Tuesday, October 3, 2017

If There's a Rock and Roll Heaven...

2016 sucked. I mean, pretty much from the word "go" we started losing people who meant something to the world.

From David Bowie to George Michael-- and I apologize sincerely for skipping over those who went before and after those two names.

In the realm of celebrity losses, my big two were Guy Clark and Leonard Cohen.

Let's not forget the Boyfriend, of course. And I knew a lot of people in my personal life who lost loved ones as well.

For the most part, 2017 has been going along as much like a normal year as it can considering what a time of monumental chaos it has been for me on a personal level.

Till today...and by "today" I mean yesterday because I'm nocturnal and it's still October 2nd on my internal calendar.

It was only 2 days ago (Sunday, Oct 1) that, while discussing my musical tastes with someone, I referred to Tom Petty as my spirit animal.

Waking up (yes, at 2 in the afternoon) to the news that Tom Petty may or may not have been dead was not OK with me.

Finding the official announcement that he'd passed away later in the day leaves me....a little more lost on this rock we're all riding through space than the death of a complete stranger ought to, really.

It's just that a significant number of the songs on the Soundtrack to Maggie's Life are Tom Petty songs, and it's hard to accept that there won't be more where those came from now.

Road trips are going to feel a little more lonely somehow, but it won't stop me from running down my own dream.

The Shoe Fence Story

No. It's not the Rice Shoe Fence-- because we didn't stop there.
This is mostly just a snippet from my "Don't Tell My Boyfriend" post on my solo motorcycle trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2014.
The thing is, the Rice Shoe Fence story was a pivotal incident my relationship with the BF. I refer to it often and it really needs its own post.
So here it is:

One of the first long road trips that the BF and I took together was over a holiday weekend to Phoenix, Arizona where the BF attended tech school. And worked at Burger King, and had his first apartment, and his first "real" girlfriend, etc, etc, and-you-get-my-point-we've-all-been-there. So it was important to him to take me back to the nexus spot between child BF and adult BF and show me around.
I had never considered visiting Phoenix, Arizona recreationally. It's not that there's anything wrong with Phoenix, but it is notoriously hot and I'm not so much a fan of hot weather.
At the time, the BF was quietly trying to convince me that Phoenix wasn't actually that much hotter than it gets in the central San Joaquin Valley and I think he was hoping that I'd fall in love with it and consider it as a possibility on our list of places we might someday move to.
I knew that wasn't likely, but I do like going places I haven't been before, and I love a road trip, so we set out for Phoenix on Memorial Day weekend.
It hit 103 while we were there. 'Nuff said. 

We had a grand time on our shopping mall tour of the greater Phoenix area. Seriously, he took me to four different malls! I had to laugh. He was, after all, 17 years old when he moved to Phoenix for school. Even he had to shyly admit that maybe it's not quite the way he remembers it.
What I really learned from that weekend was how differently we approach the concept of the American Road Trip.
I'm all Jack Kerouac: I'm on the road. I go out there with a loosely defined destination and a hunger to see, feel, and experience everything I encounter in between. I'm open to the possibility that my destination may change with my course as new experiences take me in new directions. I want to stop and take pictures, I want to absorb the scenery, I want to quietly contemplate the meaning of Life, I want to stand under a tree covered in shoes and ponder the ways of Man.
For me, a road trip is all about experience, creating memories for my old age, and gathering the stories I will tell.
For the BF, a road trip is all about how fast you can get to your pre-determined destination, and the only data you need to collect along the way for sharing with friends and family is your time, average speed, and fuel economy.
Woe be to your passenger if she needs to stop for a bathroom break along the way.
This is why the BF doesn't get to drive on our road trips anymore.
On our return trip from Phoenix that fateful weekend, we opted for the long way home, weaving through the U.S. highway system on lonely roads eschewed by modern travelers who opt for multi-laned Interstate bliss, bypassing the dying communities in favor of easy-on/easy-off rest stops and gas stations.
We were westbound on US 62, a simple, 2 lane road that stretches toward the sunset in a straight, endless line of ebony ribbon against the pale tan desert hills on the backside of Joshua Tree National Park.
The BF was at the wheel and we were headed home at an impressive speed. But hundreds of homeward bound vacationers were also on the road with us. Caravans of boats and RVs and travel trailers traveled with us. No one was going slow, but most of the traffic was going slower than us.
The BF was downright gleeful as he made repeated use of the nearly deserted opposite lane of traffic to pass by 20, 24, 31! vehicles at a time, with my little Nissan Sentra singing along at speeds flirting with 100 miles per hour. This was bliss for the BF; counting how many vehicles he could pass at once.
I watched the desert fly by outside my passenger side window. Marveled at the endless railroad track that managed to keep pace with us, stretching across the desert at least as far as any road, and the names and pictographs that decorated the rise of sand along them.
This area was devoid of human establishments aside from the road and the tracks. Where did the people come from to carry the white rocks to the side of the tracks and how long did it take to arrange them in the shapes of names and flowers and promises of undying love? 
Were the rocks naturally white? Did people paint them before deciding their careful placement?
Was this something that the railroad companies tolerated easily? Or did these people have to sneak out under cover of night, and flee like cockroaches from the sweeping beam of a sheriff's spot light?
I turned my head from the tracks on my right for a momentary glance at the expanse of desert to my left. 
I saw it come into view long before we reached it. It was long and square and positively reeked of human construction. It appeared to be fence.
As we got closer, I could see that it was just that. A fence. A fence around nothing in the middle of nowhere. Just a big, fenced-off piece of space by the side of the road in the middle of the desert with out much clue as to what used to be in the middle of it, or if there ever had been something in the middle of it.
It was a totally random fence.
And that totally random fence was covered in shoes.
I heard angels singing. The shoe fence called to me. It was like the Mecca of shoe gatherings and my soul reached out to worship at its altar.
My head swung around, eyes fixed upon the vision as the BF gunned the accelerator and sped past the shrine without so much as a muttered "hrumph."
"GO BACK!" I cried. "GO BACK!" My voice sounding like a child who's parents just drove past Disneyland.
The little sedan's speed never faltered. The BF said "Why?"
I excitedly said, "I want to see that!"
In his best dad-voice and without so much as glancing sideways at me he replied, "No you don't."
If he had begun the process of slowing down and pulling over when I first told him to, I would have had quite a hike back to the fence. But it would have been within hiking distance. We were on a simple, two-lane highway; the act of turning the car around and driving back to the fence was not outside of reason. But by the time it sank into his neandrathalic pea brain that I actually meant that yes, I really wanted and it was kinda important to me, to go stand in front of the damn shoes on a fence in the desert, we were well into 29 Palms; 73 miles later.
The Rice Shoe Fence stands in the history of our relationship as the first major exfoliation of a great granite dome face. The moment when a huge chunk of the fa├žade on our Happily-Ever-After gave way and began to form the inevitable talus pile that every long term relationship eventually develops around its base.
For the last 8 years, and forever more, the Rice Shoe Fence has been a source of great contention between us. It is the brilliant and beautiful illustration of what makes us different. It is a metaphor of our relationship, and a metaphor of what separates the minds of women from the minds of men: whenever we tell the tale in mixed company, the men are united in their horror that such a thing is even allowed to exist. They all agree with the Boyfriend-- shoes in the desert is exactly the sort of thing you should flee post haste.
Women, on the other hand, never need coaxing for sympathy, they are always fascinated by my description and deeply disappointed to learn that I never got to stand before the Great Fence of Shoes.
I assure you-- the shoe fence will be revisited.

A Fish with a Bicycle

updated 10/2/17

I love that saying. I am absolutely tickled by the concept of fish with bicycles. And I need another blog like a fish needs a bicycle.

Blogs are a lot like bicycles for fish. But people love them. People love reading them, and people love writing them. Makes me wonder if my fish would like a bicycle? Afterall, humans love having stuff they don't need, maybe fish do too.

This blog was originally named "A Fish With a Bicycle" because, at the time I started it, I was also blogging on Myspace (Yeah, that long ago,) my professional website (Art of Nailz,) and for Nails Magazine. (I used to do nails. I did nails for a really long time. Nails was my life.)

All these years later I'm down to just the one blog now and I call it "Maundertudes" but you'll notice "afishwithabicycle" is still the actual web address.

I'm just saying-- Don't Panic! It's the same blog by the same person and I still need a blog like a fish needs a bicycle.



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Whole Enchilada

I'm not, and I do.
OK. This has nothing to do with enchiladas. In fact, the BF didn't even like enchiladas. Trust me when I tell you we had our incompatibilities. (I mean, seriously, who doesn't like enchiladas?)

As I'm sure you can imagine, I've spent the past several months of my life re-evaluating my priorities.


It's complicated-- I'll get to that in another post.

Let's just say, it's been a very philosophical year +.

So I've got this friend...that is currently inspiring more philosophy. But...you can only get so "deep" with some people, you know?

I was about to post something to Facebook on that friend's behalf-- sort of a "thinking of you...in solidarity" sentiment, right?

And I realized that Facebook doesn't know me from before I was half of Matt & Maggie.

A lot of people in my life today don't know me from before I was half of Matt & Maggie.

A lot of people think of me as half of Matt & Maggie.

Just half.

And to a lot of people, half of something is all I'm ever going to be. Half of something broken that can't be repaired.

Those people will always see me as damaged and a lot of them will always question my motives in everything I say or do: If post something to Facebook (or insert the public media of your choice) like this:

They will interpret it as a statement of resolve regarding my own circumstances.

Not that it's not applicable. It's just that, in this case, it's a sentiment being expressed on someone else's behalf and I don't want people to default to applying everything toward the assumption that I am in a constant state of restating my resolve to go on with life.


So I chose my post carefully and came over this way to talk about my thoughts on the subject.

I really, really, really liked who I was before I started dating the BF. I was never a half of anything. I was the whole Maggie. Complete. All on my own. And I was really damn good at it.

Go ahead, ask around. There are still a few people in my life who remember me from back then.

Aforementioned friend once observed that "we make compromises for the ones we love." (I'm pretty sure he was trying to be reassuring or something at the time.) He's right, we do. Some for the better and some for the worse but either way, in the long run, it means that when you start un-compromising when the relationship ends-- however it ends-- and taking yourself back the way you liked yourself best...people will see you making changes.

All those people who didn't "know that about you" because they only knew you as half of a couple will try to apply motives to those perceived changes. They don't know that you used to dress like that, or always wanted to pierce that, or had put your plans to travel to there on hold for X number of years because the Significant Other had no desire to go.

They see you "going off the deep end." You're getting a little crazy there! Whoa! She's having a mid-life crisis! She's not coping with his death well...

You get the idea.

I'm here to assure everyone that I'm not doing crazy shit. At least, nothing that seems crazy to me, and nothing that seems out of character for me to the people who knew me when I was whole.

To us-- I'm just Maggie again. Living my life much the same way I did before I was half of something else.

As for my friend? Take my word on this:

Don't make me tell you about that time I missed a bus.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun (And I didn't fly my plane to Nova Scotia)

While the rest of the world had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on repeat in their heads (I'm still upset it never ended up being a Meatloaf song,) I was singing the line from "You're So Vain."

I've lived through a few solar eclipses now. I remember back in grade school, everyone making such a big deal about it. Turned out it was such a let down: Oh wow-- for a second or two it was almost like the sun went behind a cloud.

So I didn't put much thought into the August 21st solar eclipse. I looked it up, it was going to be a pretty good eclipse from here in Tahoe. I planned to go on with my life (sleep through it-- it was going to happen before noon, after all!)

Then, about a week before the deal, I started hearing people talk about what a big deal it was. But, meh, I've heard that every other solar eclipse, right?

The talk went on-- how long all the hotels and campgrounds had been booked in advance. How bad the traffic was expected to be.

So I started thinking, "Huh...what's keeping me from going to see this one?" Like-- really seeing it. From within the band of totality.
David John & The Comstock Cowboys
at the Bucket of Blood Saloon

So sometime on Wednesday or Thursday-ish, I was all over Google Maps and a dozen other websites, trying to figure out where I needed to be, where I could be, how long it was going to take me to get there, and what my chances of actually finding a place to stay were when I go there.

I already had a busy weekend planned: I had some drinking and body piercing to get out of the way on Friday (yup...body piercing. No. I won't be posting photos,) a wedding reception to crash in Virginia City on Saturday-- and suddenly-- an 8 hour road trip to Seneca, Oregon on Sunday!

And that's how I ended up on my way to see the solar eclipse. And no-- I don't have decent photos. I was busy getting there and didn't think to look up tips on taking pics.

With items 1 and 2 checked off my list, I dragged my ass out of bed early Sunday morning. I threw a sleeping bag, an ice chest, and the dog into the back of the Xterra and promptly began texting the small band of lowlifes I call friends-- just to keep them in the loop. Because friends do that-- text you at 7 am on Sunday mornings to brag that they're having better adventures than you are.

Ready to Roll!
I got accused of being awfully happy for a Sunday AM after my Virginia City romp the night before. Someone knows me all too well!

But I love a road trip! And I had a good one ahead of me, so what's not to smile about? All I had to do was stop by the grocery store for a few provisions (beer) and ice on the way out of town.

Now, Dog hasn't been traveling so well since we moved. He grew up in the back of the Xterra, going on long drives and lots of off road trips, but he's old now (13) and he's had a helluva year-- lost half his pack (the BF was his dad-- and my Aussie,) plus he got relocated.

Our last few long drives haven't gone so well for him, so I expected to be making lots of stops along our way. This gets awkward for us because Dog has bad hips and knees now and he can't jump in and out of the back of the X anymore...and it is not so easy for me to pick him up.

He did really well on this trip! And we've worked out a method for getting him in and out of the way-back with him having to use the ramp I got for him-- he hates that ramp! But he hates getting left behind even more.
Stopping to worship at the alter
 of What the Fuck north of Reno
There's a shoe tree along hwy 395 north of Reno, NV (this might have been Dog's first time out of CA.) The BF and I had wildly differing opinions on shoe trees and other bizarre monuments to human behavior.

If you check out my ride report from my 2014 solo motorcycle trip, and scroll down, you'll find my deep thoughts on shoes trees and more about the BF's and my differences in interest. The shoe tree from that post is one and the same as this one.

Now that I'm the one driving the X around, I take a twisted sort of pleasure out of taking it places that the BF wouldn't have approved of-- the drive through of Taco Bell in particular! And shoe trees and other assorted weirdness I come across.

So Dog and I stopped at the shoe tree to take some pics and star at all the shoes and wonder what in the world makes people cover trees with shoes.

We had gorgeous weather for our ride-- which is good because the air conditioning in the X needs money and love that I just haven't gotten around to bothering with. (I don't notice it till I head back to the Valley in the summer time! Who needs AC in Tahoe?)

No, really, I did see other cars.
So we rocked the 4x70 AC with the stereo blasting.

Hwy 395 all the way. I did most of the same stretch of road (Burns, OR to Reno) on that motorcycle trip back in '14 so I had a good idea of what I was in for.

Of course, there was all that concern about how bad traffic was going to be!

Yeah-- it was terrible! And by "terrible" I mean, this time I actually saw other cars on the road with me!

An 8 hour drive gives you lots of time to think. An 8 hour drive through nothing sort of forces you to think about stuff.
This song always makes
 me think fondly of someone I know

Mostly, on this trip, I thought about what a long, strange trip it's been...although, probably not as long or as strange as the Grateful Dead's.

I had the iPod with me this time and I have a helluva playlist put together that's perfect (for me) for long road trips like this. Most of the songs are just good traveling music but every so often a song will hit you, you know? Send you back to a moment, remind of you of someone in particular-- good or bad.

And this one used to make someone
 else think fondly of me.
(And yes-- I did snap new shots of the iPod. I texted off my thoughts at the time and deleted them from the phone that day.)

I did have to stop long enough to figure out how adjust the speakers so the poor dog wouldn't get any deafer.

The stereo in the X is another thing that needs love and money-- I'll probably update the stereo before I worry about the AC. Maybe. We'll see.

The last time I drove this section of Hwy 395, I was on my DR650-- with the 3 1/2 gallon gas tank. It's a long stretch of road between gas stations and-- in case you weren't aware-- they don't let you pump your own gas in Oregon!

For the most part, this isn't that big a deal (to me-- the BF had major issues with it) but out here where the deserted highway boasts signs that say "Oregon Outback" with a small gas tank and short range, it means it's entirely possible to end up camped at a gas pump in front of some Mom & Pop station that closed at 6 in the evening and won't open again till 8 in the morning.

I'm actually using that as the premise for a book I'm working on, so backtracking this section is research.

This time I was able to breeze right past the Valley Falls gas station without stopping to see if the same guy still owns the place.
I love this short section of Sand Dunes along Hwy 395

The plan was to head into Malheur National Forest and find a spot to park for a night of dispersed camping. Fortunately, it occurred to me that I ought to get gas in Seneca before I took off into an unknown national forest with a quarter tank of gas.

My concern was that the tiny Bear Valley store and gas station was likely to get hit hard by travelers in the morning and might run out of gas. In which case-- I might be camped at the gas station till they get restocked!

Seneca is one of those astonishingly small towns that entirely too many Americans seem to think only exist in TV shows and movies. And that tiny town did a bang up job of hosting an eclipse party.

They opened up the golf course for camping, which was right next to the Bear Valley Stores. While I waited patiently in the store till someone could come out and pump gas for me, I fell in love with the place.

It was obvious that having a line at the counter was unusual. It was also apparent that the store's owner, Tonna, had a lot of friends helping her out with the extra business.

While Tonna pumped gas for me outside, we got to chatting and she mentioned that she was letting people camp in the field behind her store-- for free.

I took her up on the offer and pulled around in back of the store and got situated. I met Dave from San Francisco who was traveling in his Jeep Wrangler and was having a good road trip himself.

I wish I'd managed to get a shot of Dave with Dog-- Dog was in love with him and they had some quality time in the short period we were neighbors.

Dog and I got settled in with some dinner and cold beer in time to enjoy an incredible sunset.
Sunset behind the Bear Valley Store in Seneca OR

 Let me warn you-- it gets COLD at night in August in Seneca! C. O. L. D. BURRRRRRRRRRR!

I was prepared-- with my beautiful, prized Western Mountaineering Versalite down sleeping bag, plus a few more blankets that I brought mostly for Dog. Which was good, because Dog wanted to snuggle and I did not want Dog's toenails anywhere near that sleeping bag!

Still, it took a long time to wind down-- because a long road trip rarely tires me out-- and get comfortable in the back of the Xterra with a dog that's used to having the whole way-back to himself!

I was up at the crack of dawn and watched the store owners get ready to start making the "genuine cowboy breakfast" that the signs out front promised.

DUDE! They let us camp in the back field for free! How could I not spend $10 for the hot breakfast they were cooking up?

Pancakes, eggs, and grilled ham. It was one of the best hot breakfasts I've had in quite awhile. I should have sprung the extra $5 and gotten biscuits and gravy too! But let's face it-- Dog already got most of the ham and eggs.

I can't eat that much!

So, with hot coffee in hand and surrounded by cheerful neighbors, I settled in with the town of Seneca to wait for the sun to be blotted out by a vengeful god.

Am I the only person who remembers the old 80's movie, Night of the Comet? Because no one got my jokes-- I did have some concerns that everyone within the band of totality might turn to dust or become zombies. I mean-- it just seems like the sort of thing that would happen on the eclipse I made the trip for. Right?

OK-- so, this total eclipse of the sun thing? VERY COOL!

There have been a few sights in my life that I went into with-- not exactly low expectations, but, not expecting to be wowed: The view of the Yosemite Valley from the tunnel, the Grand Canyon, a total solar eclipse.

All these things are things I've seen pictures of a thousands times.

You go into those things with a sort of "Yeah, I know it'll be different in person but it won't be that different...I've seen it. I know what it looks like," kinda attitude.

Each one of these things absolutely blew me away the first time I saw it in person.

This eclipse thing? WOW! Way cool!
No seriously, I wasn't prepared to take pics! DOH!

Way, Way, Way better than a partial eclipse.

I am so glad I made the decision to make the trip, and I am so glad I went ahead and camped at the store and shared the experience in a crowd.

It may have been a small town, mellow party, but the party vibe and the sense of celebration and community really added to the event.

 The sun came back out and it was time to head home-- for all of us, apparently.

Yeah, there was traffic, but it kept moving and it was fun to head down the highway with so many other people who shared the same reason for being there.

I mean...I don't know if that's how any of them felt but that's their problem if they traveled all that way just to be grumpy with the ride home.

Dog and I had just as great a ride home as we did getting there!

We thought about heading east, just to see where that road went, but I was already shirking responsibilities (NO! I took the laptop! And I was doing research, right? This was totally a working trip!) so we followed the herd and sang "Convoy" till traffic thinned outside of Burns.

I sure do love that stretch of 395 between Burns and Lakeview. Even when I have to share it with other vehicles.

Dog needs to learn
 how to take a selfie

The ride home went too fast.

We're gonna need a longer adventure.

The mood was cheerful and the crowd friendly as we waited for the sun to be blotted out by a vengeful god.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Yes, I Work for a Living!

Another hard day at the office
I did nails for 25 years. I was good at it. Really good. No...better than that...really really good.

I took my first career very seriously.

I was not your average nail lady.

I thought I'd be doing nails till they pried my file from my cold, dead hand but it turned out that's not what was in the cards for me.

So I retired at the end of March, 2017. I closed my salon, packed my glitter, and moved away.

Doing nails is not the sort of job you just pack into a box and take on the road. It takes time and dedication to relocate and establish a new clientele.

I decided I didn't want to do it again.

I started self publishing as an indie author in 2014. I've already written about that journey and you can find those posts here and here.

By the time I decided to move, I was making enough money off of writing to pay my bills. So I decided to take a huge risk and make self publishing my full time career.

Now I can indulge my night-owl nature as well as my nomadic dreams (catching up on 25 years of vacations I never took!)

Have laptop, will travel. Just watch.

A New Name for the Blog

Don't worry, if you have this page bookmarked the address won't be changing. Which means you can always find me at "a fish with a bicycle" -- unless I change my webhost one day and I just don't foresee a need to do that.

But the official blog name is now


Add a .com to the end of that and you'll end up here.

Now why the fuck would I name my blog some cockamamie word that no one even knows like "MAUNDER" anything?!

Well-- quick vocab lesson for y'all:
  1. talk in a rambling manner.
    "Dennis maundered on about the wine"
    synonyms:ramble, prattle, blather, rattle, chatter, jabber, babble; More
    • move or act in a dreamy or idle manner.
      "he maunders through the bank, composing his thoughts"
      synonyms:wander, drift, meander, amble, putter
      "she maundered across the road"
So....sound like anyone you know?
I love words, and when I found one that fit both my tendency to yatter on and my tendency to wander? How could I not use it?!
So there you go, you learned a new word, and the blog gets a new name! (But I'm keeping the fish-- he's just too cute!)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

One Year in the Rear View

This. So much this.

This. So much this.

It has been surprising how many people needed to get close to me after the Boyfriend's death, only to watch my pain.

Schadenfreude is real.

Not everyone wants to watch me suffer out of cruelty, a lot of people need me to be inconsolable. They need me to be heartbroken.

Because, let's face it, that's the romantic thing to do, right? Anything less than absolutely bereft means I didn't love the BF.

I know what you just said. Every time I voice this aloud, I get the same reaction, "That's not true." "No one can tell you how to grieve." "Fuck them, they don't know what's in your heart."

I know.

It doesn't change the fact that this is how people feel and think when it comes to love stories.

People need a happy ending. They crave it. Our culture is desperate for it. When a love story ends tragically like ours did, the only appropriate thing to do is to hide under the covers and wait to die.

Maybe...in time...I'm allowed to pull it together and go on. But not too soon.

When is too soon?

I don't know. It depends on who you ask.

It's been over a year now since the BF died and 4 months since I packed it all in and moved to South Lake Tahoe.

That's also given me a lot of time to adjust to my new normal, to consider my feelings and reactions from multiple angles and, most importantly, to get on with it already.

It was April when I really began seeing the way people in my world fell into different groups.

The friends who knew me from long before I was half of Matt & Maggie were the quickest to accept the fact that I wasn't inclined to waste away from a broken heart. Those were the people who didn't ask "how are you doing" every single time they talked to me with that underlying edge of hope that the answer would be "I don't know how I'm going to live without him."

My pre-BF peeps were the ones who knew what foundation our relationship was built on-- on 35 years of Maggie. 35 years of my own life experience, previous relationships, loves, losses, heartaches, and joy. 35 years of becoming a woman I was quite proud to be. 35 years of not needing to be half of anything or anyone.

Those were the people who knew I'd be OK. Those were the people who were OK with me being OK.

The next best support came from the people I worked with, near, and for. The people who knew me as an individual entity. People who knew Maggie. People who experienced Matt as an accessory to me, as part of my life, not part of my identity.

That small group of people was the best support group in the long run. They understood that I was going through hard times and they expected it. They weren't surprised when I had bad days, but they also weren't surprised when I had good ones.

They didn't hold me to an arbitrary standard of what my experience was "supposed" to be, they simply took me on a day by day basis.

That small band of unlikely heroes won a permanent place in my soul and they will most likely never really understand just how valuable that real estate is.

The hardest part has to be the number of people who were part of the BF's life. For whom I was the accessory to him. People who knew him before they knew me, knew him more than they knew me, knew him without knowing me.

To them I am part of what he left behind. I'm a broken piece that chipped off and doesn't fit anything anymore.

They don't know what to do with me, but it's been obvious that laughing isn't one of the options they'd considered. Looking forward, being excited, celebrating... this is not how I am supposed to feel at any given moment.

I am supposed to be consumed by my loss. I am supposed to be lost and afraid and alone and broken.

For some of those people, that's because they're seeking the commiseration. This is what they are going through, and they need to cling to someone who is sharing their experience.

For some of those people, it's simply their perception of how I am supposed to feel.

But it's not.

It wasn't from the beginning.

It has taken a long time to say that publicly. Because I don't want to be misinterpreted.  I don't want to hurt feelings. I don't want to add insult to injury. I don't want anyone to think that I didn't love the BF or that this hasn't been a hell of a tragedy.

I just don't do death the same way most other people do.

None of us are getting out of here alive, folks, best get used to that notion.

It's easy to look at the tragedy. He was too young (40,) he was so healthy, he was so... it doesn't matter what excuses you make for why he shouldn't have died when he did, the way he did.

None of us were in charge of that.

As lives go-- Matt was doing his well. He loved who he was (sometimes a bit too much,) he loved his life, he was at peace with the way things had gone for him. He didn't spend all his time wondering how things would have been different if he had made different choices. He didn't have enough regrets to bother dwelling on. He lived well.

I'm sure he'd have preferred to wake up the next morning and go back to work and go on that motorcycle ride we had planned for Saturday and float the river with his sister and brother in law like we had planned for Sunday.

I'm also sure that he's fine with the way it went. That from where ever he gets to view the big picture, he shrugged and said, "Yeah, that's cool too."

Matt and I used to have frustrating discussions because he was so literal and I am so philosophical: I absolutely believe that Life is fair and he just couldn't wrap his head around that notion.

I suspect he sees what I was getting out now.

I don't suspect a lot of other people left behind in the here and now will see it.

You'll just have to trust me.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Dead Boyfriend Post

Matt loved this photo from our Durango ride in June 2015. It's a fitting shot.

Let me just cut to the chase: In the very early hours of July 8, 2016, the world famous "BF" aka "The Boyfriend" passed away very unexpectedly from a heart condition no one would ever expect he had. He was 40 years old.

I will spare you the drama...of that night, that experience, and the 8 months that have passed since.

It's been a hell of an 8 months, folks.

I'm not sure what order to arrange my thoughts in-- I've been thinking about how this post would go for months. There are a lot of people who knew Matt, a lot of peole who read my blog, and everyone deals with death differently.

I can't help but feel some responsibility to be considerate of all that.

On the other hand, I also can't help but be all like, "yup, wanna say something different, get your own blog...don't like mine? Stop reading it."


Standing on the edge of the world: Burr Trail, UT
I have no idea what happens next.

Stay Tuned.

I am 8 days from ending a 25 year career; packing up the basics of my life; selling, donating, or tossing a ton of crap that I don't need or want; and moving away.

It took a few months, but I eventually decided to take the bestie up on her standing off to rent me her tiny-house cottage in South Lake Tahoe.

I probably should have jumped at the opportunity immediately, but when your world is spinning that fast, the first thing you want to do is just hang on to the floor until it slows down.

Once I got my Zen back on and decided that since my anchor line had snapped and I was now adrift, I might as well hoist the sails, things have gotten easier for me.

It'll be a few weeks before I'm likely to get around to another post, since I have a lot of packing a moving to do, but I'll be back.

Heck-- I haven't even put up the Durango ride yet, have I?