Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Now where was I?

It's depressing, really. I was looking at my blog posts from last year, about this time, and they sound too familiar. For someone who prides myself in personal growth, this year has been a bust. I'm right back where I started.

I even missed my sixth blogiversary, which happened on January 21st. But I can be excused, maybe, for not thinking of my own milestones that weekend. On Sunday morning, the 23rd, I nonchalantly checked my Facebook page on my iPhone, and found some devastating news. Jim, a friend from nearly the start of this blog, had passed away. It literally knocked the breath out of me.

When I started blogging, I never imagined that I could develop friendships that transcend place. And when I thought I had reached that level, I thought "oh no. you've never met them IN PERSON. You don't know what they're really like."

So why did I find myself feeling like I had the wind knocked out of me, crying uncontrollably, feeling such a loss for some old hippie from California who happened to have a blog, and who happened to write very well, and who happened to share my passion for good folk music and good beer? Because I felt as close to Jim as I have to any friend I have "in real life". And sometimes I question whether I have any close friends "in real life". Jim and I shared music and beer through the mail, and his comments on this blog were always warm and friendly and thoughtful. I felt Jim's love for his family, his rage against a world gone wrong, but yet his appreciation for all that was good with the world. I really wish I could have made it out to Big Bear Lake, CA and shared a couple of homebrewed beers and a few tunes with him.

Didn't see that coming. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us.

So where was I? In the middle of a Minnesota winter, which hasn't been too terrible around here. I happen to live in a small area which has managed to dodge the bullet from all the major snowstorms that have happened to the north and south of here. We had one or two nights of -20 degree weather, which if I remember from my first year of blogging, isn't that bad.

Most of my time is spent going to work, and then going to basketball games or picking Calvin and Starflower up from practice. I am so proud of them. Calvin, 8th grade, has found his social niche through sports and band, and Starflower, only in 6th grade, has shown amazing dedication to becoming a volleyball and basketball player. I look back at my junior high career and think wow...these kids sure didn't get their social skills from me!

Now if I could only figure out a way to spend less money on auto maintenance. A series of oil leaks in the Subaru, followed by a blown tire today. Sigh. That tire was only two months old! Either logging debris or bad stuff in the road sand.

Sorry this is so disconnected. It's just my state of mind these days...but maybe if I wrote more, it would get better. It's worth a try.


robin andrea said...

We missed our 6th blogiversary as well, Deb. And, Jim's death absolutely knocked us out. We cried and cried about that news. What you say so eloquently here, we felt about Jim as well. We never met him, but he was as real to us as any of the folks we have ever known. Such a loss.

Happy blogiversary, Deb. I'm glad you're still posting.

barefoot gardener said...

I knew you would find the words when you were ready.

And you have grown. I think that the times we can't see it is when we grow the most....

Happy Blogiversary!

Muffy's Marks said...

I love your photography.

Pablo said...

Your posts are worth waiting for.

Jayne said...

I didn't know Jim, but I do know I've made real connections with people through my blog and would feel exactly the same way my friend.

And I agree with the gardener..."the times we can't see it is when we grow the most."

Warm, gentle hugs to you today my friend.

webb said...

And a warm (today only) hug from Virginia. You write beautifully. Happy 6th!

Floridacracker said...

Sorry for your loss Deb. Didn't "know" Jim via blogging, but I know what you mean about feeling real friendship with folks you have never met.
How long have we been reading each other? 4-5 years?
I love reading your posts. If you were standing out here you might have a clearer view of how you, your home, your kids, and your life has morphed in that time.
Why, I still remember the speechless comment of Pablo when you blogged about your outdoor shower.
Personally, I especially enjoy hearing how great your kids are doing and how busy they keep you.
Reminds me of my life up until very recently.
You are doing just fine.

Deb said...

Robin Andrea- Thanks. I'm glad you and Roger are still posting too!

Barefoot- You are one wise woman. Thanks!

Muffy's Marks- Thanks, and welcome to Sand Creek!

Pablo- I promise, I won't make you wait so long in the future. Thanks for hanging in there.

Jayne- Thank you, my friend!

Webb- I was just looking back at posts from this time last year, and I think your first comment here was on my "blogiversary" post. Hope you're staying warm there!

FC- I think it's going on six years; you were among the first commenters here. Let's see...my kids were 7, 5, and 3 then. Wow! I enjoy all of your posts too, and it's been great watching your kids graduate from high school and become successful young adults. You done good!

Now I have to go back and find the shower post for a good laugh.

Rabbi Gershom said...

So sorry for your loss, Deb. I do not think it is strange at all to mourn an online friend -- I have many Net friends whom I've never met in person. In fact, I KNOW I have more online friends than face-to-face ones at this point in my life.

What a lot of people who live around here do not realize is that I am a high-functioning autistic person (Asperger's.) All they see are my odd mannerisms, lack of eye contact, intense speech patterns, etc., a tendency to go on and on about a subject, an inability to pick up nonverbal social cues, etc. Add to this the fact that I'm Jewish and not originally from Minnesota, and well, I come off as the local eccentric misfit. People are nice to me here, they are polite (after all, I've been on TV, I've published 5 books), but we rarely get beyond the weather and "How's your garden doing?"

On the Internet, I meet people who are actually INTERESTED in my writing. They they can simply read my words and see that behind all my cultural and neurological weirdness is a person with a brain. The Internet has fred me to really be who I am inside. I would say right now that my very best friendships are online, some of them living on the other side of the globe, but I love them all.

CatHerder said...

i hear ya....i was browsing my old blog posts and started thinking, WHEN DID I GET OLD..omg my husband and i used to do so much...since i left my job in sept...ive been a slug..other than cooking and cleaning and tending our cat herd..we do NOTHING..and i mean NOTHING..he works 6 days a week, and it has snowed every wed. that he has had off for almost 2 months..im going CRAZY...and i too was just floored when i found out jim had passed....my hubby and i have been together 30 years..and all i could think of was peggy without jim....and me without my hubby if something happened...i have never met jim in person, but it really struck a chord with me, i did cry. feel better...spring is coming..hopefully we will all snap out of this.

Deb said...

Rabbi- I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. I'm not good at small talk, although I have learned enough to get by, and I express myself better online. In the six years I've been blogging I have made friends with people from California to Florida to Nunavut. I have even gotten to know a couple Minnesotans whom I eventually met in person.

Cat Herder- I love your name! I'm somewhat of a cat herder myself. I keep thinking of Peggy too. I can't imagine her without Jim.