cleaning lady

cats sweeping broomWhen I was in college, I lived in a dorm. Dorms can be great equalizers. It’s hard to tell who’s as poor as you are or as rich as Midas when everyone’s living in the same building, schlumping around in sweatpants and pajamas. Hardly anyone at Cornell had a car (the campus isn’t vehicle-friendly) and this was way back in the day before cell phones, laptops and even computer ownership might have given some clue. One telling factor was Spring Break plans — if you were off to Prague on a moment’s notice, that probably meant you weren’t down to your last two dollars, as I often was. The more economically challenged among us often stayed put for Spring Break (and had a fun time, too).

Another thing I noticed was cleaning ladies. Every now and then, one of my friends would mention their housekeeper, or the cleaning person that came to their house, back home. I couldn’t fathom such a thing. We’d never, ever had a cleaning person. Quite frankly, at the time, my mother was working a second part time job *as* a cleaning person, to keep me in school. You can imagine how galling I found it when a fellow student protested to me that having a cleaning person wasn’t a luxury; his mother worked, after all. She didn’t have time to clean. Meanwhile my mother worked all day, worked cleaning offices at night, and cleaned her own house with whatever energy she somehow had. It’s not an entirely fair comparison, but I still think having someone come to clean your house, unless you’re physically incapable of doing so (and a lot of those people can’t afford help, sadly), is a luxury.

You have to imagine, then, how weirded out I am by the fact that we have cleaning people coming to the house this week.

I mean, this isn’t a regular thing. We had a Groupon, and it’s a spring cleaning kind of deal. Dave’s super busy in tax season. And I have a little trouble doing certain things, especially when there’s bending involved. It’s still a luxury, though, and I feel strangely guilty about it.

I’m a lousy housekeeper. I didn’t inherit the Leonard cleaning gene, the one that guaranteed my grandmother’s basement floor was safer to eat off of than most people’s kitchen plates, and the one that made my mother stress about dust bunnies in the storage closet. Yeah, I missed that. I don’t have it in me. But I grew up with it, so I end up looking around my reasonably neat house and seeing nothing but dust and dirt and feeling ashamed.

So as a result of all that matriarchal genetic pressure and guilt over economic divide, I’ve been desperately restraining myself all week from cleaning the bathroom ahead of time, because I don’t want the cleaning people to see that my bathroom is dirty and think I’m lazy. I haven’t succumbed yet, but there’s still more than 24 hours to go. I’d say it’s 50/50. At best.

the best and worst Christmases

Xmas-Garfield-TreeOur days-until-Christmas chain is almost gone. I’ve been looking forward to this Christmas very much — the celebrating, the presents, seeing friends and being generally festive. And I was thinking this morning about the best Christmases I can remember, and contrarily, because I’m a glass-half-empty kind of gal, about some of the worst.

We were really poor when I was growing up. Thanks to a father who’d decided he wasn’t responsible for the kids he’d had, nor was particularly worried about his nine-year-old daughter having a roof over her head, my mother struggled a lot. There were some years where it was hard for her to keep up with the bills and the groceries, let alone presents. I never felt like I went without, though, so lord only knows how she managed. I remember one year about a week before Christmas, when I was 11 or so, she gave me twenty dollars to shop for presents to give, of my own. She said, “For the person who loves Christmas and loves to give gifts more than anyone, you should have a chance to do that this year.” I don’t remember any of the gifts I received that year, but I remember that twenty bucks, and buying little trinkets for my family, feeling so thrilled. It was barely anything but it must have been hard for her to scrape that together for me, and it makes me sad thinking about that now. Was that one of the worst Christmases? I worry it was — for her. But for me, it was one of the best.

Norman Rockwell and a legion of retailers’ advertisements aside, some families fight during the holidays. It’s the heightened emotions, the gathering of people who often aren’t together, the complicated traveling plans that make you anxious. My family was no exception, and I can remember a few humdingers over the years. I mean, only once did someone throw a punch. 🙂 Some people have never experienced this, and I applaud your relatives’ self restraint and mastery of passive aggression. For most, it’s just the occasional rolled eyes and those awkward, mildly ugly moments. That kind of thing is worth overlooking. But in my opinion, when the words (or fists) get too harsh, though, it’s time to make different plans for the holidays.

There’ve been some really nice Christmases in there, too. The Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls was always so beautiful. I would go with family, later with friends; they stopped doing much on the US side, but the Canadian side still has amazing displays that Dave and I went to every year we could. My cousin and I used to go to Fort Erie, enjoy Chinese food at Happy Jack’s, then drive up the Canadian side to look at all the gorgeous houses and their decorations. Christmas concerts at school (once our chorus sang backup to Andy Williams on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”; let’s just say Andy’s personality wasn’t very wonderful) and nice festive times shopping, meeting friends, having fun.

The nicest Christmas I remember was in 2002. Mom and I went to Wegmans to do our grocery shopping for the holidays, probably on the 20th or so, a few days before Christmas. While we were still working hard to make ends meet, things were a little better. We’d moved into a nice duplex a year or so before, we both had steady jobs and benefits. We had debt and we couldn’t afford a lot of luxuries, but we were okay. And we were looking forward to having a great Christmas feast at home (ham? roast? I don’t remember) with a yummy dessert for just the two of us. We were at the Wegmans on Alberta Drive and it was packed with holiday shoppers, but it was wonderful. Everything was decorated and festive, there was a band playing Christmas carols at the cafe, and everywhere you looked there were treats and tidbits and holiday concoctions, families getting ready for gatherings, everyone in a cheery mood. We shopped and lingered and later agreed it was the nicest thing ever, just being out in the holiday crowd, together, getting ready for our Christmas at home.

Right around now, everyone from your co-worker to the guy driving next to you with his bumper sticker to Linus wants to tell you what the true meaning of Christmas is, but I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon. Christmas is what you make of it, good or bad. It can be about your faith, about your family, about presents or egg nog or about the Grinch. My only advice is to spend it just the way you want to, and not the way you feel you should, unless those two coincide.

Merriest of merries, to one and all.

here’s what you missed

yearsNext month, it will be ten years since my mother died. More times than I can count, in those ten years, I’ve wanted to tell her about something only to realize that, even if I could, she wouldn’t understand — she’s been gone long enough, now, that the world is a different place, full of things she never saw. Instead, I’d have to catch her up a little, first. So with that in mind — Mom, this is a bit of what you missed in the past decade.

 

So, we’ve got a lot of Internet stuff we didn’t have when you were here. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. And then gadgets like the iPhone. The iPad. iEverything. I can’t imagine you’d have cared about most of that. But the Kindle —  you’d have liked the Kindle. I can just see you sitting there in the green chair, reading (squinting through bifocals, sure, but still). That would’ve made an awesome Christmas present for you.

You missed a really exciting election, which is a shame because you died the morning after a really disappointing one. (Election night, 2004, my mother went to bed disgruntled, saying, “Wake me up if Kerry somehow wins, but for God’s sake let me sleep if it’s just Bush again”. The next morning that she passed away. I know you were pissed off, Mom, but that was a little extreme, don’t you think?) Anyhow, you would have been happier with the outcome in 2008. Sorry you missed that.

Speaking of changing the guard, you missed an entire pope. It was something. JP2 died, and then there was this guy who looked like the Emporer from Return of the Jedi, not that you would have known that, not being a Star Wars fan yourself. Get this, though: a few years later, he stepped down. I know, right?! They aren’t supposed to be able to do that! Crazy. You’d like the new guy though. He seems nice.

You missed the end of “The West Wing”. It was really great. Leo died of a heart attack the year after you did — not the character Leo, I mean John Spencer. Kinda sucked. As you would know. I missed watching it with you. (That and “Lost” — we saw the premiere and the first few episodes together. I loved it. Six seasons. But I still can’t really explain what the smoke monster was, though.) Anyhow, a lot of other people died since you did. Obviously. People we knew, even. Also the usual “In Memoriam” roll of celebrities each year. Michael Jackson, which was sad but strangely predictable. Robin Williams, just last month, which wasn’t. It was awful, actually. Well, maybe the afterlife just got a lot more entertaining, at least.

Your John Elway, Mom, he’s back with the Broncos — he’s their General Manager now. You would have loved that. Though at least you were spared watching another team of yours losing the Super Bowl.

I really wish you’d been here with me, watching marriage equality struggle to be born. You’d have been proud to see it happen. You were so great that way — you got smarter and more enlightened and more open-minded the older you got. I loved the talks we had, and watching you think about things, letting your opinions evolve over time. You have no idea how rare that is. Most people get smaller. You got bigger. It reminds me of your favorite mini-series, “The Forsyte Saga”, when Old Jolyon dies and his son says:

“Some people retreat as they get older. Not Dad. He grew better with age. His horizons broadened, he became more flexible. More compassionate. He accepted that different people might want to live their lives in different ways. He was a man of honesty, bravery, conviction. Never afraid to apologize. Never afraid to love.”

That was you, too. So I can only imagine how much more awesome you would have become, by now.

As for me? Well, a lot of things changed. My name, my address, my life. But all those changes aren’t really what I think about, when I remember how long it’s been. Truthfully, the world became a different place for me the moment you weren’t in it, and all I’ve missed in the past ten years is you.

only in my dreams

sandman05Today we’re having a vet come to the house to microchip our two cats. It’s a good thing to do, but not one that gives me as much comfort as it should. I’m terrified of them getting outside in the first place, which is part of why we’re using a housecall vet. Fred joins me in this terror: ever since the move he’s been leery of windows, even. George, on the other hand, is a fledgling escape artist.

Last night I dreamed that both cats had gotten lost. The part where they were missing was actually very short. I found them and was holding them clutched to me (a feat only possible in dreams, as that’s about 30 pounds of cat, and Fred squirms a lot when you pick him up). They were clinging to me tightly, but I didn’t know how to get them to safety. I didn’t have a car, or a phone, or anything. I couldn’t find the person I’d arrived there with. I walked a long, long way to where I thought they were, but they still weren’t there. I decided to walk back as I’d come and just hope for the best — hope I saw someone I knew, someone who could help. About ten steps later, I saw my mother. She was walking toward me and had on a white top with little flowers and a blue hem, a shirt I’d forgotten about until today but one she wore often. I told her what was going on and she said yes, she had a car. In a dream-flash we were there. I put the cats safely in the car and felt a great wash of relief. We were parked outside of the place she liked to get ice cream and, burden resolved, we decided to go inside for something to eat. And that was it.

I’m not a trained psychologist but it doesn’t take one to understand what that was about. Sometimes, I want my mother. My mother was a champion fixer-of-problems, her kids’ problems most of all. When there was a crisis, she didn’t get panicked. She didn’t freak out. Car accident, failed class, computer broken, bad situation as work, whatever. She just helped you fix it, and that was that, and you didn’t have to worry anymore. And I miss that. I miss it. Does anyone ever stop missing that?

Sometimes dreams are weird and stupid and scary. Sometimes they’re silly. Sometimes they’re obvious. Mine tend towards the latter. Not scary, exactly, but an obvious manifestation of my fears. So in the meantime, then, kitties stay home whenever possible, and that means Fred’s personal physician comes to him.

year in review: 2013

So I’m a sucker for quizzes, surveys, memes, all that stuff. I think these are usually more fun to do than they are to read, though — so you should feel free to just skim my answers and do your own, if you like. If you do read, though, I warn that there may be some snark along the way. That’s my traditional new year’s gift.

Year in Review: A 2013 Survey

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Well, I got married, which I definitely have not done before, to the best of my knowledge.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Yes, and no. I made a resolution to stick to a particular diet plan and I did stick to it; it wasn’t successful, but that’s not the fault of my willpower. I don’t think I’m going to make any for 2014. Lower expectations, greater rewards, and all that.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not yet, and probably not by the end of the year, but soon. 🙂

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not really. My grandmother died this year, but in truth we were not close. I am sorry for the family members who were close to her, though.

5. What places did you visit?

The Finger Lakes, Niagara Falls, and, of course, Long Island, a lot. Though it doesn’t count as visiting anymore.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Nothing. I just want to keep everything I have now.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

I think I’ll remember our wedding date, November 9, pretty much forever.  But there’s also October 26, which is the day Dave came to Buffalo and we stopped being apart. That was the best day of all, really.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making it to October 26.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Weight loss. I tried a new method and it didn’t work for me. I’m disappointed to have not made any real progress this year. I’ll keep trying some other way, but I had high hopes for this.

10: Did you suffer illness or injury?

Unfortunately, as has been the case the past couple of years, I still struggle with my back. Recovering from surgery was long and hard, and only partially successful. Not to sound corny, but if you have good health, value it. I feel I didn’t do that enough, before.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Last month I bought an iPad mini (and sold the 1st-gen iPad I bought way back in the day in 2010) and I’m really thrilled with it. Steve Jobs was thoroughly opposed to a smaller iPad; in general I think he was a true genius and Apple will never innovate as it did under his direction again, but I think he might have been wrong about this one. The mid-size between an iPhone and a full iPad is perfect, at least for me.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My niece Rebecca makes both Dave and I incredibly proud just to be related to her. She’s awesome.

13. Whose behavior was not so exemplary?

Georgie is a bad, bad kitty, and he knocks things over all the time for no reason at all. I still love him, though.

14. Where did most of your money go?

FredCo’s offshore accounts. Also, rent and moving. And a wedding.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Well, the wedding. Also, in no particular order, bingo, marriage equality, Catching Fire, and spaghetti parm.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Probably Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? Happier.
b. thinner or fatter? I think almost exactly the same.
c. richer or poorer? Well, I’m unemployed now.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

At home, with the kitties, our tree, and cheeseburgers.

19. Did you fall in love in 2013?

From now on, I fall in love every year.

20. What was your favorite TV program?

How I Met Your Mother. But we also love Modern Family. In a surprise move, I’ve also gone back to both Glee and Top Chef.

21. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate at this time last year?

I hate all the same people I did before, plus our downstairs neighbor, who once complained about the noise we were making when we were out of town.

22. What was the best book you read?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I didn’t read a ton this year, though I started a lot of books I never finished.

23. What did you want and get?

A husband. Also, a Supreme Court ruling (two of them actually).

24. What did you want and not get?

Marriage equality everywhere. A cure for AIDS. A totally non-broken back.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

Catching Fire

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Dave says I was 41 this year (I never remember). We were in the Finger Lakes at our favorite bed and breakfast, The Hayward House.

27. Which celebrity/public figure did you admire the most?

I don’t think about celebrities much. But I like Sir Patrick Stewart, and not just for his ability to moo with different accents.

28. Whom did you miss?

I missed Mom a lot this year.

29. Who was the best new person you met?

Michael & Mindy Shedler, Dave’s former and sometimes boss and his wife, who came to our wedding as well. Also Uncle Norman and Aunt Jane, and a lot of other new relatives.

30. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

From the Goo Goo Dolls, “Come to Me”

Today’s the day I’ll make you mine
So get me to the church on time
Take my hand in this empty room
You’re my girl, and I’m your groom

Come to me my sweetest friend
Can you feel my heart again
Take you back where you belong
This will be our favorite song
Come to me with secrets bare
I’ll love you more so don’t be scared
When we’re old and near the end
We’ll go home and start again

play it again, sam

So when I wrote about the move last month, I actually left one big thing out. I was too depressed to write about it at the time, but now that it’s (spoiler alert) fixed, I can: the piano got damaged in the move.

IMG_1904Owning a piano when you move is like having a giant boulder chained to your ankle. You have to move, and the easiest thing to do would be to leave the boulder behind, but you can’t. You’re attached to it. I wanted a piano all my life. When my mother died, I used some of the money she left me to buy this piano, and I’ve loved it ever since. I can no more get rid of it than I could my left arm. Pianos are sentimental possessions, and that would be fine if they weren’t so damn unwieldy.

Having a piano professionally moved door-to-door from Buffalo to Long Island was, to put it mildly, cost prohibitive. Four-figures-prohibitive. We settled on a solution that still involved professional movers, but we’d be doing the freight ourselves in our U-Haul. It was a good (and professionally recommended) solution. And for the record, a perfectly good one. The piano was moved onto the truck, across the state, and off the truck and into the apartment with no problems. What went wrong? I was tired and not careful, that’s what, and the damage occurred less than a mile away from the house, and just because of forgetting to secure something at the last minute. No one’s fault but ours.

IMG_1855

*Piano only. George’s butt not included.

We were lucky: the damage was mostly cosmetic, and did not involve the mechanics of the piano. Firstly, one wheel broke, which was inconvenient, but not that difficult to have fixed, once we found the right guy for the job. That put us back at 100% fully functional, but there was still this unsightly gash, a few inches in diameter and an inch or so deep. It didn’t go through, and it was in fact going to be on the side of the piano that is up against the wall… but I couldn’t leave it that way.

I’ve been told that hiring a contractor is a nightmare — people don’t call you back, or if they do they’re unavailable, or if they promise you a quote they don’t give it, or if they do, they sometimes don’t show up when they’re supposed to start the job. Apparently finding a furniture repairman is the same way, because we searched and searched and searched. We made calls and inquiries that never got answered, we spoke to people who said they couldn’t or wouldn’t help, we had no-shows and no-call-backs. We got one quote (pretty steep) and then couldn’t get the guy to set up an appointment. We were striking out everywhere. Frustrating.

IMG_1858Michael’s Furniture Service was our savior. The owner not only answered right away, and not only understand just what we needed, and not only gave us a reasonable quote, and not only came out and did the job that very same day, he also did the one thing that’s really needed doing: he fixed the piano, and that fixed my peace of mind. All better. You can barely see where it was, and if you didn’t know there’s ever been damage, you wouldn’t know or see anything other than wood grain. We’re really grateful, and recommend their company to anyone in this area.

So, all better. Whew. Now I just need to practice a little more often. 🙂

worry

I wasn’t always an anxious person. I thought more about past mistakes than anything else, fretted over decisions I’d already made. I was huge on regret. But then things changed, and now I confess I sometimes get anxious if I don’t have something to worry about.

Explaining anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it, or doesn’t live with it, is hard to do. I don’t know that I’m really up to trying. All I will say is, in my case, it never even helps when I tell myself, or when someone else tells me, that I’m worrying for no reason, or that everything’s okay. But it’s not for no reason if it turns out there *is* something wrong, you know, so the only thing that usually calms me down is finding a way to be sure — to rule out danger. It’s not very easy to do that, though, and it never lasts for long. Something can go wrong any time. You can get up for work one day and an hour later your life is changed. You can be standing in your living room and seconds later you can be gone, with no warning. It can all go away that quickly, and there’s no way to reach back in time and stop it from happening, no matter how much it seems like you should be able to. Sometimes there’s no reason to worry. Most of the time, really. I know that. But I didn’t see it coming last time, after all. This time, maybe if I’m watching carefully enough, it won’t be able to happen at all.

Worth remembering

I’ve been thinking about my mother more this past year, as the wedding and the move gets closer. There are times it’s very hard to do all of this without her. There are times I know she would be very happy for me, and there are times I acknowledge that the move would be a lot harder for both of us, if she was still here. But all of that, I know, is perfectly natural. I know I’ll think of Mom on my wedding day, and I’ll probably think of her even more when I drive away from the house we shared. It’ll be hard, but it’s okay. It’s supposed to be, in a good way.

What’s hardest to remember about Mom, though, isn’t okay — it’s the times things were so awful for her, so difficult. Her life was harder than it should have been. Don’t get me wrong: she would have been the first one to say that she had a lot of joy, and a lot of love. But she deserved less heartache, less loss, and less fear. She kept so much of that from me when I was a younger. I didn’t know how poor we were, how tough we had it, how precariously we were getting by. She took care of me, and she was scared so I didn’t have to be. I asked her how she did it, once, and said I was sorry she’d had to worry about me, and not just herself. She said having me to take care of was what kept her going, and what helped her. I hope that was true. I hope I helped.  I told her as often as I could that she did good, that she made sure I had what I needed, that I knew she’d always done the best she could with the absolutely shitty hand she’d been dealt. I hope she believed me, but I know, like all of us, she still looked back with hindsight, castigated herself for not doing better, second-guessed her every mistake.

So I have to imagine if I could see her for just one day, or have just a minute to tell her one more thing, it wouldn’t end up being about my wedding dress, or about the tuxedos I chose because they’re just like the ones worn at hers, or the dinner we picked out that was one of her favorite meals. I’d want her to know all those things, but more importantly, I’d try my best one more time to make her realize that she was the best mother anyone could have asked for, and that she needed to stop blaming herself for sins that weren’t her own. Those are what’s worth remembering.

90 days and counting

As of today, I have 90 more days at my job. I’m not counting weekends or holidays or vacation days I have already approved. Just actual work days, and there are 90 of them to go before I leave for… well, I don’t know yet.

sealI’ve worked for the Town for 14 years altogether. Especially since leaving the museum, which was always enjoying a precarious existence, it’s been a stable, secure job with good benefits, one I’ve been grateful for. A job that allowed me to stay in my home when my mother died, and to support myself since.

Leaving a job without another job lined up is scary. The only other time I’ve ever done it was way, way back, just after college. I was working in a grocery store as an assistant manager and doing okay, but we got a new manager who was, to put it politely, a total jackass. He refused to treat me fairly and I gave my notice and left, without anything else in the wings. I found something after a little bit, but more to the point, I was in my early 20s, and living at home, with a little bit of a safety net, and *still* it was scary to walk away from a job. Now? It’s terrifying.

I shouldn’t be scared. I’m not going to be on my own. I’ll have Dave, and I know he will make sure the kitties and I are okay no matter what. Contrary to what some people think, I’m not expecting him to work more to support me, or to become one of the Real Housewives of Smithtown. I’m going to get a job, one that helps with the bills and gets us health insurance. That’s the plan. It may not happen as quickly as we like, but it will happen. And I know it’ll be okay until it does. We’ve talked it out, and planned, and it’ll be fine. So I shouldn’t be scared… but sometimes I still am.

In the end, sadly, we’re always our mother’s daughters, aren’t we? The lesson I learned from my mother’s example is that you can’t count on anyone else to keep their promises, and you can’t count on someone else to take care of you. You have to do that yourself. So quitting my job and moving to a place with one of the highest costs of living in the US, and trusting this guy who put a ring on my finger to be there for me and my furry guys? It seems a little crazy, on the surface. Except that, luckily, the one thing I did *not* inherit from my mother, or any of the other stunningly bad examples I’ve had in my life, is her bad taste in men. Thank goodness that when it comes to that one particular trait, I’m nothing like her. I picked the best guy, hands down, anywhere. Dave always, always keeps all of his promises, and I can trust him with anything. That’s why I’m marrying him.

I’m still scared, and I probably will be as those 90 days wind down. Change is hard, and changing something that’s as big a part of my life as this is huge. But I know it’s going to be okay. A very nice man promised me so.

Someplace I used to go

So this morning I paid a visit to the place I used to work, well, two days ago, though that’s misleading. I worked there for over ten years, full time, and then was transferred to another department and location. But I still did a little part time work, up until this week, so even though I’ve said goodbye to the place more than once already, today turned out to be another one of those times.

My friends planted some lilac bushes for me there, on the grounds, when my mother died in 2004. They’ve grown really well. They started off as tiny little things, and now they’re ten or so feet tall.

Lilacs1lilacs2013

Nice, yes?

I’m not prone to sentimentalism. But standing there I couldn’t help but think about “then” and “now”. Back then my life was completely, utterly different from how it is today. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I felt connected to my career. I was lonely. I spent most of my waking hours at the place I worked. I spent most of my time with people I don’t know now. I thought I would spend my life alone, and here, in Buffalo. Now, work is a secondary characteristic to me; I spend time there, but I’m not focused on it. I’m not lonely, at least, not when I’m with Dave, and not when I think about the rest of our lives together. And I’m leaving, entirely, and going someplace I never had any reason to even visit before. So it was a bit of a moment, I guess, staring at my mother’s name on the plaque, thinking about the people who’d surrounded my days, and the friends I’d been closer to then, and the person I used to be.

Next year I won’t be here to see the lilacs bloom, though my friend says she’ll send pictures. I think that’s all I need, from now on. I think you can only keep going back to someplace so many times, before it starts to haunt you a little. I’m good with saying goodbye this one last time, but I think that’s enough.