Today I lived in little blips of soon-to-be memories that I know will last with me far longer than they will with you. I wish my mind wouldn’t continue to bring that realization to surface.
Today we slowed down for you. In a world that is always buzzing, always moving, and never having enough patience, we slowed down in time, in spirit, and in space.
Today we laughed with you as you cracked jokes and we giggled like Emma does when she thinks something is the absolute silliest. And today we listened to you.
Today I bore witness to a version of you I thought had faded long ago with all of the other pieces that have. It seemed so foreign yet so familiar; your smile and your humor. Without anyone really being able to recognize when everything started changing, I saw parts of you that never actually left.
Today your quips and your wit were top shelf, grandma. Top shelf. Your smile accentuated the beautiful porcelain skin I’ve watched age in such a remarkable way and your eyes didn’t feel so tired when I looked into them.
They were only blips, though.
Today wasn’t constant. You were both present and so lost. My heart aches when I see you sitting in your thoughts of worry and confusion. The empath within me wants to help but the introvert knows to give you that space. It’s hard to watch you feel.
Today the smiles of fifteen minutes prior felt like a lifetime ago when your eyes filled and refilled with tears the size of rain drops that you refuse to let fall.
Today I was reminded of how strong you think you need to be when it’s okay not to be. Why does anyone need to be strong; why can we not just be? Why do you have to work so hard to be silent when all you want to do is hear and be heard?
Today, for the first time in my life, I asked if you pray.
They were only blips, these slices of time in the day. Already, they’re moments turned memories that I worry we’ll remember differently, if at all.
Tonight though.. tonight I will continually pray that your prayers are heard and count every blip as a blessing.
A little over a month ago I wrote a piece about my grandma within the series “Holidaze” covering both the joys of the holiday season paired with a memory-crippling daze of confusion. If you’re up for it, you can check out that post here.
My grandma’s memory is failing her and all I want to do is go back in time to relive the moments I didn’t realize I’d come to cherish.
I’ve been struggling to find a way to write this post because I don’t know who will see it or how it’ll be received. I won’t be writing anything that isn’t true to how I feel but when writing about something as debilitating as dementia, it can be painful to read. So grandma, if you read this, I love you. We all love you.
I’m fortunate enough to have experienced the love of many grandma’s in my 31 years of life. For the first 11 years, I had two great-grandmas, two grandmas, and a step-grandma. All living. How incredible is that?
My paternal great-grandma, Agnes, passed away at the age of 87. For the last handful years of her life, she struggled with Alzheimer’s and ultimately lost that battle not remembering the people who loved her most.
That is my greatest fear, truly. To not remember.
I feel like I function off of love, don’t we all to some extent? To live a life of love to the best of our abilities all to have it come to an end so slowly taking the best memories you have with it? It sounds like a miserable, gut-wrenching, disaster.
I feel like I’m watching that happen to my grandma Darlene (Agnes’ daughter, my dad’s mom) right now. I was 11 when my great-grandma Aggie died. The memories I have of her are few but fond. I remember her entire house inside and out. I could sketch it out on graph paper right now if I wasn’t typing this. I remember the little “hiding spots” upstairs. I remember the view we saw if we came in the front door verses the back. I remember Halloween and laughter and heavy Norwegian accents.
My two favorite memories of her are the buttering of saltine crackers for a snack and her infamous phrase towards men with saggy pants asking if they had “dritt i buksa” (shit in the pants!).
I know I was there towards the end but I don’t remember it as clearly as the good times, which is probably okay. I was very young visiting her in the nursing home and I remember seeing my grandma (her daughter) upset. I don’t think I had any idea what was actually happening outside of an old women nearing the end of her time here on the physical Earth. Nothing more, nothing less.
But I now know it was so much more than that. To be loved by people you don’t recognize and to love someone who no longer knows you.
I don’t experience every day life with my grandma anymore and haven’t for well over 15 years but we do phone often. She’s nearly three hours north of here and still lives on her own in the same house she did when I went to school in Roseau. My brother Nick and I would walk to her house after school when it was nice out.
As with my great-grandma Aggie, some of my favorite memories are with my grandma Darlene. Good memories that I didn’t know were good at the time. She took pride in her garden, always a green thumb. When I was little, I just assumed gardening was easy and it took little to no energy. I found out the hard way what a joke that is when I grew up and had dabbled a bit in it myself. I’m more of a succulent gal thanks to my many failed attempts. Teach me your ways, gram.
Her rickety old swing set was another. There was nothing special about it other than it was there and so were we. I’m surprised we never swung so high that it tipped over. She’d sit at the picnic table or garden while we played. Us kids were in our own little world so much of the time and she was just there watching us enjoy life in such a blissful state. I wonder what she was thinking about during those moments.
She used to make us mac n’ cheese with hotdogs but not just regular ol’ cut up hot dogs, that’s boring. She’d cut them vertically almost to the end and spread them out like an octopus over the pile of cheesy noodles. It always made us giggle.
Grandma’s two favorite shows in life (or at least in the life I was a part of) were JAG and Jeopardy. The two J’s, so to speak. She was way better at Jeopardy than I was. I called her when Alex Trebek died last month and she’d said she hadn’t watched Jeopardy in years. I wonder when she stopped and why. I didn’t think to ask.
I’m sure I could go on for days about the things that riled grandma up or the ones that made her laugh. Just thinking about them makes my eyes swell because those moments are so far behind us and I’m afraid they are memories all my own, no longer shared by her.
A week or two ago, my grandma stayed here in Fargo with my aunt Krissy. They have a strenuous relationship and always have, I believe. It’s not difficult to see the strain. I’m fortunate enough not to know what that’s like. I can’t imagine having to sort through those types of feelings for a lifetime. But I see the hurdles they face in them both, my aunt and my grandma, or I try my best to.
My grandma wasn’t a perfect mom or grandma for that matter but who is, really? My mom recently put that into perspective when she said parents aren’t given a guidebook. They do their best with what they know or have and I try to remember that often especially when I feel put down.
I think my grandma has made comment on my weight every single time I’ve seen her throughout my life. It doesn’t sting any less now than it did when I was 8 years old. I think she’s developed tact over the years though, but maybe not. When I brought her to dinner a couple weeks back, I was telling her about the adventures I hope to go on in 2021 (pending the ‘rona of course). One of them being South Africa. On one hand, she was at a loss for words in admiration of the wanderlust spirit I have but on another hand, she was pre-emptively second-hand embarrassed for me. She made me promise that I wouldn’t travel anywhere else until I “lose a considerable amount of weight” and it breaks her heart to see me looking like I do. A promise I don’t know if I can keep, honestly. She also reminded me that it’ll be hard to find love if I look the way that I do, that it might have been better just to stay with “him” (my ex of nearly 10 years) because then I wouldn’t be alone.
I know all of that and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell myself those same things on a way-too-regular basis but I also know them to be falsities of another generation.
In moments like that, I struggle to keep the hurt feelings inside but I do. Because the affliction I see in her eyes less than two minutes later when she doesn’t know where she is is more painful than anything she’s ever said about my weight.
When she was here to visit for a week, I spent four evenings with her. We mostly reminisced about the good ol’ days of the 20th century. I asked how she met my grandpa; what kind of dates they went on and what he was like as a father in the early years. I asked about how her parents met, what her favorite memories were, and learned all about things I’d never bothered asking before.
I focused on the past because the present seems to cause so much distress in her mind. When we do circle back to the here-and-now, the tone in her voice changes from a lighthearted sparkle to one filled with melancholy and tears. She’s so weak and frail in those moments. She’s sometimes literally and figurately so lost in the present that it’s unbearable for her.
She knows it happening, her memory failing. I picture it the same way I pictured an accident I was in a few years back. I was going 60 on the interstate here in Fargo. Traffic slowed ahead of me, as did I, but the traffic slowed so abruptly that I didn’t have a chance to react in time. It all happened so fast and so slow in the same moment. It was terrifying.
That’s how I imagine my grandma feels when her memory lapses.
She’s back home now. My aunt brought her home two Saturday’s ago. At the time I didn’t know that the most painful of conversations were about to be had.
My grandma called me because she didn’t know who it was that delivered us pizza the evening before, here in Fargo. She didn’t know whose home we had been in with my cousins and brother surrounding the table and she didn’t know who brought her back to Roseau that day. It was Krissy, her daughter. She knew who Krissy was but didn’t recognize her in the flesh. She’d forgotten and it left her disoriented. She didn’t understand.
A couple months back she had called me asking to know who a couple of people were and it turns out one of them was my cousin Garrett. What followed that was a series of phone calls to me from her being in complete awe and totally perplexed as to how she could have forgotten who her own grandchild was.
That was the first time she verbalized to me that she was afraid. She’d gone through this with her mother, my great-grandma. She was nearly inaudible when she said she doesn’t want to forget my dad (her son) or me or Emma. She said doesn’t want anyone to see her lose her mind. She doesn’t want to tell her doctors. She wept when she told me she’s not ready for this.
I don’t think anyone is, grandma. I don’t think we can prepare for this.
She knows her memory is failing. It’s sporadic and random but it does seem to be more short term than long and I think that’s what makes it so much more heartbreaking, that she knows.
As someone I recently visited with said so perfectly: “It wouldn’t be 2020 if the last month wasn’t the hardest of them all.” Ouch, but true.
You might be wondering what this post has to do with my series. This post is the reason for my series; Holidaze. My grandma is currently in a daze, a state of confusion. A life of “everything seems to be fine” but then a blip occurs and it’s thrown off it’s axis.
I didn’t start this series to solely share a social-media filtered version of my seemingly perfect life because it’s so not that. I do admittingly try to focus on the good, try to only show the good but life isn’t always good. Sometimes all we want is a Wishenpoof wand to make it all better but they are in short supply this year. Everyone is trying them out on different things.
To close, I just want us all to remember where we came from, who we came from. Reflect on the parts of life that formed us into who we are today, recognize that they aren’t all going to be sunshine-y moments. The tough times shape us too. I want this to serve as a reminder to see beyond the pain that people may have caused you and try to address the pain that they have themselves. Dig deep to exhibit empathy to those you don’t understand.
I wish I could push pause and rewind on my grandma’s mind to the exact moment before her brain decided to stop working as hard. I wish I would preserve the memories for her to replay when she is feeling lost. I wish I could go back in time and prepare her heart before it was broken by the loss of a baby and ultimately a divorce. I wish I could have been there for her when she needed someone in her 80+ years of life because I see all of that now and I never had before. I just wish I could hug her and never let go.
I hope my grandma does have many years of life yet ahead of her and I hope we are able to contribute to it in the most positive of ways even if it’s from afar. I hope my niece Emma remembers her years after she’s gone and I hope she lives to see more great-grand babies of her own. I hope that I never lose the memories I have of her and I hope she finds comfort in knowing how immensely she is loved by me.
Thank you for reading. Go call your grandma (or someone you miss).
Edit: We did, in fact, swing so high the swing set tipped over! And on multiple occasions to boot. My brother’s memory has always exceeded mine. Thank you to Nick for fact-checking! :)
I never even once thought of the people I’d meet on this trip. I was like, “I’m a solo traveler within a group; everyone is going to be doing their own things.” It didn’t even occur to me that I might meet people and even more so, meet people that I could grow to adore in such a short time.
Just writing that makes my eyes swell up with tears. The people I met this week were just as incredible as Iceland is. I focused my writings a lot on the trip itself but haven’t included much about the people that I’ve met along the way; mostly for their privacy. I have some feel-good stories and many moments in my journal that I’ll keep for myself to remember them by and cherish forever. I don’t know if any of us will ever cross paths again in this life, but I hope we do. It makes my heart so warm knowing there are people in the world that have the same wanderlust spirit and taste for adventure that I do because it’s easy to forget that when surrounded by people with different desires.
G (Gunner, our tour guide) was absolutely incredible. She is so proud of her heritage and of her country. She’s kind and welcomes you warmly and she’s so consistent. She’s not “on” and you can’t see through her because she is 100% genuinely authentically incredible. There was an elderly couple on our trip that had been all over the world; 100+ countries in their time together. The last time they’d been to Iceland was 1966. My mom was one! While some of their travels over the years was for work; a lot of it was for adventure and pleasure, too. They said that our guide was one of the top 5 EVER. In the 50+ years of traveling, Gunner Rosdottir is in their top 5. Talk about a compliment and it doesn’t even do her near as much justice as she deserves.
Guys, I’m so proud of myself. Like, in the best possible way. I can’t even think about it without crying and all of these feels are the most wonderful kind.
I noticed on face book that people are posting what they looked like at the beginning of the decade and at the end; most of them glow-ups but honestly that’s only due to fashion. I reflected on this on my last jaunt of a flight home. Physically, I’m much heavier now than I was at the beginning of this decade; is that a glow-down? I’m sure I’ve learned how to do my makeup a bit better and I’ve hopefully upgraded my fashion game but so much more has changed internally for the better rather than externally.
My life is split up into a handful of segments and I don’t know if that’s normal or not. A decade ago, I was in the early years of what would become a rocky and tumultuous relationship. I was more insecure than I’d ever been in my life and thought that by loving someone harder, I could fix them. Seven years ago, I was forced to leave that relationship because my mom and brother moved me out in the middle of the night due to an explosive conversation they heard when I secretly dialed my moms number. That didn’t last. He was broken and I was the only one that could salvage what life he had left in him. Or so I thought.
He didn’t share the same sense of adventure that I had. So, five years ago, I took the first step into not waiting around anymore for my life to begin. I started traveling with my mom. I feel like my first trip with my mom, through reflection, was my first real step into gaining Independence from an abusive situation. It took me another three years before I finally left that broken relationship.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I left the man that I’d loved with every ounce of my being for nearly a decade; for my entire adult life. I don’t know if i’ll ever be able to love someone the way I did him ever again. I know I’m capable of love; I’m a lover by nature but he took a piece of me that I’ll never be able to give someone again. A love that was fueled by pain. A love that I’m not willing to go through or forfeit to anyone ever again. I want a love that will move mountains, not dig graves.
That same two years ago, I was so unbelievable lost and broken in the truest sense. I came to realize that I wasn’t a person. My entire being existed to make his life better. I didn’t have a sense of self because it died when I left. I wish I could have told that girl then what I’d be doing now. She never would have dreamed of visiting Ireland and Scotland in 2018. She never would have dared go on a solo trip to the North Shore in her home-state. She didn’t think she’d ever get to see the Grand Canyon and she never ever, in a millions years, would have guessed that she’d travel to Iceland alone. I wish I would have told that girl that she’ll get through the pain and immerse the cocoon of heartbreak stronger and more powerful than she could have ever dreamt. I’m so proud of the woman I’ve become. I’ve always been strong but I can’t get over just how strong I am. How I can do this life and do it well, all on my own.
I know that I frequently reference this period of my life; this relationship.. And while I’m not defined by it now, it did define my life and who I was in it for a third of my life. So, I think it’s okay to refer back to it because it will always be there and it’ll always be a stepping stone of chapters in my long life of book. I’m only 30. I have so many more pages to grow from.
Thank you, dear readers, for coming on this journey with me. I’ll leave you with a quote by an Icelandic Nobel Peace Prize winner. Our tour guide recited it to us on one of our magical days traveling through the land of fire and ice:
“Where the glacier meets the sky, the land ceases to be earthly, and the earth becomes one with the heavens; no sorrows live there anymore, and therefore joy is not necessary; beauty alone reigns there, beyond all demands.” – Halldór Laxness
Ahh, today we came home. A short trip but a wonderful assortment of memories that will last a lifetime. We visited the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame today. We were in a hurry before our flight so we didn’t take as much time as I’m sure is recommended but we came, we saw and we conquered. That’s what matters.
There are so many things I feel like I’ve left out. The airport and our nights on the town. The conversations we had and things we saw, the people we met. I’ll trust that my memory will hold onto those moments beyond the words that I haven’t typed. Right now, I’m exhausted but the good kind of exhausted, I suppose. I wanted to write because I haven’t written in so long. Going on trips makes me want to pick up my tablet and write everything I see. I miss writing.
I went on my first and second plane rides this week. I stayed in my first Airbnb. I saw so many beautiful things and have memories that will stay with me for years to come. I did all this with a wonderful, hilarious and kind human by my side. She puts up the toughest of fronts and she’d kill me if she ever reads this but I’m so grateful that she’s let me into her life and allows herself to let her guard down even if I have to pry it out of her. I don’t think she realizes how much this trip, this adventure, this friendship has meant to me. It’s so hard for me to let loose and relax but she makes me do it. Even though I tell myself that I have the spirit of a vagabond, I reluctantly have the mind of an organized spaz and it is so very difficult for me to stray from that.
So, if you’re reading this.. Tough as nails but secret softy, Alicia.. Thank you. Thank you for being my person this week and hopefully many more weeks to come. <3
I definitely cannot hang. My idea of a vacation and Alicia’s idea of a vacation are so far apart, they aren’t even funny. She sleeps until she wakes up, takes her time getting ready and would be cool avoiding most of the touristy spots. I, on the other hand, want to be up as soon as the suns first ray hits our faces, check out the agenda and see everything we can possibly see.
Juggling our completely opposite narratives was an act for the circus today but we managed and succeeded. Schwing! We slept the entire morning away. Apparently staying out until 3:30/4:00 AM is not something I can do on the reg. No way, Jose. Anyway, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland.
We eventually got our butts in gear and packed our day with all the things. We hit up The Melt which will cure even the worst of hangovers. The Melt was featured on Man vs. Food and Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins. You definitely get what you pay for and that in itself is even an understatement.
After a late lunch, we rushed to The Christmas Story House and toured that little block of cinematic history. I wished I’d rewatched the movie before our trip to have a more vivid recollection but it was still pretty sweet to see. We met an uncle/nephew combo, Matt and Tyler. Again, Alicia and her ability to meet people is just so foreign to me. We ended up exchanging numbers and met up with the duo later in the evening for cocktails and swapped traveling stories.
After the CSH, we decided to explore downtown Cleveland and news to us, it’s so easy to get around (aside from the damn bus lanes and lights). We didn’t realize how close everything was. We had walked around a bit the night before but if we’d just gone one street over, we would have been in a totally other, really cool, area. Lightbulb moment for sure.
We found the Worlds Largest Chandelier, walked around East 4th Street, were bombarded by a mob of graduates and made a pit stop to view Lake Erie. I’m surprised how much we were able to see in just a few hours but that’s what you get when you have two determined women making it a point to see all of the things.
Today, tonight.. all of it was something! Well yesterday was. I’m typing as if it were yesterday but I was ¾ of the way in the bag by the time the clock struck midnight..
Sunday, May 21 marks my first flight! The entire flying experience is brand new to me. No matter how much research I did and how many people I asked, I never felt at ease or like I’d gotten all my questions answered. I’ve never been afraid to fly. On the contrary, I’ve always dreamt of when I’ll get to fly. It’s just never been an option in my life until this point. We didn’t travel growing up and I’d never been afforded the opportunity until now.
But guess what? It’s a damn breeze. I could spend 45 minutes talking about every single step from the time we were dropped off in the airport to the second we got in the Cleveland Uber but I’ll spare you for now. If you’ve never flown and you’d like someone to actually tell you step-by-step what to expect, hit me up. I’d be delighted.
I do want to say though that I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a breeze it was. Maybe it’s because my personal item was basically empty and I did my research but i didn’t encounter any issues like i hear on the news. And guess the eff what? Beyond the security line, there’s a whole other world. At least in MSP there is. It’s like a damn mall. Restaurants, stores, you name it. Alicia tells me it’s not like this everywhere but it’s still pretty sweet.
The only issue I had with the flight was I felt a bit light-headed. I can’t decide if it’s because I looked down and out the window too soon or if it was the altitude. Either way, it was so surreal in the best sense. I’m sure typing this I have a weird giddy smile thinking about my first flight but so what! Better late then never!
I want to shorten this up because I’ll ramble for days.. The descent/landing is the best part in my opinion as a first time flyer. I love the feeling of heading straight for the ground at 300 miles an hour. I can’t wait to ride a rollercoaster. For real though, I could do that part all day.
After we (finally) got our Uber and headed to our FIRST ever (for the both of us) Airbnb, we took a nap. Because we are old folks.. But eventually, we got ready to take on the Cleveland night. We hit up Fan Fest for the Cavaliers vs Celtics NBA finals until we were rained out. We had hoped to scope out some celebrities but to no avail.
We ended up grabbing dinner at Winking Lizard in downtown Cleveland and walked over the City Tap for the bulk of our evening. I kind of felt like our night had started off slow. I couldn’t get into the grove of relaxing for some reason. But it ended up being a really great night.
Alicia and I have a unique relationship. We bicker a lot. Fight, whatever you want to call it.. But it’s all in good fun. She means so much to me and I consider her one of my very best friends. Even though we drive each other mad, she gets me and I get her. I wouldn’t change our dysfunctional love hate relationship for anything and tonight I felt a lot closer to her. We were able to just hang out and talk freely without the stress of life or our relationships or work in the background.
Another thing about Alicia that I should have known about by now is that she can talk to ANYONE. If it weren’t for her, I’d probably have sat in the corner sipping my colorful drink all night. I don’t know where she gets the confidence or language to talk to just about anyone. I suppose that’s what you’d classify as liquid courage. We met some cool people tonight and we stayed out way too late and had way too much fun tonight. Is that such a thing?
Do you know how many times the two of us have told people where we are going and how many times we’ve received the same “wtf” look? And how many times we’ve had to explain “wtf” we’re doing? Tickets were cheap, the Airbnb was cheap, adventure! Honestly, the second we booked the flight, we both looked at each other with the same “wtf” look we’d been getting for the past month.
I was up bright and early this morning. Up to this point in my life, I’d only been on vacations with family and Channing. I’ve never gone on a girls trip or gone anywhere for that matter with a friend. Historically, I’ve never been good with friends. I’ve just never been able to connect. I blame my social awkwardness. But that’s another story for another time. Anyway, up bright and early. Guess who wasn’t? A to the licia.
There are a lot of things different about this trip so far and it hasn’t even began. I’m a spaz planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, how I’m doing it. To the point where it’s obsessive. I’m talking Google Drive folders, spreadsheets, printed out reservations in a tidy trip labeled binder.. thatkind of spaz. With the exception of a condensed spreadsheet THAT I FORGOT IN MY CAR, I was plan-less.
We eventually hit the road and went to IKEA like every basic bitch would. I pulled a classic Ori.. filled my cart up to the brim and slowly but surely narrowed it down to six items. The cheapest of all the items of course. Whereas my shopaholic travel-mate, Alicia kept her load high and dry from the aisles stuffed with left behinds. Oh, I envy her ability to shop. It’s a problem that I need to deal with. Shop, damnit. Shop!
We were grateful enough to have landed a sweet place to stay thanks to Alicia’s college connections in life. We had dinner reservations at an italian place with her former roommate and they graciously let us crash the night in their beautiful suburbia home with a bombass deck. We didn’t sleep on the deck but we probs could have. It was cool. Tomorrow I fly!
Long time, no type. I’m fairly certain I’ve written that exact phrase before. What I’m about to write and the few posts following are a chronicled summary of the last few days. I didn’t have time (or energy) to write about my recent trip in real time so I’m pulling from the few notes I left myself. YES, I have a list of talking points in my list of lists..
About a month ago (maybe more), I was going through a weird mid-20’s thing. It wasn’t a crisis, probably more of a “damnit, I want to live more” type of a thing. After a lunch hour of complaining about everything, the men in our lives and thinking about life, my friend and co-worker sent me a chat asking if I wanted to go to Cleveland or Cincinnati. The flight was only $40 a seat each way..
Hold the door. YES! And the rest, as they say, is history.
Noticing that there are a few people in my peripheral life that are getting engaged, planning weddings, and having babies..it’s gotten me thinking. Again. I came to a very very sad realization that I won’t have the same exciting joys that they have due in part to my social circle or lack there of.
Getting married involves bridesmaids which usually include best friends and sisters, stuff like that. Planning a bridal shower, bachelorette party, spa days, dress shopping, ect. Having a baby; same thing. Best girl friends, sisters, family, and so on. A maid of honor helps plan everything. It’s one of the happiest times of your life. Your closest friend or sister throws you a beautiful baby shower.
That’s where I fall short. I don’t have that. I just don’t. The last time I had a best girl friend was in 11th grade. And my last best friend (whom of which was male) was probably four years ago. I’ve unintentionally secluded myself from the public eye of friendshiphood. Now, every time I enter a social situation, I feel awkward.
I’ve always had a tough time finding my “spot” in social circles. My peak was between ages 16 and 20. I had friends galore and was open and fun and happy. Looking back, that time in my life quickly plateaued and continuously spiraled down. There are many reasons. One of the most prominent was the period of time where my friends and I were. We went separate ways after high school. Different interests lead us into different directions. Then in college, I didn’t make a point of making many friends during the day because I already had my group of friends from work, whom of which ultimately didn’t go to college but decided to be couch surfers and content with minimum wage jobs for the next 5 years. I wish I had known this ahead of time. I love them and I cherish the memories I had with them but those kinds of friendships quickly become dead ends.
I wanted more so I did more. I moved to different cities. I got better jobs. But in order to do that I left people behind and even though it’s more of an excuse than a reason…time passed. Memories faded. People moved on. For being the 21st century, it’s not as easy to keep in touch as one might imagine. There are so many people I know that still keep in touch with high school pals or college roommates. Friends from old jobs and places in time. But not me.
I have rarely “cut ties” due to disagreements or fights. I don’t really think I’ve ever “broken up” with a friend. Things just…changed. And that brings me to where I currently am. Socially awkward and unable to make friends, I guess. I talk to people daily. I laugh, joke around, have a good time but that doesn’t mean I fit in. In each setting I constantly feel like the goose out of the flock of ducks. I just don’t fit in.
The older I get (yes I know, I’m only 24 but seriously consider it) the harder it is to make new friendships. I don’t live the college lifestyle where you meet people everywhere you turn. I don’t live the bar lifestyle where you can meet someone at the door and party the night away. I don’t meet moms at the park because I don’t have children. I don’t go to coffee shops because coffee is gross. I go to work and I come home. I go to the grocery store once a week. My hobbies include reading and doing artsy craft projects – all of which don’t involve leaving the house.
I don’t mean to be an introverted shut in, I love people. I yearn for a deep meaningful friendship. I want to go to the store with a friend and just walk around. I want to have a girls weekend and a spa day. I want to be the first one someone calls when something amazing (or terrible) happens. I want that. But I don’t have it and I don’t know where or how to get it.
I know it’s probably pity sounding but it makes me sad. It really does. I won’t have that baby shower you dream about through Pinterst boards. I won’t know the fun and memories a bachelorette party entails. I won’t have someone to call. I won’t have someone to share my deepest darkest secrets with. I won’t be that person either. I won’t be the shoulder to cry on or the maid of honor. I won’t have that “bond” that everyone should have.
I actually have never taken a spur of the moment trip at any point in my life. Until this past weekend. The last month or so has been pretty busy on the work front for my boyfriend and I so when he finally got word of a weekend off, we were definitely going to make the most of it.
Waterfalls At Falls Park
Our plans originated in the camping version of a weekend getaway. We love being by the water and in nature. Pitching a tent, building a fire, and roasting a few good ol’ marshmallows. Typical Minnesotan summertime pastime, ya know.
But guess what? After a beautiful week of 80 degree weather, it decided it was going to storm. Mreh. Change of plans I guess.
I spent Friday evening Googling some places that we’d never been and would be fun to explore for a day or two which ultimately led me to Sioux Falls. So, Saturday morning we hopped in the Rav and headed south on I-29.
Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the ride itself because I was driving and Chan isn’t necessarily photographically inclined. But my God, have you been to South Dakota? Actually, I should ask if you’ve been to eastern North Dakota.
Koi Fish & Ducks
I’ll fill you in. Where I live, it’s as flat as a piece of paper on an even level. We have to build our own hills in this area. Not even 2 minutes after crossing the ND/SD border, we saw hills galore. It’s every skiers paradise. (I don’t ski, so this is just a guess.) We were still in agriculture central so the hills were filled with acres upon acres of beautifully landscaped crops and dotted with cows roaming up and down the land. It was actually picture perfect.
The trip to Sioux Falls actually went by quick thanks to the nice scenery. We visited the city zoo which wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be but was still cool. I hadn’t been to a zoo since my 6th grade field trip to Canada so I felt like a kid again exploring the property and seeing the animals.
We also checked out a butterfly and aquamarine house at the local Sertoma park which was also pretty fascinating. The butterflies would land right on us and there were so many different kinds and colors. There was an opportunity to touch a sting ray but I kind of chickened out by that point. Maybe next time.
Falls Park, Sioux Falls, SD
The highlight of the trip was Falls Park. I don’t know the history about the park itself but there were these beautiful falls right in the center of the park. If you know anything about me, you know that I love love LOVE waterfalls. We spent a few hours there just lingering around. It was just beautiful. If you ever get a chance, head that way. It’s well worth the trip.
Have you ever taken a spur of the moment weekend trip? Where did you go? What did you do!? I’d love to hear some suggestions within driving distance of Grand Forks!
Today marks year number 6 with this gem. It’s crazy to think about the last 6 years and to see how much we’ve both evolved. The experiences we’ve shared, the moments we’ve cherished. The trials, heartache, and joy we’ve been through. Together. And most of all to see the love that is the glue that holds us together, it’s in one word, unexplainable. (If that even is a word)
I love you s’much, C.
Did you know… That we’ve been together for 6 years? That’s 73 months. Or 313 weeks.
It equals out to be 2,191 days.
Or 52,584 hours. Did you know that’s 3,155,040 minutes?! Or better yet, 189,302,400 seconds.
My completely random thought of the day occurred on the way back to work from a relaxing lunch break listening to the best of the best Afilio hits. I’m no scientist, never will be and I actually hope that extensive research has already been done but here it goes:
Alzheimer’s and/or dementia is one of those silly things that I fear. There are so many things in this world to ultimately die from or some disease to get..heart disease, ALS, tumors, cancer, etcetera. But what could be worse than literally losing your mind? Losing the memories. Losing the ability to function day to day. How to dress yourself or know who your children are. It’s absolutely debilitating.
My great grandma had Alzheimer’s. Now, I don’t know if that’s what she actually died from, I was young. But I do remember her before the onset of the disease. I don’t know when it started, I don’t even know how old I was when she died but I remember her remembering me. I remember the buttered saltine crackers she gave us every time we came over. I remember her showing us the secret hiding caves in the upstairs bedroom. I remember her clothes and her cookies.
I didn’t think about it then or even in the years since she died..about why or how she died. Recently, I’ve been thinking about memory loss because it scares me. Is it hereditary? I’m almost afraid to do the research on it but I will. There are moments where I don’t know what I want to say so I say something else instead. It doesn’t happen often, really it seems to only happen when I’m at home. The other day I asked my boyfriend to get me some ice cream and ketchup when really I meant ice cream and a spoon. Why did I say ketchup? There was no ketchup in sight. Does my brain turn it’s dial down when the door to the apartment unlocks at precisely 5:17 each week day? My boyfriend calls me out on it whenever it does happen but what’s the matter with me? Is it concerning or is my brain just not trying hard enough when I’m lounging on the couch? I know what I want to say but my voice doesn’t seem to be connected to my brain.
I kind of got into a rant there. What I’m wondering is if the science world has asked about music in relation to memory loss. I’m sure they have. They had to have, right? As I said, I was listening to “Enjoy” by Afilio on my way back to work this afternoon. As soon as that track came on it immediately brought me to the street you turn by Domino’s Pizza in Bemidji. I flashed back to the lost search for the hilly road where the concert was. It was held in some dudes garage. I remembered the damp grass and the gravel driveway. Where we parked, who we were with. I remember standing two feet away from Rob Matrious. I remember it all.
Listening to “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” by Eminem brings me back to sitting in the front seat of the car with my mom and Nick. It was in Warroad by the beach. And she told us that we better never EVER talk to her or treat her that way. That way that Mr. Mathers talked about his mom. I remember when I first heard “Without Me” at my aunt Angie’s when she had that office/scrapbooking/reading room. There was a door leading out to the backyard and the river.
Hearing the Marilyn Monroe version of “Happy Birthday” brings me back to the earliest memories of my uncle Troy singing it to me in person. For years, he’s called me on the phone. For years! But before that, when I was in young, it was in person. Maybe it was only once, I don’t know. But I remember it.
Music brings me back. I couldn’t imagine hearing a song from the past and not connecting it to something. Even the most absurd of songs; “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix A Lot,” it brings me back to the Roseau lunch room. Kristi, Alyssa, and I were sitting at a round table in the middle of the room and Kristi would recite the song word for word. She was wearing one of those velour t-shirts when they were cool.
Everything, everything can be brought back by a song, a lyric, or a beat. Can’t it?
In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock or you haven’t noticed that fish fry season has officially started, today marks the beginning of Lent. I’m not much on religious politics so I ignorantly have no idea if any other religions besides the Catholic Church participate in the observance. I would assume that most Christian foundations follow it in one way or another but that’s another topic that I’m not really interested in diving into right now.
When I was young, we were always asked what we were going to “give up” for Lent. Our answers would always be nearly the same. No pop or candy. If our parents were lucky, we’d say no TV but God himself only knows that wasn’t going to last. Not until I was in Junior High did someone ask me what I was going to “do” for Lent as in “do more of.” Until that 7th grade year of religious education, I, as a brand name obsessed tween, didn’t know that I had the choice! In my adolescent brain I’m sure I was thrilled knowing that as long as I could promise to be kinder to my brothers or take the garbage out without my mom asking that I’d be doing good for the Lenten season.
As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve come to a split realization. To some, it’s almost like a do-over for the New Years resolutions that we flopped on by January 5th. We decide to do or give up something ridiculous and it lasts until the 2nd or 3rd fish fry. And on the other hand, I see that people actually do make a point of doing their best. In the world we live in, although it’d be ideal, it’s harder than ever to actually unplug or quit cold turkey on caffeine. It’s much “easier” for lack of a better term to do more. To be better. To contribute.
The Easter season as I refer to it, is my favorite time of the year. Although I haven’t really been involved in the Catholic community since the day I was confirmed, it still is the foundation for many of the morals and memories that I hold dear to my heart. My favorite days out of the entire Catholic year were always Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday.
I don’t know if it was ambiance of Ash Wednesday or what but I always felt a sense of calmness. Walking into church at 5:00 PM on that Wednesday every year made me feel free and sinless. It made me forget about the mean kids in school or the fights with my brothers. It made me forget missing my dad because of his job or watching my mom try to breathe through the pains in the asses that we were as kids. Ash Wednesday was peaceful. From the moment we walked in and sat in the pews to the sign of the cross on our foreheads, I was reminded that there is a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit. I miss that.
And Palm Sunday, it’s the best isn’t it? I have only ever celebrated Palm Sunday in the basement of Sacred Heart in Roseau, MN except for the three years during my confirmation. The entire congregation would gather in the basement. Every single person there would receive their palms. I always wanted to be in the front so I could be hit with whatever it was in that water shaker. I always felt that whoever got wet were the ones that were the most blessed. After the moments of prayer and worship my mom would always show us how to braid our palms. We’d usually braid them into crosses or hearts. They’d be kept with us or sometimes on the calendar or near the mirror at home. To this day whenever I see a palm, I’m reminded of the happiness that the Easter season brings.
I don’t often think of the Lenten season to be one where Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and nights. I think it’s because although he sacrificed so many things for us; that we’ve always been reminded to be grateful and happy with our life. To not dwell on the hardships of the past and instead to celebrate a new future.
Reflecting back on what I’ve written and remembering some pretty special moments in my past; I know that when I have babies of my own that I will raise them with an education in religion. I’m not sure what or where it will come from. I’m not sure if we will be regular church go-ers or dive into all realms of the religions around the world but I do know one thing; I will share the kindness and importance that Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday hold in my heart.
I’ve been feeling a little uninspired lately. My last post wasn’t really about anything and this one probably won’t be much more exciting. I think it’s just because we’re literally in the dead of winter. There isn’t anything to do around here and anything worth doing doesn’t seem too appealing thanks to the insane wind-chills that we’ve been experiencing. Yes, I know. Excuses, excuses.
Last night I was trying to brainstorm something to write about and after a conversation with my boyfriend, I wondered if I should talk about phobias. But I don’t know anymore. I visited my mom today and we talked about my anxiety with snakes. A little bit about why and where it came from specifically an incident that happened a little over a year ago. Now, coming home and quietly sitting here smelling the clean aroma of our freshly washed blankets and sheets; I don’t even want to dig into the painful topic of my “phobia.”
Speaking of fresh laundered linen; I realized walking into our apartment building tonight with my laundry in tow that it somehow reminded me of fresh baked buns that my grandma always makes. This might call for a classic Girl Code #IsThatWeird hashtag but since we’re mid-paragraph; it probably isn’t necessary.
Have any of you ever read those blogs that make it mainstream? What makes them get so far ahead of others? I admit; I’m not the greatest when it comes to reading blog after blog after blog but I do occasionally take a dip and see what’s happening in the world and I find that so many of them really aren’t that spectacular. Take Perez Hilton for example: Celebrity wanna-be and his blog is full of ludicrous bullshit. I find myself mostly geared toward travel type blogs and food critics. I think I like them more because I find them more realistic and dream worthy.
Speaking of dreams, whenever I go home to visit my mom I find myself day dreaming a lot more which I love. Today we brainstormed destinations and/or mini-vacations. We looked at our local flight options and talked about how cool it’d be to go on an Amtrak. It might sound a little silly in the year twenty-fourteen but other than “on the road” with my dad; neither of us have really been anywhere far let alone an airplane or a train.
Why does traveling seem so scary? It’s probably more of a nervous thing over any other feeling. Nervous that the flight might be cancelled or if there are weight restrictions. Nervous about finding our way around or experiencing as much as we can wherever we’re at. I think we’re at a slight learning curve when it comes to traveling. The great thing though is that we both are determined to go somewhere sometime soon.
Driving home tonight I was imagining walking around Chicago or New York City. I imagined going for a swim on a Lake Havasu beach or flying over the Grand Canyon. I smiled at the adventure we could have during Mardi Gras in New Orleans or the breathtaking peacefulness of a week in Hawaii.
Where do you want to travel to? What was your first “vacation” like? Was it a dream come true or did you experience problems? Did you go through a travel agency or just wing it? Looking for some feedback tonight, lets here it!