Monday, October 24, 2011

People Are Awesome: Part I.

As most of you know, my aunt passed away this month. We just recently returned from traveling for the funeral, and since then I've been working a lot, Kathy quit her job, oh, and we're constantly trying to figure out how to afford our life. You know, whatever, just STUFF HAS BEEN HAPPENING. However, it occurred to me this weekend that in the midst of everything this month, we have been blessed by some really awesome people being in our lives who are being especially awesome. 

While death in general always forces you to appreciate the art of being alive as a whole, one of the best things (if you could say that) about celebrating my aunt's life was fully realizing and appreciating how many lives she touched and made better. And I think just her memory will continue to make lives better.

Sometimes, particularly at times like these, I start thinking about all the people I know and how we are all connected in so many different ways and the breadth and depth of it all is just startling. And a whole bunch of other cheesy stuff I don't know how to say. And while people can really suck, I often feel overwhelmed at how wonderful people can actually be.

I also sometimes feel this way when I am drunk and/or listening to really good music, whatever makes me abnormally honest and perceptive. I think about all the people who will be at our wedding and I feel so overwhelmed I want to cry and cry and cry with gratitude. Being drunk is generally a better time to feel these types of emotions than when dealing with death, but either way, it is important. I feel that I am not articulating any of this right. If I had an editor, he/she would tell me to scrap all of this.

To get to the point, events of this month have suddenly made me want to start a new tradition of pointing out and documenting particular people who are being particularly awesome at a particular moment in time to me. Every list will be an incomplete list, and each list will actually be almost more for me than necessarily for the people I call out, but they deserve to be called out regardless.

1. Kim & Cliff. Let me tell you about Kim & Cliff. Our friends from undergrad in Boston (Kim + Kathy = roomates for life), they also lived in Oregon briefly when we moved here and then moved away for a few years and then just moved back. Wait, was that confusing? Just go with it. Anyway, they actually don't live in Portland but in Eugene, which is an hour and a half/two-ish hours away. However, they came up  literally only hours after I talked to them about my aunt, and offered to stay for five days at our house taking care of our animals while we were away. The best part about friends like this is there's not even a moment's hesitation. Like just bam, we are going to help you 'cause that's how we do. Like I said: people are good. And on top of that, they had their amazing dog Rudy (LOOK AT HIMMMM) staying here as well and  they helped train our own chronically dog-phobic dog more than anything we have accomplished in three years. What? And then they came up AGAIN just a few days later to go to a party with us. They are pretty much the nicest people in the universe.

2. Various members of my family. In particular, my brother and his wife spent way too many hours in the car to pick us up from and take us to various airports. These treks included driving through various boroughs of New York City, New Jersey, and rush hour in Washington, DC. Bleck. But again, they never complained once about any of it. They also introduced Kathy to her first ever Wegmans experience, so that's pretty special.

And then let's talk about how my mom is pretty much single-handedly remodeling  her huge house by herself. As in, oh yeah, I just redid all of the ceiling tiles by myself and am scraping off wallpaper and moving furniture and making blueprints even though I work 40+ hours a week and take like four different dance classes, whatever.

Also, even though my dad never really talks about himself like ever, he has been Doing A Lot of Stuff, and while he talked about my aunt being selfless in his eulogy he is pretty selfless himself and one of the least judgmental people I've ever known, and I wish I could help him more somehow. He always knows the right things to say, and he is just an overall good guy. You know?

And Sara is real happy because she's a-gonna get married, and that makes me happy, and Dave hugs so hard, and they're both just so smart all the time. I'll probably never know as much stuff as they do but I'm okay with that, and I'm glad they do.

And last but not least, my smart and hilarious cousins Jen and Jodi, along with my amazing grandmother, dealt with everything with a special brand of grace, humor, and strength that I would like to achieve some day. They are all so special.

3. Ashley. We had only met Ashley like two or three times in our lives a year or two ago but already felt like she was One of Us from pretty much the first moment, well because she is. It was one of these first few times of hanging out with her at Sarah's house in Oregon City, I think it was, that we were like, "Wait. This is only the third time we've actually hung out? That doesn't make sense, cauuuuuse I think we've been friends for years." Even though she lives in Seattle we've gotten to see her a few times this month and I mainly wanted to include her because I have to explain how this lady greets you the first time she sees you, whether it's from across the room in a restaurant or as soon as she opens her door to meet your tired faces. It sounds like this:

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" This is accompanied by lots of jumping up and down and hugging and continued screaming. Every. Single. Time. It is the best way to be greeted, ever, and it also makes all and any bad feelings go away, immediately, and somehow, magically, everything is fun.

We have a few other friends who were the original friends of Ashley and they scream-greet in the same way (Meredith and Zoe I'm looking at you) and if we are all together the screaming is obnoxiously unstoppable and amazingly glorious. However, Ashley is particularly good at it. I feel bad for people who have not experienced an Ashley greeting in their lives.

4. Matie. So Matie is really more of Kathy's friend than mine, but let's be honest, I wouldn't really have any friends if it weren't for Kathy, so, it's all the same. Or something. Also, I know I just joked about how little we knew Ashley before we were friends4life, but let me tell you a story. We have known Matie for less than a month--or I have anyway--and she is flying out from New York to visit us over New Year's Eve. And okay, maybe she just wants a vacation and maybe she just wants to visit Portland because who wouldn't, it is awesome, but I'm preferring to think that somebody likes us so much after pretty much just meeting us that they are spending lots of money to come see us. Because that is a better story. This is particularly nice because 1) I love visitors with a fiery passion, 2) This will be the first year ever in the history of life that we won't be on the East Coast/with family for Christmas, so it'll be great to have something to still look forward to over the holidays. In fact, I am pretty much ready to go get our Christmas tree and just have it all happen right now! I think the Christmas lights in this picture are influencing this feeling. By the way Matie, I stole this picture from your Facebook, hope that's cool. I didn't know which picture you would prefer so I felt a lot of pressure, but this one shows your hair real good. 3) New friends are awesome, and as I just mentioned, Matie has amazing hair. It is almost as amazing as our friend Grey's hair, but my love for Grey's hair is so strong it may be hard to beat. However, maybe they can meet when Matie visits and then they could have a hair-off. Although I'm not quite sure what this would entail.

I also want to include Florence (+ the Machine) on this list, but she is not actually my friend, although I feel like she is. But she has been a big part of this October. So thanks anyway, Florence!

This is probably the best idea for a blog post I've ever had. I'm already excited about writing Part II and then part III and IV and until I don't know my Roman numerals anymore. I can't tell you who'll be on those lists, but I bet you they'll probably be awesome.

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