As I’ve done so many times before, I decided to find ten minutes dedicate to writing a post.  It’s been a while.  I mean, aside from yesterday’s post of course.  But much like physical activity, building the habit of writing again is going to take time and work.

I don’t even know if blogging is where I want my writing to be anymore.  I feel much more protective of my life and the people in it these days – plus, I’m old and my life is boring now.  I’m 35.

Twelve years ago around this time I compared myself to a lesbian for no good reason and my mom said my “diary” was “slutty.”

Eleven years ago I went to a bachelorette party and was visited by the worst stripper in world.  We hid in the bathroom to avoid having him grind on us.

Ten years ago I was really struggling with my depression and needing a medication adjustment.  That was another time when I used the ten minute writing exercise to grind out a post.

Nine years ago I was in Florida at a conference when there was a British airline terror plot that disrupted air travel and led to the 3oz liquid rule we still suffer with today.  I was really annoyed at having to pack my wide variety of lip glosses in my checked luggage.

Eight years ago I wrote about this stupid dream I had, but I also wrote one of my favorite stories on the site, about the time we put Steve the cat in the swimming pool.

Seven years ago I wrote a list of ten things other people were doing that, at the time, I thought I might never do.  Since then I’ve accomplished 4-6 of the ten depending on how we’re counting.

Six years ago I didn’t write at all in August or September.  2009 was a hard year where I lost a good friend, was diagnosed with sleep apnea, wrecked my car, and indefinitely delayed starting graduate school (I’m still delayed).  But it was also the first summer I spent with Seth, who turned out to be a keeper.

I also did not write anything in August five years ago, but there was a lot going on.  I changed companies after nine years at the college, Seth and I moved to Charlottesville, his car spontaneously combusted, my dad had a heart attack…some of that happened in September actually but it was still pretty eventful.  I wrote about that a little bit here.

Four years ago I was barely writing at all, but stuff was happening.  I switched jobs again, to one I hoped was a better fit and that came with a much higher salary.  We also bought a car and I tried roller derby for a minute.  I bought all this stuff, skates and everything, and I’ve never worn the skates outside the house.

August was crazy again three years ago because Seth’s company relocated its operations, leading us to move from Charlottesville to the Nashville area.  We were settling into a whole new place, I had a new job, and once again, stuff was eventful.

And I really don’t know what was going on two years ago in August.  No one was moving or changing jobs.  Facebook says I was playing a lot of board games and that things were vaguely annoying at times.

Finally, last August I was planning our wedding.  See, I told you Seth was a keeper.  By this time I loathed wedding planning and had become a miserable shell of myself.  I never felt less connected to my family and friends than while I was wedding planning.  It was the weirdest thing.

So here I am, August 2015.  I’m very happily married to that guy I wrote about so many years ago.  Our wedding turned out to be awesome and I’ll tell you about it sometime.  In the meantime, August is proving once again to be quite the eventful month, with lots of changes.  I don’t know why, but this time the upheaval got me itchy to write again.  Let’s see if I find anything else to talk about.

things i do in traffic:

  1. Examine the tire treads on other cars and make judgments about whether they should get new tires.
  2. Read bumper stickers.
  3. Ruminate (but who are we kidding?  I ruminate everywhere.).
  4. If the car behind me has multiple people in it, try to determine if they’re fighting.
  5. Try to figure out if anyone around me is listening to the same radio station as I am.
  6. Count the number of people who are/are not wearing seatbelts and judge the ones who aren’t.

things I do NOT do in traffic (but other people do):

  1. Read the newspaper (or a damn book for crying out loud).
  2. Put on makeup.
  3. Fix my hair.
  4. Shave.
  5. Take selfies.

well, hello there.

Over the weekend, we had some people over for dinner and board games and lots of tequila, and one of them suggested that I needed to be blogging again. One of the people, I mean. We had a lot of dinner, tequila, and board games, but none of the three made any suggestions to me whatsoever.

Anyway. It’s not something I hear all the time or anything, but every once in a while one of the few remaining loyal readers will mention it and it just echoes what I keep telling myself. I need to get back to this. It was a healthy habit that brought me lots of joy, and these days I actually have some stories to tell again.

So here we are. These are all the words I could manage to put into sentences over several hours today. But you have to start somewhere, right? And here is where I begin (again).

Onward and upward.

adventures in commuting

In Lynchburg, I lived two miles from my office, and so my commute went kind of like this:

  1. Roll out of bed.
  2. Get in car.
  3. Be at work.

But life is about choices, and when we moved to Cville, we chose a bigger, more affordable house close to Seth’s work and about a half an hour from mine. So I became the commuter. It seemed only fair.

The only thing is, a good portion of my commute takes me straight down 29, which is possibly the stupidest road in town unless you count University Avenue, which I actually do, so okay, 29 is the second stupidest road in town. It is full of weirdness and random accidents and drivers who have some kind of particular, unique blend of stupid. I think it might be because so, so many of our area’s residents are transplants from other places, so they all bring the driving habits of their other places to Cville and then it becomes just a big fucking mess.

So. Route 29 is basically Frogger in real life. The other day, my drive in forced me to choose between driving directly behind the following: a tractor, a dump truck, a cement truck, and a logging truck full of logs, and dudes, I saw City of Angels so you’d better believe my ass was not behind the logging truck full of logs. I went with the cement truck until I realized that the cement truck was going approximately 21 mph in a 45 zone and so I did some fancy maneuvering between the other trucks in this toddler boy traffic fantasy so I could get OUT OUT OUT.

Today’s obstacle course was brought to us by the friendly folks at VDOT, who decided to mow the grass. All the grass. But not in like a consistent or helpful pattern, oh no. You’d be driving along, la la la, and then BAM! your lane ended, completely without warning, because they were mowing there. So then you had to sit there along with all the other stupid people who got stuck until you could get over into the other lane and continue. Until it happened in that lane too. So my brakes got a good workout today.

Oh! Oh, but then! Hey there, random girl in scrubs walking out into traffic all randomly and shit! That was so awesome how you did that!

And hey there, Mr. Disabled Plates Guy. That totally wasn’t dangerous at all how you just changed lanes 7 times in five seconds without signaling and also cut me off twice. Are you recruiting?

dancing about architecture

Two years ago, my best friend went to sleep and never woke up. His remains were not found for two days.

This week has been on my mind for ages, a huge obsidian block in the middle of my springtime, a chasm of sadness that I know I must navigate each year. I dread it and yet it feels important to me to do it – as if I had any choice. Of course, I would much rather have Frank here.

So I’ve been really apprehensive about this week’s arrival, counting down in my head the events leading up to his death. Today he was at Gregg’s. Today he talked to Maria. Today he is decomposing. It’s kind of horrifying and brutal to contemplate and I’ve worried about its ability to stop me in my tracks when what I most need to do is keep moving.

The week approached like a tidal wave, inexorable and crushingly destructive, and I braced myself for its impact. This year, maybe, I would keep my head above water.

And then, against all odds, a series of events stacked up that have caused this week to become what I can only describe as spectacular.

Several weeks ago I won tickets to see David Sedaris do a reading here in town. He’s one of my favorite authors and our budget just couldn’t justify the cost of the tickets, so I was moping. And then I won them on the radio, and off we went, and it was exactly as funny and interesting as I hoped it would be. We waited in line for an hour and a half to have our book signed afterward. We arrived at his table at 11pm, near the end of the signing, and the first thing David Sedaris did was welcome me to his golden okra chest. And then he laughed and wrote that in my book. And then he offered me some of his fried okra, and I’m actually kind of sorry I declined because I was freaking starving and that looked like some killer okra. And a love for fried okra is among the most Southern of my Southern qualities. Then, David Sedaris astutely observed that I’d dragged Seth along, but that he was very patient about the whole thing. He asked if we were married, Seth said, “not yet,” and David Sedaris whose whole name must always be used as far as I’m concerned asked why the heck we weren’t married yet. Then apologized for being awkward. Then asked again. And we stuttered out some excuses and he kind of leaned back and, even though David Sedaris doesn’t know us from anyone, he said something like, “You guys are good together and I can tell you’re going to make it.” It was completely awesome and we thanked him and told him our dirty nun joke, which he rewarded with two of his own dirty jokes, and we were on our merry way.

That alone would have made this a great week. But then Tuesday came, and you guys, Tuesday was seriously badass.

Old 97s were in town. I freaking love Old 97s, I’ve never seen them live, and the minute their new album dropped I told Seth that this meant they’d surely be touring and I felt Charlottesville was a likely stop and that WE WOULD BE ATTENDING NO MATTER WHAT. I mean seriously, they hadn’t even announced a tour yet and I already knew there’d be a Cville date. Because I’m magic. So Seth was like yes, whatever, and then the announcement came and I squealed louder than I did when Mom surprised us with New Kids on the Block tickets in 1990. EEEEEE OLD 97S!!!

Then we looked at our budget.

We were broke broke broke, broke as a joke. We kept putting off the tickets in the hopes that our next paycheck would have more wiggle room, but alas, car repairs and vet bills and optometrist visits just blew massive holes in our “discretionary” fund over and over again. And since I’d won tickets to David Sedaris, I wasn’t eligible to win again from our local radio station. So I moped.

On Monday, the morning host on our station of choice posted a thing on Facebook telling people to email him if they wanted a chance to meet Rhett Miller. And within 30 seconds I think I had written a novel-length plea and fired that bad boy off to Brad. A few hours later, he responded: we were in! We’d been put on the list for a private acoustic studio session with Rhett. I figured it’d be a good consolation prize for not getting to go to the concert.

So Tuesday afternoon rolled around and we headed to the station for the session. I hadn’t been to their studio before and expected we’d be with 20 or 30 people on folding chairs outside the booths where the sound engineer and the artist would be. Imagine my surprise when we and 6 of our newest friends were ushered into a very small studio…and Rhett Miller was a foot away from us.

He played three songs and bantered with the hosts, and it was completely awesome to be up close for the session, which you can listen to here. We hadn’t been told much about what would be allowed, so I didn’t think photos or signings or anything would be cool. But they were!

After the session, we got to take photos and a professional photographer was in taking photos too. Rhett signed CDs and such for us, and then he asked us if there were any songs we’d like to see on the setlist. HOLY CRAP! I asked him to play “Murder (or a Heart Attack),” one of my favorites. And he wrote it down along with the other suggestions. We left the studio basically floating through the air, and the minute we hit the parking lot, Seth and I were like, “okay, now we have to go to the show.”

We made a quick huddle and an agreement to skip groceries this week and get by on Ramen and PBJ, and I ran down and bought the tickets.

That night, we drove to the concert through a torrential thunderstorm, and when we arrived, we snagged a spot on the front row. Seriously. I told you this week was freaking awesome, didn’t I?

So we’re on the front row, along with some of our friends from the session. And the band comes out on stage and they are exactly as awesome as I thought they’d be, and Rhett Miller actually recognizes us from the stage and kind of waves and raises his eyebrows at us while he’s playing, and we’re in the front row at an Old 97s show and Rhett Miller just waved at me from the damn stage and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die of the awesomeness.

It was way better than that NKOTB show. My parents were right about them.

So hey, is this long enough yet? We went home, and we were happy and half-deaf and exhausted. And then yesterday I continued the awesomeness by giving a guest lecture on arts fundraising at the university.

Today is kind of what I think of as The Day, when it comes to Frank. Today, he is gone. And I miss him still, and I will always miss him. But I can’t help but notice the timing of this fantastic, surreal week I’ve been having. Frank had a novel in progress he called The Architecture of Coincidence. Despite a general lack of belief that he and I shared, this week has been different for some reason. And I’ve wondered if maybe, just maybe, there is an architect after all.