Paying. Forward.

Not too often does reading a blog post change my life – usually, if I’m lucky, it’ll give me a tip or two, provide me with a new way of thinking, but, life changing? Rarely.

That was not the case a few months ago when I read a blog post written by a wonderful woman I’m proud to call friend, Lisa Kay Tate. She related that she (if I remember the story correctly) had borrowed a car belonging to a relative. When she went to pull the sun visor down, she was showered with dollar bills. Upon asking, she learned that this family member made the habit of keeping a few dollar bills in his car so that whenever he’d see one of those homeless people holding a sign on a street corner asking for help, he could pass along a buck or two.

“Wow.” I thought, a bit ashamed of myself. On any given day I’d see at least one person holding a sign asking for “anything – anything helps” and usually, I’d avert my gaze, fumble with my cell phone or possibly think something like “you chose your circumstances” or something less charitable about what my “donation” would actually go to.

But, we’re not supposed to direct where our gift goes, are we? Any more than we have the right to tell the barista at the local coffee shop how he or she should spend their tip that we leave them. We’re called to share. Period.

More than many people on the planet, I know firsthand what it’s like to be at your lowest ebb. I cried out for help almost a year ago and people from around the globe reached out and rushed to my aid. With enough generosity that I was able to spend the last three months of my husband’s life with him 24/7 and not have to worry about medical bills or keeping the lights on and was able to keep a roof over our heads.

So, after reading Lisa’s column, I began what is now my tradition as well – I keep a few dollar bills in my sun visor to hand out. An irregular regular sign-holder at a nearby intersection was the first recipient. I’ve spotted him on a number of occasions, in all sorts of weather. Always there, smiling, with his dog.

His name is Jesse, I learned on one especially long light at the intersection, and his dog is Koko. He’s fallen on hard times and is seeking work. On days when he’s fortunate enough to find day-labor stuff, he’s not there. Over the past several months, I’ve maybe given him enough of my extra dollars to pay for a room at a seedy motel for the night, buy a hot meal and some food for Koko.

But for the goodness of people out there, and for grace, there I would be also.

My hopes are that in some way, I’ve helped ease his burden a bit. But honestly, it’s eased mine too. Paying it forward as I can, when I can is good for my soul.

So, a belated thanks to Lisa Kay for opening my eyes, and my heart. Now, for me, “homeless” has a face, a name, and a dog… as well as a few crumpled dollar bills.



In the Scriptures, “Tetelestai” was the last utterance of Christ on the cross. Loosely translated from the Greek “τετέλεσται”, it means “It is finished”, complete, done.

I’m going to let theologians debate the scriptural significance of Tetelestai – I’m using it here as a metaphor.

On this day after Good Friday (and on the same day as that darned giraffe finally gave birth to her calf), there is an awful lot that seems “finished”. I’m going into this Easter holiday looking around our little house at all of the projects my late husband finished. He painted every wall in our home, every cabinet in the kitchen, laid the concrete block pathway to the driveway, constructed the shed in the backyard, crafted all of the hanging light fixtures and the track lighting in my office, built my computer and the desk that I sit at, and built the fence that surrounds our yard, protecting both the dogs and me.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

It’s almost a time-line, really, of the worsening of his plethora of illnesses – the grandiose projects that he completed when we first moved in – so full of energy, so many dreams. The projects got smaller and simpler as his health waned, and then stopped completely when simply breathing and moving became project enough for him. At first, we’d joke about it. “It’s a two hour project” he’d say, and I’d respond “See you next Thursday then, right?” because simple projects took longer, but they still got done. As the years passed, many of the smaller projects became my domain – with him “supervising” of course. But the unspoken truth was that he’d never again do “the guy things” around the house.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

I have been looking through albums of our fly-fishing trip to the San Juan river – one of our last escapades before his condition rendered us tethered to places that were in easy access of a cell phone signal at first, then later to a hospital.

So much finished – a testament to him as much as to us… Tetelestai. It is finished.

The hard drive in computer he built for me crashed the day before he went into the hospital for what would be his last procedure. He’d replaced it and the power supply countless times before, with an ease that still amazes me when I dare contemplate the mess of wires and parts – but this time, he and I both knew he wouldn’t be able to repair it. “Get a new computer” he said. I agreed. There would be no more repairs, no more tinkering, no more projects. We both knew, but it was somehow a dramatic punctuation mark to his decline.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

And, in many ways – the disease process that sapped him of his strength, ate away at his heart, his eyesight, his kidneys, his liver – is now finished too. He told me candidly about six months before we raced him to the emergency room for the last time, that for the last three years he’d been in nearly excruciating pain every single day.

So, the fear, the anger, the kitchen table that looked like a pharmacy with the dozens of prescriptions he had to take each and every day, and yes – the pain – Tetelestai. It is finished.

And yet, the bathroom is still three-quarters of the way done… (His massive tiling project was halted by his illness before it could be completed), the long hoped for trips to Branson, Missouri and Tombstone, Arizona never happened.

The remainder of my life is still unfinished (possibly three-quarters of the way done at this point, but, unfinished). My plans have been irretrievably altered of course – and the old dreams, I’m sure, will be supplanted by new ones. But, incontrovertibly – my old life….

Tetelestai. It is finished.

The Need For Screed

As I was sipping another cup of coffee in quiet silence, I was doing some serious thinking this morning. You know, all in all, life in JudiLand is pretty good right now. Well, with the exception of the whole “being a widow at too young of an age” sucky part – things are going smoothly.

I’ve been blessed with enough (and at times more than enough) work to keep me occupied, keep the lights on and allow me to continue to whittle down what seemed to be a never-ending stream of final medical bills from hubby’s death almost six months ago. The book is selling well and I’m honored that so many have responded to my BOGO offer (buy one, and I’ll donate one to a women’s shelter). These days, I’m working on a cookbook and one other lengthy tome hopefully for later this year.

The smiles are starting to outweigh the tears, save the increasingly rarer occasions when something shows up out of the blue and catches me off guard. The weather, as is common in Colorado, is getting warmer – the grass is starting to grow and I’m noticing leaves emerging on the trees.

With all of the “Happy-Ness” going on, I’ve also found myself spending less and less time on Twitter.

I started out tweeting as a primarily political response back in 2009. Immodestly, I’d like to say that I was pretty ding dang darn good at it, too. If I wasn’t the Queen of Snark, I was most certainly her heir apparent.

Looking back, I think I hit my apex of peak snarkiness during the height of the primary season. And that period of time coincided precisely with my husband’s worsening health. I’m certain that any psychoanalyst would have a field day matching up my most venom laden tweets with momentous dates in hubby’s illness. In fact, some of my cruelest barbs are directly relatable to my time spent sitting in hospital waiting rooms or the receipt of yet another panic inducing diagnosis. My Internet rage was my outlet for feeling helpless and my way of dealing with the all too certain realization of my fear that the love of my life was not going to grow old with me, but was instead going to abandon me in the most permanent way possible.

So, I retreated to the quasi-anonymity of Twitter, lashing out and dishing out succinct venom filled spitefulness at any poor soul who ran afoul of my political leanings at the moment. Worse, I found myself joining in on “piling on” of whomever became the “target du jour” of roving bands of Twitter-meanies. I took several breaks from tweetdom once I realized that I was getting meaner just to clear my head.

To be sure, I became acquainted with some of my dearest new social media buddies on Twitter. I’m honored to have crossed the paths with some brilliant folks who write stellar political commentary (on both sides of the aisle, I might add). That they’ve continued to hone their passions and their skills, and are no-holds-barred takers on of political discourse is something I greatly admire about each of them.

In the two months prior to his passing, I’d already found myself the beneficiary of the good that social media has to offer – people from far and wide reached out to help, offered prayers, emailed me with advice – and innumerable wonderful people contributed to funds that helped me to spend every moment of the final nearly three months of Sid’s life caring for him full time without having to worry about the work I was losing.

And, on October 21st of 2016, the previously unthinkable happened. That was the night that my husband died. Strangely, in the days and weeks that followed, my rage and my anger died as well.

Some of it was resurrected in January over the shabby treatment of a beloved family member – but because that was a situation that was “fixable”, the fierce intensity of vexation that I held before was gone.

Please don’t get me wrong here. If the current (or future) political climate is your thing, if it is your all consuming raison d’etre – more power to you – and blessings upon you. My passions just happen to lay elsewhere now.

As a result, I’ve retreated to my original social media home – FaceBook – where I long ago decreed that there would be no politics on my page. None. In my FaceBook universe, I’m blessed with close, wonderful longtime buddies on both sides of the aisle – and I refuse to be “put in the position” of having to choose loyalties. No longer “having a dog in the hunt”, I’m more than happy to leave discussions of whatever the current knicker knotting political crisis of the day is to folks who are far more eloquent than I. Plus, I’m relatively certain that my blood pressure is lower now that I no longer have the Need For Screed.

So, in the ultimate “It’s Not You – It’s Me” fashion – my time on Twitter is limited (never fear – the once in a while mild snarkiness will probably still happen). I’ll still check in from time to time, but now that life is calmer and happier – I don’t feel the “pull” to go there, with the notable exception of sharing my blog (like this one) or the latest information on my book. If you want to join me for happy, occasionally uplifting, sometimes funny posts, (and yes – that includes recipes and animal videos), feel free to send me a friend request on FaceBook or just keep following my blog.

See you ‘round the InterWebs!

Twists and Turns

Hello Blog! We haven’t seen each other for a while, eh?

Well, time to catch up.

The last time I blogged, it was with some excitement on a planned trip to DC.

And….it didn’t happen.

Yep – I walked away from a once-in-a-lifetime chance at the big shindig in DC.
However, I also walked away from a buttload of stress and BS.
After the last several weeks (more like the last six months really) of one-fricking-thing-after-another and *way* more drama than this mama needs recently, everything that could possibly go wrong on one trip collided and resulted in me walking out of the airport, collecting my bags and going home to the dachshunds instead of flying off into the wild blue yonder.

And – it was the best, most emotionally satisfying decision I’ve made in many moons.

I’m now armed with the knowledge of exactly what my BS tolerance level is (pro tip: not very high), and ready for the next chapter.

To that end…

This March 29th will mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of my grandmother.

We called her Nina. Don’t know why, perhaps she was one of those women who loathed the thought of being called “Grandma” – possibly it was my mangling of words when I was a toddler and it stuck – but Nina it was.

Nina had been a nurse in Pueblo, Colorado until she retired. A few years after that, she moved in with our family and lived with us until she passed away many years later.

She doted on her grandchildren – and, as the oldest I, of course, got the first doting.

She hand made the most beautiful dresses for me when I was a wee one and, as I got older, her sewing talents even extended to my Barbie doll. That doll was the epitome of haute couture.

Nina adored us. All of us. And how that woman managed to do what she did for us on her tiny pension amazes me to this day. She got front row seats to take me to see Van Cliburn and Liberace at the Broadmoor Hotel when I showed an interest in playing piano.

I remember so many things about Nina – how much she adored the color purple, how she enjoyed a nip of blackberry brandy on cold winter nights, the way she whistled softly while she was sewing. I also remember her hands – gnarled with age, joints stiffened from arthritis – wise woman hands. The hands of one who had lived and done so much, created so much. Even toward the end of her amazing life, she kept doing as much as she could do – only much slower.

When I told her that I was going to be attending CSU to study journalism, she couldn’t contain her pride – she was positive that her granddaughter was going to be the next Nellie Bly.

As fate would have it, I didn’t graduate with a journalism degree – and instead went on to a short stint in the world of broadcasting at KRDO radio and later KRDO TV.

And the twists and turns of life eventually led me in a direction as far removed from journalism as could be.

As I re-discovered my passion for writing recently, the twists and turns of life have emerged again. A few weeks ago, I woke up and noticed that my hands ached. And, worse, I had huge “knots” on some of my finger joints.


Arthritis runs in our family, so I began searching RA treatment options and – every single one of them are kidney killers. Not interested. Thank you.

So, at the tender age of NunyaBusiness, I’m now learning that it takes me all day to do what I used to do all day.

And that’s okay.

The blogs will be a bit fewer and farther between.

It’s going to take me longer to get the next few books put together.

And it is in some esoteric way physical reinforcement of my newly discovered low BS tolerance level.

I’m no longer accepting things that are beyond both my emotional and physical comfort.

I’m saving my stamina for things I deem truly important. (Yet another pro tip: There are a whole bunch of things that don’t meet that criteria).

So the next chapter?

I have no clue. It’s waiting to be written still. I am just going to enjoy my newly found slower tempo and, yes, my wise woman hands for now.

And maybe have a nip of blackberry brandy. For Nina. And for me.


Leavin’ On A Jet Plane

Allow me to preface this with the admission that I am not a big fan of either flying or lying.

So, it is with some trepidation that I am embarking on a journey that will require me to not only fly, but has (as life is wont to do) also revealed some, shall we say, half truths.

In every sense of the word, I’m the consummate control freak. I’d rather drive than ride. Never been a big fan of being herded through lines, and most certainly don’t appreciate being told what I can and cannot take (or, for that matter, where I can and cannot smoke – but that’s a matter for another blog).

In fact, the last time I flew was nearly a decade ago and I still have memories of the crowded uncomfortable plane, the rude airport personnel and the pervasive feeling of being trapped.

But, I was presented with a golden  opportunity to visit a place I’d never been to, network, and, most importantly, to finally meet some people I’ve only interacted with online until now.

Plus, did I mention that I haven’t had a vacation in forever?

So, I jumped at the chance.

Over the past month, I’ve had occasion to spend a great deal of time with my nanogenerian father in law (subject for yet another blog. Gee, I’m going to be busy). Like many 90-somethings, his hearing has seriously deteriorated. Until I was finally able to talk him into getting hearing aids, I nearly lost my voice from having to speak loudly enough for him to hear me.

He had developed “selective listening” as a result of his hearing loss. Conversations and words that he deemed important were the ones he’d pay extra attention to. But, he missed a lot in the interim.  By only hearing what he wanted to hear, little details were overlooked.

I’m reminded that we all do that to a degree. In a way, we overlook little details that we deem unimportant because our focus and our attention is on what we want to hear.

That leaves us vulnerable (for lack of a better word) to those who would only offer tantalizing bits of information to paint a rosy picture that we’ll gladly sign on to – because they’re telling us mostly what we want to hear. And being so giddy over a few buzzwords induces us to agree wholeheartedly without asking some pointed questions first.

How many times have we been admonished to “look before you leap”? Perhaps we should add “listen” to that maxim.

And another old saying (while we’re at it): “if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is”.

Miscommunication (and flying) aside, I’m excited at the opportunity to meet so many of you face to face.

And…I promise to listen.

Houseplants, crustaceans, and changes

So this morning, I was watering my plants. (Big excitement for New Years Day, eh?).

I’m righteously proud of them.

One of them is an arrowhead vine that was my mother’s – it started life in a terrarium, and, many decades later, is still gracing my kitchen.

In addition to that beauty, I also have two philodendrons, a snake plant, a schefflera, an asparagus fern, a red geranium and a pothus.

Over the years, between my judicious pruning and the benefit of a southern exposure, they’ve thrived. Until now. All of my babies have outgrown their pots.

They’re cramped. Some leaves are drooping (much like mine – but let’s not go there, shall we?)

They’re letting me know in plant talk that they’re uncomfortable.

So, it’s soon going to be time to move my crew into more spacious quarters before they become rootbound and wither away.

My foliage predicament reminded me of the lobster story I saw in a video not too long ago.

Lobsters have a wonderful exoskeleton, their shell protects them from harm, from predators, and generally allows them to cruise the ocean like badasses.

But, it seems that lobsters cannot grow any larger than their shells allow them to. There comes a time (many times actually) in a lobster’s life, when the very shell that has served as their barrier to harm, now constricts the very growth they need.

They become uncomfortable. That’s their “clue” that it’s time to change.

So, they seek the protection of a rocky outcrop and unceremoniously shed their shell. (Or maybe they do an intricate shell-shedding dance. I don’t know, people – I’m just offering a summary of events here).

This shell-less period lasts for who knows how long, but they eventually emerge from their hiding place bigger, stronger and once again celebrating their badassed-ness in their underwater world.

And the parallels to my own life are not going unnoticed.

Lately, I’m feeling cramped.



I’ve been pruned (ever so apparent once stepping out of a bubble bath – but let’s not go there either, shall we?), I’ve been restricted, and it might be time for some shell shedding here.

Perhaps it’s time for me to locate a rocky outcrop, or just be replanted somewhere more spacious.

To paraphrase an oft repeated saying – there are three types of people – those who seek change, those who have change forced upon them and those who sit in the corner wondering what the heck just happened.

Either way, I sense some big changes coming in this new year.

Bright Spot

Just as I was seeking suitable objects to gouge the eyes out of 2016, immolate it and send it off to blazes, I saw a post this morning reminding us of the good things in 2016.


My temper tantrum can wait, I suppose.

The poster was right, you know.

Yes, there was indeedy do a lot wrong – a whole lot wrong with 2016. But, I’ve never been a fan of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – and the end of this year is no time to start.

So – what went right? Moreover, how do I find the bright in so much sorrow?

Well, the “big event” in JudiLand, as my friends and followers know all too well, was the loss of my husband. He passed away three months (precisely to the day, in fact) after he was handed his “death sentence” by the doctors.

Three months can either seem like an eternity or a second, depending on your viewpoint. I tried so hard to stretch them into an eternity. I was afforded the “luxury” (if you want to call it that) of the realization that his time remaining on earth was going to be short. I got to say I love you countless more times than before. Unlike those who have lost loved ones suddenly in an accident, a murder, a tragedy – I, we, were given “advance warning”. I took the opportunity I was given to love him harder, stronger than I ever had. I was blessed, yes blessed by a community of caring souls who allowed me to devote each second of his final days to his care without concern for keeping a roof over our heads.

But, in retrospect, three months passed faster than a comet. Did I do enough? Love enough? Make up for any real or imagined slight that may have occurred in the previous two decades? I’d promised him when we met that I’d love him for as long as I had him and I’d always try to make him smile. All I am left with now is the hope that he knew, even in his unimaginable pain the last few years of his life, that he was the sun that my world revolved around. I’ll flatter myself by thinking that he did, but I will always wonder if I could have done more.

Also, in those three months and the months afterward, I learned a valuable lesson – death truly does bring out either the very best or the very worst in people. Support poured in from the most unlikely of places, and duplicity, avarice and downright hatefulness also surfaced in people and places previously unimaginable. The entire year, in fact, was an unmasking if you will – of people who talk the talk but aren’t willing to walk the walk as well as a revelation of who the people are that you truly know who you can count on in even the darkest of times.

Things that seemed earth shaking half a year before suddenly lost their importance. And fear has now become a commodity that lost a lot of its power. In a conversation with my sister a month after hubby’s death, I confided that I thought what was “holding me back” from completing the book was fear. She stopped me in my tracks and pointed out that I had just had my husband die in my arms as I was trying to save him, and, “After that – what the hell do you have to be afraid of?”


Hard truth.

And the swift kick in the posterior I needed to move forward.

I had faced the end of the world – the end of his world, and the world we knew together anyway – and yet, I was still here.

There is an Irish blessing that says, in part:

“I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses, not that you might never need regret, nor that you should never feel pain.

No that is not my wish for you.

My wish for you is: That you might be brave in times of trial, when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.

When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed; when hope scarce can shine through.

That every gift God gave you might grow along with you.

And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.

That you may always have a friend who is worth that name, whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness. Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.

One more wish I have for you: That in every hour of joy and pain, you may feel God close to you.

This is my wish for you and all who care for you.

This is my hope for you now and forever. “

I’ll add to that – I wish for you the necessary kicks in the posterior, administered as needed, whenever you stop for too long overthinking or fearing your next move forward.

I wish for you the clarity of discernment without too much attendant pain, so you can navigate through people and situations that do not have your best interests at heart.

I wish for you wide eyed wonder and gratitude at the small miracles that are presenting themselves to you each day, and not only the wisdom for you to see them, but the will to seek them out – especially on cloudy gloomy days.

At the end of a most challenging year, I’ve found friends who are truly worth that name, who have stood with me in defiance of the storms and who have helped me be brave in times of trial.

In 2017, I hope to give the gift of joy to all of you in return.

But 2016 still sucked scissors.



A somewhat recent addition to my FB friends “unfriended” me last night after I repeated my plea for no political comments on my wall. Unlike Twitter, which was my political butt-kicking stomping ground for many moons, FaceBook has always by design been my apolitical refuge.

Someone had posted a politically tinged comment to an innocuous status of mine. The “unfriender” responded with a long mean screed questioning not only the first commenter’s political preferences, but calling him a few choice names in the process.

My request:

“Quick public service message. I dearly love and adore each and every member of my FB family. In these many moons, my friendships have managed to span the gamut of all political parties as well as several countries. So, my Facebook has become sort of a mini UN (without the yucky connotations, thank you.)
Especially after the events in my life the last several months, I’m not interested in rehashing contentious political happenings nor do I want to have to referee squabbles of anything more weighty than Star Wars vs. Star Trek.
Each one of you mean more to me as human beings and beloved friends. Your political viewpoints aren’t even on my radar and I’d like to keep it that way.
Please let me just love you guys for you.




Looking at this person’s time line, in a brief (very brief, I might add) contemplation to send another friend request (I didn’t) – I discovered that it’s one hate filled, anger filled post after another. I had no clue that someone could feed such negativity and hostility day in and day out.

As I was pondering that decision (and yes, I do ponder), hours later I got a DM from a long time FB buddy thanking me for all the smiles and love throughout the last year.
It had been a rocky, emotional twelve months for her with more critically serious health problems than I’d like to recount.
That one message put “the year that was” into sharper perspective for me.

I’m reminded of the round (a canon perpetuus or infinite canon if you will) that I learned ages ago: “Make New Friends, but Keep the Old. One Is Silver and the Other’s Gold” where everyone began singing the same lyrics only at different intervals.

Those words have been playing in my head this morning.

You’ve all entered my life at different intervals, and yet we’ve created a harmony of sorts that is meaningful and beautiful.

Yes, I still FaceBook. It’s what we old farts do, for Pete’s sake.

Conservatively, I’d estimate that perhaps as many as a hundred of my FB friends are all literally facing life or death health crises. Cancer, kidney failure, heart disease, amputations, multiple sclerosis. Hundreds more have suffered an unspeakable loss in their lives recently. Some of my friends handle it with grace and aplomb, some bitch to high heaven. And I love, yes, love each and every one of them.

There are far too many who did not make it through 2016 to greet the New Year with me. And I’m sadly certain that many more won’t be around to ring in 2018. Some other new friends, and some old ones as well unfortunately, have seemingly chosen to base their friendships on superficiality. Those are the ones who won’t be accompanying me into next year either through their own volition or mine.

But the rest of them – they’re my precious jewels. For the past 10 years, I honestly have made it my mission to find something, to say something, to share something that I think might bring a smile to someone’s face – and to share at least one thing like that every day. I realize I’m not curing cancer or bringing world peace – I’m just trying to make our shared journey through the cosmos a little less unpleasant. And in the end, that’s really all I can do.

Other than a smattering of quasi-political tweets, I’m shifting my focus on Twitter as well. Admittedly, I was knee deep in the mud slinging during the campaign and, it was draining. That level of outrage, that seething anger (okay, some damned funny snark, too) is unsustainable for me.

Sorry peeps. I cannot “do” the hate anymore. If the worst thing in your life is politics, God love you – you’re blessed to have only that weighing on your psyche.

Also no longer welcome in 2017 are negativity, doubt and gossip (unless it’s really juicy and salacious). (JK).

In my introspection of the Year-That-Was-a-Dumpster-Fire, I’ve come to the conclusion that we hate 2016 because in the end, it challenged our beliefs; it stripped bare our hypocrisies; and it ultimately forced us to confront our own mortality.

But I’ve also found something to love from the Year That Sucked Scissors – amazing bits of joy and comfort from my myriad acquaintances on social media. The shared humanness, the compassion, the concern – that’s what I want to hold on to ever so tightly as we face a new year, a new beginning.

I choose to have the positive, the hopeful, the compassionate and yes, the silly/funny accompany me into 2017. I’d be honored to have you join me.

Honey, I’m home.

My self imposed hiatus was a surprise to me, too.

A few things had been set in motion that all came together, however and the gut punch that I really thought I’d successfully dodged for weeks now finally hit. It brought me to my knees and then smacked me a few more times while I was down for good measure.

Although I’d already made and communicated my plans to go solo on Thanksgiving and accepted an invitation from my sister for Christmas, I found out that two much loved family members had been abandoned on Christmas (and one on Thanksgiving AND Christmas) by the very people that I had wrongly assumed would make sure they weren’t alone on those days. That brought me some pangs of guilt, despite my assertions to myself that “this is no longer my circus nor my monkeys”.

After making it through the holiday relatively unscathed, I got the brilliant idea the day after Christmas to make a prime rib, using my beloved math method, and photographing every step from start to finish for a future blog, or perhaps for the cookbook I’m still threatening to write.

Hubby and I were married on the 26th. It had been our tradition to say “Happy Anniversary” to each other on the 26th of each month. That should have been yet another warning sign, or at least a nudge to perhaps do my cook-a-rama on another day.

I unstopped a lovely Cabernet for the base of the au jus. Probably shouldn’t have had a glass of it, but – well, you know. And, before the rib was scheduled to emerge triumphantly from the oven, I pulled out the carving set.

I’d bought that carving set for hubby just before our second Thanksgiving. We even joked when I gave it to him that “Today, you are a man”. But, dang – he took his carving duties to the next level. Seriously. He watched videos, read articles and perfected the art of carving a turkey into perfect slices so beautiful that they could grace the cover of a magazine as opposed to looking like pulled pork. Likewise with hams and, of course, prime rib.

Only this year, he wouldn’t be here to ooh and ahh nor to carve beautiful slices of the delectable roast. That, like so much else, is now my domain.

I’d already figured that I would at least need a day to “decompress” after the Christmas weekend.

So there I sat.

In my self-imposed solitude, I cried harder than I think I’ve ever cried – accompanied with deep, chest shaking wails of anguish for what seemed like an eternity. In a valiant attempt to spare my friends and followers any potential messages from someone crying in their eggnog while they’re celebrating family and friends, I quickly posted a “taking time off” blurb on FaceBook and Twitter and went back to weeping.

Every time I thought I was out of tears, more would show up. Makeup gone. Dogs trying to lick away my sorrow. Prime Rib timer slowly counting down.

I read somewhere long ago that tears are cleansing, that they’re meant to wash away the pain. As a card carrying woman, I’d long ago learned the value of a good cry – but this was soul rattling. The tears somehow helped to drive out some of the demons I’d been suppressing in my futile attempts at bravado.

Somehow, I managed to get the rib out of the oven in time and take pictures of the final product. I even had a slice – and toasted hubby with my glass of Cabernet, although my slices weren’t nearly as picture perfect as his would have been. But, you know, that’s okay.

My life isn’t as picture perfect as I’d hoped it would be, either – but after a healthy cry (one of many more to come, I don’t doubt), it’s not all gloom and doom.

And, I’ve realized that in my little online world, I have many, far too many, friends and acquaintances who are hurting too. As evidenced by the recent stream of celebrity deaths, and by the posts and tweets of people I hold so dear, I am not the only one trying to “fake it till I make it” through this first holiday that we find ourselves abandoned. None of us had throngs of people to mourn with – most of us had no news reports of our loved ones’ passing – and yet, our hurt is just as real, just as earth shattering, just as painful.

My online family has been my lifeline. It must have been the Cabernet talking when I said I’d be taking 6 days off. You’ve been here for me – I’m going to be here for you. So, gentle readers – I’m back. Dusting off the Boomities and prepping the Friday Bum Dance – but I’m back.

I’m looking forward to hopefully sharing wonderful things in 2017 in somewhat of a penance for all the crap we shared in 2016.

The book – oh my gosh – the book (“How The *Bleep* Did You Find Me?”) (Ahem – available on – is selling and garnering great reviews.

Yes, there will probably be at least one or two, and maybe three, more books.

I’m making travel plans for the new year, and with them, I truly hope to meet so many of you and give you in person the hugs that have had to be internet based to this point. The part of my message that said “See you in 2017” is going to become as much of a reality as I can make it.

The rib was delicious.

The Christmas decorations are being packed away for next year.

I’m going to have to buy more makeup.

Thank you for “the cup of kindness yet” – let’s make this a Happy New Year.

I love you all.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot…

Everyone else is doing their year-end “2016 Was The Year That Was…” and/or their  “Resolutions for the New Year” shtick this week, so I shall be no exception, I suppose. (I think it’s in the blogger’s bylaws or something).

2016. You started out with such promise, darn you.

You took me down some paths and on a journey I never anticipated taking quite this soon.

And yet, for all the heartache, for all the loss, I shall most likely someday look back on you as a most important year.

I think I’ve lost count of the people who’ve told me in one way or another that I’ve been inspirational to them this year. Most assuredly, I did not set out to be an inspiration. Please know that I chose to share hubby’s battle, our struggle, and, ultimately, my grief in a most public fashion. I’m honored, humbled and constantly amazed at the overwhelming outpouring of support, prayers and love from around the world that I, that we, received.

You know, I started the year fancying myself as a new member of the snarky political blogging set. But events conspired to suck the snark right out of me. In the waning days of the year, I find I can no longer sustain the anger, give voice to the outrage, continue the acrimony, maintain the knots in my knickers over all things politic.

When you’ve gone through hell and back with a loved one only to lose him forever, things that once got your adrenaline pumping suddenly lose their import. Hugs and love to those of you who are fortunate enough that the current state of affairs is your most pressing concern. Once you’ve truly seen “the end of the world”, hysterical pretenders to the throne are just that.

What I can give voice to, what I can focus on are the truly common threads between each and every one of us.

The first post on my FaceBook feed this morning was an anguished prayer from a friend crying out to God and beseeching Him for a few more days with his critically ill son. As I continued to scroll, the second post I stopped on was from a beloved friend relating how she had shared coffee with some neighborhood construction workers on a cold wintery day.

I tweeted this morning “I think at our core we all want peace. We love our families, our friends & we want them to be well and safe. We just disagree on the ‘how’.” To me that is more true now than ever. So, gentle readers, at the end of this most tumultuous year, my resolutions are:

To take more breaths.

To distance myself from toxic people and situations.

To appreciate those who have contributed to my life, who have freely given me so much love, so much comfort and yes, even joy even more.

To search as diligently as I can for those common bonds between all of us – and to celebrate each one.

To cherish even more deeply each and every one of you.

I wish you peace.

I wish you love.

Here’s hoping (yet again) for a Happy New Year.