Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Week

I think today is going to be a really hard day. Last night was tough, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was watching two of the saddest episodes of Buffy ever. I have to say, though, Joss Whedon knows grief and can write it. Damn.

One week ago today, during our weekly staff meeting, in the room we always meet in, I found out Alicia had left this world. I can't believe it's already been a week. I can't believe it's only been a week.

I'm so glad my weekly meeting is with amazing coworkers, otherwise there is no way I would want to face it. The best part, though? They will be filming our meeting today as part of a promotional video for the department. I might need to excuse myself for that because I'm just not good enough of an actor to be able to cover up this utter sadness. And I don't think that needs to be shown in a promo video.

Here goes nothing...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye to a friend

Alicia passed last week, obviously not unexpectedly, but the loss of a friend much, much too soon is never easy to bear. I've been doing better than I expected I would be, something I have heard echoed in several other friends. Today, going through some old photos of Alicia, I felt joy for the first time, joy in celebrating this wonderful human being I was lucky enough to be able to call a friend.

It's not right that she was taken from us so soon, and not fair that she had to endure so much in her time here on earth, but she lived a helluva life in the time that she had, and touched more people than most of us will ever dream of.

So if you are the prayerful type, please send some out to Alicia's family and friends, especially those incredible people who were there with her for several weeks, all the way through to the very end. I do have some guilt about not staying with them, but they have assured me I needn't feel that way (but that only helps a little. I know what they did and how incredible they are).

Life without Alicia is going to be hard, indeed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Overwhelmed: Redux

OK, I have gotten over any selfish feelings I had and now I am completely undone by the amazing outpouring of support for Alicia. Hundreds of messages over just a few days, with messages of love and support. Between last night and today, I came to the realization that these messages are helping my spirits too. Just knowing how much love there is in the world and how many strangers are willing to express that brings me to tears (as do most things, these days).

I am overwhelmed by the messages from people who are also battling cancer, have loved ones with cancer, or who have been touched by Alicia's story. She has touched SO many lives. I can't even begin to comprehend the impact she has had on this world.

I am so, so, so lucky to know her and to be able to call her my friend, but I know thousands and thousands of others now call her "friend" too. Friends touch our lives and share their hopes, fears, and dreams with us, and she has done that with wit, grace and strength most of us can only dream of.

I love you, Leashie.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I am writing this on my iPhone, so this will be short.

The Chronicle ran a front page story on Alicia this morning and I have been overwhelmed (though unsurprised) at the outpouring of support and comments. There are almost 400 comments on the article already, the Facebook group has tripled in size and people are tweeting he news.

I'll be honest: I'm torn about this. On one hand, she wanted those people who care about her, in real life or through her story, to know, but on the other hand, I have this terrible, selfish, protective feeling. "She's MY friend" I want to say, but even as I have that impulse, I know that she is too great to belong to me, or to anyone. Plus, she would kick my ass for saying that, even now.

I'm about maxed out on my patience with iPhone typing, but I want to say this: thank you to everyone who has had the courage to write your words of gratitude, shared sorrow, and hope. It's amazing how many lives she has touched.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Visiting Alicia

I got back last night from a week in San Francisco visiting Alicia. Well, "visiting" isn't exactly the right word to describe what it was I was doing there. Frankly, I don't know if there IS a word to describe it.

I want to write in more detail about different aspects of my experience later, but for the time being, I will try to describe it in one of my favorite forms: listing*.

My week in San Francisco was:
Helpful (to some degree, I hope)

Things I did while there:
Acted confused and bewildered for the first two days
Started to get my shit together on day three
Fell into the "visitor organizer" role, somehow
Took over part of the on-site coordination when the high school crew left
Transitioned the RA crew in
Kept busy so I didn't have time to think
Just *was*
Tried to stay awake for an all-nighter, at the end, but definitely fell asleep
Forgot to eat real food until noon, most days
Dropped a dress size (see above)

Emotions I felt:
Really fucking angry
Protective of Alicia
Protective of Alicia's friends
Body-wracking grief
Friendship (see: rekindled, old)
Friendship (see: new, born of shared adversity)
Many moments of consciously noting the importance, symbolism, or otherwise consciously observing the situation**

Hopefully I can commit more of my thoughts on this incredible, awful experience to writing soon and share them with you. It might take me a little while, and no promises I will publish everything I write. However, if Alicia was brave enough to share her story, I think I can share mine.

*Alicia knew this about me and sent me one of the most awesome books ever, that was written in list form. I need to go find that book now...

**Doesn't fit with the rest of the list, but there isn't a word for that idea***

***I have put more thought into the writing, style, and most importantly, punctuation of this post than any other in this shoddy blog, because I know Alicia would kill me if I made a typo or error, being the great copy editor she is.****

****There are definitely going to be typos. It's unavoidable. Sorry, Alicia. And the style of these footnotes is dreadful. Woe.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Life takes unexpected turns

Last Thursday, I got information that would change my life forever. Alicia was very sick.

Alicia is my maid of honor (for my wedding and for life). Alicia is a kindred writer spirit. Alicia is my friend. And Alicia is sick.

I flew to San Francisco a few hours after finding out, still in an uncomprehending daze about the news. The news was not good.

Since then, I, like many of her amazing and numerous friends, have tried to busy myself with helping at the hospital, helping manage Alicia's Twitter feed and Facebook page, and generally trying to keep busy with tasks so I'm not left alone with time to think.

There's so much more I want to say, but I am very tired after a long night at the hospital, so I will leave you with this:

Go to Read Alicia's Story in the Chronicle. Let her know how her story touched you on her Facebook page. Donate a few dollars to honor her strength and courage in her fight to help pay the medical bills that mount with each passing hour. Follow her on Twitter for updates. Send out a prayer, good thought, or peaceful energy to her.

Then tell your friends to do the same.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


This weekend is our big Easter egg hunt (yes, I am aware Easter was last weekend). As usual, we are upping the ante this year, and having the hunt after Easter proper has allowed me to find some mad bargains on eggs, grass and candy. We have well over 1500 pieces of candy and probably close to 400 eggs this year. Insane. Good thing we have a bigger place to hide them this year! We're also having a kid hunt for the first time, which will be outside if the weather holds, so that should help too.

In the meantime, we've been finishing the trim in the kitchen, I've been making these ridiculous little things to give away as favors, planning the menu, and I suppose I should get to cleaning at some point.

I am just SO ready for the summery part of spring to be here because waking to snow this morning was not my idea of fun (although it was heaven to snuggle under the down comforter for a few extra minutes of snoozing I couldn't really afford. Now I want to go home and go back to bed). And today I daydreamed about lounging by our complex's pool. We only used it twice last year and I am determined to get more use out of it this year!

And thus endeth my random ramblings.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


My new lifestyle of commute-work-commute-eat-sleep has resulted in some significant changes in the technology I use and the way I use that technology.

The biggest change happened last summer, when we finally got those iPhones Peter (and I) have been coveting for so long. It has turned out to be a fantastic thing for me, since my job only allows a few minutes at a computer at a time, barely enough to read my work email, let alone personal email or any other kind or media. When I get home, I would rather talk with my husband and watch a movie together, than stare at my computer screen. Crazy, I know! So I end up reading Facebook, email and Twitter on the iPhone, and read what news and blogs I can on the computer at breakfast.

Being an AVID blog reader, this has been a challenge for me, but it has also been good to cull those over blogs that are productive and underperforming (for my interest). So I'm reading less overall, but more stuff that interests me.

Yesterday brought another change. Peter managed to talk me into more new technology, although I wasn't resisting too hard.

I am now blogging on his brand new iPad! We had talked about this when it was first announced, mainly as a tool for me with the long bus rides. On the iPhone, I can read my email very well, but it's a massive pain to try to type anything.

Typing this entry has maybe taken marginally longer than a regular keyboard, but I think people might be surprised at how easy it really is. Of course, I will have to check more closely for spelling errors, because sometimes it makes the most bizarre word changes!

So you MAY just see more blogging going on here, now that I have an easier way to do it during my extended free time on the bus (but no promises!). Peter is having me test his iPad out on the bus for him (I don't remember what exactly I'm going to test that he can't, but I'm not complaining!). If it changes my life the way the iPhone has, I will very likely be getting my own soon!

Happy teching!