Author Archive for Jenn – Page 2

“Bearing Sorrow Havin’ fun”*

I’m sitting at my desk today, it’s in general been a good day, getting stuff done and looking forward to seeing three of my favorite women who are driving down from Portland tonight. It’s a funny and long story how the four of us came to be, that is something best saved for another post, but the short version is that we worked together at the same company ten years ago.

Before this group of amazing women and I bonded together I was all alone at the company, the youngest in my department a fresh 24 year old, branching out with my first “real” job, engaged to be married, startlingly crass but kind nonetheless. I worked for a home builder and lived in one of the neighborhoods (The Vine, as we called it) one day on my second week there I bumped into a similarly aged female in the lunch room, we chatted, discovered our backyards bumped up against each other and a friendship was born.

Melissa and I had much to bond over, music, food, baking, dirty jokes, talking trash about our co-workers over margaritas at Chili’s, eventually marriage and down the line babies. The worst thing we had in common was losing our parents at a young age (her Mom when she was a teenager my dad when I was 13) it’s a weird club to be in at that age, your parent didn’t elect to not be in your life, there is no one to really yell at, you don’t fit with the divorced kids (even if they were divorced before the parent died, I found this to be the weirdest) it’s just weird. As you get older you find other people who are like you and you create this effed up little club who’s members are all super awesome. Why? Because we learned before everyone else that life is not permanent, that you are not invincible and really terrible things happen to good people who are doing everything they are supposed to.

One of the conversations we had frequently was our fears over whether or not we would face a similar fate as our parents, Melissa already had a son Austin and was planning on another child, it would be five more years before I had one of my own. Less than a year after becoming friends Melissa moved to North Carolina but we never lost touch, as more tiny humans came into our lives the emails were more sparse but always as heartfelt and genuine.

When Melissa was diagnosed with cancer we cried. We never spoke of our long ago conversations about our fear of this happening. Never. She carried on and her fight was mighty. She endured more than most people can handle and she did it with grace, humility and a mega watt smile on her face.

As I sit here today, going through emails in another office not so different than the one from before I realized I hadn’t heard from her in awhile. Or seen her post on Facebook. Or receive a Christmas card…..

Melissa passed away December 9th, 2013. She is survived by her amazing partner, friend, husband Todd and her precious tiny humans Austin and Logan.

I feel like a giant asshole for never having replied to her last email and yet I can see her, huge smile on her face reminding me that we always said everything we needed to say. It’s the first rule of our club.

*from the song “Melissa” by The Allman Brothers.

Wordless Wednesday


Is it Sunday yet?

Wordless Wednesday


Will the studying ever end?

RIP Selfie Mirror

A week ago we had a sad loss in the house. My tiny humans decided to turn the mirror I use for my outfit posts into Glass Mountain. It failed epically. One second I was doing dishes and the next Sasha was crying hysterically asking me for help with Claire. Long story short, She’s okay, Claire is okay, the selfie mirror is not okay.
Le sigh….


Older, not wiser.



At first it seemed we may be friends, bonding over inappropriate jokes and a love of food. During my second, awful pregnancy and even though our jokes had turned mean and our humor insensitive, you still snuck me bowls of cassoulet, often it was the one thing I could keep down. By the end of your time at the restaurant we were less than friendly, I made a mean joke about your ego, I can’t remember your retort.
After a few years I ran into you at Britt, you were sick then, how far I didn’t know, I had heard bits and pieces from our mutual friends, I apologized that day in line waiting for ice cream. I began running into you more frequently, at farmers markets and social gatherings.
The last time I saw you was this summer, again at Britt surrounded by people who love and adore you, this time we all sat together, I had tequila soaked watermelon and other things for the first time. There was laughter and selfies and joy.
Thank you for helping me learn about forgiveness, thank you for nourishing me during one of my lowest times, thank you for always being unapologetically you.

What does the Dirty Duchess drink?

B SIDE of course!!

Wordless Wednesday


Wordless Wednesday

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, loving and amazing friend Victoria


Her only request was that we share this video as far and wide as possible. It was made by her nephew, and Noah’s older brother, he is a very talented young man.

It’s been one year and one day.

I would like to be able to say I am a better person than last year.

I would like to say I am more patient than last year.

I would like to say that I yell less at my children than last year.

I would like to say that I try to look past the outside of people to see what is really going on within.

I would like to say that my children are safer than last year.

I would like to say that I can’t still see, in vivid detail, the look of fear, pain, and grief on my friend’s face.

I would like to say I have become better at making popcorn and pancakes.

I would like to say I don’t think about it most days when I drop the girls in their shared classroom.

The truth is I still yell and burn popcorn and think about it all the time. I can still remember the sounds, and boxes of letters, and massive amounts of pain and love all coming together to form this strange tsunami of fear and affection.

I spent yesterday with old friends and new, texting with the lady who has a piece of my heart, a lady I will drop anything to be next to if she needs it… I have no doubt she would do the same, she would show up with a shovel, no conversation and no questions asked.

Speaking of conversations, there are ones that our country gave up on, conversations that still need to be had. I don’t care if you are pro this or anti that. Noah and the other twenty-five people who passed on that horrific day deserve to have these conversations continued. I don’t give a shit if you think they are hard or uncomfortable, try on the alternative for five minutes and you’ll never shut-up again. Trust me.

I’m pro-tiny-humans-going-to-school-and-coming-home-safely.

I’m pro-never-seeing-another-family-that-I-love-bury-their-tiny-person-because-he-went-to-school.

I’m pro-honest-love, because if you can’t be honest with love what can you be?

I’m pro-conversation, all conversations, even the yucky, vulnerable, scary kind.

I may not have accomplished all of those things above but the one thing I can say is that I love brighter and bigger and more loudly than I did 366 days ago.