Divorce and the end of all things

The sun

Ten years ago today my parents’ marriage ended. The divorce was finalized months later, but today is the day my dad left suddenly and unexpectedly. I didn’t notice that today was that day until a friend emailed me this afternoon. She’s getting divorced too. That’s when I noticed the date and was like, Oh, right, October 9th. It must be National Divorce Day or something.

I’ve passed through many stages of adulthood. In my early twenties there was the Oh, wow, my friends are getting married! stage. Then came the Oh, wow, my friends are having kids! period. Now we seem to have entered the Oh, wow my friends are getting divorced! period. I’m not sure what stages will follow. Probably the Oh, wow, my friends are getting remarried! period, the Oh, wow, my friends are grandparents! period, and eventually the Oh, wow, my friends are dying! period. That’s a lot of exclamation points for all those periods.

I have at least three friends right now who are divorced or in the process of divorcing, plus one who just ended a serious, we-live-together, relationship. It’s sad, even if people break up for the right reasons. The divorce that broke my heart the most happened last year between two friends from high school with two little kids. I still remember how Guy would tease Gal in Mrs. Heimerdinger’s 6th period English class. How Gal went to the prom with someone else. How Guy and Gal got together in college. How they married when we’d fallen out of touch and how we got back in touch again after Facebook was invented. Guy and Gal would organize barbeques and Christmas cookie exchanges with friends. I’d come and feel like I had real friends, a real community. Knowing I had a long drive home after one gathering, Guy and Gal invited me to stay at their place for dinner. Kiddo sat in my lap and pointed to animals in a picture book, sounding out newly learned names in babyspeak. We ate sweet potato fries for dinner, all of us around the table, and it felt like a home. But that home doesn’t exist anymore.

I don’t know quite what to make of it, other than some things can be beautiful and precious because they don’t last forever. That nothing lasts forever, not people or relationships or even the planet where we act out all these dramas. Some day the sun will burn out and we’ll be left in the dark, but it did burn bright and beautifully for awhile, and maybe that’s all we can ask for.

Video: The Shopping Cart

“The Shopping Cart” was a poem I wrote in high school and then animated for a digital video project in college. I’m surprised the thing turned out as well as it did because I didn’t bother to storyboard it. I started with a Vanessa-Mae track called “Bach Street Prelude” and animated the scenes to match that. (Fun Fact: Vanessa-Mae and I have the same birthday!)

As I recall, I waited until the last minute to make this after trashing an earlier idea. So I spent two weeks animating 2-3 scenes a day in Macromedia Flash until it all miraculously came together. (This is how long ago this was, that it was Macromedia Flash and not yet Adobe Flash.) Then I ran into problems getting the audio to sync properly because the way it synced in the preview was not exactly how it synced when I exported it to an MPG. Problems, problems, but it all worked out.

I don’t think I have a future at Pixar or anything, but people in my class seemed to like it. Oh, and in the original poem the shopping cart got hit by a car under a No Left Turn sign, which seems rather morbid in retrospect. What was up with me in high school? I decided it would be too hard to animate that scene and gave the video a happy ending instead.

BTW, this was for a totally different class than the Funny Cat Video I posted last month. I think they both turned out well, even though they used completely different production processes. I didn’t make any other videos in college, so this is it as far as my old college videos posts go. Be sad or happy about that as you please.

Not a real post: Sunday link lollapalooza

Links

What is a blogger to do on the 7th day of her blog-a-day commitment when it’s five hours to midnight and she doesn’t feel like writing a real entry? Post some links, of course! Why create my own content when I can feature content that has already been created?

This Halloween, you can be ‘Potato Jesus’
This is the funniest, topical Halloween costume I’ve seen so far: Potato Jesus. It’s based on an incident earlier this year where a woman infamously tried to restore a fresco of Jesus, “tried” being the operative word in that sentence. The church where it happened has become a tourist attraction, so at least they’ve made some money off of the gaffe. I don’t think they’re selling costumes though.

George Takei’s Facebook page
Best known as Sulu from the original Star Trek series, George Takei also posts tons of funny and interesting stuff on his Facebook page. I always like seeing one of his posts appear in my feed. Did you know he also helped plan the Los Angeles subway? No joke.

Watch “The Guild” season 6!
I only recently started watching the web series “The Guild,” but I love it. It’s about a group of people who all play the same online game and probably would never meet under any other circumstance, yet become friends. It’s funny and sweet and you don’t have to be a gamer to like it. (I’m not.) It probably helps to be a geek though. Season 6 just started airing weekly on YouTube.

My favorite character is Clara, who is overweight, yet she doesn’t make fun of her weight, other people don’t make fun of her weight, and I can’t recall her weight ever being mentioned, which is rare for any media format. Please take note: fat does not have to be a character trait. Also, she’s a mother, but she’s not obsessed with being the perfect mother, which is refreshing. Ok, she’s downright negligent, but in a funny way!

xkcd: Click and Drag
xkcd is “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language” that’s been around for ages. It’s reliably funny, thought-provoking, and weird. The Click and Drag comic is just plain awesome, but make sure you have some time on your hands before you visit. The comic lets you click and drag you way through a massive world. (Someone created a cheat page that shows the whole world image at once. I can send you the link if you ask for it.)

Thanks for the royalties

Royalty envelope

Twice a year my publisher sends me a royalty check. It’s always exciting, like getting a scratch-off lottery ticket that’s guaranteed to win. You just don’t know how much is waiting for you. It can vary by thousands of dollars from statement to statement, so I have no idea how much I’m going to get each time. I’m just glad I’ve been able to eek out a bit of a living from my writing and I never cease to be amazed by it. As a freelancer, I consider these checks to be like my Christmas bonus.

I am really grateful that my book Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir continues to sell even four and a half years after its initial publication. I watch what I spend my money on rather carefully, so it’s humbling to know someone (or multiple someones) decided my writing was worth their cash. If you’ve ever bought a copy of the book, thank you! I truly appreciate it. It does directly affect me and my ability to do things like fly home for Thanksgiving, so thank you, thank you, thank you! I will mention you when I’m giving thanks on that fourth Thursday of November.

Since I know you’ll ask, Chocolate & Vicodin is still selling too, but I’m still in the process of earning out my advance for that one, partly because I got a bigger advance for my second book. And I was able to get that bigger advance because my first book has done well, so thank you again!

Other people’s mail. Other people’s lives.

Mailboxes

Here’s what I know about the person who lived in my apartment before me. She’s a woman. Her name is Kate B. She subscribes to Allure, a magazine I had never read before and a magazine I have no desire to read again after skimming my complimentary copy. She’s on the Victoria’s Secret mailing list which sends out a ton of mailings, making it difficult to believe they are secret about anything. It is very difficult to get off of the Victoria’s Secret mailing list, which involves a phone call that requires you to speak to an actual human being.

Kate received a pharmacy journal in the mail, so she probably is or was a pharmacy student at UNC like lots of other grad students that live in my apartment complex. There doesn’t appear to be a Mr. or Mrs. B. because all the mail comes addressed to Kate.

Kate received a lovely, little, blue card in the mail which was so cute that I was disappointed it was not addressed to me.

She shops at Crate and Barrel.

All in all, I think I would find Kate to be a pleasant enough person, but I doubt we would be soul sisters. She’s way more girly than I am, but we could probably make small talk about all the meds I’ve been on in the past five years. I’d ask her if she’s heard The Drugs Song and then we could sing it together.

I wonder what the person who moved into my old apartment thinks of me. Did she get my copy of Neurology Now and think I’m a neurologist? Is she as bewildered as I was that the Firestone in Indianapolis is still sending me coupons? (Sorry, I’m not driving that far for an oil change.) I don’t know. It’s odd what you can discover about people from their mail, but it’s only a sliver of a life. Still, the glimpse is rather fascinating because it leaves so much for you to fill into the blanks.

I bet to really know someone you have to go through their trash :)

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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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