Recently in Me Category

Today Sucks

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By "today" I don't mean the 24-hour period I'm currently experiencing. I mean the date. As far as I'm concerned, compared to the date ten days after it, the Ides of March is as pleasant and enjoyable as a champagne picnic with your true love on a deserted beach in June.


March 25, 1978: I lost six pints of blood from intestinal hemorrhaging. The reason I didn't die is because it was a slow hemorrhage and I didn't go into shock. Had that happened, I wouldn't be here now.

March 25, 2004: My dad had emergency open-heart surgery after having two heart attacks. Had he not had surgery, the next heart attack would have killed him.

March 25, 2010: My mom suffered the medical crisis that killed her 24 hours later.

Admittedly, some good things have happened on March 25--or at least one good thing. March 25, 1988: I first met Matt, my gay ex-fiance who remains one of my dearest friends. And there have been 40-odd March 25ths in my life where nothing especially memorable, either good or bad, happened.

But the fact that it's a date when I almost died, one parent almost died, and another parent began to die, is, to me, reason enough to feel fairly creeped out and weird each time it rolls around.

Tomorrow will probably suck more in certain ways, though I convinced a friend to hang with me for a while so I'm at least distracted a little from the fact that it's the first anniversary of my mom's death. Today my sister and I are going to spend some time together and do something so we're not just alone and freaked out all day. I also have a party to go to tonight, which I'm really ambivalent about--I don't want to stay home and fret, but I also worry that I won't feel especially social or cheerful.

I've been told it gets easier each passing year, but it's still weird, and there will always be dates at the end of March that just freak me the hell out.

2010, in Subjectless Sentences


One of the reasons I don't blog so much anymore is that I spend more time on Facebook. I can't always be bothered to write an entire paragraph or five discussing my life, but I can usually manage to sentence or two.

I really like the FB app that goes through your statuses, picks some, and creates a jpeg of them toward the end of the year. Here's what it came up with for me this year. The most important update of 2010 was of course this one: "Holly is going home to be with her family and bury her mother."


Good at Good News

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My mom loved good news, and she was good at hearing it. That might sound silly but not everyone is good at hearing other people's good news. Some people feel jealous or resentful of others' good fortune, as if there's only so much good mojo to go around and your encounter with it diminishes theirs; some of them try to hide this and some don't.

But my mom could take genuine happiness in the happiness of others. If you got something that made you really happy, she was happy for you, even--and this is important--if she didn't entirely approve. She'd set that side in order to congratulate you and celebrate with you.

She wasn't always so great at hearing bad news. She got better at it, but especially when i was a teenager and REALLY UNHAPPY, sympathy was not really her strong suit.

But the good news? She was EXTRA good at hearing that. I loved calling my mom and telling her, "This good thing happened." I almost always felt happier after that.

Some pretty good stuff has happened to me lately. Personally, professionally, artistically: I'm pleased with how things are going.

And it just kills me that I cannot tell my mom about any of the reasons why.

Most Days It's OK


Most days it's OK. Most days my life is just my life and I have stuff to do and frustrations to overcome and things to amuse me and friends to hang out with and ideas to figure out and questions to analyze. But some days it's not OK and today is one of them: I really miss my mom.

Loss, Just Loss


Remember back in December when I wrote about loss anticipated vs. loss experienced? Well, the loss I was anticipating back then has been experienced: my mom died.

Her death was slow, ugly and cruel, in ways that offered both profound suffering and some really remarkable blessings for all of us. Because it was so slow, we had time to prepare, and to say and do what we needed to. Because it was so ugly, we were able to let her go--we didn't want her to stick around for more of what she was enduring. Because it was so cruel, we got to learn something about compassion and work hard to comfort her and each other.

The funeral was really nice, and very well attended--I saw so many old friends. We buried her near her parents in the truly beautiful Binghampton Cemetery in Tucson, two days before Easter. Some of my siblings were lamenting the fact that the proximity to Easter would taint the holiday henceforth, but I, the godless heathen, said, "What are you talking about? She's being buried on Good Friday. Can you think of a better, more meaningful day for her to be buried on?" And that did seem to offer comfort to people.

I really miss her.


My Own 13 Articles of Faith


About ten days ago, I was trying to come up with something interesting to write as my Facebook status. "What do I believe?" I asked myself. "What do I want people to know about what's going on with me?" And what came to mind was this:

Holly believes in being honest, true, courageous, benevolent, and in doing good to lots of human beings. She believes some things, hopes for a lot of things, has endured many things, and hope she doesn't have to endure too many more. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, she seeks after these things.

In case you don't know, this is a personalization of the 13th Article of Faith, which I and all other Mormon kids were expected to memorize in Primary when we were in fifth grade. I still remember it, 35 years later. It was always my favorite, for so many reasons: first, it has a nice cadence--even as a fifth grader I cared about that. Also I could actually get behinds its sentiments. I wasn't so big, at age 10, in proclaiming my certainty about the spiritual necessity of the atonement, but I was interested in seeking after things virtuous, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy.

Not only did I and other fifth graders have to memorize all 13 Articles of Faith, we had to learn the story of why they were written: someone asked Joseph Smith what Mormons actually believe, so he wrote up a list of 13 basic tenets and belief.

Although I remember the 13th AoF pretty clear, I had gotten fuzzy on some of the other 12. I looked them up, and realized I was seriously not on board with most of them. So I decided to personalize every last one of them, and create my own 13 Articles of Faith. It was both challenging and rewarding to try to codify my beliefs and opinions. I tried not to be flip. I tried to phrase things so that they would wear well, so that I wouldn't have to clarify them right away. They may or may not be a perfect and accurate summation of my opinions and beliefs 40 years from now, but they'll do for today.

It was drilled into me from infancy that you only wear your nicest clothes on Sunday, and as soon as you get home from church you take them off and hang them up neatly, so they remain your nicest clothes. I absorbed the training thoroughly; I take really good care of my clothes, and they last me years if not decades.

But the training to save things for special was not limited to clothes. Other things were way too special to use every day. You didn't use the good silver to eat spaghetti on Tuesday, for instance--solid sterling was just for Sunday. The china, however, wasn't even just for Sunday--it was just for company or holidays.

Saving-for-special should even extended to perishable items, I was taught. Really expensive European cocoa, for instance, had to be saved, for years if necessary, until an appropriate occasion to cook with it came along. No matter that after so many years at the back of the cupboard being special it had passed from specialness to inferiority of flavor and texture; at least it hadn't been wasted and diluted through consumption on some frivolous occasion.

Return of the Nausea


Not quite sure why I'm doing this to myself.... As I've mentioned elsewhere, my presence of Facebook has reached a sort of critical mass, where people from my distant past are finding and being found by me. It's sometimes cool, sometimes weird, sometimes stressful, sometimes surprising.

I spent much of Thursday, for instance, having a really great conversation with someone from high school whom I sat across from in history my junior year, liked well enough, but didn't really know all that well. She added me as a friend and sent me a message about our 30-year reunion--scheduled for July 2011--and then we exchanged a few more very interesting messages, and it was really great, and made me glad I'm on Facebook.

The chat function, though, makes me nuts. People keep trying to get me to chat via Facebook's chat function, which I can't figure out how to disable. I don't chat online. On principle I don't use any form of online chat. You want me to communicate with you, take the time to compose a message that I can answer on my own time, and don't expect me to wait while you're typing. The only time I have violated that rule is when someone asked me a quick, specific question that needed a quick, specific answer and didn't need a full email thread.

Anyway, the chat rant was a sidetrack--the real point of this entry is a meme I found on the page of another old schoolmate. (Schoolmate! I don't know that I've ever used that word in a sentence about myself.) I read this meme and was mildly astonished to realize there are people in the world who think about high school in a sustained way--I mean, someone actually came up with all these questions about high school!

High school for me was like lunch on a road trip: this not especially memorable thing you have to stop and deal with while you're on your way to someplace better. You try to make the best of it and hope it's not awful, but you know better than to hope it will actually be great. And chances are, unless you end up spending more time in the bathroom (or the hospital, or the therapist's office) dealing with some dreadful aftermath than you spent on the original experience, the details of it soon become fuzzy as you focus on something more important. In fact, a few hours later, all you're left with is some mild nausea and one more reason to stash a few packets of Alka-Seltzer in your glove compartment.

So why am I actually answering the questions on this meme? Actually confronting these things is the Alka-Seltzer, the weird fizzy thing that will settle what has been ruffled and roiled. Also, I don't know, what the hell. I had extensive dental work this morning and am feeling sort of cranky, and this seems like a good way to let the crankiness out. I just am answering the questions. So there.

I Need to Get This Out of the Way


Remember a long time ago, when I wrote about selling my house? Or last month, when I wrote about how a 99 cent plastic statue of St. Joseph may have helped me sell my house? Well, what I haven't written about is where I moved after I sold my house. And I guess it's time to 'fess up and make the announcement:

I moved to Salt Lake City.

Now, what I want to make clear is that although I have moved back to the west and am damn glad to be here, I have not moved BACK to Utah. One thing that offends me no end is when people assume that because I grew up Mormon, I am FROM Utah. I am not FROM Utah. I am FROM Arizona. Check out my archives: the first topic listed is Arizona. There is no topic in the archives for Utah, because it has never been, until recently, my home. (Though I did add, in May 2009, an SLC stuff category.)

Until late this summer, the only significant amount of time I spent in Utah was the two months I was at the Missionary Training Center, a place I loathed as I have loathed few places in my life. I never went to BYU. I never wanted to go to BYU. I always vowed I would NEVER live in Utah.

The Sign Outside My House


Recently a sign appeared outside my house. It looks like this:


Of course this sign was preceded by an earlier sign, one that said "For Sale." The fact that the first sign was up for a mere month before the "Sold" sign was posted made me REALLY happy.

The fact that there has been this signage outside my house helps explain, I hope, why I haven't been as prolific a blogger recently as I've at other times in my life--OK, I've posted a lot of entries, but they've been short. Because, you see, there's been painting going on. And regrouting. And selling furniture. And lots and lots of cleaning. And getting the hell out of the house so complete strangers can walk through it and look at my stuff.

But that is all over, and I'm moving--soon. Which means posting may be even more sporadic until I get where I'm going and get settled.

Wish me luck!


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