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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:

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

 

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Karen was in town for our High School Reunion.

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

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Going to see Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher.

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

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Closing up the Trailer for the year with Shirley.

 

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

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

 

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

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On Halloween, we also went to a ghost hunt.

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

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

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Kristyn and her Dad on Thanksgiving.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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This is a crazily decorated house in North Arlington.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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Me and Kristyn on NYE.

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

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Shirley and Monster sleeping on me.

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Giles being a cutie patootie.

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Kristyn and Tonya Harding.

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

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Kristyn and some Solid Gold dancers at Target.

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Shirley sleeping.

 

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Momma I’m comin home…

We are coming back home for the weekend because my Nana isn’t feeling well. We want to see our families, engorge ourselves with good Chinese and Pizza and possibly go here:

Our jobs are being so super cool about it and we are so grateful for that. Also it’s another example of all the synchronicity that’s been happening in our lives lately. If I hadn’t gotten this job right when I did, there’s no way we could have come home to see Nana right now. And how lucky that I got a job that values family over business. I worked at a job just a few years ago where my boss gave me a hard time over these following things:

1) She wouldn’t allow me to go to my Aunt’s funeral.
2) She was mad because I took time off to sit with my Dad in the hospital.
3) At another job, I had gotten a call that my Mom had had a heart attack (she didn’t) but was in the Emergency Room. I ran out to take the call and this guy CHASED ME OUT of the building and demanded to know what I was doing WHILE I was on the phone with my panicked family. I told him what was happening and he said he didn’t care, to get in and answer the goddamn phone and not to leave my desk again without asking him first. Yeah I quit that bitch haha.

Anyway, all of my bosses and all of Krissy’s allowed us to take the time no questions asked and I am SO grateful and thankful for that.

So we’re still in the planning stages of this because we just finalized the tickets yesterday. If you are one of our family members, please don’t stress out if you can’t make it to see us or anything. We couldn’t have planned this any differently so this trip is less about seeing everyone that we can and more about spending quality unrushed time with just a few loved ones.

We had toyed with having dinner in NY but when we woke up this morning, we realized it would be a waste of time. NY is (probably) not going anywhere and we couldn’t think of anything to do there that we haven’t done a zillion times before or would really want to do again. I mean there are a lot of NY performers we’d like to see and we looked into it but they all happen to be somewhere else right now, some of them actually in LA haha.

So that’s that. I’m still gonna post pictures every day. If I thought I was tired from the late night at GLAAD Awards, how am I gonna be next week? We are landing at LAX at almost 10pm after a six hour flight and then I have work in the morning! OMG.

And for any robbers out there:

Don’t even try it, we have people watching. Yeah that’s right.

Day One Hundred and Four

I was startled to realize before that I hadn’t posted yesterday’s picture yet and then dismayed to realize I hadn’t even taken a single picture of myself yesterday. I was going to take an early morning one today to make up for yesterday’s mishap but, being already at work and stuff, I realized it might be a little redundant. (Whereas taking a pic first thing in the morning is both disgusting AND kind of relevant because “Hey! I went to sleep in those clothes!”)

Anyway, upon reflecting on this alarming habit I realized I HAD, in fact, taken a photo of myself yesterday. It was actually the set of photos I took first thing yesterday morning to make up for my slackerosity the day before.

Therefore I bring you outtakes from yesterday morning’s photo shoot. I read on Dlisted this morning that Jlo is:

Oh poor Jlo, I beg to differ:

Click on Jlo’s photo to read the article. It’s called, and this makes me laugh in and of itself:

“Which World Are We Talking About, Exactly?”

No offense to JLo, natch.

Day One Hundred and Three

This picture is a cheat because I took just now instead of yesterday. I am EXHAUSTED! When you look at this picture, have that song “Isn’t She Lovely?” running through your head. This way you’ll hate me for that rather than for having to look at this picture. You’re welcome!

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Okay time to start the day! *dragging feet*

Day One Hundred and Two

I can’t even get into how awesome the GLAAD Media Awards were right now because I don’t have the time but we had so much fun. We laughed, we cried, we accidentally rubbed elbows with Mondo from Project Runway. We didn’t have cable during that season so therefore had no idea who he was. Nice guy though!

Anyway, all I will say for right now is:

Dolly Parton
Amy Poehler
Rashida Jones
Craig Robinson
Sean Hayes
People from the cast of Modern Family
People from the cast of Parks and Recreation
Kristin Chenowith
Joel McHale
Marlee Matlin
Meatloaf!

The list goes on, I mean there were just so many people there that I am such a big fan of. Also, we escorted the girls from “Pretty Little Liars”. They were really nice.

Kristin Chenowith received an award and her speech made us cry. Kristyn found it on YouTube and cried all over again. I’ll find it and post it later. She’s so damn amazing.

Anyway, I said I wouldn’t go into it and here I am anyway: Going into it. I’ll stop, I have work to do. Later.

I am STILL dizzy from the champagne I guzzled. I have seriously learned that:

Coleen + Alcohol = Broken Toy

I guess I’m lucky that I don’t have a hangover cuz I really don’t. I don’t feel sick or headachey, just fuzzy and sort of euphoric. Definitely NOT the way I want to feel at work. Drink some more Joe Coleen. You can do this!

SO EXCITED!!!

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We are volunteering at the GLAAD Media Awards tonight and are so goddamn excited! (GLAAD = Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Click on that link to see why. So many awesome people are gonna be there. I am so glad we’re in LA for this one because I would be pissed if we weren’t, haha.

God I love volunteering for this event guys. Not only is it a great cause, the people are great AND you get to peep some awesome gay-positive celebs. Such a fun night. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a LOT of work but so worth it.

OMG last year when we got home, the cats were outside! They had knocked out the front window (bc the screen wasn’t secure) and jumped out! We found Elvira right away. A) She hadn’t left the courtyard, B) We saw her white fur in the dark.

Monster, on the other hand, left the courtyard and was hiding in the bushes in the front. We were terrified. Crying, calling out to him. We thought we were gonna find him in the street. But then Kristyn heard a rustle and there he was: TERRIFIED. He was hiding from us. Well moreso just frozen with fear. She grabbed him and we went in and cried and hugged them for a while and then went to bed.

WELL, just a little while ago, I was holding Monster and decided to step out the front door into the courtyard to grab something. Suddenly that memory flooded back and I was like, “Maybe today isn’t the best day to get Monster interested in the great outdoors.”

Anyway, we’re getting ready now. SO EXCITING!!!

Here’s Kristyn’s post on the GLAAD Media Awards from last year:

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And here’s mine:

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Wish us luck!

Day Ninety-five

Yesterday we had a pretty full morning. I don’t know why but I woke up at 8:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. We got up relatively early and had brekky (facon, avocado and cheese on French bread with coffee). We listened to records and Kristyn made some CDs for a coworker, then had to go to work. I spent the day working on a tippy top secret project and watching Roseanne.

Also, look at these pictures that Kristyn took of Monster!!! Adorable!

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Day Eighty-nine

Today:

I had a quick and easy morning.
Krissy slept in late.
I got in trouble for using three hole punch paper. It’s okay though.
Krissy did some dishes.
I sat outside for a spell at lunch.
I talked on the horn with Krissy while outside.
Krissy relaxed on the couch.
I rode the elevator A LOT.
Krissy took out the trash.
I visited the mail room A LOT.
Krissy worked on some stuff for LA Music Blog.
I had a quick commute home.
We ate the pizza Lil Krissy made for me when I got home.
I had one blueberry beer.
We gathered laundry together.
We went to the laundromat.
We did some grocery shopping.
We did more laundry.
We had King Cones.
Kristyn put away clothes.
I brushed all the cats and the bunny.
Now we’s in bed. Nite!

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