Archive for the ‘Fond Farewell’ Category

Good Riddance

If I were the sort to use cliches, I might start this post by saying that I’m doing so with a heavy heart.  But, I’m not one for cliches.  And also, while there is a touch of sadness, my heart isn’t heavy.

I started this blog after closing another, similar one, both times wanting to write about the unexpectedness life can throw at us.   And while my heart isn’t heavy to say goodbye right now, it’s also just not in the blogosphere at the moment.

I blogged for four and a half years.  Blogging brought me a lot of surprises.  I’ve said before that while my blog was intended to be a way for me to practice my craft of writing, I never realized just how much of a two-way street it could turn out to be.

I made a lot of friends through blogging.  Some of them have become my nearest and dearest. And whether I’ve known you for a while or you just came aboard, whether you’ve regularly and actively engaged or just watched from afar, I bid you a fond farewell, no matter how long it turns out to be.


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It’s interview time! I’m taking part in a blog interview.  Nilsa sent me five questions, which I’ve answered below.  If you want to take part, let me know if the comments below.  I’ll send you five questions to answer on your own blog.  It’s nice filler for the end of the year.


(1) Name only one blogger you really respect and tell me why.

I’m going to say Marissa, because for one reason, she got me into blogging and hence led me to meeting all the other bloggers out there!  Also because I’ve known her since we were 14 and I can say, there’s a reason this girl was homecoming queen and has like 700 FB friends.  She’s one of the most sincere, caring, genuine and fun people I know.  She’s supportive and friendly and always there to offer me advice, which is a lot.  I really think a lot of other people would be annoyed, but not Marissa.  She’s been one of my pillars in recent months and I selfishly want her and her boyfriend to move here this summer.  But I respect almost every blogger out there, I swear!

(2) If you had to pick a non-urban, U.S. destination in which to vacation for a week, where would you go?

Napa Valley.  My reasons are threefold.  One, because I love wine.  I’m a wino, I said it.  I want to drink it and visit the vineyards and enjoy it all.  Two, I’ve heard the scenery is gorgeous.  And who doesn’t like to look at pretty things?  Three, I’ve heard it has some really good hiking and biking, in addition to wineries and spas. So there’d be a lot to do in all that scenery in case I want to give my liver a break.

(3) If you had $500 to spend on housing, food and entertainment for the trip mentioned in (2), how would you spend it?

Oy…that doesn’t sound like much.  Can I bring along my mother or a sugardaddy to pay for the rest?  Kidding.  I’d see how much could get me a B&B room, and that way I’d get a healthy breakfast at least.  Can I try to pluck a few grapes from the vineyards?  Never underestimate the length a baguette can take you; I’d have to replicate my days in Europe wherein it, and some cheese, comprised my lunch.  That may necessitate more hiking than biking and well, I may have to nix the spa.  I want a bigger trip allowance!

(4) Tell me about one person with whom you’ve lost touch. If you hope for a reunion, how would you like that reunion to take place?

A few months ago, I would have answered with my friend from high school, Anna.  We were great friends in the day, and lost touch over the years as will happen.  She’s the person I always wondered about–what happened to her, what was she doing.  But we reconnected via Facebook and our reunion.  It was fun.  And I’m happy we reconnected.  Now, it’d probably be my friend L from grad school.  Again, we just lost touch somehow and I’ve always wondered what happened to our friendship and to her.  I’d like us to catch up over wine and good food and perhaps a shopping trip.  If there was one thing she and I did well it was indulging.

(5) In 2008, what was your biggest achievement and your biggest failure/disappointment?

Remember in my last post how I expressed my desire to say good riddance to 2008?  Yeah, it was a fairly craptastic year, especially in the second half.  Not-so-great things happened, and things that were supposed to be good imploded into piles of poo.  So in a year marked by death, relationships ending and changing, a trip to the ER, troubles at work, and a lot of the unexpected, I don’t know that any one thing was the biggest failure or disappointment.  But there is this.  I survived it all.  I came out of it stronger and with a sense of myself and some pride in tact, restored and added on.  I can hold my head up high with how I handled it, and how I acted this year–honest, myself, with integrity.  And that, I think, is my greatest accomplishment.

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About a month ago, I mentioned taking a hiatus.  Then, I didn’t.  I think it’s time now.

I’ll be back.  Until then, here‘s a short musical playlist of the songs that inspired my title posts the past few weeks, in order from my birthday on the 8th.  Make sure you hit play when you get there.

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This weekend, I officially made my apartment ready for fall.  It started, well to be truthful it started Saturday when I went to Target and saw a really nice throw and decided to treat myself to it.  So I did.  Then Sunday morning I woke up (for the third time: 4:00 to do a report, 7:30 to send the report and then 11:00 for real) and I figured it was time to take the air conditioners out of the windows and put them in storage.  Sigh.  As I stared at the empty spots in my windows, I realized summer, and everything that went with it, is really and truly over.

As I boxed up the units, I realized I needed some packaging tape.  Something told me Scotch tape with a satin finish wasn’t going to do it.  And remembering that I hadn’t picked up something for storage in the bathroom that I’d wanted to get, I decided to make a quick trip back to Target for those items.  Oh silly Cheryl.  Have you not learned by now there is no such thing as a quick trip to Target for only two items?  Silly, silly girl.

An hour and half later I returned home laden with Target bags (and rushing to the washer and dryers to make sure I hadn’t pissed off any neighbors when my quick trip become not-so-quick) that were guaranteed to fall-ify my house.  Ladies and gentlemen, I was Targeted.

Because it occurred to me when I got there, I’m gonna need something to hang coats on now.  And thus, decorative coat hooks for the entry way found themselves in my cart.  I went over to get my storage solution for the bathroom and passed by flannel sheets, on sale.  I’d resisted them the previous day, but now I gave in and deposited them into my cart.  And as I wandered the store I realized, pretty soon I and any guests would begin tracking in rain and mud, then slush, and eventually snow.  So I decided I should really have a mat outside my door to capture some of it before it got tracked inside.  So it joined the others in the cart.  And eventually they were joined by picture frames (to show off my new niece) and necessities and a new book. 

Once at home, I packed away the A/Cs and lugged them down to the storage room in the basement (that’s four flights of stairs my friends, and I did it all by myself, thank you).  I hung the coat hooks and made the bed, threw out the new throw and placed the welcome mat at my door.  And now my apartment is officially ready for fall.  And slowly, but surely, so am I.

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One round-trip fight, 13 hours in the car, two days in a relatively remote northern Minnesota, and many tears later, my grandmother’s funeral is over.  It went about as well as a funeral can go.  My mom and my two aunts did not want it to be an overly sad affair.  They refused to sing Amazing Grace, opting for something a little more upbeat.  The thing I liked best is that the funeral was held in a very small, non denominational church.  That meant it could be anything my family wanted.  It wasn’t restricted by the church’s guidelines like it would be at a Catholic church where they mandate types of reading and when you sing and even require communion.  Instead, this was designed purely by my mom and her sisters.

Thursday night, as we ate dinner my mom asked if my sister or I wanted to say anything.  I said I would.  I thought it was important to my mom, and it was something I could do for my grandma.  So, I started with the original blog post I made when she got so sick, about her being my example of unconditional love.  I was incredibly nervous.  But I had a lot of encouragement and some sound advice and just hoped for the strength I’d need to say what I wanted to say.

It turned out the strength I needed was to be vulnerable.  No sooner was that first sentence uttered, “My grandmother was the epitome of unconditional love,” than my voice cracked and tears began to flow and I had to pause.  But I told myself to keep going, for her.  And I saw my cousins and aunts nodding because I knew that they knew exactly what I was talking about.  Afterward, I got some compliments on what I’d said about her.  All of it true.

Northern Minnesota is extremely quiet.  I’d forgotten how quiet it is up there.  Baudette is a no-stoplight town, so you can imagine how little traffic there is.  Except for a regular rumble of the Canadian National railroad roaring past, all you could hear were the bugs and the wind.  It was a different kind of quiet than I’d noticed in Northern Ireland, where it was just still.  The quiet there could almost make you forget you were anywhere.  In Minnesota, there was just enought quiet to remind you of the world.  That’s a good thing to remember at a time like that.

We left behind that small, small town and a cemetery filled with relatives I’ve never known, save for a handful.  My sister and cousins stated they didn’t think they’d be back.  I pretty much knew it.  Because now, there really isn’t a reason to go.  Everyone we left up there is coming with us.



Bridge to Canada and, well, Canada on the other side, of course.  This picture ended up being too small to see the maple leaf waving in the distance.

The night before the funeral, when we got to town, we saw this rainbow.  It would wane a bit, then come back.  I don’t think it means anything, other than that it was something that brought a smile to my face.

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Auld Lang Syne

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? Finished graduate school, went to Ireland, took a big trip by myself.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year? I don’t make New Years’ resolutions. I try to constantly be open to change and will resolve things when it strikes me. So far, the Great Birthday Resolution is going swimmingly.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, but someone close to me did get pregnant!

4. Did anyone close to you die?No, and I am very thankful for that.

5. What countries did you visit? Ireland, and other parts of the U.S.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? More romance.

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 8. Not only was it my birthday, it was my first official day working my new job and new career path.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting my Master’s degree, getting the new job, and I made a lot of personal progress too.

9. What was your biggest failure? Well, I didn’t exactly have as much success in the romance department as I would have liked.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?I injured me knee at the end of 2006 and it required some physical therapy in 2007.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Probably my new coffee maker or cooking lessons

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?My friends.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I can’t really say, I feel like it’d would be passive-aggressive for me to do so and I am trying hard not to be like that.

14. Where did most of your money go? Rent, tuition.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My trip to Ireland, my new job, finishing school forever, my trip to Denver, my nephew’s first birthday.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Drivin’ Me Wild by Common will always invoke drives through the mountains with Kendra.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer? Happier. Maybe a little squishier (I won’t say fatter) and I guess richer, since I have a salary again, but also a lot more debt now that I am done with school, so kind of poorer at the same time…

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Dating, hanging out with friends (especially the first half of the year), going to the beach, exercising, exploring my city (and not because I got lost on the way to dinner).

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying, especially about things that are completely out of my control.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?I did spend Christmas back in Minnesota with my mom, sister, grandma and two oldest friends, who really are family now.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007? No. A crush or two, but no love. Here’s to 2008…

23. How many one-night stands?Zero

24. What was your favorite TV show? Lost, Project Runway, The Office

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?I don’t hate anyone, I never have and I hope I never do.

26. What was the best book you read? Honestly, it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I also liked Atonement and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? I didn’t really have a discovery this year. Feel free to make some suggestions.

28. What did you want and get?New sheets and towels, new coffee maker, a job.

29. What did you want and not get? Can’t think of anything, must not have wanted it that badly.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? I didn’t get to see a lot of films this year. I did like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Waitress and I hope I will like Juno and No Country for Old Men when I get to see them.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I had dinner with friends on multiple occasions, started the new job, and drank. I was 28 (still am, actually).

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I don’t really want to dwell on what was missing, so I am going to say nothing.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Whatever I liked, not just wearing what was in because it was in. That said, I did some layering and some wrapping.

34. What kept you sane? My friends.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Clive Owen. Yum!

36. What political issue stirred you the most? War, human rights.

38. Who was the best new person you met? I’d say Kendra and Amber, in the sense that I met them in the flesh.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. I think as much as I may have worried about things or let things upset me, I really learned to let things go and start to go with the flow. I feel like I did a lot of growing up and balancing.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. Just because it was something I learned to remember and really do this year…”There will be an answer. Let it be.”

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Slan Agat

Well all, it’s time for me to leave you again. This time I’m off to Ireland. But I will be back with tales of my travels and perhaps a photo or two.

I hope that life and the Universe treat you all well until I can check in with you again. And until we meet again, even if it’s in cyberspace, I leave you with an Irish blessing.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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