messages of support. It's been astonishing to realize how people will step up to support you, if you'll only let them. So thank you all for that.

20 September, 2009

RIP Jimmy

My family lost a giant this week. My mother's cousin died on Thursday, at the age of 66. He was outside doing yard work when he started to feel poorly, so he went inside to lay down on the couch and rest for a moment. He was supposed to meet his wife for dinner in downtown Atlanta that evening, and when he didn't show up, she called a neighbor to go check on him. The neighbor found him laying on the couch, with the yellow pages open to his doctor's phone number. He was gone, there was nothing anyone could do. It was a huge shock, and completely unexpected, and our entire family is reeling.

Our family has lost a giant. He was an amazing man: kind, unbelievably intelligent, funny, and a genuinely good person. I truly can't imagine our family without him. People hear me say that my mother's cousin has passed away, and they never quite get it. "Your mother's cousin?" they ask. "Well you can't possibly have been that close to him, right?" Wrong. When your family is as small as ours is, there are no small losses. Every loss is too much. And whatever your feelings about certain members of your family, sheerly by virtue of the small size of the family, you're close to just about all of them.

I can't imagine my life without him. I was taught from a very young age to take everything that Cousin Jim said with a grain of salt. He told the tallest tales, and had the best poker face, and not even a trained professional could tell whether he was lying or not. He had the entire family CONVINCED that he'd had to get braces for his Irish Setter, because she had an overbite, and she couldn't eat properly. Of course no one believed him when he first told the story (see above re: grain of salt), but after he insisted and continued telling the story for YEARS, eventually everyone just assumed: Well, he must be telling the truth, because who would keep this particular joke running for this long?

That was Jimmy.

He was always just as quick with a kind word as he was with a joke. There wasn't a person on the planet who could make you feel better about yourself than Cousin Jim. When I last saw him for Mother's Day weekend this past year, he made sure that I knew just exactly how truly proud of me he was. And after that trip, he made of point of e-mailing me articles in Spanish that he thought would help me with my language studies. He always took time out of his day to make sure that other people were okay. In recent years, he had his middle name legally changed to my grandfather's name. It was a sign of respect, he said. For his uncle, the man who'd made a point of staying involved in Jimmy's life once Jim's parents and two sisters had passed away tragically. At first we weren't sure if this was another 'dog with braces' thing, but Cousin Jim had the paperwork. He'd felt so strongly about honoring my grandfather, that he'd really gone and done it. The look on my grandfather's face when he realized it was true, was priceless. Grandfather isn't an emotional man by any stretch of the imagination, but the look on his face at that moment will stay with me for a long time.

That was Jimmy.

Our family has lost a giant. His wife has lost an amazing husband and a true companion; his daughter and stepchildren have lost a staunch supporter and true friend. My mother and her sisters have lost a man who was like a brother to them; my grandfather has lost a nephew who was an equal, and had boundless respect for him. I have lost a family member who never failed to let me know, despite time and distance, how proud of me he was, at all times. A man who, despite everything in his life, made a point of making sure everyone knew how much he loved them.

He leaves behind a giant hole that none of us yet know how to fill, and that will leave us all a little less than we were before. For him, we'll try to find a way to fill it, and go on, because that's what he would have wanted. So despite the pain, we'll try to do it, for him. Because truly, that will be the best way we can honor him.

That was Jimmy.

15 September, 2009

I Miss The Midwest...

You know what I miss about the Midwest that I didn't even realize I missed until today?

The fact that never, not once, did I ever get caught in a traffic jam caused by a sinkhole when I lived in Ohio, Michigan or Indiana. Now? Now when I learn that the dead stop traffic I'm stuck in is caused by a sinkhole randomly appearing in the middle of the road? Somehow how that's become a typical moment in my life.

Ahhh, Florida....

14 September, 2009

Life in South Florida...Grocery Store Rant

One question: What is it with South Florida Grocery stores not having cart corrals? I mean seriously folks, what on earth makes you think that the most irresponsible drivers in the state can handle maneuvering around stray shopping carts in the aisles? And do you really think that these people are going to take the time to walk the carts back inside the store? I mean I do, because I'm just that anal retentive, but most people don't have that kind of compunction.

And on days when it's pouring down rain, I would give my kingdom for a cart corral.


13 September, 2009

10 September, 2009

Ahh, September....

A time when there's (for those of you lucky enough to live somewhere other than Florida) a crispness to the air, the kids are breaking out their new school clothes (or new school uniforms), and everything seems fresh and new.

Oh yeah, and Fall TV Premiers begin! My TV watching schedule for the next several months will be as follows, with new shows in bold (thank God for TiVo!!):

~How I Met Your Mother (Can't wait to see the mother!)
~Heroes (I'm sticking with it for one more season...)
~One Tree Hill
~Accidentally on Purpose (I'll give it a shot.)
~Big Bang Theory (Thank God this one is back!)
~Gossip Girl
~Trauma (I'm looking to find an ER replacement...this is option 1 of 3.)
~Castle (Nathan Fillion = Sigh)

~NCIS (Woo-hoo!!)
~NCIS: Los Angeles (Can't wait for the spin-off to start!)
~Melrose Place
~The Good Wife (Anything with Matt Czuchry is worth a try!)

Wednesday: (I just noticed these are all new shows!)
~Mercy (I'm looking to find an ER replacement...this is option 2 of 3.)
~Modern Family (I loved Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the extremely underrated The Class!)
~The Beautiful Life
~Glee (I've been buying songs from iTunes all summer in anticipation!)
~Cougar Town (Welcome back Courtney Cox!)
~Eastwick (A show about three witches in a small town? Count me in!)

~Bones (Must find out what happens to Booth and Brennan!!)
~Vampire Diaries
~Grey's Anatomy
~Fringe (I look forward to watching this one through my fingers all week long!)
~Community (The guy from The Soup has his own show? I'm in!)
~Private Practice

~Ghost Whisperer
~Dollhouse (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
~White Collar (not until end of October)

~TiVo catch-up day

~Desperate Housewives (Susan or Katherine?)
~Three Rivers (I'm looking to find an ER replacement...this is option 3 of 3.)
~Brothers and Sisters

And yes, I know that for an adult, professional woman there's WAY too much CW represented here, but what can I say, a part of me is still a teenage girl at heart, who gets all swoony at the thought of story-book romance and loves a good, cheesy teen show! I stand by my choices, but fully understand that the mocking is likely to commence in the comments section! Also, feel free to make a plug for your favorite TV shows that I've left off. God knows there can't be many though, right? Have I mentioned on here before that I'm a little obsessed with TV? Once again I say THANK GOODNESS FOR TIVO!!!

I HATE New iTunes

Seriously, where did my shopping cart go? Not cool iTunes...not cool at all.

I HATE new iTunes.

That is all.

[Edit: I have discovered the wishlist feature, and am slightly mollified.]

A New Look for Fall

My friends A and A over at A Book A Day have inspired me to update my blog background for fall! So here we go, it's fall, it's stripey, it's kicky!

Happy September everyone! :)

05 September, 2009

Now this is an interesting development....

So I think that there's a blind man living down the hall from me. I'd never seen him before a couple weeks ago, so he must be a fairly new resident, but I've seen him getting off the elevator a few times now, and here's the problem. 9 times out of 10, he turns the wrong way. And when he turns the wrong way, he thinks that my apartment is his. Now twice I've seen him do this and I tell him that he's going the wrong way, and that's my apartment, and he replies "we'll see," tries to open the door, and then turns around in the opposite direction. A little weird, but I didn't think too much about it until this week, when TWICE at ungodly hours, he tried to get into my apartment.

Imagine being a single girl living alone and being awoken at 2am by someone trying to get into your apartment, putting a key in the lock, jiggling the door handle, etc. I tell you, it's not a fun way to wake up at 2am, and my adrenaline is rushing so much that I have a hard time getting to sleep afterwards. Now I feel bad for the guy, don't get me wrong. It's gotta be difficult getting adjusted to a new environment when you can't see what's around you, but isn't there some sort of Braille that the complex can put on his door so he's not trying to break into my apartment at 2am in the middle of the week? I don't think that's too much to ask.

04 September, 2009

Still irked....

Okay, here's the thing. Logic would dictate the there are a finite number of tasks that can be a person's "NUMBER ONE PRIORITY." I'll accept that perhaps there can be more than one, and I think that's even a logic leap, but I'll accept it because that's the kind of high-speed world we live in.

But when my boss comes by my desk SEVEN times in a TWO HOUR PERIOD and tells me that this new task should have my total focus and attention, and be my "NUMBER ONE PRIORITY", it's not wrong for me to be a little irked, right? I mean seriously, you need to give me some kind of rank order. At least give me 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G, please! I'm only one woman, with only one brain and only two hands, so there's a finite quantity of things than can have my full and total focus, attention and effort at a time!

Thank God it's a three day weekend...I've totally earned tomorrow's hot stone massage...

02 September, 2009

I'm irked...

Two things are irking me right now after having gotten back from my mini-vacation to DC to visit my friends:

1. Taxi drivers who only accept cash, but don't carry change. I'm sorry, it was a $22 cab ride from the airport. I only have two twenties with me. You do not deserve an $18 tip, it wasn't that good a cab ride. And you know what? If you won't accept credit cards (even thought i says on the side of your cab that you do), and you won't take a check, then you're getting exactly $22, because I can't scrounge more than $2 in change from the bottom of my purse, so you don't get a tip. Or my business the next time I need a taxi.

2. Apparently, the Broward County Clerk of the Court is selling lists with names and addresses of people who get speeding tickets. Now I'll admit, I shouldn't have been speeding that day (though I was only going 7 over, and it was as the freeway was ending, so I felt like it was a little excessive, but hey, it was legit), so I'll pay the fine and go to traffic school so as not to get the points on my license, but when I pay the fine at the courthouse, and then five days later come home to find my mailbox FULL of advertisements from cheesy lawyers (no offense A, these aren't YOU kind of lawyers) who promise they can get me out of my speeding ticket? I'm not okay with that. I literally have 37 advertisements sitting here in front of me right now. 37!!! NOT okay Broward County, I strongly protest. I expect this from online retailers and magazine companies, but the Clerk of the Court? Shame on you!