Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

RIP Grillmeister

The world lost a great man this week. He was a great floating buddy, a grillmeister supreme and an outstanding person, husband and friend. My buddy, Rich Bruer, kissed his wife goodbye last Friday and headed off to work. He e-mailed with her that morning discussing the Friday night plan. He took his lunch break and walked around downtown St. Louis. Somewhere along the way he had a massive heart attack and died. Just like that. He was only 44 years old. He leaves behind his wife, Kathryn, who is just a fantastic lady. They had no children but many, many loving friends. It was a good lesson in how short and precious life is. Leigh always used to say that you should tell everyone that you love them before you leave, always. You never know when will be the last time that you see them. I wonder sometimes if she knew how young she would die. I was remembering back to the last float trip. I thanked Rich and Kathryn for getting us all together (and for Rich's expertise on the grill), I told them I couldn't wait until next time and as I closed my car door I said, "love you guys". That was the last time I saw Rich alive.

If you know me, I have probably told you that I love you, because I do. I have many friends who, to this day, are taken aback when I say it. Losing a friend like Rich reminds me of why I do it. It may seem ridiculous or trivial to you but I smile when I look back and remember those final moments of love between us. I feel lucky and blessed for each and every person in my life. I want you to know, no matter what, that I have love in my heart for you. None of us know when our number will be up. If I am remembered as the girl that always said ‘I Love You’, I am ok with that.

I had not seen Rich and Kathryn in years. I am sad to say that I had not seen any of the old floating buddies until we were all brought together by this horrible tragedy. We vowed to float again, to get together and talk. We let ourselves lose touch and then we lost one of our own. Our friend, Rebel Sarah, who floats with us called it “a sin and a shame” if this doesn’t bring us back together. The Rebel is right. We owe it to ourselves and Rich and Kathryn to never be pulled so far apart again.

It is amazing the bond that is formed by a few weekends in the wilderness together. I feel like these people are my family. It felt good to rally for Kathryn. She was full of strength and grace, even in the worst hour of her life. She made the decision the day that Rich died that we would celebrate his life, not mourn his death. Rich was a laid back, peaceful and earthy soul. Kathryn is his opposite. Despite that fact, I am proud to say that Kathryn buried Rich the way that he would have wanted. He had on his shorts, tank top and hat in the casket. In his hands were his sunglasses (which he always wore) and cigars (which he loved to smoke). Some people would call that tacky, I call it a tribute. Rest in peace, Grillmeister, you are loved and missed by many.

It's only 6 weeks (repeat mantra)

I started back to school this week. It is a shortened summer term, only 6 weeks. Monday night was my first meeting of my 'Blacks and their History in Cinema' class. I feel that it should be mentioned that I am, in fact, the only white person in the class. That is a fact that makes me a bit sad. Not that it bothers me but I am pretty sure it mattered to some of the "strong" black women in my class. One group of ladies invited a young man to come sit with them as he was heading to sit at my table. When he declined and sat with me, they were not happy. I have never really experienced reverse discrimination and it honestly felt empowering. The woman who instigated the invitation to this young man turned out to be a MO state representative. Interesting...

I felt as though I knew more black history than they did. I am the only person in the class who has read Roots. When Sidney Poitier came up they said he was a sell out for taking the rolls he did without demanding more black people be involved in his movies. I read "The Measure of a Man", which is his autobiography and I was defensive to their comments. Some of you may not know this but Sidney Poitier was from a Bahamian Island. He had never seen running water or a functioning toilet until he came to the United States. He spoke with an accent and worked very hard just to fit in within the black culture in the US. He barely understood the language, and then could barely speak it; how was he supposed to represent an entire race? This class is going to get really interesting. It is on Monday night from 5:30 to 8pm. We watched a short clip of one of the first movies ever made, in which blacks were portrayed by white people with painted face. This week we are watching "Birth of a Nation" which depicts the KKK in a good light while blaming black people for their own suffering. I am really excited for the discussion that is sure to come from that. We only meet 6 times and the grade is based on class participation, a few critiques and a final paper on a black actor, actresses, director, producer or screen writer. Suggestions are welcome!

On Tuesday and Thursday from 6-9:45 I have Sociology class. It is a really LONG class but interesting topic. I love culture and human interaction and that is what sociology is all about. We have 3 tests and a final. There are 12 classes total and there is a lot of information to cram in. I have read quite a bit about famous sociologists and their theories in my own pleasure reading. The class is multicultural and everyone seems respectful and open to learning so I think it will be fun.

Between the 2 classes, it is 6 credit hours in 6 weeks. I work 8-5 and with St. Louis traffic I have not risked running home between work and class. Poor Bo is going 14-15 hours without going out which breaks my heart. He still is not warming to Ferg and therefore will not go out with him. Ferg's mom watches the kids at our house a few days a week and Bo will go out with her. I feel bad but he chooses to distrust Ferg so it is his call to not go outside. I would probably have enough time to stop home and let him out Tues/Thurs but then there is no time to eat. Going from work to class with no food is just crazy as I don't get out until so late. Plus, I am an eater and I cannot concentrate when my belly is angry and empty.

Every day this week when I have woken up exhausted and cranky I tell myself, "It's only 6 weeks!" After Thursday's class was over, it is only 5 weeks now. I am taking a girl's trip to the lake the last weekend of June, which is also halfway through the summer semester. It will be a much needed break. I am trying to keep my eye on the prize and forge ahead. More than likely I would be drinking and partying if I didn't have school to keep me grounded so I am grateful more than anything. I know it will be hard work but it will all be worth it in the end.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Saturday was awesome with Sam. I went to his house and then we went to the pool. One of his oldest friends moved in with him recently because he is going through a divorce. It was awesome to see him and catch up. Not gonna lie, I felt like he was a good buffer between me ending up in the bedroom with Sam too. lol It was actually kind of like a group of old friends catching up for a while because our history is so shared. He was elated to see me and told me more than a few times that EVERYONE knows I am the one that Sam let get away. As he got more intoxicated, he started to spill details too so that was fun.

At the pool Sam and I had our own 2 chairs off from the crowd so we finally got our chance to catch up. We talked out a lot of things that simply could not be discussed via e-mail. We actually went back to the beginning and both of us being able to recognize the other person's point of view helped a lot. It only took us 10 years to realize we were both pretty stupid and presumptuous. He apologized for pushing me into the relationship when I asked him to please give me time after my 5 year relationship. I apologized for refusing to acknowledge him as my boyfriend which was, quite simply, all he was asking for. He also sees how rough that was for me since my family loved the ex fiancé and we had truly only been broken up a month. I also admitted to him that I was a relationship hopper. In fact, I was in a pseudo relationship when I met my ex fiancé, Chad. I'm not sure why I had never told him that before. Perhaps then my resistance to jumping into something with him would have made sense.

We talked about the police interventions. I took claim for the first and he for the 2nd, as I suspected. Although we both learned a valuable lesson from both instances, we now see how they could have been avoided. Long story short on my claim, the first offense, He called me a whore in MY apartment and I asked him to leave. He would not so I went to the door, opened it and then issued the order that he could leave or I would make him. So he got in my face and called me a whore again. It was like a reflex when my right hook busted his glasses off of his face. I did not feel a bit of remorse because I felt like he was clearly in the wrong. Grant you, I should have used my words instead of my fist but in my defense, he is much larger than I am and he was amped up and in my face. Instinct and survival kicked in for sure. He called the police, and his sister which is truly a whole blog in itself. That incident is the closest I have ever come to going to jail. In the end, he had broken glasses and a cut on his face. I think his ego was more wounded than anything. What we determined is that he has learned his lesson on name calling and once his sister knew the truth of what happened. She had my back and not his.

We didn't talk for a while after that first incident. We eventually got back together though. I don't remember how or why our 2nd police intervention came about. I know we were fighting about something and he came to my apartment. He was angry and amped up again and I just knew it was not going to go well so I would not let him in. He ended up crawling into my bathroom window. I called the police this time and he was ordered to stay away. I don't remember exact time lines but that didn't last long. We were so drawn to one another.

Sam has experienced quite a few major life changes and lessons in the past few years, as have I. We talked a lot about his last relationship, which just ended 3 months ago. It was refreshing to be open and honest again with someone that I know so well. We also talked a bit about CL. Sam saw him at our mutual friend's wedding in October and thought he looked like a total douche. I thought it was pretty funny what a strong reaction he had to me being with someone else after all of that time. We talked about the period of time that we tried to be friends but still totally wanted to be together. We just could not figure out how. We spent so many good times together, basically dating and just never told each other how we felt. I just wanted him to be happy and I thought he was happier without me. He has regrets about things he did and so do I. I was just really glad to get my feelings off of my chest and get a few answers.

We are both definitely alpha dogs which was an issue for CL and me as well. The major bond that Sam and I had, and it wasn't the only thing but one of the biggest, was amazing sex. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Hands down, my best ever and his as well. He said it more than a few times yesterday. It is really no surprise that we eventually got drunk and boned. He apologized for a whole lot. He was wrong to cheat on his gf at the time and I was disgusted with myself. I knew after experiencing a completely amazing night (and morning, in the interest of full disclosure) that we could not be friends or even be around each other. When I told him that yesterday he said, "Well then, why did it happen again in the morning?" Old times’ sake, a final it what you want. I think that shocked him a bit. He knew he was so wrong that he had absolutely no hard feelings for my avoiding him. I think he just missed me. I missed him too but I couldn't go back. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason.

We have mad, crazy, fiery passion. On my way to his house I honestly wanted to throw up. When I saw his bff on the front porch, I was relieved to have a buffer. He knows our entire history anyway and he really wasn't around that much. He did walk in at one point when we were talking about Sam's ex and he was like, "why are you two talking about that?" And Sam said, "I've known this girl 10 years and I have nothing to hide from her" He drank beer at the pool and we were there about 3 hours. When we walked back to his house we were all hungry and they were going to bbq so I did have 2 drinks while we cooked and hung out on the deck. It was weird to be in his house again but then also oddly comfortable too. He made a few comments about getting me into bed but other than that he did pretty well.

The final straw was after lunch. It was after many beers for him, his roomie passing out face down on the floor and my 2 drinks down. He looks at me and just says flat out, "I want to kiss you so bad right now" I was a little buzzed and not really thinking and I said, "I'm not scared of you" He was out of his chair and one inch from my face in seconds. I leaned my head back and said "no" but the fire was burning me. He made some comment about how I couldn't handle it and I left very shortly after.

Part of me says I will never find this love, passion or spark again. I know many people who never find what we have. The other part says, been there, done that...many, many times. I do love the shit out of him. I don't know if we really could be friends after spending the day catching up and experiencing sparks and eventually FIRE. Like I said, much has changed. I honestly don't know what he wants. I mean, clearly, he's a man so sex is on the brain but I am pretty sure that is not all he wants. I know I still feel the same way about him that I always have. I guess I know the potential of what he can be and I would expect at least that from him in a relationship, if not more. At this point, he would really have to bring it to convince me that I am what he wants. I am not sure he has that in him. I am going to need the full meal deal and a big neon 'GO' sign to put myself back into it fully. My spirit guides are going to have to lead me directly there if that is my destiny. I am too old to be fuckin' around. I know he loves me. I never doubted that. He didn't love himself back then and I am still not sure that he is ready to allow himself to be happy. He knows me better than most people so we shall see where it goes from here. I feel better having said my peace so if nothing else, it was the closure that I needed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A cliff hanger...

The spark is still there but so is the fear. We loved and abused each other equally back then. It has been 5 years since we have been a couple. It has been 3 years since we have seen each other one-on-one without a crowd. I feel bad about how I just walked away from him. I had to do it for myself and my sanity. So why is there still a spark? Why do I randomly wonder where he is or what he is doing? Why do I compare our good times with everyone else I date? They never measure up. We had a true connection and amazing passion. There were definitely extremely tumultuous times but in the end, we were always there for each other. I could depend on him whether he was my friend, my boyfriend or my nothing. I could have called him for help over the past 3 years of silence. He would have been there and I know that.

Our timing was terrible 10 years ago when this all started. I will never forget the day he came up to me at work and told me I was “the most beautiful girl” he had ever seen. I was coming out of a serious 5 year relationship, perhaps still a little scorned. I was not ready to date and I told him so. He pushed because he could not wait. He apologized for that this week. He knows what should have happened. It is funny that when most relationships go wrong, we tend to blame the other person. In our case, we have both bent over backwards to take responsibility for what was ours and maybe some of what wasn’t. We communicated horribly back then. We hurt each other because we knew just how to do it and we did it to be hurtful.

We were violent, to the point of police intervention, twice. I will take responsibility for one of those and I think he would tell you he takes the other. The passion between us was insane. We loved and hated with all that we had. We were so off and on and back and forth that I was not even sure when we were “together”. We managed to put the crazy behind us and be “friends” for years after all of this. We even took a trip to Amsterdam with mutual friends. We had that comfortable, fun relationship without the drama. We both dated other people and we were great friends to each other. We told each other things that I know neither of us has told another soul. We have been through things together that you cannot explain to someone new. We knew and (mostly) loved each other’s family, even after we split. We were so in sync.

Then it happened. I think it happens to most exes’ who still have feelings for each other. We got super drunk (n’coked-I have no reason to lie) and had mad passionate sex after years of being friends. I knew the moment that I woke up in his bed that we could not be friends anymore. He was dating someone at the time and I felt awful, as did he. It was an all around horrible moment. After 7 years of back and forth, something snapped in me that day. I knew as I walked out the door that I would not be back. We talked on the phone, really we cried. I felt horrible about being the other woman and he felt like a failure to the girl he was dating and to me. We never spoke again.

My heart broke for months, really years. I missed him so much. Not the relationship but the friendship, just having him. I was so mad at myself for allowing that to happen the way it did. I never considered at the time how strong the force of our connection was. I never considered that it was always heading that way. We just couldn’t or didn’t want to stop it. Over the years I have thought about him a lot. Like I said, I have compared my other relationships to ours. I have wondered about him and his family. I would hear things thru mutual friends and so want to pick up the phone to call. I would not allow myself to do that. I would think of him on his birthday and the anniversary of our Amsterdam trip. I shut him out completely. He tried to contact me a few months later. He sent a letter by mail and then an e-mail. I never responded. I couldn’t see us hurting each other anymore. I didn’t even remember the letter or e-mail until I found them not too long ago. I guess I really blocked that out in order to try to move on.

I ran into him at the funeral of a very close mutual friend and barely recognized him in 2008. (He had grizzly wooly mammoth facial hair) I could tell that he was elated to see me and I really played down how excited I was to see him. We spoke briefly, catching up on friends but that was about it. He had been through some pretty life altering stuff that year and I knew it but I couldn’t force myself to ask. Again, I walked away from him. I remember him shouting out his phone number as I walked away and immediately deleting it from my mind.

I saw him again at my girl’s wedding last year. We had an awkward moment in the stairs and that was about it. I found his apology e-mail from 2007 shortly after that, totally by fate, I think. It pulled at my heart so much and it baffled me that I was able to just ignore him. I felt like a heel. Especially after the way CL did his check-outs and left me to wonder all of the time. Once I realized I had done that as well, I was on a mission to fix it. We e-mailed back and forth for a bit as you probably remember. He was awesomely forgiving and completely understood why I did what I did. We have commented back and forth on Facebook or sent a quick e-mail here and there but that has been it since then. We were both avoiding really talking or hanging out, that was clear.

Last week his cousin’s plan was shot down in Iraq. He posted on FB to please pray for him and I was the first to respond. I have known his cousin since he was a preteen. Their parents married brother’s and sister’s (mom’s sister married dad’s brother) so these cousins are really like brothers. I was shaken over the possibility that his cousin’s number was up. I knew how close they were and how devastated he would be by something like that. I eventually e-mailed him for an update and what I got back was a shock. His cousin was fine, that is how it all started out. But then it went to how I was the only girl he ever truly loved. He said he hasn’t called to hang out or talk because he can’t be my friend or keep his hands off me. I was taken aback by this. I knew we still had the draw but I had no idea he still felt that way after all of this time. The craziest part is, I always have.

When I really think about it, during our “friendship” time, I always had feelings for him. I have always loved him. I wanted him to be happy. I thought he was happier without me. He dated others and seemed into it so I never considered that we were both playing the same game. I guess we didn’t want to put ourselves out there? I am not sure but clearly this is a sign of our poor communication.

We are going to hang out today for a few hours at his pool. We literally haven’t seen each other without a crowd since 2007. I am not even sure what he looks like now. I have no idea how much he has changed since his life was turned upside down right after we stopped talking. I can hear in his responses that he is different. Years have passed, wounds have healed. There is a lot that I have to say, to be honest and get it out there. There is so much that I didn’t tell him that I want to now. The few people I have talked to about this have mixed reviews on how they feel. Some feel this is our fate while others think that we would always end up the way that we did. What matters this time is how I feel. For right now I feel like it will be a conversation with an old friend but I would be lying to say that I am not afraid that he is going to take his shirt off at the pool and I am going to attack! I am keeping my mind open but my legs closed;-) To Be Continued…

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

To my BFF


I can’t believe that you are 32 today. It seems like just yesterday we were peeing under my neighbor’s deck, as to not have to go inside and possibly have our play time cut short. I look back at the photo of you pulling me through my walker as a baby and it is hard to believe we have been together our whole lives. I can’t remember a childhood birthday without you. I am pretty sure every holiday of our lives we have spent together unless one or both of us were out of town. I remember the day the photo was taken outside of Chucky Cheese for my 4th birthday. You, me, Stacy and Lora were so close; and then there were 2. I remember the surprise 10th birthday party that you told my mom was probably not a good idea. Your huge backyard parties were so much fun. Your dad was always a huge part of the entertainment. It is so weird, but I remember the wallpaper and carpeted kitchen of your parent’s house in the old neighborhood. Our gum collection on under your parent’s steps is still there and I am not going to lie, I am damn proud of it!

How many 4th of July’s did we almost blow each other or someone else up? Camping, first as two families and then with our dad’s when we got into Indian Princess. I will never forget Trout Lodge or the Cottonwood cabin there. (“M&M, that spells Mmmmm, Mmmm is the sound that I make when I eat them. When I die…bury me in M&M’s”) How about the time that we got our dad’s to dance to Beastie Boys, complete with a light show from our flashlights? I bet my dad and yours could still sing Fight for Your Right. Oh, and the Trout Lodge Trip where you ate a bag of Tootsie Rolls and then jumped on the bed! You did indeed throw up ON me at dinner but I got you back years later in a drunken stupor. I loved that you told me the next morning that not only did I puke on you and my parents white couch but that you knew it was Tootsie Roll payback and you were cool with it. My dad taking a leaky tent was a classic camping moment too. If he had listened to us that it leaked he would have been as dry as we were the next morning;-)

I still love that we plotted against our parents in our pre-teen years. We said we would plaster our walls with NKOTB and talk about nothing else until they let us go to the concert. Then we caught my dad in a weak, drunken moment and convinced him that if we stood in line for tickets, he would take us. He has no idea how much we loved them, did he? I still remember the look of shock on his face when we came back from the mall with 26th row, center seats at Busch Stadium. How cool was he in his multi-pocketed Bugle Boy jeans? I remember the ‘No Camera’ sign and our hearts breaking and then my dad, cool as a cucumber smuggling the camera in one of his many pockets. We have photos of Jordan’s shirt blowing up because of my dad! My favorite part of that experience, other than sharing it with you and my daddy, was when they asked my dad to get down off of his chair. He was so excited!

That was the last time we agreed on music until our 20’s. We never liked the same boy. We may have fancied one or 2 back in the day but NKOTB was the closest we came to liking the same boy. Well and that guy in the VW bug that we both checked out and were shocked to find the other interested in. Junior high was the first time we attended the same school. I was so excited to see you in the halls and know we could chat at lunch. Our differences became more apparent during this time but our similarities were solid. We have history and much love. We were total opposites in high school. I guess I was labeled“prep” and you ran with the “freak” crowd. Isn’t it amazing that none of that mattered to either of us? Your friends were cool to me and my friends loved you.

As we grew up and spent less time together, our bond has never broken. When you announced that you were moving to Colorado I felt like my life had shattered. I knew we would always be friends but my heart was broken. Our road trip to move you to Colorado in the VW bus will live in infamy. From the hotel in Salina, Kansas where we lined the floor with towels so we wouldn’t walk on the carpet; to the 2 hours that we silently loved Bob Marley on our final drive into Denver. Fate showed me you belonged there when you got a job at a vegetarian restaurant the day I left town. When you met David, I could hear in your voice that he was “the one”. When I met David I told you if I had seen him on the street I would have known he was your future husband.

Even though you went to catholic school and you were raised in a good and loving home I know you learned a lot from being around my crazy family; probably a lot of what not to do. I learned what a loving family was first from your parents and then from Leigh’s. My history and my entire life is wrapped up in my friendship with you. You are my chosen sister, my best friend and my soul mate. I love that your 2 year old son looks at my picture and knows that I am mommy’s friend, Toni. I love that I could call you at any time, any place and know you will be there to listen. I love that our families still celebrate the holidays and all major events together. I love that I can call your mom for anything and know she will be there for me too. I love that when I can’t remember something about my life (which is rare) I can call you and you always know what I am talking about. I love that there are jokes and phrases that will forever be ours. I love that I can’t watch:
The Breakfast Club
16 Candles
Pretty In Pink
Some Kind of Wonderful
Steel Magnolias
The Incredible Shrinking Woman
My Chauffer
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
The Princess Bride
Pretty Woman
St. Elmo’s Fire…without thinking of you. I love that we could have an entire conversation strictly quoting these movies and pretty much only you and I would know it. I love that we talk at least once a week still. I love that you are still the first person that I want to tell good news to. I love that you are in love, with both your husband and your son, and you are living the life I always dreamed of for you. I love, more than anything, that when I called you today I could hear your sleepy voice. I knew you had just gotten up from a nap and you knew that I knew, just by your voice. I love that we can sit silently for hours on end and not feel uncomfortable. I love that we can complete each other’s sentences and confuse those around us.

You are the most fantastic, loving, giving and trusting soul I have ever met. You have softened my heart in ways that you cannot imagine. You have taught me many life lessons, along with your family and you are all a huge part of my family forever. You are my real life Mother Theresa and Gandhi. You are everything that is goodness in this world to me. My parents see you, and now your husband and son, as their own. You are my family, my heart and everything I strive to be. Thank you for always loving me, accepting me and knowing when to tell me I am totally fucking up. I hope that you have an amazing 32nd year. I hope it brings you much love, laughter and peace. And perhaps a red headed little girl to match the little boy;-)

I love you, Friend,