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I try to keep busy. When I'm busy, when I'm going from meeting to meeting, when I have back-to-back appointments, sometimes I look at the schedule and wish there was more free time.

But when I have a large block of free time as I had today, then I remember why keep busy.

When I am busy I don't have time to think about loss or grief or loneliness.

For weeks I have been looking forward to today.  I had a really busy month at work, complicated by bronchial problems for the whole first half of April, and last week I put in almost double my regular hours.

I have been looking forward to having this day with no appointments and no obligations, when I can just sit in front of the computer and play computer games and watch TV and post on Daily Kos.

But now I'm having a little bit of sundowning.  I was too busy and exhausted for it yesterday, but now I am getting nostalgic about Easter.  I have only had one small meal today and I am hungry.  Easter used to be an eating holiday.

I am remembering Easters past with big decorated baskets.  Devouring chocolate bunnies and M&Ms even though I wasn't fond of chocolate.  Picking through the jellybeans to find the good ones since I wasn't fond of jellybeans. I remember Sweet Tarts and candy I did enjoy.  I remember eating hard-boiled eggs which I still love.  And back then we had "Easter vacation", a whole week off from school.  But I liked school, so that was something of a mixed blessing.

I remember my mommy making me an Easter basket, and putting my favorite things in it, and some of her favorite things as well.  It only just occurred to me just now as I write this, that she put her favorite things in it that were not my favorite things so that she could eat them!

When I went away to school, and during my young adult years when I was living on my own, she would send me a little check at Easter time in a card with a note that said:  "Make yourself an Easter basket, baby.  Dye yourself some eggs and get some Easter candy."  Just typing that makes me want to cry.  I never got to see her at that time of year, and she was wishing she could make an Easter basket for me, but I was not there.  Most of the times I was so broke that I would just put those checks in the bank and tell her I got Easter candy with it, or I would buy just a little bit of candy so as not to tell a total lie and spend the rest of the money on bills.  "Who spends $20 on an Easter basket?" I thought to myself.

Now there's nobody to make an Easter basket for me, and I don't bother doing it for myself.  I tried a few years to dye the eggs and buy candy and fill a little basket with plastic grass.  I was in my 30s before I realized that part of the fun of Easter baskets is making one for somebody you love.  And it took me forever to figure out that in creating baskets it was the company that mattered.  That there's nothing particularly fun about dying eggs by yourself. There's nothing particularly fun about dying eggs at all unless the company is good.  It was what we talked about while we dyed the eggs.  It was the way we laughed together about the funny things we wrote on the eggs.

Does anybody remember dyeing eggs the old fashioned way?  You could write messages on the egg with a clear wax crayon, and the dye would not stick where the wax was—you could not see the message until the egg was dyed.  All these stickers and press on transfers and stuff was brand new when I was a child, and we never used any of it.  We dyed eggs the old fashioned way, with food coloring and vinegar until PAAS came out with their dye kits and the little wire egg holder.

One year when I was very little—about 5 or 6, I think, I was trying to write HELLO on an egg and having some trouble.  The letter "O" did not come out well—I guess I did not press down hard enough on the crayon.  Anyway, when the egg came out of the dye it said HELL.  This was 50 years ago, when "hell" was not a word people said in polite company, but I didn't even know it was considered a curse word--I had only heard it in church contexts.  The adults all thought it was hilarious and I was not exactly sure what was so funny.  Now it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  Tears of laughter, and irony, and nostalgia.  It was Easter, and the littlest child had created the HELL egg!

I've had trouble with other holidays since mom died, especially the obvious family holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's.  Not just because of family memories but because of bad milestone events in mom's illness that occurred around each of those holidays.  But I don't remember having any trouble with Easter until last year, when mom's birthday fell on Easter.  It was the first time her birthday fell on Easter since she died, and the first time I could even remember her birthday falling on Easter, although obviously it must have happened many times before. Maybe that is why I am having a bad spell today.  I don't know.

I wrote a few months ago about how I was trying to uncouple all other bad feelings from grief and realize that not all loneliness is grief not all pain is grief not all anxiety is grief and try to separate out what feelings are really grief and what feelings are just part of what it means to be an adult living a complicated life.  But today things do seem a little jumbled up again.  

I did have a few mini peanut butter cups yesterday.  That was more than enough Easter candy for me.  I didn't boil any eggs this year, but I had scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday and today.

Some of this is longing for my childhood home, and the family dinners we used to have.  Easter would be a feast occasion for three kinds of meat (ham, turkey and beef)  and five kinds of starch (mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn pudding, stuffing, and dinner rolls).  Green beans might make a token appearance for a semblance of healthy variety.  Even more than the food I miss the company.  The house full of people.  The bursts of raucous laughter and the fast flying political arguments.

This is one of those days when it's hard to uncouple.  I miss those few happy years of my childhood. I miss my childhood home. I miss the way Easter used to be.  I miss so many things that used to be that are no more.  I miss my mommy.

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We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.
Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.
There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down..
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Comment Preferences

  •  Please share whatever you need to share (34+ / 0-)

    even if it has nothing to do with the subject of the diary.

    As always, TGR is a grieving Open Thread.

    Participating here is an act of trust between blogfriends who know each other and between people who have never met.  We send our needs, our cries for help, our poems of loss and recovery, our honest emotions, out into the blogosphere.  We trust that someone reading our words has been in a similar place and truly understands.  We trust that someone out there will offer a kind word and stand beside us as we rant and rage about the unfairness of it all. We read without judgment and offer presence, not advice.

    All future dates on the schedule are OPEN.

    If you have a grief anniversary or other significant date coming up, and would like to write a diary for a particular week, please post a comment in the diary asking for the date you want, and/or send me a kosmail, and/or send an email to TrueBlueMajority AT gmail DOT com.

    The Grieving Room is open for discussion.  What is on your mind and heart tonight?

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:08:27 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing this with us. (12+ / 0-)

    Such beautiful memories. I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember the big family holiday gatherings from many years ago.  Now it's just a few of us siblings left approaching 60 & with Mom at 84, we know every holiday could be her last. The years fly by. And you're right, it's not the actual traditions & activities,  it's who you share them with. I don't presume to know your beliefs about an afterlife, but the older I get & the more extended family I lose, the less I fear death myself I feel like it will be one big family holiday party when we're all together again. Meanwhile I wish you joy & comfort.

  •  Just lovely! (11+ / 0-)

    I generally have my spring break in connection with the Easter holiday. I know it won't be the same, but I could come back East and rustle up something familiar. That time of year I usually need a change of scenery anyway. I know it won't be the same, but it will remind you that other people love you too.

    Incidentally, I think I'm ready to come back into The Grieving Room fold if you'll have me.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:16:07 PM PDT

  •  Good Evening, TrueBlueMajority (13+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your thoughts.  I do not do holidays any more, and am getting much better with the inexplicable melancholy that used to creep over me during them.  Going through the motions seems to make it worse though, lol.

    I had a funeral for my cat, Violet, this evening.  She actually passed away in January, but the ground has just warmed up enough to bury her.  I have one other cat, Sarah, and Sarah came to the funeral and paid her respects and supported me in quite a touching way.  The goat, Romeo, came too.  Here is a picture of Violet.
     photo violet_zps3b1b1203.jpg
    Violet, like almost all of my cats, had a rough start.  She was always very brave, took everything in stride and taught me to do the same.  She also liked to soak her feet in the water bowl.  She could surgically eat a mouse so neatly, Sarah and I would watch her in admiration.  When I set mouse traps, the snap of the traps was like a dinner bell--why work when there was such a labor-saving device?  She took a great interest in life and enjoyed it to the fullest as long as she could.
     photo img081_zpsa10c4648.jpg
    The thing I always have to remember, every day, is that regret is the most painful thing about the loss of a cat--I remind myself to do everything I can while they are with me to appreciate and enjoy and love them.

  •  {{{{{TBM}}}}} (10+ / 0-)

    The HELL egg! What a sweet and funny story. Yes, I remember writing messages on the eggs, but I don't think we ever had such a good one.
    I wish I had the chance to visit some of the old family gatherings again, too. Only the nice ones, though. Some of them were horrible, no exaggeration. But the good ones had lots of food, lots of conversation and laughter. When I was little, we used to see my uncles and their families every week.
    Actually, I don't miss my uncles at all, but I do miss the older generation, some of them gone 25-30 years or more. It was just the 25th anniversary of my grandfather's death last week, on my grandmother's birthday. A very ironic death indeed, since she had died only three weeks prior. The kicker is that they had been divorced for about 50 years, and she had remarried twice. People are funny, no?
    Would that you had more than memories, TBM. I know these special events are still tough.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 07:12:31 PM PDT

    •  i'm sorry I didn't see this last night, pk (3+ / 0-)

      i went to bed early and actually slept pretty well ♥

      i knew at the time i would look back on those gatherings  with longing someday.  i often "threatened" to write a play to capture the whole scene, and now i wish i had because my memories are fading

      all that is left are the emotional "sense memories" and they do sustain me and comfort me and bring tears to my eyes all at once

      thanks for this post.  it helps

      {{{{{peregrine kate}}}}}

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 06:56:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  {{{{{{TBM}}}}}}} (7+ / 0-)

    I feel this with you.  Holidays are hard.

    My dad was very much into the Easter egg decorating thing.  Somewhere in a box, I have a picture of him, in uniform, helping me dye eggs, my mother looking on and smiling.  Those were happy memories, and to this day, the sight of a Paas egg dying kit or even the smell of vinegar brings it all back.  

    But it is the nature of life that people leave us at different points of our life -- but it never gets easy to say goodby, does it?  Never.

  •  Difficult week, strange Easter (8+ / 0-)

    a week ago my boyfriend's 2 year old great nephew died while his dad was taking him for a walk on a trail near his house. A 78 year old man lost control of his vehicle and ran off the road and ran over the boy being pulled in his wagon. There is no explanation for it, the driver has a lawyer and won't talk to police.
    We went to the memorial service on Saturday, the entire town was there and filled up the middle school gym.
    I know the parents are better people than I-they have no anger, nothing but forgiveness, and joy that they had two years with this remarkable son. I am in awe of them and I hope they can hold on to this as the days go by.

    After the service my daughter and I colored eggs from our 9 year old "immortal banty" chicken. The fact that this bird is still alive, and laying eggs, defies reason. A very strange Easter.

  •  I'm new to this. Please bear with me. (9+ / 0-)

    Five weeks ago Mr. Piren, my husband of 26 years left me.  Four weeks ago my beloved pooch, Barkley, was put to sleep.  Not to sleep!  I had him killed!  It was the right thing to do, I know, but I miss him so much and feel so guilty.  Mr. Piren picked up Barkley's ashes.  We got into a fight over who gets to keep him.  He was my fucking dog! We have finally agreed to split his remains, but that remains to be seen.

    I am so angry.  Thanks for letting me vent.

    Patty

    If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?... Snow Patrol, "Casing Cars."

    by Piren on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:58:26 PM PDT

    •  Patty, (9+ / 0-)

      I am so sorry for your loss. You DIDN"t kill Barkley. You let him go. Sometimes the hardest things we do are the best things. That is the way when we do what our pet can't tell us to do.
      My Timmee just left and he met Barkley at the gate and introduced him to his new friends. Take care, Pat

      If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

      by weezilgirl on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 11:54:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thankyou, Weezilgirl. (5+ / 0-)

        I am so sorry about Timmee.  I used to think the term, "I know how you feel" was, I don't know, something people said when they don't know what to say. Now I know you know how I feel.  Bark was 17 and it was a good long run, but not long enough.  

        When the vet inserted the needle, I wanted to scream at her at the top of my lungs "Stop!  Stop!" but it was over in seconds.  She fed him treats beforehand.  So normal, but after so abnormal.  A couple days later I got a card from the vet.  Included were nose prints and paw prints.  That was when I really really lost it.

        Miss my dog so much.  At the moment, my husband, not so much.

        Thanks again,
        Patty

        If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?... Snow Patrol, "Casing Cars."

        by Piren on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:18:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't get the photograph from Photobucket (6+ / 0-)

          I'll work on it later.

          Timmee was rescued from a dumpster in 2000. His eyes were matted shut and his brother wasn't in much better shape. Tim couldn't see and was running into the sides, etc. I could hold both in one hand. They were covered with fleas and I bathed them in Dr. Bonner's peppermint soap.

          Tim was addicted to catnip, my lap, all food (particularly hot rolls) and sleeping on me so that I couldn't turn over or get up to go wee. As Ricky Gervasis said about his cat last week. I moved from the ranch  and was gone 9 years. When I moved back I fastened the three cats in the utility room. Pearl was their 'mate'. I was busy working in the front yard and they all walked out and laid down on the porch. Looked at me and said "cool, we're back".

          When we lived in Lockhart, TX, Tim fancied himself as quite the fighter. If nothing else, he outweighed the cat next door and could have laid on him and that would be it. But no, he fought. He never won as far as I know because I always bounded out of bed and broke it up and carried him back in.

          He was a mortal enemy to blacksnakes and killed several here. They got the baby birds, so I was okay with it. One day I heard a "hiss, bonk", "hiss, bonk" and I walked around the corner of the house and a black snake had made itself as thin as possible and was going in behind the screen into my bedroom window. Tim had been asleep in the sun and he was up hissing and slapping the snake upside the head when he moved. I grabbed the snake and threw him into a woodpile. Needless to say I fixed the screen and Tim got a special dinner.

          A veterinarian caused his death and I'll never get over it. I wanted to hit her, I  screamed as I held him up against his chest. It was preventable if she had listened to what I said about him. I should have had more years with him. Mikee and Pearl are depressed and rarely come to the house. They stay in the detached garage. They hardly eat. He was the big snuggler of the three and his favorite thing was to sleep with Pearl in the crate when it was cold. No one would sleep inside unless it was very cold and then I corralled them.

          Tim was so mellow and he was stoic. I think that also contributed to his death. The vet didn't believe me when I said he was not feeling good. She just had to do a test that killed him. She was going to sedate him and I was saying "no, no, no". "He can't tolerate it" and it was over in a second. Then the b asked if they could use him for a learning experiment. I am surprised that I did not kill her.

          If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

          by weezilgirl on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 08:09:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, Weezilgirl, (5+ / 0-)

            Thank you for sharing your story.  Timee was an amazing cat, and I am so sorry for your loss. Especially the way it happened.  

            I have fostered many kittens, mostly bottle babies. My Mert was one of them.  When I took him in, he didn't span the size of my palm.  Now his head is two times that size.
            My Barkley, who loved the foster kittens, really liked Mert, so I kept him.

            Now Mert is very needy.  As I type, He is on my lap and drooling.  He never did this before.

            Patty

            If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?... Snow Patrol, "Casing Cars."

            by Piren on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:16:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People who don't believe animals are smart (6+ / 0-)

              have never owned one or if they did, they didn't love and support it. Mert is grieving. When my dog Fayeroe died, Mikee would sit in my lap and pat my face. Tim was doing that before he died and I've wondered if he knew something.

              I really want to get a photograph up. He was so handsome. I haven't moved his heart-shaped red pillow from beside my desk yet. I can't. I haven't made hot rolls either. Don't know when I can without a big cat weaving in and out between my ankles.

              If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

              by weezilgirl on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 01:42:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  oh gosh... nose prints and paw prints (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kit RMP, bigjacbigjacbigjac

          that is too sweet and sad for words

          i'm still mourning a pootie I lost a long time ago.  what I wouldn't give to have a memento like that

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:06:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and I sure hope so. (6+ / 0-)

        "My Timmee just left and he met Barkley at the gate and introduced him to his new friends."

        Bark will outswim all the pooches at the gate to grab the floaty  in heaven.  He always did swim harder and faster to get the floating toy.

        Damnit, damnit, dammit. Can I say that?  I want Barkley back!

        First time I have cried so hard.  It feels like such a safe place.  

        Thank you again.

        Patty

        If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?... Snow Patrol, "Casing Cars."

        by Piren on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 05:58:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  of course you can say it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kit RMP, bigjacbigjacbigjac

          scream it in capital letters if you want

          feel whatever you feel

          crying can be a good release, so cry as you need to, especially now while your grief is so new

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:08:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Crying helps (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bigjacbigjacbigjac

          I just spent 3 hours on the phone with a dear friend that I met when I worked at a prison in Texas. She has lost her "ole girl" and I've lost Timmee. We talked and talked and cried and cried.

          It may not feel like it now but each tear cleanses out a little bit of hurt. We have so much grief when we lose someone we love and holding it inside is harmful. You will come to a day when you only tear up. I'm not quite there yet. I lost Tim on February 14 and I'm just not to the 'calm' part yet.

          Barkley is watching over you and his spirit guards yours. He understands that you are lonely and so very sad. You will be visited by Barkley when you least expect it. You may hear his toenails clicking, feel his breath on your arm, smell a fart, hear him sigh...or he may come in a dream. But he will visit because he still loves you as much as he did before he got his wings.

          I have certain stars in the sky that belongs to each pet I've lost in the last 15 years. I name them and when everything crashes down, I got outside and talk to the star that I'm missing right then. It helps, it really does.

          If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

          by weezilgirl on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 09:07:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  i'm so sorry about Timmee, weezilgirl (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP, bigjacbigjacbigjac

        and yes he did meet Barkley at the Bridge

        i have thought about getting a pootie or woozle to be an animal companion for me in my loneliness but to be honest I am afraid of how devastated I would be to have to lose one or let one go

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:05:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   Another pet (2+ / 0-)


          I would beg you to get a cat or dog because you will save a life and in return, get unconditional love and companionship. I've always said "no more" and then I give in . I'm always happy that I saved one more and gave myself a gift.

          Thank you for your kind words. It has been hard here today. But I know he is not in pain and has found Fayeroe. P

          If I wasn't Bob Dylan, I'd probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. Bob Dylan

          by weezilgirl on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 09:11:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My dear True, I agree, it's a good idea (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TrueBlueMajority

          to get a small breed dog.

          The dog will feel
          it's his job
          to pester you for food,
          and for affection,
          and to pester you in such a way
          that he's your personal clown,
          your personal court jester,
          in the court of Queen TrueBlue.

          And he'll do his job well.

          For the price of some dog food,
          and a few shots,
          (and surgical sterilization),
          you get a true,
          dedicated,
          show business professional.

          Think about you and him,
          in a staring match.

          Then, go get a puppy,
          rescued from the pound.

          Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

          by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 03:52:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  i hear the anger and frustration and hurt and loss (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kit RMP, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      you are dealing with a lot right now and the timing is terrible

      i assume you made the compassionate choice to spare Barkley from pain.  you made the right decision.  you did not want to keep him alive for your benefit, and make him suffer more just because you were not ready to let him go.  

      you made the hard but ultimately more loving choice.  please hold on to that.

      as for your husband... i got nothing.

      but you can come here and vent whenever you like.  you did fine.  no judgments here

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 07:02:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I, too have to stay busy. (3+ / 0-)

    Not swamped,
    but busy.

    I have Mondays off.

    I took my wife, Tonia, to the doctor.

    I'm not a morning person,
    so the nine AM appointment
    was a challenge.

    We stopped at a very retro café,
    the Nuway Café.

    The garlic salad
    is unique to Wichita.

    You should come visit us,
    TrueBlue,
    and we'll eat out together.

    Anyway,
    I took a nap,
    and when I got up,
    at four in the afternoon,
    I went to Sam's Club,
    and spent $30 on cheese,
    and bought me a pecan pie,
    and got Tonia a roast chicken.

    Just a few hours ago,
    I put up hooks in the kitchen,
    to hang up our stainless steel
    pots and pans.

    Then I repaired my cheap office chair.

    I stay busy;
    and I do not
    divide my different fears.

    I think things like that
    get mixed up;
    just do what it takes
    to work around those fears and pain.

    I forgot to mention,
    just before midnight,
    I posted my Itzl diary:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Famine in America by 2050: the post-peak oil American apocalypse.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 02:42:57 AM PDT

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