I really CAN quit you, Facebook!

Come sit next to me, little ones, while I regale you with the tale of Facebook.

Oh! The days of yore when it was a seemingly benign place for people to gather. We tended our make-believe farms, posted lengthy "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me" notes, friended that guy we drank chocolate milk with in kindergarten and answered promptly when Facebook asked us what's on your mind? even if what was on our mind was something as banal as how tired/hungry we were or "watching CSI".

My babies, it was FUN. It was bonding and millions of us reconnected with long-ago friends, shared pics and updates with Aunts and Uncles and followed our favorite celebs. Personally, it helped me through the dark post-divorce times. As cringey as my vintage status updates are, reading them now is a not-so-gentle reminder of the hell that my life was for a long time and how much love friends gave. 

Facebook grew. And like a baby who once elicited gentle oohs and ahhs, it became a tantrum-prone toddler: still cute but my gosh super annoying at times. The toddler stage came and went, and we hung on for the ride. It became less about staying in touch with everyone and more about taking stances, advertising and living that Fakebook life. We joked and collectively yiked when our conversations off of the internet spurred suggestions and ads about the very things we had mentioned in supposed-privacy. 

Facebook became less fun and more stressful. At least, that's how it was for me. 

It was also addicting. It was often the very first app I checked in the mornings, and it wasn't uncommon for scarily large chunks of time to slip away while I scrolled, commented and liked. It was almost ritualistic, the initial check of notifications, answering (or sometimes not answering, lol) the messages, checking up on people we were worried about or crushing on or disagreeing with. I found myself turning to Facebook when I was feeling cagey or ragey or bitchy. 

Do you remember the first time someone you thought you knew, someone you thought you liked unconditionally, posted something that shocked you? I'm not talking about someone who admitted they loved Hallmark Christmas movies or preferred black licorice over red. I mean something that at the time seemed uncharacteristic, like another personality had taken over their profile.

I'm trying to recall the first time I did one of those cartoon gasps, when a "friend" publicized something that took me by surprise. I can't think of the original OMG moment but whoa- there were many more to follow. 

Politics. It started with the politics, naturally. It was one thing when someone declared their hatred for the Green Bay Packers, something entirely different when that ire was directed at a group of people based on their political leanings. And when it turned towards race/religion? Ugh. 

We learned how to unfollow, how to mute chats, how to block and sometimes, how to unfriend. I have always prided myself on being Little Miss Sunshine, the uniter, the glass-half-full person. Switzerland! Why can't we all just get along? But it became increasingly harder to be that person. I found myself fighting with friends and strangers, pretending to be a hardass when inside I'm the softest ass you'll ever meet. 

I was judged, and I judged right back. Facebook became a boxing ring instead of the inviting front porch it had always been. 

There was still fun to be had, though. I started a private group, The Porch, which quickly filled up with fellow divorce survivors and supporters (hey porchers!!! I miss you all!!). The public Happy Hausfrau page was a little oasis from the pettish din. I started a weekly Meme Roundup and Friday mornings quickly became my favorites as I posted meme after meme. People commented and liked and shared and we LOLOLOLed together and it was a blast. 

But even the meme roundup became stained with acrimony. And when the meme roundup became more of a chore than anything else, I realized it was time to step back.

When clicking on that innocent little blue and white icon filled me with trepidation over what I'd find in the notifications rather than that old timey excitement, I knew a choice had to be made. And it wasn't because I wanted to bury my head in the sand and pretend that life is a gd walk in the park. It was self-protection. 

Some of us are able to scroll past the stinky stuff. To ignore the baiting and the lying and the downright awfulness. I'm not one of those people. I'm a sponge, you guys. Whatever I'm around gets soaked up, absorbed. Both good and bad. It's not the worst trait but it's a doozy. Especially when our world is such a raging cluster of vein-popping scream-fests and hills that are so NOT worth dying on. 

And so, a day after my birthday, I removed the app from my phone. Yes I'm laughing about how dumb that sounds but it was harder than you might think. The worst of it was my writing stuff. Even though writing has become more of "used to" thing with me, it was good to be in touch with fellow bloggers and editors and fans. I've been threatening to write a book for what feels like centuries now, and it sucks that unless you have a preformed fan-base, an influential platform, you are almost certainly doomed to fail. For that reason I didn't delete my pages. (okay also because it's a hell of a time capsule, right?)

Breaking up with Facebook was easier than I thought it would be. Also harder in ways I hadn't anticipated. I worry that people who only knew me through that particular realm would think I just fell off the face of the earth or worse, cut ties. The temptation to log back in has been real. But I've resisted. My rebounds have been twitter and Instagram. Twitter for the bitchy days and Instagram for the warm fuzzy ones. 

Some days, I miss it. But in this case, absence isn't making the heart grow fonder. It's making my heart happier. 

Maybe, juuuust maybe, after the election and if we get a handle on the 'rona, I'll check back in. I'm sure my beloved aunt has tagged me in countless wine memes, Scary Mommy comment sections are still rife with combat and high school friends are still posting scary/hilarious conspiracy theories. That FOMO feeling is fading with each passing day, though. It's refreshing to not have that weird compulsion to check in on the Facebook and see what's happening. 

I miss it, but I don't. 

It's also really nice to be back here again ❤


Hospice Post Follow Up: yeah there was some wine involved


You know how it goes, after a night of grief-wining, you check to make sure you didn't leave any messes...physical and/or otherwise. 

Texts: all good, no regrets there!

Social media: phew. One twitter post that thankfully didn't get past the draft stage.

Kitchen: as clean as it gets, LOL. 

Dog: still alive and flatulent.

Ooh but wait...

Blog: Ahh. There it is. My first post in eons and it was the love child of chilled rose and the always-fun Saturday night sobs.

I mean, I've posted worse completely sober so I'll let it stay but I do have to offer apologies for several things: my redundant use of the phrase "here we are", for one. And a huge apology for any visuals you may have had when I mentioned a sex dream about Tucker Carlson. I'm not proud of that one.

I guess I should explain the politics thing a little better, now that I am upright, fed and able to string a few words together coherently.

Obviously I am still your favorite bleeding heart liberal divorced mommy blogger. I hope so, anyway. If anything about me has stayed the same, it's that I am unashamed to express my support for all things left-leaning. We've discussed it here before, I think, and we've all remained buddies (again, I hope so). 

It's been argued that we, as liberals, should cut out any and all relationships with people who are trump supporters. I'm no longer on Facebook but it wasn't uncommon to read that someone had disowned family members because of who they voted for. I don't remember it being that way prior to 2016, at least in the bubble I live in currently. Friends and family didn't like Obama but aside from one particularly loathsome high school acquaintance I don't recall a whole lot of animosity. And from the racist assholes but those types are always around no matter who is running the country. They just had a much bigger target with Obama. 

Trump has changed all of that. I'm not gonna get into the pointing of fingers over who has been the loudest and most divisive, but I will say that it still blows my mind that we're here in 2020. I find him to be a bad person and in general I don't like bad people. For me it was all the cheating he did on all of his wives. That was bad enough for me, let's not even start with allll the other stuff. 

So it turns out my dad is not in the same political boat as me. I've spent days and nights at my dad's house and he watches Fox News. At first I was afraid. I was petrified. Oh wait that was Gloria Gaynor. Anyway. I really was uncomfortable hearing that in the background 24/7 but guess what: my dad is literally on his deathbed. If you think I'm going to try and get him all woke before he goes, nope. I disagree with all of it, every last bit of this current administration and their policies and all of the garbage they spew out by the second but I will not go down that road with my dad. I can and I will love him, love my new/old family and hope that they love me back despite our differing beliefs. 

I will say this: holy propaganda. It's not a stretch to see how people have been brainwashed by this "news" outlet. Every single issue is BREAKING NEWS and ALERT!!! and nothing but high praise for 45 and his cronies. It's easy to see how people get sucked into it and start believing it. Raise your hand if you've ever considered buying something simply based on an advertisement...let's be real you most likely haven't pondered purchasing a Klan hat or a story about a wealthy guy in California dropping off not one but three macbook pros to a monocle-wearing computer repair guy in Delaware but still. It's marketing, baby, and sometimes it works. 

Trump has destroyed so much. I can't let him destroy what's left of my time with dad.

Some clarification re: Tucker Carlson. So one night, we were all gathered in the living room where dad's hospital bed is set up. Fox News was on, and it happened to be Tucker's turn on the mic. Because I am me I said, "You know, he's not super awful looking. I mean, if you're into that kind of thing." And a Tucker conversation began. Henry, my 23 year old, mentioned that one of his friends went to school in DC and would see Tucker out and about sometimes. "He's short and round, ma. Not your type." (gosh I love my kids 😂). This led to an intense Google search to find out more about this thin-lipped talking head. We found out he is a trust fund baby, married to a walking J Crew ad and the father to four astoundingly good looking children. 

My taste in men is legendarily awful. Not every time, but the majority of it for sure. I like 'em tall and funny and for some reason, Republican. It's not like that's what I seek, because if you know me I'm not out there seeking. It's what falls into my lap on occasion. I pictured Tucker Carlson, with floppy hair and a bow tie, on a taller, more athletic frame and I guess one of the exhausted neurons in my brain sent it down to the dream factory because there I was a few hours later, engaged in lustful acts with him. Hey, it's been a doozy of a few weeks, friends. I'm not myself. Or am I? 

There ya go. Some explanation for a sloppy return to blogging. Thank you for being here. I promise to do more writing and less tippling in the future ❤


Hospice Notes: Chapter 1

Wow. Hello, friends.

Quick update to keep everyone up to speed.

I've quit Facebook. My dad is dying. I promised to write more so here we are.

Hospice, man. It's a trip. Especially when the dying person is your dad with whom you've had a very estranged, very strange, relationship. 

My dad is a good man. He really is. Our estrangement was over something so stupid and so petty that I'm uncomfortable discussing it but here we are. I've come to find out that the silent treatment is nothing new for this branch of my family tree. My grandpa didn't speak to his brother for years following the death of their mom (my great-grandma Ruth). My dad and his brothers didn't speak for years following the death of their mom (my grandma Grace). This newfound knowledge made me both sad and happy. Sad because what a fucking legacy, ya know? Silent treatment. Grudges. A legacy that is a bit different from freckles or stubbornness. Happy because it's good to know you're not an anomaly. Happy because I know this is not some weird out-of-the-blue characteristic that landed on my lap.

The history with my dad is like this: we had a great, normal, healthy thing happening for a long time. He was my hero. He was the quintessential daddy, the man we hope to have in our lives. The strong silent type who did the yardwork and who had a shop in the basement. The man who comforted my pathetic ass as I cried on the shag carpet over gazelles getting eaten on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. The man who came down to my bedroom, sat on that pilly blue and white flowered blanket and held me while I wept after hearing that mom and dad were getting a divorce. That was the first time I saw my dad cry.

After the divorce things got weird and they got ugly. My mom had left him for her first cousin. Yep. Here we go, friends, curtains are being pulled back. I'm dragging out skeletons that haven't seen the light of day or internet. My mom had an affair with her cousin and she decided to leave my dad for him. In a perfect world, my brother and I would have ended up with my dad. In a perfect world, an abusive young man who had no business raising children wouldn't have ended up with two impressionable, sad kids who needed a dad. 

In a perfect world, none of this would have happened. But we live in a beautifully imperfect world. 

My mom raised us, my brother and I. And so did that monster. My dad tried, he tried really hard, to get custody of us but it was the 70's and back then unless the mother had been caught eating babies or whatever she got custody. My dad gave up and settled for whatever he could get. Which wasn't much, considering that my brother and I were being told over and over again what a horrible person our dad was. This is why, despite all I've been through, I will always give the dads the benefit of the doubt when hearing stories from women about divorce and exes and acrimonious relationships. I give them the benefit of the doubt until I hear all of the facts. I know that in most cases, these dads are truly shits and they don't want to be part of their children's lives but there is always the chance that they want to be there but they can't. 

I know this is not always the case. I know that there are men who don't want to be there, who believe that kids are like razor blades or diapers and are truly disposable. Ask me how I know (LOL). But my dad did try. 

Anyhoo. Here we are, dad and me. It's 2020. The world is a fiery dumpster shitshow and I got a call a couple months ago that he wasn't doing great and it would mean the world to him if my kids and I showed up to offer him support and love. We did. And he was happy.

Then I got a call, on my birthday of all days, that dad was dying. It was my stepsister and we sobbed together on the phone. Sobbed to the point of not being able to breathe. We took the first shaky steps to repair a lifetime of grudges and silent treatments and withholding of love and attention and just being there. 

It was then that I decided to drop all of the shackles that had been constant companions for so many years. It was then that I cast my pride and my anxiety and my grudges aside and decided to be a daughter. 

Nothing more. Nothing less. Just a daughter. A daughter whose dad was dying.

In the days since then, I've tried my hardest to be there for him. I've held his hand. I've slept on a loveseat just inches from his head, waking up when I hear a hiccup or a weird breath or anything that sounds like a distress call. I've helped him drink water. I've rubbed his back. I've talked with him in a dark quiet house and I've laid my head on his chest and begged for forgiveness and I've listened while he cried about our tattered relationship and how happy it's made him to have me there. 

These minutes, these moments, they are priceless. They are gorgeous slivers of seconds in a timeline that is dotted with silence and blank spaces. We have joined forces, my dad and I. Together we have taken broken strands and rewoven them into a new and improved quilt of life and love. "You and me- we're back together and it makes me so happy" is what he said one night, tiny tears rolling down his gaunt cheeks while I gripped his hand, sobbing. Dad. My dad. Daddy.

I'm trying my best to reconnect with the family that was always there but also, never there. I'm hearing stories of what a good dad he has been, the memories of him being THAT GUY. The crusty dude who rarely cracked a smile but who was there nonetheless, the one who answered the phone late at night and who taught life lessons and who was always, always there. I didn't have that guy and it's hard for me to sit there and hear these stories. It's hard but I do it and love them for loving him. I love them for being lucky enough to be the recipients of this man's special brand of caring. Of his love. 

It's hard. Oh shit you guys, it's SO HARD. My stepmom keeps telling me, "God put him in our lives for a reason" and it's so fucking hard to not cry out, "WHAT DID GOD HAVE AGAINST ME", ya know? Why would a good and loving God take him from us and give him to someone else? Does this mean my stepmom and her kids were more deserving of him? My brother and I were somehow not good enough, not special enough, not deserving? This is a long, crooked, winding road you guys. The thoughts in my head are so convoluted under the best of circumstances...this has been like a massive data dump and trying to process everything has been challenging. To say the least. 

*disclaimer: I adore my stepmom and my stepsister/stepbrother. ADORE. They have welcomed me back without a second's hesitation and have been nothing but supportive. I am grateful to them for accepting the black sheep back into the fold ❤ I just have a lot of baggage to unpack and put away, ya know?

But I am not someone who takes shit. I'm not someone who rolls over, who turns the other cheek. I am me. I am that woman who has been through some tough stuff and who wants to make things right. 

I. Am. Me. 

I am his daughter. He is my dad. We have been given this awful opportunity, this rare gift of time. 

Time to repair. Time to forgive. 

Time to love.

I'm heartbroken. I'm grieving. I'm the saddest I've been in a long time.

But I'm grateful. And I'm appreciating every second I get with my dad. Every laugh we have. Every tear shed. Every hand squeeze, every eye contact. Every word. I'm appreciating it and loving it and embracing it.

We've lost years. We've lost countless memories, pictures, snippets of time together. We'll never get those back, for sure, but oh my gosh. We've gained so much in the past few weeks. It's not the same as the filmstrip of memories my stepsister and stepbrother and all of the grandchildren have, not even close.

It's what we have. It's golden chunks of time. It's a chance to make things right. 

It's a gift. And I'm unwrapping this gift slowly, trying to encapsulate every single second of it. I know that this will not end perfectly. It will not end happily. But I am determined to make the best of it. 

It's also been a learning experience, my friends. I'm learning as this experience unfolds. Learning about differences and tolerance and understanding.

I've watched Fox News for the first time. I've had a sex dream about Tucker Carlson. 

Shit has gotten weird, friends. 

Stay tuned. Promise there's more to come.


The Tears of a (white) Clown


Wow. So the last time we chatted, I had run into a colleague from the past who nudged me about this blog. About writing in general. As we parted ways I had a spring in my step, a fire in my belly, a bag of poop in my hand...dog poop, remember I was walking Walter.

And you guys, I did feel inspired. That old tickle came back, the one that I imagine is caused by the words and the stories that are dying to get out of my head. "Dammit" I thought to myself. "I do want to get back at it. Okay, let's do this." 

I had a draft or two started, and was gearing up to go full blown blogger again, when tragedy struck.

George Floyd. 

He was murdered about 8 miles from the very spot where I sit here with the ancient laptop and play writer. Eight miles. The outrage and the grief turned Minneapolis into a burning epicenter of protests, demonstrations and yep, riots. 

I closed the laptop because at that chunk of time, the last thing anyone wanted to hear was a middle aged white woman babbling on about tv shows and quarantine weight. 

It wasn't time for me to write or speak. It was time for me to listen and try to help. And so I did. 

George has been laid to rest, his killer(s) are in custody. Racism is still going strong but I am hopeful that some eyes have been opened, including mine. A lot of us white people think we're pretty freaking woke but I'll tell ya what: we're still snoozing, my friends. There is a lot to do, so much to learn and omg so much to unlearn. 

I had a little wake up call when I posted something on this blog's Facebook page. Every Friday I post a meme roundup. At this point I don't remember how it started but honestly it was the only real way I had to mark time during the quarantine for a while. "Oh shit it's Friday isn't it? I have to do the memes." I was like the Dunkin' Donuts guy from the old timey commercials except instead of "time to make the donuts" it was "time to post the memes". 

Anyway. So obviously it wasn't the right time to post memes, you know? Instead I posted a pic of Minneapolis in flames and said something like "no memes today, our city is burning". Well. A follower on the page, who happened to be a Black woman, called me out. And did so with great gusto and ferocity. Her grief and her rage were tangible in her words as she took my ass to task for not addressing WHY the city was on fire. She let me have it and I was defensive, so defensive. I think I swore at her in my reply. I cried- tears of a white clown. Because SHE WAS RIGHT. I sat with her scathing criticism for a bit and let it sink in. SHE WAS RIGHT. Why didn't I say why Minneapolis looked like Dante's Inferno? Why didn't I use my platform, my admittedly tiny platform, to call attention to the atrocity that had taken place 8 miles from where my big ass sits and scrolls through the Netflix menu and where I complain about the toxic farts my ancient dog lets rip 24/7?

I'll tell you why: because I was, and honestly still am, scared. Scared to rock the boat, scared to speak up, scared to stir the pot, scared to offend people. Chicken. Cowardly. 

But I'm trying to change. I am speaking up, I'm trying to use my voice to help open up some more eyes.

If you've been here for a while, you know this about me: I'm a people pleaser. I'm Switzerland, I'm the one who likes to smooth feathers, not ruffle them up. Okay, yeah, I've given my ex and his lady friend some shit, along with a few unfortunate dudes. But in general? My Minnesota Nice is almost as thick as my Minnesota accent. 

I joke about it, about the Lutheran Libra who will say something funny and then offer up a drink or snack. The one who tries to diffuse tension vs acknowledging the bleeding and screaming elephant in the room. We can blame my upbringing for this, we can blame centuries of white DNA, we can blame it on the rain. 

I'm changing. There's not much I can do about being Minnesotan, there's nothing I can do about being white or a Libra. But there is so much I can do about everything else. 

That woman, the one who let me have it on Facebook? I reached out to her, privately, and apologized. And thanked her, profusely, for taking the time to school me. In the middle of one of the most important civil rights movements in our history, she stopped grieving and fighting and tried to pry open my stupid eyes. I think we ended on good terms. I sure hope we did. 

And so, now you know why I didn't check back in here for a while. It was learning time. And it will be, for a lot longer. 

Don't worry, if things work out and that tickle is still tickling and the laptop holds up and I keep running into Ellen, there will be more action on this page. I'll still talk about life after divorce and what it's like to be alone during a fucking pandemic (oh yes we are so totally going to talk about the "hahah omg i want to smother my husband" stuff, I promise). We will talk about how I'm pre-mourning the loss of my beloved dog and how my unemployment hasn't kicked in yet (no paycheck since June...oh honey we will totes talk about that). For sure we'll talk about my angel landlord, the 12 pounds I've gained and what skills I hope to hone before the Civil War starts. I'd love to talk about the anxiety I have about my orchids. And how my friends and I have become Poshmark obsessed (and maybe how it kept a roof over my head this summer). Ooh and we can talk about kids growing up and being ADULTS and tv shows and how much I miss going to movies. 

But we're also gonna talk about Black lives. About how they matter and about the racism we white people have to drag out into the daylight and stomp to death. 

I owe it to that beautiful woman who kicked my ass, virtually. I owe it to the Black people I know and love. I owe. And so that's where we're at here on this dusty old blog. 

Black lives matter. I'm trying to be a better person. I'm trying to be an ally. 

I'm trying. 

I also really can't stand trump. But we can talk about that later, too. 😉


Sidewalk Nuggets

A few days ago, I was out on my daily quarantine walk with Walter. Back in the PC days (pre Covid, ya know), I used to feel anxious when the tiny outline of an oncoming person would appear on the horizon. The whole eye-contact thing: do I look them in the eye as we approach each other? no that's fucking creepy, Jenny. A small sideways glance as we pass? Ugh. LOOK DOWN. No that's rude. By the time the person was actually within eye-contact distance I'd already worked myself into a small, silent frenzy and would usually end up giving them that weird muppet mouth grimace/smile.

Ahh. But these are the Covid days. The anxiousness is now a constant sidekick, the moment we step foot off our driveway and onto the gray cement sidewalk. Because now I worry about so much more than eye contact. jesus they're awfully close, neither of us are masked up oh my gawd JUMP and off I go into a tangle of tall weeds or into the bike lane (usually with the muppet grimace, some things haven't changed). 

So this particular day, we were about a third of the way through our walk- half a mile from home. I saw another person and did the sane thing which that day was cross the street. I find it easier to do than leaping into thickets. As this person drew nearer, I realized it was someone I knew. Or rather, someone I used to know. A million years ago I worked in the cosmetic department of Dayton's in downtown Minneapolis. This was the early 90's, before I was married and when I still believed babies were abhorrent, noisy nightmares contained in ankle-cracking strollers. 

We had a fun crew there at the ol' Prescriptives counter. There were four of us: me, the 20-something party girl; Kim, another 20-something but with a live-in boyfriend and more sense; April, yet another 20-something who modeled and dated older, wealthy men; and Ellen. Ellen was our resident makeup artist and unbeknownst to her, one of the wisest people I'd ever met. She was willowy, with a gorgeous thick, stick-straight shock of black hair that was streaked with silver. I remember so much about her, from the way she'd stand there, one hip leaning against the counter, arms folded with one slender hand curled under her chin, to the hypnotically rhythmic way she'd smash up the pigments we used to custom blend powder. 

Ellen was married, with two young children. I'm sure she listened to the rest of us, with our tender Gen X tales of woe and joy, and internally shake her head. She dispensed wisdom, but not in a condescending, wise-old-owl way. No, her nuggets of worldly enlightenment often came at us stealthily, buried in the layers of small talk that we makeup ladies partook in during the slow moments of the day.

There was the time one of the girls from the Origins counter was fired after only two week's employment. Ellen and I were working, and as we observed the unfortunate employee being given the bad news (the cosmetics department was a cold place), Ellen leaned her hip against the counter and sighed, "Some people are just too soft for this world." Those words would pop into my head for years, in fact they still do. Oftentimes they pop into my head when I find myself crying over something like baby geese or the thought of my dog dying and I think well I'll be damned! Ellen was right, some of us really are too soft for this awful world.

My time at the counter ended when my whirlwind relationship with Big Daddy got serious and we decided to move to the suburbs, together. I traded the makeup brushes for a folding board at The Gap, inside a bland mall across the street from our new apartment. After we had one kid and were expecting a second, we moved into my old childhood house that my dad still owned. Rented at first and then bought it from him. It was in a charming postwar neighborhood, and one night as we were pushing little Charlie around in our very own ankle-cracking stroller, I saw Ellen standing out in a yard. Yes, we were neighbors around-the-block, and after we caught up we'd say "hi" now and then but never much more than that. She was busy with her pre-teen kids and I, of course, was afloat in a sea of babies and toddlers and preschoolers. 

After all the shit hit the fan with my marriage, and especially after losing that damn house, I never really saw Ellen anymore. 

Until last week. 

As Walter and I made our way up Glenwood Avenue, there was Ellen, making her way down. In the days of old, I most likely would have not even noticed it was her, what with the cuckoo inner monologue and all. But these are different days. These are the Covid days and I miss talking to people so damn much that I manage eye contact sometimes and that day I was feeling positive and kind of happy so as we passed on opposite sides of the street I exclaimed, "ELLEN!". She looked over, and I thumped my chest like mother effing Tarzan and said "Jenny!" (yes I'm laughing too because could I be any more awkward?). She smiled and we stood there, on our respective sides of the road and caught up a tiny bit. 

Her gorgeous hair was still thick and straight but now it was completely silver, with a swoop of lavender. Other than that, she was the same. The same as she had been almost 30 years ago, one hip on the counter and her elegant hand perched under her chin. 

Before we parted she said one more thing, and over the past few days I've come to realize that she is still a dispenser of wisdom, even in a setting as casual as a mid-morning sidewalk encounter. 

She said:

"I really enjoy reading your blog."

Now, this isn't the first time someone has brought up this blog, or my writing, in casual conversation. It happens now and then. Not as frequently as it did when I was, you know, actually WRITING, but it does come up. My reactions vary a bit but are usually along the lines of "oh that old thing? I never write anymore. I should do that more often..." And then life goes on and I shove all thoughts of blogging and writing back into the dark dank corner of my heart where they've lived for a while now.

But something different happened when Ellen said those words to me. I don't know what it was, if it was her voice, or just that momentary clutch of time and air and sidewalk and plague or what...but something different happened. Oh, yes, of course I still mumbled something about "oh yikes yeah I haven't written there in ages" but more than that. Her words stuck, just like they did decades ago in that long-gone department store. This time it wasn't me, half listening while thinking about what I was going to wear to the bars that night, this time is was me, struggling to feel something...anything, out for a walk with my geriatric dog.

Ellen's words reminded me that once upon a time, I wrote. And that I loved doing it. 

And so, reader(s?), here we are. That little sentence spoken by a long-ago colleague was the nudge I needed to do this. 

You'd think two and half months of quarantine would have been enough of a nudge, huh? Turns out I just needed to hear someone say it.

So. Thank you, Ellen. For everything. 

Buckle up, friends. We have a lot of catching up to do.

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