Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Performance Anxiety

I think I have a mild case. See, much of the time, I sit down to blog, then decide I want to open up other people's blogs and read those first. Then, after having immersed myself in the wit and wisdom of my blog roll, I seem to have little motivation left for crafting my own missives.

Woe is the writer's blocked blogger, right? Maybe if I make an effort to write something before I dive into the depths of my blog list, maybe I'll get off more than a weekly post? We'll see.

Meanwhile, if you come here seeking entertainment and are sorely disappointed (more than usually, that is), perhaps you should check out my blog roll, too. Clearly, there's some addicting stuff in there. I highly recommend Dooce (but doesn't everyone?), The Frozen Icarus, Private Secret Diary, and Camels & Chocolate. Just be forewarned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Peep this Historical Awesomeness

Love it. From the estimable xkcd. And the alt-text is pretty sweet, too: "Stephen Douglas actually died soon after the debates and election, but if you demand historical accuracy in your web comics you should be reading Hark! A Vagrant." If you want to read Hark! A Vagrant, which is also awesome, here you go! Don't say I never gave you anything. ;)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Miles to go . . .

Oy, I'm tired of driving. Since the 5th of the month, I've been up to my parents' house (80 miles & 1.75 hours from Portsmouth) three times and down to my hometown (60 miles & 1 hour from P'mouth) three times. I've also been down to my new job (31 miles & 35 minutes) on not-normally-working days twice. In summation, I've been driving a lot.

In addition, The Boy and I have weekend plans for the next three weekends that are not in Portsmouth, so there's no end in immediate sight. Ah well, what can you do? It's nice that we have so many people to see and things to do, I guess.

Just wish they all were closer to us, or us to them. ;)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Goodbye to Gramma

(My gramma and poppa on their honeymoon in the Poconos, 1950s)

My grandmother's wake and funeral were this week. As always happens when there's a death in the family, we were lucky enough to be surrounded by the love and support of our dear friends and extended family. After the wake, The Boy said to me, "There were so many people! And you knew them all! I kept expecting someone to be a random person, but you knew who they all were!" :) I really don't know how we'd get through these things if it were not for all of them. If any of you are reading, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

At the memorial service on Wednesday, my father did an amazing job speaking about his beloved mother and leading the service. My mother, sister, and I also got up to the podium and tearfully spoke about my wonderful grandmother, Alma Mae Wood Fraser. Here is what I said (edited slightly for Internet consumption):

"I’ve struggled with what I wanted to say today. On one hand, what do you say about someone who seems to have been taken from us too quickly? On the other hand, what do you say about a woman who faced an approaching end and calmly came to terms with it?

But I’m an historian and so, I did what historians do – I did some research. And I stumbled across a quote by a French Jesuit priest and paleontologist named Teilhard de Chardin. He said, “We struggle against death with all our force, for it is our fundamental duty as living creatures to do so. But when, by virtue of the state of things, death comes, we experience that paradox of faith that causes us to abandon the struggle and affirm death as part of a greater plan for the universe as a whole. To love life so much, and to trust it so completely that we can affirm it even in its final act....this is [an] attitude that can calm and fortify us. The end is to love extravagantly the life that is greater than any one of us, seeing our own death as a physically necessary passage toward union with a greater wholeness.”

In the end, Gramma did just that. She bravely acknowledged that her life had been full and wonderful and that the next step was to move on to life's final act. And so she did - peacefully and with a grace all her own. She courageously drew aside the curtain and took her leave of us. And her serenity in doing so granted her family a great deal of peace.

I miss her. I love her. I wish that every day of my life, I had told her how important she was to me. But in the end? She knew all of that. [Sister] and I were lucky enough to share with her “a lifetime of interaction,” as Dad called it the other night. There were a thousand “I love you’s,” a thousand hugs and kisses and holidays. [Brother-in-law, The Boy, Thing 1, and Thing 2] knew her for fewer years, but they, too, got to bask in the glow of the love she had for her family. And so we walk on, never the same without her, but always sustained and quieted by her love."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sad News

My apologies for the silence over the past week. I had a couple of posts drafted, then received some very bad news. On Friday evening, my dear grandmother (my father's mother) passed away after battling cancer for the third time in eight years (and twice in one year). We knew this was coming, but it came much quicker than we expected. We will miss her very much.

I love the photo of her here, on Miami Beach in 1943 (at age 14). :) Wasn't she a looker?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Overheard in Portsmouth

I was at Dos Amigos, the local burrito/taco joint, the other day. The older, rather uptight-looking woman in front of me gave the shaggy haired cashier a gift card or coupon of some sort. He had to call over a long-haired higher-up to approve the card. Dude takes an appraising look at the card, then jokingly says it passes the "high tech inspection."

Old, uptight-looking lady's response? "You can use what's left on it to get a haircut."


I thought I couldn't have heard her correctly - it just wasn't possible - who says that? Then, after receiving non-committal grunts from the employees, she says, "No, seriously, you need a haircut."


Monday, September 07, 2009

Deja Vu

The other day, I was sitting on the couch watching TV. The announcer came on with the following words: "It's the new season of 90210 and the premiere of Melrose Place."

And I swear to you,
my brain briefly stuttered. "What decade am I in???"

Friday, September 04, 2009

That Girl (was) Gone

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I know - I've been gone forever. In my defense, I've been struggling to process the news about my grandmother as she starts palliative chemotherapy, The Boy & I snuck up to PEI without telling you, our roommate Mr. Segundus moved out (to Russia!), and I started a new job this week. And there's always wedding stuff. We're meeting with a local photographer we really like this afternoon.

However, I'm back, or I hope to be. Things will begin to settle down a little in the next few weeks & I really missed blogging. I can't count how many times I sat down to write something & got distracted by other things. So, with my apologies, forward into the breach! ;)