Decadius Disseminatus

That’s Latin for “Ten Years of Blogging” (no, it’s really not, please don’t think that’s true, I totally made up the words of the sentiment. It’s not Latin for anything.)

But the gist is this: today, December 9, 2017, is the 10th anniversary of my life as a blogger. Ten YEARS I’ve been writing. On this very day an entire decade ago, I started out as a blogger. My friend Meg said, “You should write a blog” and so I did. Okay, there might have been more to it than that, I’m not that susceptible. I was going to repost my original blog, but, as it turns out, that site has shut down. Which means the first (just over) 500 blogs are lost forever. All that genius, gone in a wash of technology. (insert sad face smiley here)

I’d say it’s sad (see sad face smiley note), but I don’t know that it is (dammit! confused smiley). I don’t know if I need this to be permanent. The memories I’ll have either way but the granular details, I’m not sure we’re meant to carry those always. Maybe they are there just to color in the picture before it slowly leaches over time.

The point is, the stuff that matters we keep forever. but the rest of it, the stuff that seems so important in the moment? I don’t know that we’re supposed to keep it. I think part of life is letting go and moving forward. Hm, that is not a lesson I ever expected to learn through blogging, an exercise that by its very nature should show the opposite, but there you go.

This post, at the moment of publication is my 812th post. 812 times I’ve set out to tell you a story (at least here). My writing rate has slowed considerably. Five years ago, at the half decade mark, I wrote this post. In it, I told how it was my 1,000th post, 483 on this site and 517 on my first, now defunct site. If we include those 517 lost posts, then this is my 1,329th post.

(Remember my thing about numbers? This is a great place to demonstrate.)

I’ve technically written one thousand three hundred and twenty-nine posts (see? numbers are always more impressive if you write out the words.)

Over ten years, that is nearly 133 posts a year or a post every three days. Can you imagine? Every three days for a decade I wrote down my thoughts and published them on the internet for the world to read.

What was I thinking?

Just kidding, I like it. And I’m okay with it. I’m honored and touched and surprised that people actually do read it. People, that is, that are not my family or my friends. Since 219 people actually follow this blog and I’d guess less than 15 of them are the aforementioned friends and family, color me grateful and pleased.

What’s the point?

Well, there isn’t one, really. I just happened to stumble across my five year anniversary post only a couple weeks ago and it struck me, forcibly that I was dangerously close to this major anniversary. I knew then I had to take a moment and honor this date with a post, but as I thought about it in the days leading, I never found my story. Instead, today, without cleverness or guile, you get my thoughts. Just random scatters of notions sprinkled here for your enjoyment. Because I’m awesome like this, I’m going to link ten of my favorite posts.

Nope. Not favorite. Popular. I went to the site statistics and I found a list of all my posts ranked by number of views. So here we go, the Top 10 most popular posts on Livlife.

10.  Blog Crack

9. Buddy Coke

8. 35/35 (Kel, can you believe one of your birthday posts is in the TOP TEN? Of the 178 times that has been viewed, how many were you?…tell the truth!)

7. All About Me (Huh, that’s my intro page, which makes sense I suppose, but feels a bit like a cheat. But I did write it….)

6. Cheese and Macaroni

5. Christmas Letter

4. Magic Necklace

3. The Danger of Brushing Your Hair (in that post I am talking about something that happened 16,000 times and I spell out the words sixteen thousand and comment on how much more it seems. In 2011. Clearly I’ve believed this theory for quite some time).

2. Christian Kane Concert (this could well be MY favorite post I’ve ever written. Certainly it is to reread. I’m probably half of the page views (though I don’t think I count) and I’m both oddly pleased and disappointed it is number two)

1.  Purple Stripes – Never in a million years did I think this would be the most popular post on my site. Not sure what I thought WAS, but I wouldn’t have thought this, that’s for sure.

I’m adding one more: The Universe Wants Me to Listen to David Gray because I have always liked that post. And I think of it whenever a David Gray song comes on the radio or my iPhone. It’s number 33 overall which is still pretty high, so I’m including it as an honorable mention.

Ooops, make that two more. Wouldn’t Time Be Out To Charm You? This is another all time favorite of mine, the detailing of one of my life stories, a defining life story at that. I had to search for this one, only to find it is #73 on the list overall. But to me, this one would absolutely be top ten of my favorites, so I’m leaving it here as a second bonus.

What else can I say after ten years of being a blogger? Let’s see how long it lasts and where it goes, I guess. I certainly never thought I’d be writing a blog still after a decade.

Hm, how do you end these things? You’d think after doing this more than thirteen hundred times I’d have a foolproof system for getting out once the work is done (twss) but, unfortunately, I do not. Sometimes I’m pithy, sometimes it’s natural, sometimes I think I just stop typing.

This will be one of those times.

 

Five x One Thousand

December 9, 2007.

My very first blog post, ever.

As you will see in the post, I started blogging because my friend Meg said I should. I figured, why not? I had no idea what to write about. I couldn’t imagine how I’d fill these posts. I started reading one or two blogs back then. One of them, that I no longer read, was celebrating her 500th post. I was in awe. I figured I’d write every couple of days and it would take me YEARS to get to 500 posts. If I even lasted that long, that is.

Somehow, it didn’t work that way. I liked doing it. I had no trouble thinking of things to write about. My life became more interesting when I wrote it down, every little interaction became fodder for the blog. Reading an interesting article? Blog it. A cute photo? Blog it. It has gotten to the point when my brain starts composing a post whenever anything happens. My family makes jokes, “is this going to be on the blog?” when something happens. Yes, is pretty much always the answer. Now, I find so many things to blog about I have to be choosy. Not everything makes it onto the blog. I have lists of things I wanted to blog about but it simply never happened.

This blog has changed me.

My writing has gotten stronger. My storytelling, deeper. I’ve gotten better technology and it’s gotten easier. I take more photos now. My memory has weakened because I don’t try so hard, because I know I can find that memory on my blog.

And, of course, life has changed me.

In December of 2007, I was one year out of library school. I was working 3 part time jobs for a total of 32 hours a week. And one of them was chauffeuring a friend home from work in the wee hours of the morning because he had a DUI. The other two were both part time library positions. One at Hamline, one with Hennepin County. I no longer have any of those jobs. Instead I have gotten a full time library position. I’ve been a part time house sitter. I’ve been a wedding planner’s assistant. I moonlighted at a restaurant. I became the director of a small public library. I got a job subbing in a public library. My professional life has grown through great change.

Personally, I was living at my parents house and I loved living there. I loved spending time with them. And my parents house is the center of our family universe, so I saw everyone, regularly. Since then, I have hunted for and lived through the god-awful experience of buying a home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house, but the process of buying it was atrocious. Now I live by myself in a quiet little house. And what I really miss is my parents. Which sounds nuts because I see them all the time and talk to them on the phone all the time, but it is different. It just is.

In December of 2007, my nephew Simon was celebrating his first Christmas. Things were rocky, then, between us and Simon’s mom and we didn’t see him much. That Christmas I saw him for the third time since he was born (in April). Now, he is a delightful 5-year-old boy and we see him about every other week. We get him for holidays and he is a solid and much-loved part of our family.

My sister was newly married. She married Chad in September of 2007. We went to Las Vegas for their wedding. Now, five years later, they just celebrated their 5th anniversary, I have a gorgeously delightful almost-three-year-old niece and they are expecting a little boy in February.

My brother Zack was living with Kim, his longtime girlfriend (8 years together at that point), at their house in St. Paul. He was working full time at Applebee’s, where he worked forever. Now, he and Kim are long over (made it to 12 years), he lived with my parents for a year and just recently moved into his own townhouse in Stillwater. Also, he no longer works at Applebee’s and is currently looking for a job.

I had just reconnected with Justin, after we both had moved home from living away. Elena was still living in DC (I think, not still Maine, was it?) and I had yet to reconnect with Kelly, who was pregnant with her son, Christian. Mindy had not yet started her business, she and Tom were newly married and Lewie had just been born in March.

Now, Justin and I are close friends, Elena lives here and owns a house, Kelly and I are friends and she is pregnant with her third child. Mindy runs a hugely successful business and has two boys in grade school.

What does this all mean? Nothing really, it’s just a recap. So, in another five years, I can come back to this and say, wow, things have changed so much, again. Because that’s what happens. Time passes and things change. Nothing stays the same. Friends grow and change. Families evolve. Life deals hardship and your heart is forever changed by it.

When I started this blog in August of 2010, I warned you that it was all about change. Back then, I was blogging at Mindsay, a completely different space. I wrote 517 posts there before moving on. Now, I’m fully invested in WordPress and I love it here. In addition to this being my five year anniversary (of blogging as a whole, not only at WordPress), this post is also my 483rd post on this site. Did you do the math?

This is my 1,000th post as a blogger. Yes, across two sites, but I have set out to tell a story, to entertain, on one thousand separate occasions.

That is a cause for celebration. And, today, we celebrate with this retrospective and with this post.

It is exactly 1,000 words long.

Thank you, always, for reading.

Anniversarial

Yesterday was the 36th wedding anniversary of these fine people:

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(the ones in white….)

I didn’t get a chance to blog it yesterday, but I saw them and gave my felicitations in person. Thirty-six years of marriage, good for them.

And oh, how very young you both look. Just babies. No idea that in less than two years you’ll have a baby to contend with. No way of knowing that in just over five years you’ll have FOUR babies to contend with. Never dreaming of moving from St. Paul to the suburbs. No clue that you’ll learn what it means to custom design and build your dream house.

Not even a glimmer that just 36 short years later, you will be these people:

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Grandparents. With one more on the way.

Thank you both for the memories, for the love, for the support, and, well, for the life!

I love you, Happy Anniversary.

400

After posting that last one, WordPress was kind enough to tell me it was my 399th post. Which means…this is 400!

Congrats to us all.

I hit just over 500 at my last site, Mindsay, which means I’ve written nearly 1,000 blog posts in my life. That’s incredible to me.

I’m also surprised that I am that high on this site. It seems like just yesterday that I started this blog. As a matter of fact, let me check.

I did my first post on Mindsay on December 9, 2007 and hit my 400th post on March 24, 2010. That is 837 days to get to 400 posts. That seems like a long time, right? 2 years, 3 months and 16 days.

By comparison, I did my first post on WordPress on August, 15,2010 and am doing my 400th…well, now. This is it, people. Pay attention! That means it only took me 635 days to reach that milestone for a second time. Or, 1 year, 8 months, 26 days. That’s considerably less. I blog so much faster now! Or else I’ve got more to talk about, who knows!

The cool thing I think is that I am officially 917 total posts into this blogging thing and it has been 1,615 days I’ve been a blogger. Or 4 years, 5 months, 2 days. My five year anniversary is this year. I will also hit 1,000 total posts and 500 WP posts this year. That’s pretty cool and a pretty impressive record for blogging, if you ask me. And I’m just the girl who started this because a librarian friend told her to. I never intended to be a blogger. But, today, right now, I’m sure glad I am.

Thanks for reading!

Remember Yesterday

September 8th was the one year anniversary of the suicide of my friend, Peter.

His wife and son came to town to visit all of Peter’s friends. I held a reunion at my house. It was wonderful to see everyone and to talk and reminisce about old times. But, it all felt a little strange. Like we were all forcing this sense of happiness that no one really felt.

I sure didn’t. When we had Peter’s memorial last year, Niki invited friends to stand up and talk about him, in front of a video camera. She recorded all the speeches and she’s saving them for Finn, so that someday, he’ll get to hear how much his dad was loved. I was crying through most of the memorial and all of the speeches. I was standing with Mindy and Tom and Mindy kept encouraging me to say something.

I really, really wanted to, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have it in me to stand in front of that group and share my grief. Not then, not when it was so raw. In the year that has passed, I haven’t been able to talk about him much or to share that grief. On Thursday, I was sad all day long. I missed him so much and sometimes, it seems like the world has forgotten him.

When I think about Peter, I remember a lot of different things. I remember how tall he was and that he used to wear these funky hats. I remember how Niki used to pick on him because she thought some of his hats were…I don’t know, dorky? I loved them. I liked that he was confident in himself and who he was and that he’d wear something he liked, even if the person he trusted most said she didn’t like it.

I remember going to their wedding and being the one to drive the bride and groom to the hotel. Then, they forgot their champagne in my car and I had to hand deliver it to their room, about ten minutes after they arrived. I was so nervous to “interrupt” them on their wedding night. Peter opened the door, still in his tux, and hugged his thanks, making me feel silly for feeling so nervous.

I remember how he wanted his own special nickname for me. He wanted to call me something that no one else called me. We went through a slew of them, until he settled on Vi (long I). He didn’t call me that very often, but he always grinned at me when he did.
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I remember how smart he was and that he loved trivia as much as I do. Trivia was the thing that bonded us. We had gotten along quite well, from day one, but to move into “friends” territory, it took a trivia game. Peter knew exactly how smart he was, I think he was surprised to find out I was that smart, too. He was always up for playing some game, especially a trivia game. Then, one night, during game night at his house, he and I hatched a plan. Instead of evenly dividing the teams, we’d be a team, just him and me; versus everyone else. I think there were 6-8 people on the other team. We won. Decimated them, actually. They still talk about that game. Pete and I were very good at trivia.

I remember how he hugged me each and every time I saw him, even at work. Often times, he’d pick me up when he hugged me–he was very strong. The night of my 30th birthday, I was doing photos with every friend in the room. Peter had been watching me and thinking about what we’d do. It wasn’t just a stand next to each other and smile photo, not for us. I actually ended up with two wonderful photos of that night, as we stood together, talking about the “plan” for the perfect birthday photo, I was laughing and Kelly snapped a picture.
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Then, he picked me up, I kicked up one 4 inch heel and we kissed…photo. I have that one framed in my living room. I know that one day I’ll smile again when I look at it, now, though, it just makes me miss him even more.
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I remember one night after I’d moved back from DC. The gang was gathering up at GW for drinks. I was one of the last to arrive and when I walked in, Peter stood up and came over to me. He gave me a huge hug and whispered in my ear, “Niki and I are taking off the gloves.” My eyes got huge and I got so excited. He pulled me in for another hug and told me that they weren’t telling people that they were trying, but he and Niki really wanted me to know. I remember his smile that night, how happy he looked as he contemplated a future as a father. I remember he winked at me as I weasled my way around the table to Niki and tried to hug her casually, so no one would know that everything had changed.

I remember that he used to ask me to go have a smoke with him at GW. We’d go out to the alley and lean against the wall to smoke and he’d suck his down. He was the fastest smoker I ever met. He could easily finish two full cigarettes before I could finish one. It’s weird that such a strange little quirk is one of my strongest memories of him. I used to joke that I was getting healthier on smoke breaks with him, because I never finished a full cigarette before he was antsy and ready to head back in.

I remember how much he loved Niki and how he wasn’t afraid to let that show. I used to think, “that’s what I want”, because he was a man who was proud to be a husband and eager to tell the world how amazing his wife is. One night, after a long night of drinking, the three of us stopped up to GW for last call. Or maybe it was the only place in town left that would still serve us. I was driving, but Peter and Niki were very drunk. Niki got up on the bar, yes, ON the bar, and began shaking it to whatever was on the radio that night. Peter and I sat at the end, together, and as Niki danced her way up and down the bar he looked at me and said, “she’s so beautiful. Look at my wife.” And the tone in his voice choked me up. I could only look at him. Then he added, “and check out that booty!”. And I laughed, as I was supposed to. It was very Peter to say something sweet and then to lighten the mood with something raunchy.

I remember when he told me that they were expecting a baby. They were both so excited. Peter waited until Niki was out of ear shot and then he asked me, “when do baby showers happen?” He wanted to make sure that Niki had everything she deserved. I promised him that I’d make sure she had an amazing shower. Muffy and I threw her a shower 2.5 weeks before she was due. It was later than we wanted, but the only day we could get the schedules to coordinate. When Pete and Niki arrived, we asked how Niki was feeling and she said she was fine. She told us that she thought she was going to be overdue. She said she was overdue when she was born and Peter added that so was he. I told them that first babies usually come early, not late. They laughed and Niki said she felt like she had weeks left. Our shower was on Sunday…Finn was born on Thursday. He was two weeks early.

I remember how, after Finn was born, Peter took a picture and sent out a mass text. I congratulated him via text and asked how everyone was doing. He reported on how amazing Finn was and that Niki did an incredible job. “And you?” I asked. He said, “I’m just sitting here, looking at my wife and son.” Even via text message, his joy shone through.
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I remember how he loved to go camping. He and the gang would go usually once a year. I was always invited and always said no. I don’t camp. I don’t sleep outside, I don’t sleep on the ground. He’d ask me year after year to go along and I’d always refuse. Then, last year, he turned 40 years old. I called him, just to say hi and catch up. We chatted on the phone for almost an hour, talking about what it was like to turn such a momentous age and how I have trouble believing the *he* was 40. He told me that he and Niki were planning a trip up to the cities before the end of summer and that he wanted to go camping. I laughed at him and said, “so you don’t want to hang with me?” and he said that what he wanted for his 40th birthday was for me to come camping. I hemmed and hawed until he added, “I’ll bring you a bed.” I laughed again and he said he’d bring a futon out into the woods and put it inside a tent, just for me, my own little woodland hotel room. I agreed that if he’d bring a bed to the woods, I’d go camping for his 40th birthday. He was so happy and excited he talked for 10 minutes about all the fun things we’d do when we went camping. He told me it would be an “experience.” I tried not to dampen his enthusiasm; none of what he said sounded like fun to me.

I remember that call with perfect clarity. It was early July 2010. Two months later, he would be dead. That phone call was the last time I ever spoke to him. When I remember it now, I’m so glad that I agreed to go camping with him, that I gave him that little gift. And I’m actually sorry that we never got to go. I never thought a day would come when I’d be sad to miss out on a camping trip. It’s just that I don’t know anyone else who would offer to lug an actual bed out into the woods, just to get me camping.

I remember how, no matter what, Peter could be counted on. He was the one to turn to if you needed someone to listen, if you needed advice, if you needed to laugh, if you needed an inappropriate comment, if you needed help. If you needed him, he was always there. I wish that he had known, that he had trusted, that we’d all be there for him, when he really needed us.

It’s been a full year since his death. A year since I’ve seen my friend. A year knowing that he’s gone. He may be gone forever from my life, but he won’t ever be gone from my heart. I still think of him and miss him and try to laugh at my memories. I play trivia and I trust that if I don’t know the answer, wherever he is, he’ll whisper it to me.

Probably along with a dirty joke.

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When the World Stopped Turning

It was a Tuesday morning. My only early class of the week. I was serving to pay my way through school, so I had become a night owl. I avoided mornings like the plague.

But, on Tuesdays, I had Ethics. It was one of my favorite classes I’ve ever taken.

I got up and began getting ready for class. I was groggy, tired, grumpy. I turned on the radio for company. They were talking about airplanes. Crashing. New York.

I wasn’t getting it. I thought it was a joke. I remember thinking that this sounded like some sort of stupid joke. I changed the channel. I turned to KDWB. I never listen to them. Dave Ryan was also talking about these airplanes. Something was wrong.

I raced upstairs, only half dressed. My mom was gone for work already. I went into the garage. My dad was there. I don’t know why. Maybe he was on vacation? Tuesday morning should have found him at work. He was reading the paper. I told him to turn on the t.v.

We watched the 2nd tower fall.

It didn’t seem real. It was like watching a movie or something. It was horrible. They kept replaying the footage over and over. We listened to the newscasters as they gave theories. We heard about the plane headed for Washington. The one that hit the Pentagon. We heard about United 93. We listened to the conspiracy theories that were flying like mad, in lieu of actual facts.

I had to go to class. I finished getting dressed and left. I remember pulling onto I-94 and I was listening to the radio, listening to them talk about the Towers coming down. I was crying.

It was ridiculous. Why was I going to class? To sit with strangers and talk about this? I’d rather be home with my dad and talk to him. I got off on Radio Dr. and turned around. I went home. I learned later that they had canceled class due to the tragedy.

Dad and I sat in the garage and watched the coverage, we watched the billowing smoke. We listened to them speculate about how many people had died. It was days until we learned that the number nearly reached 3,000.

Eventually, my mom came home. Emily came home. She was a senior in high school. She was gone before I woke up, before the coverage started. She said that was all they talked about all day long. Several classes brought in t.v.’s so they could watch the coverage. I told her that had happened to me only once in school. The O.J. Simpson trial. The day the verdict was read, we had t.v.’s in the classroom so that we could watch. This was worse.

I didn’t know anyone. I have never been to NYC, never seen the Twin Towers before or since. I was not connected in a personal way to this tragedy. My connection was visceral, the feelings of fear and sadness and anger that come from someone hurting my country, our people. I wanted it to change, to not have happened, because of what it meant for the world, for the United States.

When I think back on that day, I remember that I was supposed to be in class. I remember feeling sick, but comforted that I was able to be with my family. I remember the feeling that rippled through me when I watched the second tower fall.

I remember.

God Bless America.

Raising Hope

Photo by Tom Franklin