Friday, October 2, 2009

Half Life

It’s exhausting putting on smiles when all you want to do is curl up in a dark place. I could barely keep it together when we pulled up at the office this morning. I felt the tears brewing behind my eyes and all I wanted to do was sob. I know Andy feels helpless and I try to keep the despair from him. Sometimes I can keep it away from him and suppress the sadness into the furthest corners of my mind. But lately I just cannot push it away. Part of me just wants to sink into the infinite blackness of it and not return so I don’t have to see that look in Andy’s eyes when he feels helpless. Or so I don’t have to hear the raised concern in my brother’s voice, knowing he has shared my grief with my parents and their own inability to really help. I don’t want my pain to be their pain.

This should be a happy time. Autumn is my favorite season. After all it has my favorite Sabbat, Samhain. I should have had time to head to the Renaissance Festival but, due to the craziness that is my horrible job, I will miss out on it again this year. I will also miss out on one of my other favorite seasonal events, Frederick’s “In The Streets” because of my job. I should be lucky I managed to not miss Octoberfest this year of the Frederick Fair. I’m not a “Summer” kind of person, I’m not into a lot of those kind of events so I didn’t care if I worked too much then. I just hate hearing people say “There’s always next year” because “next year” is never guaranteed. Hell, tomorrow is not guaranteed. I’ve experienced too much in the way of sudden deaths this year to take much for granted just to cater to a faceless company that only cares about the bottom line and how much I can be exploited to further the green lining their pockets.

I see it now in my family. I see the years catching up to them, I can fully grasp that they are middle aged. I am nearly the age my mother was when she gave birth to my brother, if that is any kind of perspective for people out there. My baby brother is no longer a baby by any standards, he is turning 20. He’s an adult with a child’s innocence because he simply cannot handle dealing with the outside world. I love my family more than words can express and the people I love are perhaps my greatest weakness because I would suffer the most terrible torment for those I love. Of course that sentiment extends to my own little family that consists of my darling husband too. (I’d probably do anything for my sweet kitty-faces too. Kaylee and Sonic are my little loves no matter how many hairballs I find deposited around my house.)

I see my world changing. I see society breaking down and I wonder if this is what Rome was like as it collapsed. People wielding their religious beliefs like a weapon, slaughtering each other in the name of god and their so called “true” way. People using their religion as a tool to manipulate and dictate to the masses, to steal freedom and close minds to a changing world. Fractured countries impose their corrupt democracy on others where life was already on a knife’s edge. There’s so much banality and little good left in anything. Is there anything left pure? From where I am standing, I say no. I am gifted or cursed to see things from all angles.

I am incredibly melancholy but I guess I will just continue to wear my smile till I can’t anymore.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I was puttering around online, letting curiosity take me where it may. By a twist of fate, I ended up at the Kennedy Center and Academy of Music websites. Guess what I found?

The Kennedy Center (Washington, DC)
A Streetcar Named Desire
Starring CATE BLANCHETT (gasp!) as Blanche DuBois. I nearly bounced out of my office chair.
Oct. 29, 2009-Nov. 21, 2009

The Academy of Music (Philadelphia, PA)
Starring Jerry Springer as Billy Flynn which perplexes and fascinates me all in one motion. I adore Chicago but I don't know about this..
Sept. 15, 2009 - Sept. 20, 2009

Mamma Mia!
So I totally squealed when I read this.
Nov. 3, 2009 - Nov. 8, 2009

I made the "Oh" face when I read this one.
Jan 6, 2010 - Jan. 24, 2010

I must go to at least 2 of these shows so I shall feel complete.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sensory Overload

I'm not doing well. (Which is probably no surprise to some who read this.) I'm trying my best to find a job somewhere else, I've already sent out a few applications and resumes. Today is not a good day for me in regards to how I feel though. I am detached and melancholy. There's just too much for me to handle mentally right now. Do you know how hard it is for me to drag myself out of bed everyday, knowing I have to go into the office? I'm ashamed that all I want to do is disappear and not wake up again. It is so selfish and cruel of me. I know there would be those grieved at my loss. All the time I'm spending on trying to find a job seems like it is all in vain and that I will never get away from this current employment situation.

I used to like my job. I was nearly considering being here for the long haul till I didn't need to work at all anymore. I was working so hard with the Data Integrity group on expanding the scope of our jobs while keeping it relevant to data and storage. Yet now upper management is forcing us to answer the phone for Tier One Operations and open their bloody trouble tickets. I have never elicited a desire to answer phones most of the day for a living and be utterly used by 'the-powers-that-be'. What if I told you I worked a 15 hr. shift recently? What if I told you a worked a pair of 12 hr. shifts over the weekend? This is all fallout of ignorant management that did not listen to its staff who work the floor everyday. These are the fruits of keeping a full time associate who is not flexible and has zero consideration for what it means to be apart of a team. Again, management is giving us lip service and spouting their nonsensical ideas to remedy the situation. They expect us to be able to have the Print and Distribution team's part time staff fill in whe nwe need it. The failing in this plot is the fact that their director whom I will affectionately call the 'The Hag' will not spare them but a day or so a week. Clearly, more training time is necessary so that the information stays with them. Of course that does not address real issue which is will they remember how to do it when time comes for them to fill in on a shift alone in the future? What the T1 Director hasn't taken into consideration is the fact that the P&D team's part timers are not flexible either as most of them already work a full time job or can only work so many hours for various reasons. In the end, this will not work which is why I am trying to get out of here before the major catastrophe happens. All events are leading to something unpleasant and I do not want to be the one left to pick up the pieces. Again.

To add fecal frosting to my manure cupcake, my grandmother had heart surgery the day I was stuck working a 15 hr. shift and I've been working everyday since then, swapping between 8 hr. and 12 hr. shifts. Dad spoke to her and my Aunt Sylvia yesterday. He related to me that she is not doing very well with recovery because of being 79 years old. She's over an hour and a half away in a hospital and we do not know when she will come home. When she does come home, plans will be put into motion that will lead to her eventual permanent relocation to Florida with my Aunt Sylvia. I'm not sure how I feel about this completely. On one hand, I am glad she will have someone with her most of the time but would that mean we would see even less of Sylvia now?

I don't think the clouds will go away, they're just getting darker and thicker. Perhaps I am just a fool in the end; a fool the dared to dream of something better and a life where troubles could be solved.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I have nothing left to give. My heart is crushed and I've stopped caring period. When I get up everyday I work, I cry. When I lie down at night, I cry. When I come home and crawl into bed, I cry. I hate my job more then a person should but it is justified. I'm working all kinds of crazy hours now which means no real sleep. And no days off till the end of next week. Naturally my boss is useless on all fronts. They ask too much of me and they see bothing wrong with that. I'm definitely feeling it physically.

I want to quit so badly but I bear the burden of our bills. Finding a new job, is proving to be very hard too. I'm stretched too thin and snapping like a worn rubber band. It taints every aspect of my life because I know there's no resolution in sight. I will always be expected to drop what I'm doing and fill in wherever, even if it's a +12 hr. shift. I am stuck at this nightmare indefinitely because we cannot afford a period without a paycheck.

I'm bitter, angry, and deeply depressed. I know I'm shutting down and growing despondant however, the sad part is that I really don't care. I see no light at the end of the tunnel; it's too far away. Too far for me to travel...

I think I finally understand how people simply die from tremendous sadness or grief.


"Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. "
-Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why People Suck

I don't know why I bother looking at the news anymore. My faith in humanity is rapidly diminishing. If it isn't riots in distant countries, it's some sick individual committing some heinous act. Read this if you have the constitution.

I am an animal rights activist; a reasonable one that isn't a scary PETA member. To me, that man's moral compass and rationale indicate an individual that has some serious latent mental issues. It isn't that I care for animals more then people but animals do not have a voice to cry out. They are the weaker species on this planet in most regards. We're supposed to be the intelligent mammal on planet earth and yet most regard wildlife as a nuisance in the way of modern progression or expendable commodity. As the more intelligent lifeform, it should be our duty to be their defender and voice when they need it.

This scumbag got off light which makes me angry. If it had been children, the charges would have been murder so I guess we should be glad he didn't have children preventing him from going on his little cruise. I could not forgive somebody who thinks so little about the life of others, no matter how small they are.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nightmares FTL..

I dreamt Andy and I were in an open relationdhip last night. "Open" meaning that he found it acceptable to be with other people while I was utterly opposed to it. I saw him kiss another a girl in my dream; kiss her and hold her like when he is with me. I physically turned my head in the dream to not see anymore because it felt like somebody had just crushed my heart in their fist. I thought I was going to be sick.

I woke up on the brink of tears this morning, my insecurities rearing their ugly head. My poor husband being stuck with me and my psychosis. I was pretty much late for work this morning because I laid cuddled up with him, trying to wipe away the soul-crushing dream that had infected my brain.

So I must reiterate NIGHTMARES FOR THE LOSE!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


So the saga of my crapfest job continues. I've already worked myself into an awesome migraine and it is only 9 :00 AM. I'm having a very hard time picturing myself staying here in the long term. I thought if I'd let my anger cool off, I'd feel better about the situation at my job. The first bit of crazy scheduling goes into play in a couple of weeks where it looks like I may have to work some 12 hr. shifts that start at 3 am till 3:30 pm. I don't give a crap about overtime; I really don't. I refuse to be doing this every single time somebody goes on vacation. I will not suffer for their mistakes. My normal schedule is already hell on my body with my Monday-Tuesday turnaround every week. I think sometimes I will only be at peace when I am dead and this whole environment is giving me a fast track to premature oblivion.

At home, I'm in a constant struggle with chores and free time. It's all just piling up on me because I am utterly fried from my day spent at the office. I can't do this alone. I'm so scared because I am on a knife's edge and I feel myself beginning to slip. I do not want to even go home at times. It's a testament to my failures, frustrations and weaknesses. I'm so fucking broken and there's no way to piece me back together right now. All of my sanctuaries are disappearing and there's no place to find serenity. I do not have all the answers; I cannot fix this. The answer is not plying me with drugs till I'm numb enough to be a good little doormat, that's for damn sure. This is not what I wanted for my life. I did not want to live each day, hating to get up because I'm not doing something I enjoy. Was this another mistake to add to the long list I've made over the years?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tick Tick Tick

I just found that my 17 year old cousin in Tampa, Florida passed away suddenly in a car crash on Thursday morning. My beloved Aunt Sylvia called me this morning to break the awful news. She sounded so terrible; I could feel the pain in her words. Grandmas aren't supposed to be losing their grandchildren. His mom, dad, and sister are devastated as well. The whole family is.

He was a good kid with a serious passion for music. He was well liked by everybody.

R.I.P Travis K. Martin

I don't want to really talk about the details; it doesn't seem real. Here you will find a news article about it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Crash & Burn

So Pat and I's plan to save our last part time associate was in vain. I had a meeting with our absolutely worthless Director so he could "explain" why it wasn't allowed. He says because of the "budget". Well, I know how the budgets work and how positions are paid for. He didn't tell me anything that I didn't know. In fact, he danced completely around a specific reason why. I'm not stupid. I am observant of people and can tell when they're hiding something. Especially after my boss and I talked about it afterwards. What he stated did not make sense since there is a policy in the company where you can adjust your schedule to 32 hrs. a week.

I have never been so infuriated. I have never had to force myself physically to sit down. I was dangerously close to leaping out of my chair and letting him have it for being the out of touch, incompetent piece of crap that he is. He doesn't know how to do anybody's jobs in that building. He doesn't know how all these divisions work to keep the systems going. He knows the pretty, textbook definition but he doesn't know the roots. Not that he has been in the office very much over the last couple of months! And don't insult me by giving us a couple of Print & Distribution's part time staff because you cannot learn how our environment works in a month. The staff in those departments have ZERO technical expertise and do not know anything beyond the basics. Media Services is not just about tapes anymore. We've expanded into database and storage engineering. It would take them 6 months at least to understand how it all comes together. I know some of those people down there and have no confidence in their ability to work in their own department!!

I am positively manic, furious, and deeply depressed. I'm not sure if I should laugh at the absurdity of it, drive my fist into a wall, or kill myself. Why have I been working so hard for these corporate scum? Why have I been sacrificing my own sanity? Nobody is even noticing. Nobody is acknowledging. Those salaried bottom-feeders do not see outside of their offices and blackberries. They are never on the floor with their associates. They are never there. So I didn't feel exactly sorry when I told him that if this doesn't work out, causing grief in my household then I will have to seek employment elsewhere.

Pat will most likely leave now. She has a meeting with the smarmy bastard on Monday and will find out. Pat does not have my restraint. Pat has nothing to lose. Pat is going to go ballistic. I hope she does.

In closing, don't work for Marriott International. They are just as crooked as every other other company out there. Do not believe for a second all the PR about being a friendly place. It's just as susceptible to nepotism and stupidity like everywhere else. There are some good people who work for them but the people in charge suck.

I cannot handle a crazy schedule or rotating schedules. I will not give up my entire weekend. I want to see my husband, friends, and family. Just because I'm not some breeder doesn't mean my personal life isn't important.

I think I see a change in my productivity coming.

EDIT: (Friday, 6/5/09) Pat called today for me to do her payroll. I wasn't going to let her get blindsided on Monday when she has her meeting so I told her. Naturally, she hit the roof and I've never heard that much yelling on the phone before. I made her promise to call me on Monday afterward.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another day, another piece dies..

Another bad day. Another day at the job that is sucking away what little sanity and peace I have left. It's getting harder and harder to push away the perpetual despair and grim thought processes. I'm on the edge.

There's been a couple of layoffs at my job and the schedule is in a state of flux after June 26. It's only going to get more stressful without proper support. I think this move was a mistake and may have screwed my department in the future.

I can't leave my job stress at my job because everything is so uncertain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Gamer's Lament

"Why Fanboys and Fangirls Need To Get More Sun"

I generally don't make long winded posts about games. However, Shaun has been bombarding me with his discontent over the lack of downloadable content for Fallout 3 on the PS3. (Please note, that I also have it for my Ps3.) He makes the mistake of searching message boards for accurate information. These forums of mouth-breathers tend to be nothing more then Sony and Microsoft fanboys/fangirls arguing. A legit opinion suddenly gets twisted into a "Sony sucks, so you should have got a 360 hur hur hur" discussion. I know, such an intelligent observation.

Honestly it is bothersome that this content is only available on the PC and 360 platforms. But I knew that from the beginning. I am unhappy with what Bethesda did however Microsoft showed them the money, you know? (Mind you, I find it worse that they can offer millions of dollars to video game developers but then layoff a couple thousand staff? Then try to take their severance packages because it's too much money? I have no kindness for Microsoft.) It does set another terrible example of where these rival companies can toss around enough money to screw over their consumers. It's a not so gentle way of saying "Hey! Buy a 360 so you can play this awesome content that is EXCLUSIVE!" and that is what Microsoft wants you to do. It's not just about the customer who already has the core game. It's always been about the all mighty dollar when it comes to the companies. I made the decision to not purchase an Xbox 360 because of the game selection. I have always had Sony products and unlike other people I've read about, I have never had a problem. Also, the games I do enjoy were offered on my platform of choice.

For my own posterity, I decided to take a look at a list of the decent games 360 has to offer as a potential buyer. So let's see what some of my options are:

1. Halo 3 - DO NOT WANT!
2. Gears of War 2 - DO NOT WANT!
3. Call of Duty: World At War - DO NOT WANT!
4. Far Cry 2 - DO NOT WANT!
5. Resident Evil 5 - PS3 Version
6. Dead Space - PS3 Version
7. Fallout 3 - PS3 Version
8. Fable 2 - Maybe
9. Left 4 Dead - Maybe
10. Devil May Cry 4 - Ps3 Version

And no matter how appealing Fable 2 is to me, I'd never plunk down hundreds of dollars on a system for a few titles of interest. If the game is available already on another platform that I own, I am going to go with what is economically sound to my enjoyment. It does suck that video game developers and companies can toy with their customer base in such a way when it comes to exclusive titles and content but that is business for them. They want their fanboys and fangirls to go on the attack and argue their point. It's the best PR and advertising they can receive, especially since it is free.

Switching gears, Microsoft's exclusive agreement is only for the first 3 content packs which means "Broken Steel" will be the last they get first dibs on. This agreement also expired three days ago. There is a rumored 4th content patch called "Point Lookout" however that would not be bound by an exclusive agreement as it stands now. Who knows? It is all speculation as the official word from the honcho of Bethesda is that there will be no more downloadable content for Fallout 3.

Now time for an aspirin because reading that many typos and grammatical errors can be taxing. I swear, just because you are on the internet doesn't mean you get to be lazy. The gamers on some of those forums are just as bad as teens on myspace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


As a general rule of thumb, I stay away from most forms reality tv in the US and overseas. But yesterday, I kept coming across this story from "Britain's Got Talent" about a forty seven year old spinster with an incredible voice that surprised everybody. Curiosity got the better of me so I went to YouTube to see what the fuss was all about. (I tried to embed it but it looks like everybody whom posted the footage had it disabled by request. Naughty BBC.) Her name is Susan Boyle and she sings "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables.

Speechless, seriously. Such a big, bold voice coming out of this matronly lady. I could feel the tears welling up as I listened to her sing. Why oh why hasn't this woman been in theatre? Why hasn't she tried acting lessons to help out too? That is a voice made for opera and dramatic musicals. I was so happy for her.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Stand Alone

I'm exhausted. My nerves are stretched thin because of my job. The layoffs have begun and from what my sources say, it is very sudden when you find out. Boss Lady is nervous but she and I have come to the understanding that out department needs to stay under the radar so nobody gets any funny ideas about cutting us. There's only so much of a workload we can take because we lack the technical know-how for very complicated processes. To be fair, it isn't very kind to be taking work from other departments when they are probably trying to keep their own jobs from being slashed. I know my self preservation should come first but it bothers me to know that some of the good people I work with in this building could lose their jobs. I know a couple of people in my department are apathetic to the prospect of being laid off and that doesn't help me at all in this matter.

I think I've come to the end of my rope though. I can do no more. There will be some cross training with 2 other groups that I was volunteered for this month. I am not pleased about it because it isn't very relevent to what we do and I dislike most of the staff in these groups. This training smacks of "DESPERATION" and it's embarrassing. I'd sooner quit or take my walking papers rather then ever work in one of those groups.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rabbit Food FTW!

So last weekend I took a gamble on a salad recipe I saw over at Cheap Healthy Good. I'll admit that growing up and until recently, I hated big leafy greens. I distinctly remembered feeding it to pet rabbits and the general scent of dirt it had. However, I am now in love with the tasty goodness of spinach, kale, and chard. (I will find a recipe soon that uses dandelion greens since I'm curious.) While this salad may seem kind of odd, it is yummy. It allowed me the chance to play with root veggies I've never tried before.

Kale and Root Veggie Salad

1 large bunch curly green kale (about 5 cups), chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 carrot, grated
1 parsnip, grated
1 medium celeriac, grated
1/2 sweet red pepper, sliced
4 scallions

Dress to taste

1) Wash and remove stems from kale. Chop into ribbons.

2) In a large bowl, combine kale with oil and salt. Massage with your hands for 2 to 3 minutes. Allow kale to rest while you prepare the rest of the salad or up to 20 minutes.

3) Grate carrot, parsnip, and celeriac. Slice red pepper and scallions.

4) Toss topping vegetables with kale.

This salad also keeps very well in the fridge. I tended to eyeball the amount of veggies once everything was sliced or grated. The most expensive thing to purchase is the celeriac (celery root) which goes around $3.99 a lb. at the grocery store Andy and I use. (It was actually only $3.39 since it was under a lb.) I'm going to be making this salad again in the next few days since I have plenty of celery root leftover, a parsnip, a few scallions and sweet peppers. So buying the Kale bunch for less then a buck was no stretch. We always have carrots since I munch them as snacks. Though I do recommend this salad with an oil based dressing. It's not bad with a creamy one but I enjoyed it better with the latter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Slamming Of Doors

Last Friday was Amy's graveside service and burial. I think the entire maternal side of the family went through many shades of grief. My Aunt Terri seemed to be in bitter denial all week till the day of the funeral where she was completely inconsolable. It was the first time that I really saw my, grandmother, Mom and aunts rally like that. But before I stray from my narrative, the guilt of how Terri treated Amy the majority of her life finally settled in. To put it bluntly, my Uncle Mike and Aunt Terri are not typically nice and can be obnoxious. They also treated their children with disrespect and cruelty. Amy got the brunt of the physical and verbal abuse. I would not be so inclined to respect my elders either if all they did was scream and demean my very existence so naturally there was tension. However in the last several years, Amy had taken on most of the household chorse and duties since Terri's health has declined greatly. Mind you, my aunt's slippery slope of diabetes was self inflicted as she ignored all her doctor's orders for DECADES. You see, Terri was a juvenile diabetic and simply disregarded everything she was told. Now she is wheelchair bound, lost sight in one of her eyes and receives dialysis 3 days a week. My aunt needs help constantly with the simplest of things like getting something to eat or getting to the bathroom since it is not handicap accessible. Amy did all of this.

They berated Amy for not having a job but how could she when she was expected to look after her Mom? How was she supposed to keep a job when they only had one vehicle for the entire family and lived outside the city? When they moved outside the city, that's when her life really took a nose dive. She developed an addiction to prescription painkillers a couple of years after the birth of her son. I think she just kept herself lucid so she couldn't feel the anguish of her life anymore and to keep sane in light of the abuse Mike still rained down on her, even as a young adult. Someone may ask "why didn't she just leave?" Because she couldn't afford to with being a single Mom and welfare is pretty picky when it comes to helping people in bad situations. She eventually did lose custody of Brandon a year ago. That's when it all came to a head I believe. She never had an easy life and there was lots of dysfunctionality involved. Her father, Mike is a conniving, compulsive liar and opportunist with sticky fingers. They have also always been very poor. It's just been worse since Terri couldn't work any longer and her disability wasn't quite as much as what she made having a job. If it wasn't for Section 8, they probably would be homeless as well. It just seemed like no matter what choice Amy would make, a door was slammed in her face. It wasn't fair.

Now she is gone, resting in a plot with my late maternal grandfather who died years before I was born. All the dreams of having a better life on her own and hopes of reuniting with her son, are lost. Instead of being curled up in her bed, she is laid beneath the earth in a small box on a hillside in Thurmont. According to Terri, the autopsy is in pending status right now. But based on superficial examination of her skull, they found something on the back of her head and they think it may have been an aneurysm. But they are waiting on the results of tissue and blood samples taken. I hope there was no foul play involved but there were whispers that her fiance was unstable. There were also murmurings that her father struck her hard enough in the back of the head a couple of weeks ago, that it left a knot.

I don't like to talk about fate because while I do believe we're gifted with a great destiny, the course our lives also take shape accordingly. There's a balancing act between the control you have of your life and the lack of it when life occurs. It's our choice whether we accept a destiny or make another. I think she wanted to break the cycle but was never given the chance to. Now her BFF and cousin of the same age, is continuing a self destructive cycle. Nicole is married to a physically abusive alcoholic. I wonder how long it will be till she ends up in the hospital or worse? Nicole has never listened to anybody but I hope she does soon.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Ordinary Day

It was an ordinary day. I woke up late in the morning, happily wrapped in the blankets since Andy is an early riser. There were no unpleasant coughing fits so it was a delightful bit of sleep. The cold/flu I had caught during the week was making life pretty difficult as I neared the weekend. After stumbling to the bathroom for the morning routine, I went out to greet my disgustingly perky husband in the dining room who was hotly debating something nerdy on I made way into the kitchen, grumbling to myself the entire time as I remembered I have not gone grocery shopping yet which meant breakfast was going to be pretty limited. I stared warily into my fridge and searched like the cure for cancer was in there. Lucky for me, there was still one english muffin and enough cream cheese. Score!

As I placed the nook and cranny filled breads into the toaster, my phone started to ring. Nobody I knew called before noon unless it was important so I answered my cell.

"Hey Dad!"

"Denise, I have some terrible news. It's very shocking. Someone died this morning."

Dad's voice wasn't shaking and the despair wasn't dripping off of every word. So I knew it wasn't Mamaw, my recently widowed grandma I.E. his Mom. My mind was swept into a macabre investigation as I went over all the names in my mind of elderly and older relatives. My father was clearly shocked and dumbfounded by the revelation. So I let him continue.

"Ivy called several times early this morning while we were in bed. When your mother got up she called her back and one of the twins told her. You won't believe it."

"It's not Nanny, is it?" I heard myself say, thinking of my other grandmother.


"Oh my god, Aunt Terri?" I spat out as I felt my heart rate accelerate.

As you have no doubt noticed, I haven't let my Dad tell me directly. The last time he did, it was my grandfather. It was hard for me to hear words like that come tumbling out of another person's mouth. I have found that if I put the pieces together myself, it was easier for me to accept and understand since my mind was prepped even in the slightest.

"No, but that's very close." He spoke slowly and I knew he was trying to gauge my reaction before proceeding.

"Uncle Mike?"

"No. Denise, this was very unexpected-"

I bit my lip and I jumped as the toaster ejected my crisp english muffins, utterly engrossed in the conversation. "Was it Aunt Brenda?"

"No, you were closer before-"

"Amy?" I uttered the name of my twenty-five year old cousin who lived at home with my Aunt Terri, Uncle Mike, and brother Joey. I felt my chest tighten as the seconds of silence stretched into eons.

"Yes. She's still out at the house, they haven't picked her up yet." Dad confirmed my creeping fear, his voice deep and sober.

"What happened?"

"They are thinking that it was an accidental overdose. She complained of feeling sick the day before and took a fair amount of some prescription drug before going to bed. They'll do an autopsy but nobody will know a thing for a few weeks."

"Who found her?"

"Mike went in to wake her up in the morning and saw that her lips were turning blue. He called the ambulance but, it was too late."

"How is Terri taking it?"

"She doesn't know yet...."

"What?! Why?"

"She's in the hospital, recovering from cataract removal. Mike hasn't told her yet."

"Oh god......"

"Nanny is devastated. Joey and Mike are as well."

"Wait, Dad! Where's her little boy? Where's Brandon?!"

"His great-grandmother dropped him off there at the house today. Mike is trying to get ahold of her to pick him up since technically she has custody of him."

"Do you think it was an accident, Dad?"

"I don't think she'd kill herself. We just saw her 1 week ago and she seemed in good spirits. I don't think I can go to the funeral......."

Every other word he said after that held no meaning as my mind reeled. It was as if I had become stuck in a pocket of space where time no longer mattered. Amy, Nicole, and I were in the same age group growing up. But when we became teenagers, we drifted apart because we all chose distinctly different paths in life. A series of events shaped us each in our own ways, for better and in their cases, for worse. I didn't judge them for the life they chose but I certainly didn't like what they had become. But now there's a little boy who will grow up without his Mom. She may not have been a very good one at times but, that's the only Mom he knew. Being only 4, he'll never remember her.

At some point, I told my Dad I loved him and that I had to go. I numbly spread cream cheese over my english muffins and joined my husband in the dining room. I dropped my cell phone with a nerve-wracking clatter on the glass surface and looked at Andy. He met my gaze and all I could hear was the sound of my own heart beating.

"Amy died this morning. Her father found her. She left behind a little boy."

It was an ordinary day.