Shirley  napping on me earlier this year.

I’ve been back at work for two months now and I’ve fallen back into a routine which is good. I did a comics assignment from Nicole Georges recently that has me writing down what I do all day and then drawing a scene from each day. I started the project on March 1st and just doing that first week, I was shocked to see that I have more of a life than I thought I did. I thought I was still just stuck sitting in a chair staring into space. No, I’m getting up every day, working a full day, coming home, making dinner, and then doing things like hanging out with friends, or planning a trip to Scotland, going to doctor’s appointments, and all various manner of things. It’s comforting to see that I’ve gotten back into living a life and also depressing because it means that Charles is that much more gone. On March 27th (~10 days from now, he will have been gone for three months). Here is my life since January:


Breakfast at The Stack


At Walmart with a Sloth.


Women’s March with Silvie Sophie.


Kristyn’s 38th Birthday


Cave met up with us at the Women’s March.


For Kristyn’s birthday, we went Upstate and went to a cidery.


Us in Rhineback, NY.


Me and Mel Robbins.


We had a Valentine’s Day date at the Arlo.


My last week at the JC office, I took a photo in the reading room.


Scotland planning session that turned into a St. Patrick’s Day party.


Foof and me.


Me on International Women’s Day sporting my purple for a group text message to family.


My Valentine to Kristyn


Kristyn forced me to exercise self-control.


Another Valentine for Kristyn.


My Dad and my Foof.


Loolies in Target buying a fire extinguisher.


Me in a natural setting at the gynecologist’s office.


Kip Pan at the doc’s.


Us staring at the Verizon guy after a snow storm knocked out our cable.


Me at the doc for my back.


Kristyn coming to the doctor’s with me.


Us and Foof sitting in a literal rainbow.


Shirley wanting to sit in the pink area.


Kristyn hooked me up.


Mark’s going away party that I also made into a St. Patrick’s Day party.


Shirley napping on me this morning.


Kristyn and Shirley this morning.

Basically, we’re getting better all the time. It’s surprising and I miss him.


This Damn Car


When I was on medical leave, I got so goddamn sick with food poisoning on the Wednesday before Christmas. We’d gone to Jose Tejas with my cousin, Heather. The company was good and so was the food but a few hours later, I was horking and shivering and sweating and crying and this illness didn’t abate until the following week. In fact, the first day that I could even eat a meal was Christmas Eve and then I kind of made myself sick with party food (even though I was eating extremely gingerly).

Long story short, I didn’t end up moving my car all that week. Then I didn’t try to move it for most of the next week because I still felt weak. When I finally went out to try to move it, the battery was dead. It was nighttime when I tried and 20 degrees so we figured we’d jump it when it was warmer. Unfortunately, the temperatures plunged to anywhere from 6-13 degrees between the week after Christmas and after New Years. On January 4th, we had a huge snow storm and got almost a foot of snow. On January 5th, a huge multi-family house burned down across the street from where the car was parked and the wheels got frozen into the water that the fire department used to put the house out.


Once the snow and ice melted, I was able to start the car which is the picture at the top of this post. But then, we realized that I had a flat tire. We were able to drive it to the shop to order a new tire and we decided to drive on that tire because the guy filled it up. Well, in the morning, the tire was completely flat and the car wouldn’t start. Now it’s been out there for a week because between me starting work and Kristyn starting school, we don’t really have time to do anything about it. Today, we went out and tried jumping it again and it’s a no-go. We had to give up because the engine wouldn’t turn over and the cables started smoking. So now, we need a new battery AND a new tire. We are lucky that a flat tire and a battery are our most vexing domestic problems right now. In that fire above, eight families lost their homes on a day that was 13 degrees in the sun. That entire house is knocked down now apart from the cement walls on the bottom.

We’ll get the car fixed, it’s just going to apparently take 1,000 incremental steps to get it done. The interesting thing is that we’re going to try to change the battery ourselves. Wish us luck!



I wrote the last post and filled it with positive pictures because I want to remind myself that things aren’t as bad as I think they are. Losing Charles has been a huge blow that topped off a year of big blows (aka losing Bob, Lynne, and then my Grandfather as well). I’ve been pretty down and focusing on the good helps. Cleaning the house helps. Hanging with friends helps. Watching familiar sitcoms helps. It was really cathartic to go through all those pictures and be like “Oh, I forgot about this and this and this.” I realized that I only posted things from September onward but the last time I posted anything was in March so maybe later I’ll go through and post some memories from earlier this year as well. If you delete the horrifying things that happened, we managed to have a fun time this year. I don’t want to just say something glib like “2017 was a dumpster fire” like everyone else is. It’s been a tough year for all of us regardless of these personal losses. Because of this, we’ve had to work hard to find pockets of joy. I can’t believe that 45 has ONLY been in office for one year. I can’t believe that it hasn’t even been a year since the Women’s March, ugh. Anyway, maybe the things I’ve shared are too personal for a blog that’s being written in 2017 when we’re supposed to “know better” about what we do and don’t share on the internet. However, I think that a lack of human empathy is what’s gotten us to this point in history. I don’t think anyone reads this except for Kristyn anymore but writing on this blog used to be a great creative outlet for me and I stopped writing for fear of who was reading. I’m going to try not to be afraid of that anymore. Anyway, have a great day, boos. Try to enjoy it.


Us Upstate in the snow.

I am up early. Since Charles died, I’ve been home on leave and gradually, my schedule has turned upside down into college hours. Kristyn had to be up and out early today so I got up with her to help her out. I go back to work next week and need to get back to normal hours. I’m looking forward to and nervous about going back to work. This whole time I’ve been home, I haven’t managed to accomplish much at all. Right after Charles died, I had this idea that “If nothing can be the same, I want everything to be different.” I wanted to find a way to make big sweeping changes in my life; health wise, maybe moving to a new place, etc. However, I can’t focus on anything so I gave up immediately. Giving up has actually been healing for me. Trying too hard to force things was making me more unhappy in a situation where I was already massively unhappy.

The things that have helped the most are watching soothing sitcoms (Parks and Rec and The Office), Christmas decorations, and spending time with family and friends. I’ve let myself sleep whenever I feel like sleeping. I’ve let myself read endlessly. I’ve let myself cry whenever I feel like it. It’s been enormously helpful and I’m grateful to have had this time.

Now that I’m feeling a bit more clear-headed, the one project I’m currently undertaking with Kristyn is cleaning out the basement. We started yesterday and it’s slow going but is really soothing so far. It feels good to go through old things, to reorganize them, and to clean things. I found some old photos of Charles last night and they made me cry. Honestly, crying makes me feel better. I lean into it whenever it happens because it feels like I’m washing out some of the ick. When he first died, I sobbed constantly and was in a constant fog. But then I couldn’t cry for weeks. Every time I did, my chest hurt and would stop me. I guess it was anxiety. It feels like a blessing to be able to cry about it now.

We made the best of the holiday season which we initially thought was going to be really difficult but it turned into a great distraction. I think that the holidays are always going to be painful from now on but no matter when he died, it would always be painful not to have him around.

I had wanted to go on a trip during this time we had off. I really wanted to get in the car and just drive with no plans but money is tight because I’m not working. The best we could manage was to drive up to the trailer for the day. It felt nice to get out of Kearny into the woods for a while. It felt great to see the river and to go into the trailer for an hour or so. I wish we could have stayed overnight but there is no power or heat.

I want to post some pictures of this year because we managed to have a good time despite having four losses in the family. There were good times mixed in with all the bad. We’re planning a large family trip in 2018 so that’s a fun thing to look forward to as well. Here are some good times from the recent months:


The Barrs at the Shannon Rose after Lynne’s funeral. This is the last time I saw Charles.



Karen was in town for our High School Reunion.


The first time we’ve ever been to the Stonewall.


Going to see Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher.


Taking a Queer Comics class with Nicole Georges and Ponyo at the Society of Illustrators in NYC.


Closing up the Trailer for the year with Shirley.



We went and stayed at Kate’s Lazy Meadow for our fourth wedding anniversary.


This was the weekend we were at Kate’s Lazy Meadow. It was Halloween weekend also.



On Halloween, we went to Mystical World to go to a psychic fair.


On Halloween, we also went to a ghost hunt.


This picture is personal but I’m including it because it was a good memory.


Christine and Charles on Thanksgiving. This is their last selfie together.


Kristyn and her Dad on Thanksgiving.


On the day before Thanksgiving, Shirley had a surgery so we all picked her up on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner which was humorous for us but confusing for the people at the animal hospital.


Shirley doped up in her pen after surgery. Kristyn liked sleeping on the bed too.


On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we went to the Brooklyn Museum with my cousin.


We went to see “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago. Kristyn had to go see it for school but we’d been wanting to see it for a long time anyway.


Chris, Heather, and Kyra at the restaurant after the museum.

We went to the Brooklyn Museum the day before Charles died which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. There’s a huge gap between then and Christmas because I intentionally didn’t take any photos. I didn’t want to commemorate that time at all. Charles life was so much more than his death and I want to forget as much about his death as is humanly possible. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t know why Charles died. His death was traumatic in only that he’s now gone. He had a peaceful death by all accounts and it seems as though it was by natural causes. Also, there was a lot of sweetness and love surrounding his loss. People were so kind and said such beautiful things about him. This stuff, I don’t want to forget. However, it didn’t feel right or appropriate to take photos of anything during this time because I knew I’d feel sick to look at them later, no matter how innocuous (photos of the cats, etc). And so, we jump to Christmas:


This is a crazily decorated house in North Arlington.


This was at the Queer Newark Oral History Project’s Opening Reception for their display at the Newark Museum.



On the same night, we went to the Naughty & Nice Ball in the Newark Library.



My sister had Santa come to Jameson’s fourth birthday party but he ran and hid so we ran and hid with him.


We had Christmas Eve at Kristyn’s Aunt’s house with her parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


I always make people take selfies with me at these things haha.


On Christmas Day, my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew came over so we could exchange gifts before the party at my aunt’s house.


Here are some of the people at my aunt’s house for Christmas Day.


Jameson got over his fear of Santa between his birthday party (December 16th) and Christmas. This is my Uncle dressed up…shhh.


Me and some of my cousins sitting on Santa’s lap.


Me and Kristyn on NYE.


Us and the trailer in the snow. I think this was maybe January 2nd or 3rd.


Shirley and Monster sleeping on me.


Giles being a cutie patootie.


Kristyn and Tonya Harding.


Me and Tonya Harding after seeing “I, Tonya”.


Kristyn and some Solid Gold dancers at Target.


Shirley sleeping.


Fire and Fury


Cover image from Amazon.

I am currently listening to Fire and Fury. It’s not too different from the NY Mag excerpt so far. The book is just more fleshed out. The editors at NY Mag did a great job of removing sentences while keeping impact and readability.

Even if this story is full of holes, it can’t ALL be full of shit. If it were, Bannon, Conway, Spicer, Sessions, Ivana, Jared, et al would all be publicly griping. Instead, there’s silence. They’re calling Wolff a liar but also claiming that Bannon is in violation of his NDA which is a confusing bit of logic even if you wanted to believe it. I feel like Wolff did a good job of explaining how he got his info and that some of the info might sound hinky because of the chaotic way that people provided quotes to him. When I first read the excerpt, I felt like certain parts seemed like fanfiction but that it was interesting nonetheless.

I wish Charles were here to laugh at this with us haha. He’d be gasping over this like we are. I posted this picture of Bea Arthur on Charles’ Facebook page before:


I don’t know where this image came from but I love it.

He loved the Golden Girls and (of course) so do I. I was telling someone that yesterday and it made me think of him. These are weird goddamn times we’re living through. How can Charles be gone and Donald Trump be President of the United States of America?!

Today was La Befana and we intended to celebrate it somehow but Kristyn had to finish a paper so we forgot. We love witches and Kristyn is half Sicilian so we were excited to learn about this tradition. Maybe we’ll do something witchy tomorrow to celebrate.

Tomorrow, I learned, is Little Christmas or Women’s Christmas (aka the Epiphany). We were both raised Catholic but are no longer practicing or consider ourselves to be. However, we are “culturally Catholic” and I never gave much thought as to why I keep the tree up for a week or two after the New Year. My Mom happened to mention the other day that she keeps it up for Little Christmas for luck. It turns out that I’ve been celebrating Little Christmas out of a familial Catholic habit. Life is weird. Anyway, I thought it was interesting because Women’s Christmas is celebrated in Ireland and Scotland and on that day, women go out and party while men take care of the house. I’m INTO this. Too bad there are no men here to exploit. Maybe I’ll make Giles and Monster (our cats) clean up their own litter boxes tomorrow. Here’s Giles looking pretty earlier tonight:



I’m writing this to wait out Kristyn until she’s done with her paper. It was due 8 minutes ago but if I know her, she’s still toodling. I think I need to go pry her fingers off the keyboard. It’s not that we have anything to do but I know that if I leave her to her own devices, she’ll futz with this paper until she passes out typing. I am going to go shout “SUBMIT IT!” at her. Goodnight!




We lost Charles on Monday, November 27, 2017. I don’t want to write too much about it because I don’t want to get myself upset. His passed away suddenly but naturally without fear or pain. We have all gotten signs from him that he’s okay where he is and I genuinely believe that to be true. It’s hard to believe it but it’s true. I can’t talk about it now. I keep starting and stopping from saying things because it hurts my chest to think about. I am thinking about him all the time and everything is reminding me of him. Mostly, that’s been good but sometimes I get the wind knocked out of me by a simple thought and start crying. I’ve been letting myself lean into however I’m feeling about it. This being the holiday season, there are a lot of feelings and distractions and fun things. We went to a medium the week after his services who said that Charles was fine, didn’t want us to be upset, and that if we knew where he was, we wouldn’t feel sad; we’d be jealous. That thought comforts me. I have to stop writing about this now. I just wanted to write something small about it to mark it on this blog because this blog has served as a sort of public diary for almost ten years. I always intend to write more on here and hope to going forward but I definitely couldn’t do it without mentioning my brother, Charles. I love him and miss him very much. My life was better for having him here and I hate that this is all the time we had. I’m crying now and my chest hurts so I’m going to stop.

Just Keep Livin

Jen Kirkman - Just Keep Livin

I need to take a page out of Jen Kirkman’s book and “Just Keep Livin”. I’ve been watching her Instagram stories lately which are road diaries because she’s on tour. Largely, it’s complaining about how not enough people are paying attention to her newsletter but it makes me laugh. She’s forthright, cranky, knows herself, and has great confidence. Mostly, I love how self-possessed and direct she is. I’m going to make her my patron saint for now.

I haven’t written here for a while because I have been hedging as to whether or not I want to keep this blog going or start a new one. I think I’m going to keep this one going. It’s been going since 2007, why stop now?

A Great Weekend in Pictures

I’m not feeling well today so I’m home sick but I did have a great weekend that I want to share anyway. I haven’t blogged in a while and since this weekend was a humdinger, I figured that posting my pictures her might be fun.


We went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Joe Walsh at the Prudential Center in Newark courtesy of my company.


We took this picture outside the concert waiting for the taxi.


I took this in Target on Saturday because obvi…La Croix.


Kristyn waiting patiently to eat ice cream cake flavored ice cream on Saturday night.


On Sunday, we went to see a double feature of “Rough Night” and “Wonder Woman”.


At B&N, we took a picture with our gal pal Rachel.


A shelf full of “Murder She Wrote” books.


Kristyn with the huge soda wall at AMC.


Kristyn with her “Rough Night” pals.


Me with my “Rough Night” pals.


Me and Ilana.


Me and Kate.

Lucy and Ethel


We went to see Tim Stewart-Winter perform in the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus and it was a gahdamn delight!

I haven’t felt like blogging lately because I don’t just want to blog about my day to day life. I don’t want to just sit down and blurt out everything that’s happened to me over the past whatever amount of time it’s been since the last time I wrote.

I need to come up with a plan that’s as fun to write as it might be for anyone else to read. Coming soon to a blog near you. See ya in two years!
P.S. I called this post “Lucy and Ethel” because I just binge-watched every episode of I Love Lucy that was in Hulu. They don’t have every episode so I’m going to start over with the DVD collection and fill in the gaps.

Weekend & Witchery


Pals, I’m feeling a bit better. I had a decent week. I think I’m through brooding (for now). The weather is lightening up too. It’s been springlike the last few days and that always makes me feel better. Maybe I have Seasonal Affective Disorder; who knows.

On Friday night, we went to Allison’s to hang. We had Chinese food and did a spell at midnight with the rest of the internet’s witches to bind Tr*mp from doing any harm. It was pretty fun.

On Saturday, we lazed about all day and then took Shirley to the dog park in Lyndhurst. It was heaven to watch her run around with all the other doggies. It was so nice out too. When she started getting tired, we took her to the pet store to pick up some cat and dog food. We also bought her two Nylabones; one that is purple and shaped like an ice cream cone and the other one that looks like a pork chop. Then we went to the hardware store next door and bought a shovel and an overflow plate for the tub. Kristyn’s YouTubing her way to becoming a first rate plumber. THEN we did a weird thing. Because I wanted to stay out but in the car (because it was supposed to rain), I suggested that we go through the Burger King drive-thru so we could eat fries and feed the birdies that hang there. It started to pour while we were sitting there and it was so nice in the car that we laid back and took a nap. Did I mention that we were just around the corner from our own house? Haha. It was fun. When we got home, we drank blush champagne and watched a documentary about the Loving family. Then we started watching 4 Little Girls and I fell asleep against my own will.

Today, I was supposed to go to an open house for an MA program I’m interested in but I got the times mixed up and ended up staying home. It’s nice though because Kristyn’s parents stopped over and brought us rolls from Brother’s. I’ve been watching I Love Lucy all day which is fun. I think I’m going to draw or sew today and then watch the Oscars tonight.