26 June 2011


I remember this pain. I remember this sadness, that permeates everything, that makes the sun less warm and the smiles confusing.

There are no cliches for murder trials. There was no blueprint of what-this-might-look-like when it's done. There aren't books to tell me how to get the crime scene images out of my head. There isn't an obituary in the newspaper that lets everyone know it's our tragedy, our time to grieve. We have to figure out this new pain, this re-run of our hearts shattering, this opened raw wound on our own. There isn't weeks to take off of work, there isn't a black armband to wear for a year, no black veil to let me people know to be nicer to us, to be quiet, to please be gentle.

I remember all the crying, the desperation, the unwillingness to accept the new normal and inability to comprehend the depth of the absence, the profundity of my loss. Laughter is tainted, everything feels heavy. I don't know if it should be better doing this now because it's familiar, but it feels worse, it seems so unfair to have to go through this again. I've said they can't kill him again, and they can't, but I am questioning my own spirits survival.

17 April 2011

"You do have beautiful eyes, but I think my most favorite thing (or at least top 3) about spending time with you is the moment right after you start to tell me something and before you actually say whatever is on your mind. I realized it the second time I was at your house. You have a pattern - you start, then you pause and you think about it, then you say it. Every pause I got a flutter in my stomach and a mix of feeling like I wanted you to just-say-it-already and please-wait-another-moment, because the anticipation of whatever you were about to share with me was delicious. More delicious than coconut oil popcorn and the best brussel sprouts in the world.
I know we've only known each other a couple weeks, and have taken some quick and intense steps, and I think we're still within the time frame that either of us could just cut off the other one without too many hard feelings, and I can't say that I want this to go somewhere concrete - but, I know every time I drove to your house I felt really excited and really comfortable, almost relieved, like I was going home. And ever time I was there I didn't want to leave. And I don't want to be removed from your life."
There, now I've blogged about you.

I'm starting to think I'm not cut out for this online dating thing.  I like people too much.

06 February 2011

Green & Gold

In honor of my beloved Green Bay Packers being in the Super Bowl today, here are some of my favorite links from the last week:

(For a soundtrack, listen to this:  Lil Wayne's Green N Yellow

Why The Packers are really "America's Team"
Jeff Hanisch/US Presswire
" It's no leap to say the Packers have the most rabid fans in the NFL."
Photo: Allen Fredrickson 

Howard Smith/US Presswire 
Long-locked Clay Matthews is eyeing his first Super Bowl win, but as Rick Reilly uncovers, he had to face his fair share of setbacks first.

03 February 2011

Musical History

"You belong among the wildflowers..." Tom Petty sings over the cafe speakers, bringing me back to as close to a time of sweet naivety as I can claim to have.  I wrote a love letter then that it didn't matter where we were as long as he was "somewhere close to me".  His love was sweeter than chocolate, Sarah McLachlan style, and one of my favorite memories of all time is driving together in a truck with classic rock on the radio and as AC/DC was playing I said, "What are American thighs, anyway?"  He paused for a moment and turned to me with a mischievous smile that he couldn't hide if he tried, patted my upper leg, and said, "These are, honey."  Although he really hated where he lived, It's a Great Day to Be Alive was one of his favorite songs and the only country song he liked, and he turned up that Travis Tritt tune for me driving around that North Carolina town.  I learned more about sex that first summer in that apartment than I had all my years leading up to it, in the two twin beds pushed together to make a nest, surrounded by strings of lights and candles with roommates outside who just giggled and understood, as we listened to John Hiatt and William Topley and John Mayer, who by the way wrote Your Body is a Wonderland just for us.  When he started looking at me like I was choosing Spain over him I held up the phone to his voice mail as "Have a Little Faith in Me" played in concert at the Barrymore. It's only recently that I can hear Staind play It's Been Awhile and not get choked up when I hear "It's been awhile since I've seen the way the candles light your face...  It's been awhile... But I can still remember just the way you taste..."

02 February 2011

Love Notes

I sat down with the intention of shutting everything down and hopping into bed to be really warm for the first time all day.
Instead I started sorting out emails (deleting, archiving; something that is a little of a time waster but actually is soothing to me in an OCD sort of way).  Inevitably I see ones about my brother that make me cry a little, but tonight was not the night I stopped on those.  The ones I kept coming across in a random-seeming manner were ones from him, from this man I have this dance with.
I haven't ever gotten too far away from thinking about him since we met, some years ago now, but in the last couple weeks he's been especially present in my thoughts.  Maybe it's my maternal clock, or my gray hairs, or my count-down to 30, but anyway the thought that has been re-appearing in my head is that maybe we should give it a shot, like a real shot, like we never really have before.
I read these emails from every few months over the last couple years and I felt foolish tonight.  They aren't notes, I realized, they are love letters.  Spread out it's harder to see, but then I think of him and how little he gives up, how as little as he's let me in is many times more than he's let almost anybody else in, and I think of the things I've written about him, and how he's seen me in many a situation (with family, at a party, by myself, healthy, sick, sad, happy, on vacation, at work, in a relationship, in a break up, single, single and hunting, hot, cold, naked, clothed...) and I have clarity.  Not direction or purpose, maybe, but clarity.
I don't know if we'll ever really make that leap.  Sadly, but sweetly too, I write that knowing how much I'll miss him one day if we don't.

31 January 2011

White Stuff

It snowed again.  I have lost count of how many times it has snowed since the first snow, back in November, the one that kept me in the suburbs for an extra night and made me realize I needed new tires before I did anything else. 

It's really pretty again, as the new snow has covered up the dark gray mucky slush stuff that everything was transformed into.  I put on my galoshes to run the trash out today and didn't lose feeling in my fingers during the 30 seconds it took to complete the task, so that means it's not quite as cold as it was two weeks ago.

Last week was the first time I woke up and thought, "Ok, this is getting a little wearisome."  It's still ok, I'm still fine, I'm just more excited to see colors again in a few months than I am for the snow.  And they'll come; tomorrow is February, a short month, then in March we get the official start of spring.  The colors and warmth will inevitable come, the blooms, the late light, the heat, then in 7 months I'll be writing about how the humidity is getting wearisome and that I'm getting excited to be bundled up and trudging through white stuff.

30 January 2011

23 January 2011


As I recover from my annual knock-me-on-my-ass cold and finish thank-you notes from the holidays, I've been reflecting on the holiday season that was actually packed with lovely things...

On Christmas Eve I got to have brunch with Mami, liquor shop with my Dad, and see my original nugget, home from teaching and selling cheese in NOLA.  On Christmas my parents and I went to a really good movie, did some decorating, and opened some presents.  That evening we hung out with our second immediate family and their extended family for lots of food and gab.  Later I went to a bar two blocks away for a major high school flashback (plus more drinking legally minus making out in bathrooms).  Even later that night  I came as close to fulfilling a freshman fantasy as you can without ruining it.

The next day we had our 3rd annual party and it was a doozy.  I felt a little extra pressure to make sure it was one people talked about until next year because Megan is overseas and I wanted to make her proud, plus some lovely sisters even came down from Minny just for the occasion.  I think I succeeded; the number of people that tell me they look forward to the party more than the actual holiday supports this, as well as the number of people that slept on various surfaces around my parents house that night after playing games until 5am that are always a bad idea except for when you're drunk enough.  (We were.)

I stuck around town a few extra days to hang out with some snowed in East-Coasters, and it meant more quality time all around, especially with my parents and miniature people.  (See below.)

To top it all off, I got to go to New York for one of my besties 30th birthday party a couple of weeks later, thanks to the generosity and airline miles of a dear friend.  It was, as Tommy put it, one of the "Top 5 epic weekends".  Truly.  Complete with margaritas and whiskey all over Brooklyn, speeding cabs in the snow, making friends with Australian strangers, karaoke in more than one private room, discovering that bar time isn't until almost dawn (with the drawback that you can't get pizza in Brooklyn at almost dawn), one cousin, one favorite musician, one really Bad Kitty, some of the best friends that the universe has ever beheld, and last but certainly not least a big Packer win celebrated with a bunch of fellow cheeseheads plus my new future ex-husband who doesn't know it yet.

Some select moments that make me happy all over:

Which one is my mother?  Sometimes we can't tell:

Another Big and Mini that I love:
Epic Morning After brunch:

2nd Day of Recovery Lunch:

In this picture there are two of the best friends anyone could ask for (who also happen to be sisters), three glasses of wine (out of the shot), one baby whom I love, and one puffer fish bath toy:

"I will buy you beer one day...":

Rachel's favorite French beer to start NYE:

New Year's Day Roses and Champagne:

Somebody's afraid of heights...

Bad Kitty...

"And maybe be your baby tonight...":

"Maybe be my baby tonight..." from Caitlin Scanlon on Vimeo.

I sort of want to live in Tommy's video of his trip to WI:

Horray Wisconsin! from thomas schwenn on Vimeo.

21 January 2011

Courtesy of Stuff About Minneapolis (I love this guy):

Workers chopping ice along the dam, Falls of St. Anthony, Minneapolis (1899)
Wow, it is going to get cold tonight and tomorrow. What are they saying, -20* to -30* below zero? Yeah it’s going to be mighty chilly walking from your house, into your car, and then into the coffee shop. What will your total outside exposure be? 10 minutes? Sure hope that Columbia Omni-Heat Squall Line Fleece Jacket you have on under your North Face McMurdo Parka keeps you warm.
Do you think these guys with the shovels and pickaxes in this picture complained about chopping ice outside for ten hours in the cold? They probably got paid a quarter an hour and for lunch they sat on the ice and ate a stale biscuit with a piece of pickled bacon. And they probably had to hear slurs all day long about being Irish.
When you pull out your laptop do the people at the coffee shop verbally attack you for your Irish heritage?
Didn’t think so.
Remember your roots Minnesota and get a little tough.
Photo by Minnesota Historical Society

14 January 2011

Hello Again

Sometimes, because of solitude or loneliness or a craving for familiarity, you let down your good-sense guard and open yourself up to feel again for something that you thought you had let go of.
Sometimes you allow it to feel good when you hear the need in his voice, even though history has shown that nothing will come of it.
Sometimes you allow yourself to feel his pain when he talks of his nightmares and his fears, sometimes you allow yourself to worry for him, to call to check on him, to tell him not to shut you out again.
Sometimes you let yourself hope a little, you let yourself taste and enjoy the fantasy that has made up 90% of your relationship. 
Sometimes you can admit to yourself that he may be that person for you even though he is deeply imperfect and might love you for all the wrong reasons, although they've always felt like the right ones.
Sometimes you let yourself remember that he is the person that carried you to confidence, to safety, to hope, and that in truth we saved each other from a curse of deep cynicism and shallowness.
Sometimes you savor the inside jokes, the nicknames, the stories that you only share with him, because after all this time they still are the most funny, the sweetest, and the best that you've ever had.

04 January 2011


Sometimes still, after all this time, it is too much.  I sit and can't understand what happened, how he could really be gone, and how I am never going to hear his voice again.

To make it real I inevitably think of seeing his body, which is horrible.  Horrible that it was a body, that it was my brother's body, and that my mind goes there because that was the most real moment of his death.  It was a nightmare out of a poem that we stood in the morgue on Father's Day and looked at his face hovering in front of us on the closed captioned TV screen they now use for next-of-kin to identify bodies.  We knew cerebrally he was in there but before the screen flipped on I know our souls were screaming for it to be a mistake and to see some other young mans face appear.  It was Brendan, unmistakeably B with his messy curly blonde hair.  He had a bruise on his cheek, his mouth was slightly open, as were his eyes.  He didn't look asleep, as processed bodies almost do, he just looked dead.  You couldn't see the bright beautiful blue-gray color of his eyes, but they weren't cloudy or creepy.  They just weren't anything. 

I had to eventually ask the old sad man who was working alone in the morgue on Father's Day to please turn it off.  I was crying and I said something about yes it was him and what were we supposed to do and please turn it off, and I remember feeling like I had to because I was the only one not sitting on the couch in the room and I could feel my family crumbling behind me.  Later in the car my mom said she though Brendan looked like a picture of Jesus on the screen, because his hair formed this gold halo around his face.  He did.  He'd laugh at me for saying that.

03 January 2011

This is beautiful and funny and wonderful:


(It made me feel a little lonelier than I did already, but that's ok.)