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Bits and Pieces

Aside from crying in the grocery stores and mean mugging happy people, we have all been trying to live life. So, this is kind of wrap up of random things over the past few weeks.

Caroline’s sister, Jen, and her husband moved into a new house the day before the accident. They obviously didn’t have a chance to unpack, so a bunch of us went over on that Friday and did it. I now wonder why we don’t do this every time one of us moves. One of our friend’s husbands owns a home remodeling company and he can hang the shit out of stuff on a wall and fix everything and anything. It’s unreal. As someone with no skills in this realm, I was in awe. Between him and Chelsy, everything in their house is perfectly straight and centered (unless perfectly off-center in some sort of meaningful way). Everything was just magnificent. I want to hire to hire them to redo my everything. Also, it’s really fun digging through your friends things. We learned that Jen’s husband is a cup hoarder. That man loves a good cup. I’ve never seen such variety and in such a magnificent quantity. You can learn so much about someone from their Tupperware care and maintenance.

I also learned that during dark times it’s important to have a friend with a smiling baby and force that friend to bring said baby to everything. Chelsy brought her little chicken nugget that day and she provided much entertainment and endless smiles. She had to nap in a laundry basket like a poor little peasant baby, but I think she will forgive us with time.  As long as her future husband Prince George doesn’t find out, then it should be fine right?

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I’ve been trying to cook more because it eats up time in my day and I can take food to my friends. And I like food. Everyone likes food. In the event that you need to make large quantities of food that are great for freezing, I highly recommend this beef stew and this baked ziti. The baked ziti is a little more time consuming, but if you can make the tomato sauce in advance, then the bechamel can be made while the noodles boil and it’s quite easy to assemble from there. And it’s freaking delicious. I made extra for Sari and I to have for dinner for a few days and it was gone in one. Oops.

And everyone knows that cheesy carbs having magical healing powers. So, make it and feel a little joy.

The night before the funeral service, we held a Fourth of July celebration to honor and remember our little Caroline. We decorated her favorite wine bar in New Braunfels with red, white, and blue finery and printed off  hundreds of photos of her and spread them out on the tables for people to take home. Over 100 people came and only five pictures remained at the end of the night. I share this story because it was a pretty fantastic idea and I think anytime you lose someone there should be pictures available for you to take home. I have hundreds of pictures of her on my computer, but seeing this every morning never fails to make me smile:

I don’t know why someone would want to shank me, I’m like the least annoying person ever…

On Sunday, Sari and went down and hung out with Greg. It was nice to be able to relax and laugh together. He’s living with his parents until he figures out what he’s going to do long term, but in the meantime, he’s going to be overwhelmed with a lot of new lady best friends.  He married into this group and he’s never going to get back out. He’s stuck with us forever and ever and ever.

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Wednesday

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Such Feelings

The past two weeks have been so weird. I know I said this on Friday, but it kind of feels as if 100 years have passed. I cannot believe the weekend of July 4th was just two short weeks ago. The thought of it leaves me completely confounded because nothing has made any sense at all since the morning of July 9th. I took a few days off here and there since then, so I think that has added to the general discombobulation.

It’s now strange to imagine that I lived 30 years without the loss of someone so close. Life seems so much more fragile now. It’s hard to believe that any of us survive it. Like most people, I have lost dearly beloved grandparents and family members, but they were all over 80 and in most cases suffering from some long-term sickness. While I miss them terribly and was saddened for them to go, I could understand why and process that it was the best for several of them. As a child, I worried about losing my parents or sister, but it never occurred to me that I would lose a friend. It seems so silly and ridiculous, but I honestly never thought that I would wake up to a world without one of them.

I always thought the worst part of losing someone was dealing with their absence and the specific pain of that experience, but I now realize that “worst part” should be plural. I wasn’t prepared for how incredibly terrible it would be to see the people I love in that kind of misery. I am very lucky to be a part of a group of people that treats everyone like family. We know each other’s parents and siblings, friends from childhood, people from work, grandmas and cousins, and the families of significant others. I didn’t realized the extent to which we were all so entwined until I saw those people in pain. I don’t think any of us realize the degree to which we love and care for each other. I was shocked at how much it hurt and how deeply it ran.

The one thing to come out of all of this is that I think we will all be better at being friends. I’m terrible at keeping in touch. I just assume that people don’t want to be bothered and everything is fine if I don’t hear from them. From this point on, I think we will all be a lot more Caroline and spend more time inserting ourselves into each other’s lives without apology or permission. I get so worried that I will be a bother or inconvenience to someone that it’s easy to forget that connection and contact is the entire point of friendship. We have all agreed that we are all now fine with being completely annoying.

I didn’t know I could cry so much and so easily. I feel like I maintain a mostly sound control over my emotions. I can smile when I’m angry, shove down tears when I’m overwhelmed by the cuteness of otters holding hands, and pretend that everything is fine when I just really want to shank someone in the eye. But, now, my feelings and emotions are barely contained just below the surface of my eyeballs. Everything makes me cry. Everything. I don’t like crying in front of people and I don’t like not being able to stop it, but I guess I’m now living life as a person with feelings. No bueno. I never thought I would be crying in the grocery store over iced animal crackers because we used to eat them at the beach, then bitch about how we would never take them again because they are so messy when your hands are damp. And then we bought them and took them with us every time. Why animal crackers, WHY!

This was an excessive amount of mental vomit, but I still kind of feel like everything is stupid at this point. I’ve had such a bad attitude and I straight up loathe the people who have the audacity to laugh or be cheerful on the bus to work. I cannot understand what there is to be happy about, and that is terrible. I’m going to get it together this week, so hopefully things will move from straight depressing to just straight annoyed (the usual state). I told myself I could have two weeks of being a mess, then I had to start trying to get it together. While living with Caroline I went through a break up. And while that break up was necessary, it still hurt. That little jerk only let me cry and wallow in bed for less than an afternoon before she pulled me out, handed me a beer, and told me to put some pants on and deal with life (life being carving pumpkins on the porch with her and Greg). In the spirit of her own attitude about life’s challenges, I need to get it together and relax with the overwhelming hatred of everything (and go back to just general hatred of most things).

Because no one likes a post without pictures and Caroline would never leave you alone until she got you to smile, I will leave you with this gem: “Caroline, the Fat Cherub, and that other Bitch (also fat).”

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Thank you.

I greatly appreciate those of you who took time to remember Caroline, send warm thoughts or prayers, or leave a comment. It was very kind and it’s nice to remember there are so many gracious people in this world.  So many of you expressed that you didn’t know what to say or that your words weren’t enough, but they are. Saying anything helps. Thank you. Caroline would have been thrilled to know that a post starring her received so many comments. Her belief in her own fabulousness never faltered.

While I don’t know what I will do without my little amigo, I do feel peace knowing that she was strong in her faith and has probably already organized several happy hours in heaven. I don’t doubt that she is genuinely confused as to why we are all being so dramatic because she is just fine. As she liked to say, “Get some wine and get over it.”

Part of me wishes I could just fast forward time to the day when I am able to understand that she has gone and cope with it in some sort of reasonable way. The other part wants time to halt so that there is not one more day that exists between the last time I hugged her and the present. In some ways it feels like a lifetime has passed since July 8th, in others it feels like only yesterday she was bossing us around because we were all bitching about going outside and having to weave through a crowded balcony to get a picture.

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I don’t know what I’m trying say. In summation, thank you for your kind words and emails.

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