Gary saves the day again… 10:08p 11may, 2020

That’s what the subject line read.
“Gary saves the day again…”
An email from T**, a client of my husband’s who I haven’t heard from in a year, if not more.

Thinking it might be spam, (the all-lowercase addressee and the name of my dead husband in the subject line seeming strange but somehow remembered) I was only slightly distracted from watching the new season of “Dead To Me”, ironically enough. coming down off my necessarily extreme cannabis high of earlier, however, and thinking about what I wanted to smoke next while waiting to hear back from several friends, I opened the email.

It said, (and this is where I am stopping, having read beginning of the email, gasping for breath and not wanting to look any further, not yet, not before I refilled my lovely pipe and repaired to the privacy of my parked, darkened car where I could smoke and sob in peace) in part (and here, I should tell you, I am pausing to take an enormous hit of medication. Perhaps five or six. I brought refills. Who can know for sure?):


One of the core components of (our company) which Gary designed stopped working today after the Government changed something on their website.  Back in the good-old-days I would have called Gary in a panic, he would have calmed me down and quickly resolved the issue.  Now I have to reverse engineer his work in a language of which I am only somewhat familiar. 

You got some comfort from seeing his writings last time I e-mailed you, so I thought I would share how he saved the day today.  While attempting to understand what he wrote, I looked through his copious notes and discovered that he described in great detail how he solved this problem last time.  This allowed me to bite a little piece of code that he wrote years ago and use it to fix everything.  If he hadn’t documented everything so well, I would be spending the next few days trying to figure out what he did while customers complained. 

Man I still miss that guy. 

Hope you and the kitties are well.  N** and I finally closed on a house after living in a crappy apartment for ** years, so now we get to live like adults.  How are things with you?

Below is boring shop talk, but it reminded me of how much I liked working with Gary and how good he was at his job.


(So here is where I am now, sitting in my car, about to read words from my husband from years ago which somehow saved the day today for someone’s company. Eyes wide and full of tears, of missing and knowing how much of a huge void he left.)

a screenshot of the kind of zealous documentation Gary adhered to.

How do I explain that?
How do I explain how seeing what looks otherwise like gibberish I know is tinged with his particular flavor his
Stink (he used to say “I like your stink”, a pretty aggressively passive-aggressive way of saying something nice, like he had Calvin as an interlocutor)

Knowing that code that he wrote notes for six years ago with no idea of the future
(especially not that he wouldn’t be in it)
would save the life of someone’s company today.
That that person chose to pay that forward by remembering how much it comforted me the last time this happened and to let me know again.
save my life, today.
Gary did indeed save the day again.

to me this is what it means by
“may his memory be a blessing”
there is so much pain
so much brokenness in his life, my life
our life.
I got shoved into the lessons I am learning
everything all at once
a whirlpool of chaos
nothing to do but be stuck
choosing to pick through the debris and only take forward what shines
what will shine with enough patience
taking forward the joys, the lessons.
I wouldn’t be here but for him.
In every single way.

may his memory be a blessing.

pandemic diaries: 7:41a international star wars day 2020 | birthday thanks

“I don’t know how it’s possible, but I, I think my birthday this year was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. It’s certainly one of the most special, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of it. 52 on 5/2 I’m certainly not playing with a full deck it’s more like a deck full of jokers.
So thank you everyone for being part of it.”

for the record (and as far as i know you look it up if you don’t believe me) for the past fifty-two years it has been shitty exactly once on my birthday. That was 2001, the year I turned 33 and one of the years I was in and around dating Noel. I’m sure he had just recently broken it off again. Anyway.

my parents built the house I grew up in in 1970. A typical, split-level ranch. Right outside my bedroom window they planted this glorious cherry tree, a Kanzan Sakura, with the big, fat, pale pink marshmallowy blossoms. I love that tree, it’s my favorite flower of all. Blooms every year on my birthday.

I don’t remember how early on but it was early, I told Gary that when I finally owned my own home I would plant one of those trees in my yard. The first spring that we were in the house we planted our tree. We didn’t plant it in a good spot, it didn’t get anywhere near the kind of sunlight it needed underneath the massive canopy of maple and oak. I could, however, see the blossoms from my bedroom window.

Last year, after the house went into foreclosure, I knew that would be my last birthday with that view, of cherry blossoms from my bedroom window. And then the neighbor went ahead and chopped down the maple and oak, that gorgeous canopy of green that had been protecting my head for 13 years. A full backyard of sunlight meant that the cherry tree would have a chance to grow properly now, reaching up towards the sun instead of slinking around corners to find it. Only I wouldn’t be here.

This year however, with the world on pause, I got one last, magical reprieve to spend with my tree. So I went to my backyard, prepared to see admirers as any queen would, and enjoyed my day under the cherry blossoms.

pandemic diaries: 734a 25 april 2020

good morning.
it is a beautiful day
the sun is out, shining on my bared skin
raptors circle overhead
in the clear blue sky
and we are all thinking about death.

softness, poignant and melancholy in my ears.
rediscovered from a time of such darkness a hopelessness, back then.

i cried every day eleven years ago, every day.
always on my way to work.
often in the bathroom.
usually from relief in the parking lot.

“…lose yourself in lines dissecting…”

good morning.
it is a beautiful day.

pandemic diaries 224p 21 april 2020

i cant smoke enough today
cant distract from all the love all the
all of the truly meant “i love you”s
not the sweet softness of friends or family but the true
deep, desperateness of a real love.
the kind of love that has seen pain, felt it within its walls.
heard its voices quake in fear.

this pain this
this lack.

the isolation makes it more intense more
the virus of loneliness manifesting and growing wilder still.

try as i might to quench this beast this
i sit under the clear skylight
under the rain
no sound other than the shrieking in my skull
the purring of the engine
the staccato of the rain on the car.

six thousand
five hundred
seventy-eight days ago
on a day very much like (and completely unlike)
i saw your face for the first time
saw you wink
for the first time saw that thousand-watt smile
for the first time.
6,578 days ago i fell in love with you for the first time.
there honestly has not been a single day since
that i haven’t had the most incredibly complex thoughts about you.

i wish i could comfort myself with the belief that somehow
somehow you know all this
that in some way you are hearing me
seeing me.
still loving me in that complex, fierce way you had.

but this is how i know there is no god.
this is how i know for sure.
(nobody fuckin come at me over this you can fuck off and keep your smug shit to yourself i am TIRED)

unrequited love is BULLSHIT and it is roaring inside me like a furnace
oh it has places to go (well it used to, now didn’t it)
but it is held back
it is most definitely restrained

it doesn’t want to be.

everybody EVERYBODY
everybody says how strong, how brave, how resilient
no one is coming to save me. No one.

so i sit and i smoke and i cry and i hold my own hands.
and i scream inside my head all day long.
and when i do talk to someone anyone
mania takes over i have no control.
and i scare myself.

gam zeh ya’avor gam zu le tovah / this too shall pass and it is all for the good
i know I KNOW
but it is killing me NOW.

it’s been almost an hour that i’ve been out here, now, smoking.
my plant is finally drenched.
my medicine is finally working.
i smoked enough to take down a fucking RHINO.
there won’t be any ill effect from this, either.
my body knows what it needs, i feel clearheaded, if stoned.
none of the usual giggliness i usually do but most definitely
my medicine works hard,
i work harder.

603p monday, 30th march, 2020

wanting to want to do something
becoming frustrated at every turn
every avenue blocked
each first becoming more
and more tentative.
i give up.
the phone in the half-inch of dirty dishwater was it.
tearing at the case to free my phone
fumbling it nearly to the floor
a soft, sharply inhaled shriek
what what what RICE
is that even what you’re supposed to do is it
I have wild rice mix does it matter?
gods it’s dusty that can’t be good for it.
try the phone, the speaker sounds shit oh FUCK.

leave it.
Leave it for hours. Let go.
Knit, a little, can you?
Would you?
Where? there are the stitches Mike made. Soft, soothing, remembering his hands in the wool.

you’ve texted everyone, overtexted.
emailed; overemailed.

It’s almost six. Nearly eight hours.

seems fine.
gingerly, reaching out.
soothed, analysis of the situation intact.
depression, surely, and not for no reason,
I mean
Not like it needs a reason but COME ON.

watching this cycle happen in real time
but slowed down
(how could it be slowed down I was right here I SAW IT HAPPEN)
talking through it
(in real time I think maybe that is so much a part of it we were talking actually

And now?
Vomiting up all the toxic fury.
Expelling it and becoming clean by its expulsion.

Even. Buoyed,
if not buoyant.

from where I sit I can see the pleiades.

right there, above the power line, center. see it?

951p, 21 march 2020

from where I sit I can see the pleiades.
like the teensiest, tinsiest, littlest dipper
The brightest thing in Taurus I am
the brightest thing in Taurus.

i am high and the stars are high
(about 25° above the horizon)
Venus is setting.

There is more light pollution here than at the old place
(the old place. the no-more place.)
It’s okay, so far.
As the year turns the trees will provide a new canopy
a different canopy

I know the cherry trees must be budding,
if not already trying to bloom
I drive past half the time and yet
I do not make time to notice
I look at her body, tired.
Wanting winter to finally be over.
Knowing that spring only ever always brings uncertainty,
Leaning in anyway.

Two and a half years. 810p, 13 March, 2020

Two and a half years.

I mean.

You know why I write so much, yeah? There’s no one to talk to here.
There’s no one here.

I go places and I look at things and I think of you and I can’t share them with you. I see things that I think you would like and I can’t tell you about them. I want to tell you that I signed up for hellofresh and I actually cooked and it was good. No, I didn’t make it the way it was supposed to be made, I didn’t put the blue cheese on because I don’t like blue cheese.

I made it the way I wanted.

and now I know how to cook potatoes like that I mean, I can make potatoes in the convection oven. I actually bought some extra potatoes on tuesday after work so that I could make some more with my extra burger that I have. I ate all of the potatoes with my first burger. I know I wasn’t supposed to do that but I was hungry and they tasted good.

On my way home from work and the supermarket tonight I looked out the window at the winter trees that have no leaves and saw that they were black against the civil twilight of the sky above the river. they were like paper cuts they were so finely detailed.

And now I’m sitting on the couch in my apartment and there is noise from above and there is noise from below and I am not making any of it. The only noise that is happening in my apartment is the aggressive purring of Mojo on my lap and the low-key ghostly howling that is coming from underneath the back door. Seriously it sounds like every bullshit made up ghost story “woooooooo”. Like I’m expecting to see the Mystery Machine screech to a halt in the parking lot.

I wish how I wish I could be one of those people with blind faith, with the committed belief that there is something after, that there is something else to be had after you die. That it’s not all just nothingness. Because then I could save up all the stuff to tell you. Or I could show you, you know, when I die.

I think about this ridiculous virus that is happening all over this planet and I’m grateful (if that’s an actual word that I can actually feel for this) grateful to not have to worry about you this time. That I don’t have to worry about your health.

Because you’re dead.
Some comfort.

thoughtless. 1027p 9 march, 2020

how dare you.
how dare you ask me if it was wise, crinkling up your face to say no, I don’t think so
“was it wise? to spend so much money on a good mattress?”


it isn’t the most expensive mattress, not by far.
it is a good mattress.
a king-size mattress
for my king-size bed
my king-size sheets
my king-size comforters
my king-size blankets.

how DARE you.

I sold my dead husband’s clothes
so that I might have a comfortable place to sleep.


cannabis diaries 8:41a, 28 february, 2020

today began like every other one in our new place.
get up, take care of Mojo
(we’ve got a new/old meds/food routine!
took a minute but it’s so close to same.)

take care of momma
(coffee and cannabis)
it’s fucking frigid out there this morning on the porch
twenty-eight fucking degrees (fahrenheit. celsius is what

come back inside to plan the rest of my day.
:switch showerhead
:okay then, text building manager about getting that done. and the hello tushy thing.
:get Rosie inspected before work

feeling buoyant and happy, I ask Mojo if it’s dance party time.
of COURSE it is, momma
what playlist… ooh The Delish.
THAT one.
because he is coming over later.
Mojo in my arms, sunlight streaming in the windows, music on the Sonos.
“I’ll Be There” by Jess Glynne

“When all the tears are rolling down your face
And it feels like yours was the only heart to break
When you come back home and all the lights are out, ooh
And you're getting used to no one else being around
Oh, oh, I'll be there
When you need a little love, I got a little love to share
Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna come through
You'll never be alone, I'll be there for you
I'll be there, I'll be there for you…
Oh, I swear, I got enough love for two, ooh, ooh, ooh
You'll never be alone, I'll be there for you…”

(I put this song on his playlist because this is 100% the essence of our relationship.
It isn’t an all-the-time holding hands and going places thing.
rather it is the inherent understanding that when we need each other, we are there.
in a somewhat unconventional way but valid just the same.)

what this is REALLY about, howmever, is the 10.628 pounds of fur and fangs and fierceness currently (and usually) the occupant of my left arm.
whether it is hormones (it definitely is) or bipolar (haylo!) or grief (can i get a trifecta? sure you can!)
are all coalescing to reduce me to tears
thinking how i can’t think about suicide because of Mojo.

reading all this and knowing just how fucking hard today is going to be at work and
knowing *that* is going to make it the tiniest bit easier.

having these reminders
these unbidden intrusions of
don’t go anywhere yet
you got stuff to do here, still

i mean it.
just hang on.

there are so many good things.
so many new good things.
so many.

so many that i want to see what happens next.