First Summerfest

I will be going to my first Summerfest later today to see a specific concert (among others). I am little worried about the excessive, 90+° heat blanketing the area, but I am mostly excited for the concerts. Nick has been to the large music festival during his pre-Laura days, and he has made himself my guide in preparing for the experience.

Nick: So, Summerfest is going to be just like [the amusement parks at] Disney World.

Me: Okay…

Nick: Instead of a mouse, there is beer…instead of rides, there is music…and instead of Orlando, you’ll be in Milwaukee.

Me: Hmm. Okay…so what exactly is like Disney?

Nick: It’ll be hot with a lot of people.

Ah, yes. Major parallel there, Nick…epic.

One Year Later

I realized at one point today that a year has passed since my hysterectomy. So many dates get caught in the web of my mind…sadly, they tend to be dates when bad things happened, bad things that negatively redirected the course of my life. This is not something that I particularly enjoy, but I don’t really have control over the way the past haunts me.

Knowing my tendency to remember dates, I was quite surprised to suddenly realize the history of today. Apparently June 28th is not a date caught in the web. Maybe I did not mentally attach importance to the surgery or how life changed…or maybe life just changed for the better.

Emotions aside, I felt incredible (comparatively) once I recovered from the operation. My quality of life certainly improved…but what’s more, I think I tied up a loose end that was preventing me from truly accepting the reality of my situation. I don’t always need to be happy about the parts of life that are out of my control, but I do need to find a way to be okay with them.

Almost as if the hysterectomy provided some form of closure, I can accept this part of my life now…and that has taken the power away from the date. So long June 28th…you mean nothing to me.

Happy Birthday, Nick

Today is Nick’s fortieth birthday. I have been ruminating on how I might describe all that this man means to me.

Words usually come easily when I call, but the running commentary of my memory has been replaced by images that move me to silence. There are no words to adequately describe the warmth Nick rubbed back into my life during a time when I, I’m sorry to say, wasn’t too keen to have been left behind.

I joke with friends that I tried to break up with Nick there in the beginning, but that he wouldn’t take the hint…of course, there is some truth to every joke. More than six years ago, I tried to push him away because it just hurt too much to use my heart for anything. I had just come off from one of the hardest years of my life…a year filled with a series of miscarriages, upheaval, and false hope that culminated in the death of the person closest to me in this world.

I felt the gaping wound in my heart as though it was a physical injury. Have you ever experienced that level of pain? If you have, you might know the deep-seated desire to be numb, to close yourself off from everyone and everything so that you won’t have to think anymore. You won’t have to feel. I know this is cowardly, but sometimes you’re just too tired to keep your head.

And there stood this man who was so emotionally strong that I felt almost smothered by him. He wouldn’t let me be! He wouldn’t let me sulk away to lick my wounds. So, during the long hours of an insomniac’s night, I thought about closing him out of my life…self-preservation, if you will.

But the thing is, I just couldn’t do it. We were too connected, too…right. When some of the weight of grieving lifted, I was grateful that I had not acted on some of the stupidest thoughts that had ever entered my mind. He did more for my self-preservation than my misguided plan: amazingly, I did not lose myself in all that I lost.

I could have become cold, aloof, even acrimonious. I became none of those things. Grief is ugly, and it can consume you so easily—if you lock yourself away with only grief for company. I wasn’t allowed to do that because I had this brilliant, loyal, and overwhelmingly kind person in my life who cared enough to keep a tight hold on my hand.

I do not know the bigger plan, and I stopped trying to figure it out a long time ago. Somehow, some way, I managed to find my other half at a time when I desperately needed to be whole. Love doesn’t seem like a grand enough word for what I feel for him. He is the air that I breathe.

First time on the water in 2012

Oh, Nick…happy birthday. I look forward to the memories we will make together over the next forty years.

Sophie Sunday

Sophie never steps foot (paw) outside. When she came to live with us, I developed fears about what would happen if she found away to leave her new home.

I have what I think are very rational fears, if a bit sensationalized and outdated by this point.

Since Sophie lived in the wild for several months as a youngster, she came to us a bit anti-human. Not that she was mean or aggressive toward us…rather, she was terrified of us. If she had a chance to get outside, my gut told me that her greater attachment to that environment would draw her vulnerable self away from us to the dangers of feral life. Compounded with her fear of humans, no one would be able to catch her to bring her back to safety.

So every time she traipsed near a possible escape, we reacted…either with gasps or jerky movements to run interference. For the longest time, even after she decided that Nick and I were pretty decent, I think she was terrified of doors. Surely something evil lived behind them—why else would her humans react so dramatically?

Lately, she’s been getting braver, curiouser. She is quite vocal when I am on the other side of the screen door, screaming the unfairness of her life. (She suffers so, you know.) Last weekend, she wanted to know what I was thinking when I left her inside while I went out to water plants and refill bird feeders.

I crawled to her so that I could act like I cared about her whining. I thought that maybe she would settle down if I gave her a platform to speak her peace. It was a good thought, but woefully incorrect.

Teenage Petulance


Nick attended a cookout and kayaking event last night. I declined my invitation, wanting a quiet night to soothe away the aches of the past week. I know staying in was the right decision for me, but I am sad to have missed the chance to see some of the nice people Nick knows through work.

It’s just that I love doing nothing.

I suppose it sounds lazy, and it really is, but I luxuriate in sloth. I think of the workhorse that my mother was, that my father is, and I feel like I missed out on that gene (compulsion) to fill every spare second of free time with some chore that requires attention. Rest was a four letter word in my childhood home.

As I developed the ability to think for myself, I think I must have decided to follow the teachings of my cat in the ways of the world instead. Oh, Friskey! How wise you were: Do what you need to do and enjoy what you don’t…and make sure you don’t get your tail caught in anything.

I mostly ignore that last bit, but the rest is decent advice. I do love doing nothing…nothing is my favorite thing to do…and nothing is one of the most necessary things I do.

I give myself time to scrub the thoughts in my mind. I sift through them, holding them to the light, to decide whether I’ve brought home a gem of some value or a stone that will only weigh me down. (Did I just admit to having a head full of rocks?) I polish the gems to keep. I carry the stones until I find a safe place out of the way where I can leave them—I wouldn’t want them to trip up anyone else, after all.

My indolence gives me peace. I did not have this luxury when I was completing my undergrad, and I had to seek help when I fell into a deep mental depression that I no longer had the time to hold at bay. Even with medication, all the stress that I never dealt with properly chinked away at my defenses and made me sick.

I just don’t know how the busy people make it work—or am I the only one clumsy enough to keep stumbling over stones? I did not figure it out when I could not laze, and I have no desire to figure it out now that I can. So, I will find a place to lounge, make sure my tail is safe, and recalibrate.

Housecats: not stupid.

Laura and Friskey, August 31, 2005
Laura and Friskey, August 31, 2005
(I looked a lot younger at 24!)