sadder days

So I had a bit of radio silence, obviously.

I spent several days trying to articulately put together a post about the death of someone without whom the world is a much darker place. But I didn’t get very far.

Suffice it to say that I’ve lost family, not related-by-blood family but related-by-godparenting and love and all the real family stuff family. Shortly after my parents’ divorce my mom, sister and I started attending a new church and met Susan and Joe and the rest was history- they’re the best people ever. They looked after Malindi and me (ages 5 and 8, respectively) while my mom sang in the church choir and ended up being invaluable friends to our whole family. We must have been practice children for them, because they now have two beautiful daughters. We got to watch them bring the girls home (they were adopted from India)  but then had to love their family from afar because their family up and moved to Saint Louis in 2005. My mom and Susan continue to have phone calls that are infrequent but legendary because they often top two hours in length. We got to see Joe in person when he made an occasional business trip to the DC area. We admired their oldest daughter’s Etsy store and bought some of her fabulous merch.

And then, because there is no justice in this world, Joe got a brain tumor that ended his life way, way too soon. All I can really say is that Joe was very, very kind. And gentle spirited. And funny. And dedicated. And took care of everybody. And was a walking embodiment of what a good Christian, a true Christian, is. And all the horrible human beings walking around in perfect health make me so so angry sometimes. But of course that is not kind.

Anyway, a silver lining to my current (seemingly terminal) state of unemployment is though I am broke as a joke the resource I do have available is time. Time I can use to be there for others.

So, I drove to Saint Louis to attend the funeral (my mom was there too for this part and I got- more silver lining- unexpected time with her). And then I stayed a few days extra to spend some time with the girls (now aged 14 and 16).

Obviously pictures were largely not appropriate, BUT I loved their cat, who was clearly just incensed at how many people had invaded her house. When I was sleeping on their fold out sofa, she came in and just stared at me with this hilarious expression on her face.

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My mom and I took one of the girls to the (remarkable) Saint Louis Zoo. I was reminded not for the first time that I am not even remotely spatially oriented, and it took us five-ever but we managed to find these penguins hidden in the back of the zoo. Worth it. I love penguins so stinkin’ much.

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And we also got manicures with teenage girl enthusiasm.

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Driving from NC to MO was quite the undertaking, and I’m proud of myself for being a capable 21st century woman and pulling it off. I thought I was so savvy checking both the NC and MO weather, but neglected to consider that I’d be driving through West Virginia mountains en route. Driving through the snow was quite intense, but honestly the gnarliest part was how disgustingly filthy my car got from snowfall and the nasty de-icing stuff they have on the road.

On the return trip, my sanity was tested when I was on what was supposed to be the last hour of my trek, near Winston Salem, NC, and for God knows what reason these four cop cars pulled out unexpectedly, lights on, and blocked every single lane, forcing us to drive behind them, no exaggeration, at five miles an hour. I guess it was meant to prepare us for construction and ultimately the highway’s narrowing to a single lane. But why we had to do this for 20 minutes before reaching the construction area I don’t know. Also, when it was first happening my first thought was that there was some kind of motorcade (I actually checked the POTUS twitter feed) and my second thought was that this was a punishment, a la Bridgegate, for one of the most liberal regions of North Carolina. Because in these dark times I am much more of a conspiracy theorist than I used to be. (We’d already had a suspicious water outage, JUST SAYIN).

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I returned from Saint Louis sick. Not really a surprise- one of the girls was sick (poor thing had been spending tons of time at the hospital with her dad, hadn’t been sleeping, had obviously been incredibly stressed) and traveling always does a number on your body.

The cat was so so precious and took good care of me. I was coughing lots and my whole chest was inflamed and having a sweet warm fluffy thing on it was amazing.

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My eating is APPALLING when I’m sick. All carbs all the time. Though actually there’s some evidence this may be adaptive when you have a virus (but not a bacterial infection!) But anyway my diet consisted of a lot of crackers and chips.

This popsicle (local company) was super great.

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And the first “meal” (<< loosely defined) I actually “cooked” was:

  • a Thai Kitchen soup packet
  • threw in some kale because then it’s healthy yeah sure
  • fried egg on top
  • hot sauce

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I spent too much money on fluids because my throat got unbearably dry if I went about 30 minutes without drinking something.

This is freaking delicious:

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Less-exciting iced tea. I finally got out for a walk and then had to stop for a few minutes to sit and get my air back at a coffee shop.

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And then once I was well I celebrated by making chili. Let’s be real, the best thing about making chili is the toppings. Cheddar, avocado, Greek yogurt (sour cream is more delicious but Greek yogurt is more versatile).

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And to apologize to my body for the days and days of chips and little else, I made a few green smoothies.

  • fruit: sometimes banana, sometimes clementine, sometimes both
  • milk
  • protein powder (I have chai spice flavored, mm)
  • kale

I have learned that an immersion blender does an astonishingly good job. You are volume limited, but I still find it waaaaaay better than the cheapo blenders I have traditionally owned. And more versatile, and so easy to use for soups and things.

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