I Need More Hellos…

Disneyland with the Boyds!!  Love them =)

Disneyland with the Boyds!! Love them =)

It’s been one week.  A week of heart-wrenching grief and…

Screw that.  It’s too depressingly familiar.  But it has been one week–one week since the world grew that much more dim from the loss of yet another amazing woman who could not help but touch the lives, hearts, and futures of everyone she met.   Donna Boyd really was amazing too.  She was hilariously sarcastic, absolutely brilliant, and endlessly generous.  And…

They’re only adjectives really.  They don’t do her justice at all.  Just words.  And there are no words that can explain the shock and pain that her passing has wrought on all of our lives.  All I can say is that I’m an emotional wreck.  Only two weeks have passed since my grandma died and the loss of two of the most beautiful people I have ever been blessed to know has left me tossing on the swells of a raging sea of emotions.  Rage, bitterness, sorrow, numbness, confusion…again, they’re just words.  They’re not enough.  It can’t be described really.  The worst though is the cutting irony.  You see, I don’t do emotions well.  I mean, I can handle the normal everyday stuff.  But I wasn’t cut out for the things that are earth-shattering like this.  So as I rode that sea of emotions over the first week of my grandma’s passing, all I could think was that I wished I could talk to Donna on the phone or on Facebook because I just knew that she would have all the words that I couldn’t find on my own.  She was always good at that for those of us who are less…well-adjusted.  But she wasn’t able to do that this time because she was too sick herself.  And that was heart-breaking for me.  And now she’s gone too.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m so very, very glad that she’s not suffering anymore–no one deserves that, and she most certainly did not.  But at the same time, I’m selfish of the people I love and I hate it that she was taken from us all so soon.  It’s…awful, devastating, terrifying…again, they’re only words.

It’s…frustrating.  Yeah, that’s definitely a useful description.  As a writer, I rely on words.  They’re my life–the breaths that my soul exhales and the music my heart sings.  That they have been absent from me of late is indescribable.  Lonely almost.  Like a part of me is missing.  But, like I said, there aren’t words for this.  And I’m trying to accept that.  I suck at that though–too stubborn I guess.  However, I am decent at being grateful so I guess I can settle for that once more.  So thank you Donna.

Thank you for being my “Other Mother”.  A lot of people say that about the parents of their best friends.  They don’t necessarily mean it though–they just mean that they recognize that they have awesome personalities.  I really do mean it about you though.  You truly were another mother for so many people.  I will forever be thankful to you for always bringing me along and treating me like part of the family. When Brianna and I became best friends, it was like I gained a whole second family because you just welcomed me right on in with open arms.  It was beyond wonderful of you…

Thank you for teaching me a new way to listen to music.  You were the reason I went to nearly every concert I have ever been to–and you taught me that they’re supposed to be fun and freeing.  I hadn’t known that before really.  I think I was raised with too much of a background in classical music maybe? You know, you listen attentively and only clap when appropriate. Whatever the case, before I started going to concerts with you, Brianna, and Megan, I used to think that people at concerts were like misbehaving or something–all of that standing and screaming the songs and everything.  I didn’t get that.  But you and your daughters showed me otherwise.  You showed me that you have to dance and sing your heart out to really feel the music–to drench yourself in it until you can’t help but love it, breathe it, and live it.  I’ll never forget that…

Thank you also for all of the trips to Disneyland.  Your family might very possibly be the only family that loves it as much as mine does.  Crazy Disney people have to stick together after all.  No one else really appreciates all of the traditions.  They don’t get that you have to have ice cream on Main Street.  They don’t get that you have to wear your ears proudly.  They don’t get that being a grown-up doesn’t mean you have to grow up.  You always did though and it rocked.  Pirates of the Caribbean!  Space Mountain!  The Haunted Mansion! Even…wait for it, wait for it…It’s a Small World!!   You just got it, and that was very, very special to all of us…

While we are on the subject, thank you for always being so perceptive.  You always just got it–no matter what it was.  You were always the person that anyone could go to for advice without fear of judgment.  I always appreciated that.  I could tell you anything and I knew that it would never leave your kitchen table and that no one would ever know aside from us and Buddy–and Bassett Hounds don’t tell secrets 😉  And your advice was spot on too.  I didn’t always listen to it mind you–but I always wished I had afterwards!!  …

Thank you for having such an incredible family.  Functionally dysfunctional.  That’s what Brianna has always called you guys, you know.  And it couldn’t be more true.  You have all taught me that that is ok–that families don’t need to be perfect to be strong.  In watching the craziness that is the Boyd family, I have never ceased to be amazed at that.  I don’t think I ever will be either.  And I wouldn’t want to anyway.  Families should all be so lucky to be like yours–or mine for that matter.  Perfectly imperfect…

But mostly, I really want to thank you for believing in me.  You believed in my dreams–even the crazy ones.  Very few people do, did you know that?  But you did.  I think it’s because you thought that everyone has potential and it was your mission to help us all realize that too.  You always believed that I am more than what I have settled for.  I’m not going to do that anymore by the way.  I wish I had stopped sooner–the first of the hundreds of times you told me to.  But I’m going to now.  I have plans in motion.  I’m going back to school in the fall–this time for real.  I’m going to get published.  I’m going to make a difference.  I’m going to let myself matter–for the world, for the people like you who believed, and for myself.  After all, that’s what you always wanted for everyone you met.  And it’s the greatest way I can think of to honor the lessons you taught me and to keep your legacy alive.

Oh!  And one more thing.  I’d like to say thank you for a favor that I have to ask.  While you are teaching Heaven what it means to really party, could you maybe take a moment to drag JC aside and ask him to give me more hellos?  I hate goodbyes.  I know, I know, they’re inevitable.  Like Charles Schulz says, “Someone always leaves. Then we…have to say good-bye.”  He’s absolutely right too.  What I need–what the world needs!–is more hellos.  So if you could put on your best mother voice and get him on that stat, it would be fabulous.  Please and thank you.

Love you and miss you always!!

XOXOXO

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A Tribute to the Lady in Red

1521709_10202132834856169_741257200_nIt’s been one week.  A week of hear-wrenching grief and the kind of mindless rage that leaves my fingernails cutting gouges in my palms in a desperate attempt to not punch the first person I see just because none of them seem to be as miserable as I feel inside.  A week of feeling hollow, spent, and lost…so very, very lost.

Seven days

You know, it sounds much more ominous as the time since my beloved grandma passed away than it  ever could in any cheesy Hollywood horror movie.  And it is ominous too–the world will be a much darker place without her light to guide us all along the way.  I find myself feeling her absence in anything and everything that reminds me of her–the laughter of children, the smell of roses, and the warmth of the sun.  I’ve noticed it all week, but Thursday is when I fully realized it.  I was sitting at work and waiting for our weekly team member meeting to start.  Our HR manager was walking around the cafeteria asking people what they were thankful for.  All I could think was that I hoped she didn’t ask me because I didn’t think I could come up with a single happy thing t say.  Then I found myself laughing sardonically under my breath because she didn’t ask me–and for that, I was genuinely thankful.  But then she stopped asking people and went on to ask people to sing–it’s like a thing at work.  She’s always asking people to sing.  It usually amuses me, but that day it left me scowling before she had even goaded someone into doing it.  She picked this guy who works in the foam department.  He always sings gospel songs and he has a pretty decent voice so I’ve never minded it before.  On Thursday, he sang Amazing Grace.  It’s one of my favorites–it was also one of my grandma’s favorites.  I totally started crying and didn’t even care who might have noticed.

It happened again today.  I had just gotten off the phone with one of my dearest friends who is having a hard time right now too.  I turned on a Christy Lane CD because it has always made me feel better before–closer to God or something.  I temporarily forgot that I only know her music because my mom loves her…and my mom loves her because her mom loved her.  I made it through a good handful of songs before Amazing Grace started.  Next I knew, I had collapsed into a heap on the floor.  I spent the next five minutes sobbing on the floor and praying prayers without words–prayers comprised entirely of emotions.  That song has apparently become sort of trigger for me or something.  That kind of sucks since I love it so much and since there are so many amazing versions of it.

I’ve been trying to look at those reminders as good things–I’m just not doing a very good job of it…yet anyway.  But I think I owe it to her memory to at least try.  So, at the request of one of my uncles, here are some of the ways she shaped my life…

She taught me that the world is full of simple pleasures, and that those simple pleasures are what makes life so beautiful.  The delicate fluttering of a butterfly’s wings, the whisper-soft silk of rose petals brushing across skin, the catharsis that can only be found in the song that is sung when two people laugh together.  Simple things.  Beautiful things.  Things that are proof of God’s amazing grace…

She taught me that red is the color of life.  For me, she always be the lady in red.  She never looked right to me when she wore any other color.  She WAS red and all that it embodies.  She was the blood flowing through the heart of our family.  She was the red of Christmas–that special shade of red that means peace, joy, generosity, and a thousand different other wonderful things.  She was love incarnate.  No one could read one of her letters and not feel cherished.  No one could be enfolded into her arms without feeling the complete acceptance that comes with being at home.  No one could ever hear her say I love you and ever for even a second think that it wasn’t true.  She made love real for everyone who ever knew her, and taught us all to want to do the same…

Finally, she extended that lesson to teach us that God’s love is equally eternal.  I have never met another person who believed in God and loved Him as much as my grandma did.  Her relationship with the Lord was a shining example for the rest of us.  I have never once doubted His existence because to see her acceptance of Him IS to believe.  It’s unavoidable really.  It has always been a given that when she left this world, it would only be to go straight back to Heaven from where she came–to go home where all angels belong.  I still have my Bible that she gave to me on my ninth birthday.  Of course, it was one of the ones with the words of Christ in red.  She had circled John 3:16.  For her, it was the most important truth of all.  And since it was true for her, it has always been true for me too.  It won’t ever leave me because she said it was true with the matter-of-factness that someone would say that the sky is blue or that water is wet.  It just is…always has been…and always will be.  For that, I am forever grateful to her.  I know that she will be waiting for each and every one of us when our time comes, with smiling eyes, open arms, and the words “I love you” leaving her lips in that very same matter-of-fact way…

It’s enough to make me smile.  It’s not enough to make it stop hurting.  I don’t think it works like that==and maybe it shouldn’t.  If it didn’t hurt to lose someone, would that not mean that their value was only as fleeting and transient as their time spent on Earth?  No, the pain is definitely a good thing.  It is as raw and beautiful as everything else about her was.  A simple thing…and a thing worth living for…

I love you grandma, my very favorite lady in red, and I’ll always miss you.  See you on the other side…

XOXOXO

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But a Whimper

We survived…kinda

So, as I’m sure you have noticed, we have long since moved forward beyond the “End of the World”.  We didn’t go out in a fiery blaze to the tune of the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons exploding all at once.  We didn’t get sucked into a black hole to be ripped apart.  There were no invading aliens, or asteroids, or even a horrific plague to wipe us all out.  Most tragically, there were no zombies.  Come on world!  How could you be so cruel and callous as to leave out the zombies?!  That’s so terribly disappointing that I don’t even have words for it.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been so quiet for so long?  Or maybe it’s because the world really did end…just not in a way we would ever have expected it to… Continue reading

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A Right as Inalienable as Free Speech

…it’s way cooler than FarmVille hahaha…

124 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

I’ve been thinking about the Monterey Bay Aquarium a lot the past week–probably because of the sharks.  It made me think of all of the other really awesome zoos and aquariums I have been to as well.  A lot of people think that zoos are all the same–that they’re just a bunch of unhappy animals stuck in cages.  Maybe they’re partially right–I can’t imagine being very happy to live in a cage.  However, they are not at all “all the same”.  Each is unique and each offers a completely different perspective on the animal kingdom.  And I’m all for that.  It definitely serves an important purpose in our society.  It’s brilliant really.  How else can you entice a world full of individuals into caring about animals?  It wouldn’t make sense for them to all be alike.  Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of different ones over the years because I adore animals and everyone knows it.  Naturally, this means that they all want to take me to see them and of course I have no objections to this whatsoever.  I think I’ve been really lucky in being able to experience animals in a much different way because of it too.  It’s probably even responsible for why I love them all so much.  This is especially true for all of the zoos out there who let you get close enough to touch their animals.  There is nothing quite like being allowed to be that close to the wild to make you feel like you belong to the animal kingdom too.  For me, this could never ever be a bad thing.  Thus, for today’s edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I wanted to share some of my favorite photographs of the times I have been lucky enough to get up close and personal with the Wild… Continue reading

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It’s Our Theme Song…

I so want to buy this!!

126 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

Shark Week is definitely one of those things that I look forward to all year.  I’ve watched it ever since it started, and I know I’ll be watching it once a year for as long as it continues.  I feel like I’ve always been fascinated by sharks.  I don’t remember a time when they didn’t captivate me and hold me in their thrall.  I think it’s because I’m admittedly demented.  My love of sharks was probably founded when I rooted for the shark in Jaws instead of for the people.  I wanted him to win.  Even as a little child, I had issues with people who are pretentious.  I just wanted them to be punished.  It didn’t matter what was doing the punishing.  Anything would do, really.  (I think this is also probably where I developed a love for horror movie villains too…especially ZOMBIES!!!)  Sharks were particularly special though.  They’re just amazing.  They’re intelligent and mysterious and beautiful.  They rule the seas in ways that we can only imagine.  And they’re like living dinosaurs whose survival for millions of years deserves at least a modicum of respect in and of itself.  What’s not to love?

What’s that?  Their teeth?

Pfft.

I just told you that they captivate me because they can eat people.  Do you honestly think their teeth bother me?!

The better to eat you with my dear…

Ahem.  Anyway.  So I love sharks.  The bigger and more powerful, the better as far as I’m concerned.  Naturally, this means that my absolute favorite living shark species is Carcharodon carcharias.  So, for today’s edition of “The 30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I am going to tell you about the first time that I got to see a Great White in person. Continue reading

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Good and Loyal and Kind

Man’s Best Friend of the Future…

128 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been neglecting my duties…again.  Procrastination and denial are a bad combination.  Plus I’ve been kind of lacking in motivation.  I think it’s due to sleep deprivation.  Between the Olympics last week and Shark Week this week, I’ve been staying up way, way too late.  I figure I’ll be absolutely mental by Sunday…if I’m not already…

Whatever.

At least I’m motivated today…right?  Well, I am now anyway.  I wasn’t planning on being motivated earlier.  My original plan for the evening was to purchase tickets for Jaws on the big screen (done!), sit on the couch (done!), and watch Sharkzilla destroy more cool stuff (in process!).  My ultimate goal for the night was to fantasize about all of the things–and people!–that I could destroy if I had my own Sharkzilla….oooh the possibilities!!….

…*drool*…

So yeah.  Productivity was the last thing on my mind.  However, then I got into a conversation with one of my best friends that made me really sad.  Her dog has cancer.  It just about broke my heart for her and for her family.  He’s such a great dog–and losing a dog is never, ever an easy thing.  So for today’s edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I thought I’d reminisce a little bit about the world’s greatest dog… Continue reading

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You Can See the Stars

I’m so downloading this app!! 😉

So, it’s time to play a little game of catch-up before the Olympics starts again tonight and distracts me once more.  Shoot!  For that matter, I should have written several more today with all of the nothing I have been busy doing.  It’s totally not my fault though.  I got caught watching the History Channel.  That’s one of those things that can easily eat up hours of your day without your even realizing it.  It did help me decide which one to write about next though for the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30.”  They were talking about caves and I instantly knew that had to be the next one.  I freaking adore caves.  I’ve been visiting them for as long as I can remember and they’re really nearly as special to me as the redwood trees are.  I think my interest was first piqued when Tom and Becky got lost in McDougal’s Cave.  There was something morbidly captivating about reading about two little kids who could die in that cave…especially once they had escaped and Injun Joe was locked inside to starve to death.  It gave them this mysterious, dangerous allure that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Don’t look at me like that!  I’ve told you a thousand times already that I never was a normal child…

Anyway, I became kind of obsessed with them.  My dad was nice enough to indulge my fascination.  Granted, this probably had a lot to do with own interest in them, but still.  It was always a nice gesture.  He took us to see many different cave systems in California.  However, there was always one that stood out in my mind… Continue reading

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Some of the Worst Mistakes…

I so want this shirt!!

137 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

Okay.  So I’ve admittedly been bad.  I blame the Olympics.  Gymnastics and swimming in particular are taking over my life.  I hate that they don’t show them here until primetime.  Since I don’t believe in cheating and getting the results online, this means I’m stuck waiting until 11PM each night to see the ones I care about.  Oh well.  C’est la vie.  In any case, I figured I could try to catch up over the weekend.  This doesn’t seem to be working out very well either.  I HAD to go see The Watch though.  That one was totally non-negotiable.  Those end of the world things always suck me in–regardless of whether they’re about zombies or asteroids or–in this case–aliens.  I’m addicted.  Can’t help it.  However, the extra time did give me plenty of time to think of the other things I wanted to reminesce about on here.  I have to confess though that this particular one should already have been written.  I’ve been thinking about it for days.  Early last week, someone at work asked me how I manage to deal with the heat with hair as long as mine is.  So for this edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I figured I’d explain the reasons why I like to keep my hair long… Continue reading

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Ask Children and Birds

Like I said, you can find ANYTHING on Google…

143 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

On the way out of work today, a friend of mine was jealous because I had an apricot.  I totally get why too.  Fruit doesn’t really stay in season for very long here.  I swear that kiwi has a season of about a week.  Mangoes?  Maybe one day per year…if we are lucky.  I think that’s one of the things I miss the most about California.  We used to laugh all the time when recipes would talk about switching out fruits if one wasn’t in season.  Seasons?  Really?  What are those?  We had no clue.  If you wanted watermelon in December?  No problem.  Guava in January?  Sure thing.  Admittedly, there were different times of the year when fruits would be especially good.  But they were never really terrible at any time of the year.  The second day after we had moved in, I became painfully aware that that would not be the case here in Mississippi.  I was shopping at out local Kroger.  I wanted to make a mango-jicama-chicken salad.  So I asked an employee if he knew when they would be getting more mangoes.  He didn’t know what they are!!  I tried to describe it to him…he insisted I was talking about watermelon!!  I knew that there wasn’t a chance on Earth that he would know what jicama is.  I think I became immediately resigned to a life with only a limited selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.  So when I went home in June, I knew that I definitely needed to experience fresh fruit once again.  For today’s edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30”, I’d like to share with you what we did to make fruit a fresh experience… Continue reading

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Walk in the Rain

“What a glorious feeling, [he’s] happy again.”

144 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…

The really awesome thing about moving to Mississippi is all of the thunderstorms we get.  They happen all year long and not just at random.  Plus, they’re absolutely stunning.  We get purple lightning and thunder that you can feel shaking in your bones.  What I don’t really appreciate is that we have to have horrible heat and humidity before those storms come.  Ugh.  It’s crazy hot here today…again!! I had planned on taking the dogs for a little jaunt, but it’s just so horrendous out there that I know it isn’t going to happen.  Nope.  I’m staying home.  It’s far better to sit in the house and pray that the “couple of thunderstorms” they have in the forecast for tomorrow really do come–and that they’re strong enough to stuck some of that awful humidity out of the air.  Although, if I spend too much time looking at the forecast, it’ll just stress me out.  It’s never a good sign when the 10-Day Forecast has multiple days that say “Extremely Hot”.  Shoot me now.  In any case, it’s probably better for me to just sit here and pretend that it’s storming outside right now.  So, for the sake of my own sanity, today’s edition of the “30 Things I’ve Done Before the Age of 30” is going to be about one of my favorite thunderstorm memories… Continue reading

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