Why I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day


I see my friends writing their valentine day story about their loves…

My ( our ) story of course is a little funny.

I should tell you that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in our home – because we are firm believers that every day at our house is Valentine’s Day but I digress…

Many years ago I was a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t get enough of it. Cards, chocolate, decorations – any day to celebrate Cupid and love was what this girl was all about. Romance romance and more romance. I could’ve been a Harlequin romance character.

In 1995 I found myself separated after a very long and frustrating marriage – looking for a new start – in a new place – and I met a pretty cool guy. He was not like anybody else I had other met – he was smart, kind, articulate, and just different. I felt I had met someone I had known for a really long time.

So much to the horror of our parents we moved in together after not knowing each other for very long. And my logic was – that’s okay I’m not committing to anyone – and we both have the understanding that we put the brakes on regarding romance and just focus on living.

And live we did – we had so much fun together. My thinking was rightly so-
After all – life after divorce is difficult.

So – On Valentine’s Day in 1995 we were both sitting at our crappy little card table that was in the kitchen – as we were both very poor and this was the only thing we could afford. We were having breakfast and the doorbell rang. I got up and answered the door and a very nice kid in a suit asked me if I knew Tabitha McFeely and I said yes that was me and he said “you have been served have a lovely Valentine’s Day.”

I knew this day was coming because I really needed it to happen, however, it was still pretty devastating. I opened the envelope and it was the divorce papers being served to me by my ex-husband. As I turned the envelope over and over in my hands I said aloud well played, well played, well played.

As I am crying into my eggs and closing a chapter on a part of my life that I had invested over 10 years Zach was so very kind, encouraging, and really a great cheerleader to me. The peptalk he gave me was just great and I remember a lot of those words even today 20 years later.

We continued to eat breakfast and make small talk about what we were going to do that day –it was a Tuesday and I’m not sure why we were both off of work but we were.

The doorbell rang again and this time Zach got up and went to answer the door. And I could hear an exchange of voices – “Good morning, i’m looking for Zachariah Cunningham are you Zachariah? And then of course ” have a good day, happy Valentine’s Day, you’ve been served”

Zach walked back into the kitchen with his envelope which of course had his divorce papers inside looking devastated and honestly it was laughable. I then proceeded to parrot back the very same peptalk he gave me:)

And as we sat there trading war stories and showing each other our war wounds ( divorce papers) we said “fuck it” and we jumped in the car and went to Disneyland.

That was how we spent the very first of our next 20 Valentine’s Days together.

So we don’t celebrate this day- not one iota.

But we sure do laugh a lot on this day because that day 20 years ago was just too goddamn funny.

Dear 2015…


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I’m so glad you are here. 2014 was riddled with so much angst and uncertainty that for much of the year it was very scary.

In all fairness, 2014 wasn’t a total bust, however, I personally struggled and was unhappy for much of it.

So, as of today I am all “in” and embracing 2015 and hoping of all hope that this year treats me with love, gentleness, success, and kindness for me and my entire family – we all deserve a break.

Thank you 2015 for arriving, I’m glad you are here.

One of the many reasons why Robin Williams was an amazing man


My friend Kate shared this story of her encounter with Robin Williams during a particularly difficult time in her life. :

“I am sitting with my kids who are in a wagon singing So Long, Farewell and pretending they are sailing to Ireland to pick up trash on their next expedition. And a text from a dear friend just came in. And then another and then a news alert. And before the sideline commentary starts about this being just another spoiled Hollywood star with a list of addictions who couldn’t get his shit together, let me share a little story I haven’t told anyone. Not my best friend, not my parents, not anyone. Because it is too precious to me. But now is the time. And now is the place.

After Greg died I went on a travel quest of sorts, scattering his ashes where he requested and trying to piece my life and my soul back together as best I could. I spent quite a bit of time flying between LAX and Oakland, as I was living in West Hollywood but contemplating a move to San Francisco or Marin and visiting my best friend monthly at a minimum. Post 9/11 it wasn’t always easy to get a Tupperware of your late husband’s ashes through TSA security and at LAX one afternoon I found myself on the receiving end of an agent with a power trip like no other. After several threats of telling me I was going to have to toss the ashes, and me going ballistic and falling into hysterics and finally having a real cop come in and look at the death certificate I always carried with me, I made it to the bar still crying and clutching my little container. I sat in a corner table facing the wall with my whiskey on the rocks, and I felt a hand on my shoulder. And a soft voice asked “miss, I just want to be sure you are ok. I see you are traveling alone, and I saw what happened, and I just really want to be sure you are ok.” And through my tears I could place the voice but couldn’t actually believe that Robin Williams was just casually strolling through LAX and would actually take the time to stop to see if I was ok.

I was still crying that ugly cry where you are trying to catch your breath, and I gave him the Cliff Notes version of circumstances. And his eyes got a little glossy. And his voice got soft. And he said to me “Addiction is a real bitch. Mental illness and depression are the mother of all bitches. I am so sorry for all the pain your husband was in. I’m so sorry for the pain you are in now. But it sounds like you have family and friends and love. And that tips the scale a bit, right?” And he walked me to the gate as we were on the same commercial flight.

He was a gentle soul. He made us laugh and he made us cry. He made us feel with his craft. He was honest about his demons. He was open about his mistakes and his faults. He was obviously in pain.

Mental illness and severe depression are the mother of all bitches. Damn straight.

Rest in peace, Mr Williams. May you find the peace that alluded you here and may you keep the angels laughing.

Thanks for being there that day for me. You were the angel I needed. And I know you spoke from experience and I appreciated that.”

I miss my hood.


I miss my hood.

This is where I spent the first 12 years of my life. I really miss it, even at age 51. I went home this past weekend and toured my old neighborhood. My teenager was with me and I showed him my childhood home, my elementary school and all my favorite hangouts. Everything seem to be so small. The faces sure have changed- diversity is truly on Queenanne hill and I love it. The roads seem narrower- and things seemed almost overgrown. But it sure felt good visiting where I grew up.

It’s all fresh – nice to meet you 2014


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The idea of being 50 is just weird. The truth is in less than six months I’ll be 51. One of the creepy things about getting older is that the time goes by much faster – oh, and things from my childhood appear much smaller. For instance my childhood home seemed like a huge house but really was a small bungalow. Waiting for Christmas was always something that seemed to take forever. I couldn’t wait to turn 10, or 13, 16, or 18, or even 21. Looking back I want to say that I was even excited to turn 25. I’m not sure when time began to pass me as if I were standing still but it did. I the blink of a eye days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years and before I knew it three decades have passed since high school.

Really?

So what I’m trying to say is I welcome 2014 with open arms. My hope is not to make or keep resolutions so much as my goals is to learn something new every day, embrace each day fully, be grateful for my time on planet earth, love my family and my friends to really stop and smell the roses and experiences that we all have.

I feel like I have dodged a bullet


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We all sit side-by-side in those uncomfortable chairs. We read old magazines from 2005 – we read newspapers from last week – we make small talk – we text – and we wait, and we wait, and we wait. We see red rimmed eyes, we see friends, partners, and family members holding hands and giving reassuring pats on the backs of those they wait with. We hear “.Mrs. Smith would you please come back with us for more pictures there’s something the doctor would like to talk to you about.” And we know that is secret code for we think you have cancer. We mouth I’m sorry when we know someone has gotten bad news. We pray, chant, meditate and secretly hope to whatever deity is around that it’s not our turn. As we look at each other we wonder what our personal stories are. We are someone’s partner, wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend. We worry about being sick, we worry about surgery, and we worry about dying.

I really worry about dying.

Friday was a really long day. I was at the hospital all morning having a lump looked at. The waiting part was the worst. You see, I have always had this feeling that it’s going to be my turn in the cancer barrel it’s just a matter of when. So many friends before me are part of this ugly club and I watched, waited, held hands, and worried right along with them. When I discovered this lump and I confirmed that this lump was truly here by my husband and then by my physician I just felt resigned.

Thankfully I have a really good circle of support. I have an amazing friend who lives in Minnesota who is a breast cancer survivor who has been through all of this shit. She talked me through my wait time and what to expect.

Thank you Kathy I love you.

I’ve had lumps before and I’ve been I think pretty calm about them because they’ve always been the same – however, this one wasn’t the same. It was different, hard, not painful, and it made my doctor nervous. When he got nervous I got nervous.

The weird part about all of this is that it turned out to be negative and it wasn’t really a lump it was an enlarged lymph node in fact I have got many many lymph nodes in my body that are enlarged- that is another issue and the puzzle that we have to solve next week but for today there is no cancer and I am so thankful.

So for today I feel like I dodged a bullet