Yes, I can honestly say, today was a good day.

It started off mundane enough. If anything, it had all the makings of a bad day: gray, cloudy, rainy outside; didn’t sleep well the night before; & woke up later than I’d wanted.

But finally got out the door & went to meet one of the members of my writing group for coffee. I dragged my laptop along with me, I guess with the intention of writing; but I didn’t. Instead, we ended up having a 3 hour conversation that really just made my day. We talked about writing & our respective novels, & our respective procrastination. We’re both on the same page. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone. I explained the plot of my WIP & it was nice to hear someone else say it sounded interesting. It was also good to bounce some ideas off on her & get feedback. If anything, it gave me a little kick in the butt that I really have something here & I need to get it done already!

But for the most part we talked about our lives. The nice thing about her is that she actually has a lot of the same spiritual beliefs as my mother. My mother was very involved in metaphysical/new age thinking, as well as her Native American belief system. So, she wasn’t exactly your typical mother. She always kept it interesting to say the least. So talking to her, it was nice to be around someone who thinks the way my mother did. Our get together really put me in a great mood even though we were talking about death. Go figure.

Then this evening I got to have fun. I went to the New Kids on the Block concert here in LA. Yes, I was/am a New Kids on the Block fan. Nsync & Backstreet Boys were after my time. I went to my first New Kids concert here in LA when I was 14 with my oldest/best friend C. Funny enough, my mother bought me the tickets for my 14th birthday. I went on to see them 2 more times in concert as a teenager. One trip even involved my mother driving me from Albuquerque to Phoenix. And the other involved her booking us a room at the same hotel they were staying at in Albuquerque in an attempt for me and my 15-year old friends to try & meet them. We didn’t succeed. She supported my teenage obsessions to say the least. Later, when I was in college in Boston, I went to a record signing & got their last CD before they broke up signed by all of them. So, to say the least, I was SOOOO going to see them in concert on this reunion tour. Admittedly, my music taste has matured to say the least. And I’ll be the first to admit their old material does not hold up well when listened to now. But still, C & I got tickets & saw them on October 6 here in LA, a couple weeks after my mother died. Then, it was a great distraction. We ended up having such a great time that we decided to see if we could get tickets to their 2nd added LA date. The tickets only came through this morning. Really short notice, but we were there. Again, it was so much fun. Before we went to the October concert, I hadn’t listened to their new album. Not really my taste. And I’ll be the first to admit I really thought that October show was going to be painful. I was prepared to be tortured. So, when it wasn’t & it turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun, I was pleasently surprised. And yes, the old songs actually held up pretty well live. Shocking I know. This time I had actually listened to their new album. I hate to admit it (REALLY, I do), but it’s actually kind of good. I’ve struggled when trying to listen to music in recent weeks. Apparently the bulk of the stuff on my iPod is depressing, serious, or sentimental. So, this album is just pure fluff. And fluff is what I need these days. So, yes, as much as it pains me, I have been listening to it a lot. So, this time I actually knew the new songs as well as the old ones. The whole thing was just fun. I’ve been to a lot of concerts in a lot of genres & surprisingly, these last 2 concerts of theirs rank as the funnest (yes, I know that’s not a word) concerts I’ve ever been to. Everybody was up out of their seats the whole time, at both. Yes, there were cringe worthy moments, but still, they were a good laugh. And that just made my day.

To cap off the evening: We had taken the metro to the concert. When we went to catch the last train to head home, we’d missed it. We had to call to get someone to pick us up. The funny thing: the exact same thing happened in October. Then we had to have my younger brother come pick us up. This time C’s younger sister had to pick us up. It just brings so many flashbacks of having our mothers pick us up from the New Kids’ concerts when we were teenagers. An amusing way to end the evening.

Oh, and when I got home, I got a text from another one of my best friends who was in India on business. I was concerned about him with the attacks that have been going there all day. I knew he was leaving today, but wasn’t sure what time. I got a text when I got home tonight saying he had just landed in the US. Good news.

A good day. Kind of nice.

Image: nigel appleton via flickr

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Currently listening to: Long Division by Death Cab for Cutie

Well, got 2,344 words today. So, I’m just over 5,500 words. Still woefully behind, but at least I did a good chunk of writing this weekend. The nice thing about this NaNoWriMo is that there are a total of 5 weeks this year. One more than usual. Weekends are the best time for marathon writing sessions to catch up, or at least make some headway.

The day started decently enough. Slept in for the first time in weeks. It feels like months since I last had nothing to do on a Sunday. While I have moments where I hate being alone, I find myself needing it nonetheless. I did catch up on some phone calls. Talked to my brother’s girlfriend. She brought up Christmas and an open invitation for us to spend Christmas with her family. That effectively brought my decent day to a crashing halt.

I spent the rest of the evening trying not to think about Christmas: the fact that my mother won’t be here, & the fact that I don’t have a clue what we are going to do. My family is very small. For the most part, Christmas was my mother, me, and my brother with her family thrown in for a couple hours, and my dad. I only ever missed one Christmas with my mother. I was 22 and I was studying for the year in Italy. I was ok with it. This is different. Then, I naively believed there would be a next Christmas. And at least there were 10 more. But now…. I’m trying not to think about it right now. But my mind wanders. I’ve had to yell at myself a couple times this evening, telling myself that I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to worry about this now. But of course, I still do. While my brother always spends sometime with his girlfriend’s family, the primary focus has always been our family. But now…. I appreciate the invitation, but I can’t fathom spending Christmas with her family. They’re nice people, but her parents are so different from my parents. Her mother is the antithesis of my mother. Her mother is politically conservative (Yes, a McCain supporter, complete with a framed & signed 8×10.), and a slightly fanatical Christian. My mother was incredibly liberal (She spent many years registered with the Peace & Freedom Party.), into New Age thinking, and followed Native American traditions. I know what’s really bothering me. The invitation reminded me that if/when my brother & his girlfriend get married & have children, her mother will be the only grandmother their children will ever know. That kills me. I hate that.

I can’t see my brother, my father, and me celebrating Christmas with them. Maybe we’ll stop by, but that can’t be the primary way we celebrate this Christmas. This is the first time I’ve thought, “I just want to skip the holidays, pretend they don’t exist.” I made it 7 weeks and 1 day before I thought that. I know we’re going to need to find some way to celebrate that feels right for us, for me. But I hate thinking about it. There’s plenty of time for me to obsess about it. I didn’t need to start today.

Image: mrlerone via flickr

Today I actually did something that felt productive. Yeah, I’ve been working the last couple of days, but that just feels like going through the motions. I was talking to a friend of my mom’s earlier today. Without her, carrying out my mother’s wishes would have been difficult to say the least. With her, everything went perfectly (for lack of a better word!). It just so happens, that my mom’s friend lost her own mother 2 weeks to the day after my mother died. Her mother was much older than mine & had been ill for sometime. So, the death was expected. But still, talking to her today, I realized she understood what I was feeling & how I was getting through my days.

We got to talking about the genealogy research my mother had done on the Native American tribe we are members of. I mentioned that I had found all the documents, but there is no clear family tree. There are a bunch of indecipherable charts with some names I remember her mentioning, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. My mom’s friend suggested I try focusing on that right now. Something to do. So, I got off the phone with her, & started going through & organizing all the papers. I came to the conclusion I need help to figure it all out. Luckily there is an anthropologist at the museum near where the tribe is located. I know my mother worked with him to do some of the family research. I googled him, got his email address, & sent him an email asking for help. He responded almost immediately & I’m driving up north to meet him next Friday. He’s offered to help me put together a family tree from the research I have.

Since my mother died, the thing I’ve regretted most was that I always figured I’d have time to ask her questions about this part of our heritage & that one day she’d explain all the charts & pictures to me herself. Luckily, there are people who can fill in some of the blanks I’m left with & I’m turning to them to learn what my mother learned.

I hate to think that all my mother knew died with her. I know it didn’t. And I know she taught us the important stuff that is getting us through each day & making this a tad easier (I suppose). But there are still so many things I just thought there would be time to learn or to ask her about. So, now I’m making it my goal to at least learn some of what she spent the last 20 years learning as she figured out what she loved & what interested her, & what made her who she was.

Image: Ben McLeod via flickr