Memorial Weekend

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As I posted prior, last weekend I lost a good friend. My friend Dan died unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon of a heart attack.

This weekend was full of memorials and tributes. On Saturday a memorial was held at the United Methodist Church in Shadyside. Everyone’s words were heartfelt. There were sweet moments with funny stories from his closest friends and fiancee, and moments that brought me to tears. Dan’s best friend’s wife read a statement contributed by Dan’s family. The memorial was livestreamed for everyone in Easton and abroad who could not attend. After the speeches I got one of the best hugs ever from my friend sitting next to me. It was nice to have someone who is a new friend with a big heart embrace you fully. I knew I was in good company.

There was a good turn out. People who likely hadn’t seen each other since the dispersal of the Occupy camp in Pittsburgh greeted each other warmly, if not with sad condolences as well.

After the speaking portion of the memorial, there was a potluck. My friend Eric made wonderful brownies with peanut butter chips. I made a big old pan of lasagna. (I’m Italian, it’s what we do in times of grief.)

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We shared stories and smiled and laughed. It ended in a good place.

I went to a friend’s house for the evening. We celebrated in his honor. There was discussion, drinking, dancing, singing, music making, and silly videos. All things I think would have definitely been given the Dan Lichten seal of approval.

Today was the memorial tribute at People’s Park, the park where the Pittsburgh Occupy movement camped. I regret that I arrived late, but I got there in time to see them light a lantern that drifted off into the dusky sky… and almost land on a cop car.

There were beautiful flowers left on the fence to honor Dan and another Occupy comrade who had recently passed.

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It was too cold to stay and light candles, so the memorial dispersed. The group I was with didn’t want to go home so quickly, so we went to Primanti’s in Market Square for some warmth and a bite.

I’ve been wracking my brain for a summary. There really isn’t a nice tidy one. It’s a complex set of emotions. I feel guilt for not being more present in my friends life on his last days, when I knew that he often felt lonely and friendless. I feel sadness that he never got the chance to be all the things that I saw the potential for in him. I feel angry that his addictions took such a toll on his body at such an early age, causing everyone in his life, friends and family, to lose such a charismatic, loving person. I find myself reminded of him, and my loss, in music and moments. I find myself thinking, “What would Dan say about this?” Which turns out to be an interesting way to judge events. He had such a clear, outspoken voice, which I openly envy.

I’m reminded of a lot of little memories. I’m reminded of the time I cooked for the chef, himself, when he and Sharon came over my house. He couldn’t help but participate, but he was so appreciative that someone cooked for him. “No one ever cooks for me,” he told me. Wearing the sweater he gave me on a typical Pittsburgh day that had gone from Summer warmth to Autumn chill in a matter of hours, I was reminded of when he told me my apartment needed “a woman’s touch”. I remembered the video of him during Pittsburgh’s Pride march, where he kept messing with megaphone of the religious zealots, interrupting their hate speech. I remembered how he noticed when I wore make up. I laughed to myself about the time I had been standing on his porch in a shadow and made him jump when the motion sensor turned on the light. I thought about the way he used to read me when I thought I was being subtle and coy.

I feel closer to the new amazing people in my life. I take away from this that it is never too early or too soon to tell people that you love them. Say it when they are leaving. Hug them before they go. You honestly don’t know when it will be the last time you are with them. Make time for the people that matter, because being “too busy” for someone that you love and losing them makes you feel like shit.

I took the picture given to me at the memorial and put it with my father’s photo in my little cluster of personal photographs. I don’t think I could ever classify those two men as guardian angels, but if the spirit lives on after the body, I would be honored to have Dan in my corner.

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Renfield Update and Rewards

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Since the internet ate my last update on Renfield, I decided to recreate it with an update on the rewards I’m creating.

It was a horrifically rainy Tuesday evening. The kind of rain where you can’t even see the road. Surprisingly, Ren didn’t make a peep all the way out.

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He was only supposed to stay overnight, but the vet was uncertain about the anesthesia with his levels, even after overnight fluids. They wanted to give him a full 24 hours of it. The surgeon was booked on Thursday, so we had to wait to pick him up until after the procedure on Friday. 

The house was missing a piece without my boy. I am irrevocably attached to that grey bundle of fur. While most people say other animals in the house look around for the other missing pet, Pork seemed immediately even more vocal and attention seeking.

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When Ren came back they had to switch his paw for fluid during his stay, so he had little shavy fur boots.

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Any other time I have brought cats home from surgery, they’re usually a bit loopy but quickly tucker out. I spent the evening chasing him around like he had found his inner kitten. He begged and begged for food, so against doctor’s orders, I allowed him to have a small bit that he quickly threw up. 

He was prescribed antibiotics as a precaution. He’s always so much better with liquids than pills. I’m not sure if they filed his teeth down to razor points, but after a few days I began to look like I had given a hand job to a box grater, and I began to react like a vampire to garlic to the thought of immersing my hands in acidic fluids. After an evening in which Renfield managed to puke in every room in the house, I gave up on giving him the rest of the antibiotics. I assure you, he is fine.

I’m working on the rewards for the fundraising efforts, starting with the postcards. These probably need a few finishing touches, but it’s a good tease.

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Only 6 more to go before I can send these out. I’ll send out notifications emails to give you a heads up when they are on their way. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of the next batch!

femme: nude colors, lace, and sparkle

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I couldn’t find a photo of my most recent inspiration. I saw a red carpet dress that had a nude colored bodice with either rhinestone lace pattern, or perhaps sequins. Lately I’m kind of into lace, as it appeals to my obsession with layers. 

I did find some photos along that theme, so you get the jumping off point.

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My first idea was a very pale pink with a rosy gold glitter on top.

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Next I did the ELF color “Desert Haze” with little rhinestones and mixed glitter. 

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It was really tricky to take tweezers and try to put those tiny little rhinestones on right where I wanted them. 

Speaking of rhinestones, I don’t think I live the life of leisure to have rhinestones on my nails. Not that that fact will stop me when I want to wear them, but maybe I need to try some super glue the next time. They just pop off when you reach into your pocket. Not durable at all.

Most recently I used the same Desert Haze color with a lace pattern sticker from the same set as the rhinestones. I tried a light gold glitter on the tips, though I don’t think it’s very noticeable. 

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This might be the closest so far. I’d like to find a really good actual lace to cut and glue. I haven’t found a good lace to use thus far, but I’ll keep an eye out. These lace pattern stickers were also bothersome because they came in one large strip that I had to cut to separate. 

I’m also taking the Biotin again. I honestly think the most notable difference is the ring finger on my right hand that likes to split if the nail grows to any length. It seems less likely to split. Of course it split again recently, which is when I decided to start taking the Biotin again. 

Don’t know why I’m on such a feminine kick, but it’s just a nice change of pace. We’re all longing for Spring, here in Pittsburgh. Despite the bulb plants peeking (due to some serious Spring weather cock teases), Winter weather seems to be reluctant to release its grip. 

Here’s to Spring ahead.

 

In Memory of a Friend

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The month of March has never been my friend. The month of March was the month that I lost my father and my job in the same week almost ten years ago. I lost a friend this weekend. He lost his life during his 2nd heart attack. He was 35.

I met Dan just a little over a year ago. Last February, after a traumatic break up that almost broke me down, I was out with some mutual friends. My friend Beth had suggested setting me up with Dan, but never actually pursued it, he just happened to come out with her that night.

We hit it off fairly quickly. There was good conversation and mutual interests. He walked me to my car, and I joked later that I had wanted to ask for his number but hadn’t. I sent him a friend request that evening and we talked the next day. We went on a few dates, but never a committed relationship. He laughed at me for sending a text before our first date that said “we’d have fun with our clothes on”, just to make sure he knew the boundaries beforehand. Maybe most women aren’t that straightforward?

Our 2nd date we handed out condoms to homeless busker kids in South Side. Dan had one of the biggest hearts I will probably ever know. I learned quickly that Dan was never comfortable just sitting around. He was honest to a fault and not one to ever back down from a confrontation, but would at admit when he was wrong. We met shortly after I had learned to drive. Sometimes being in the car with me would stress him out a bit, but he would compliment me when I improved the next time we were together. He was one of the handful of people who helped me move. He liked to cook and would always share his food with me. Dan was the first person I knew who used Sriracha as a regular condiment. He stayed up with me late at night, when I would sob my way through anxiety, never passing judgement, always kind.

Dan was from Easton, Pennsylvania, but he was a long time resident in Pittsburgh. His pride was on his skin.

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He was a man who stood up for what he believed in. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Occupy movement. I remember him telling me the story of his confrontation with the police, nose to nose during the G20 conference, when he showed me this picture with immense pride.

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I remember one of the times we hung out together and I helped him shave his head. He took the clippers from me, telling me I was being too timid.

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I wish I had more photos of us together. But instead I have this photo that Dan took with his friend, Mr. Turtle, who he like to take pictures of.

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Dan leaves behind a fiancee, family, and many friends who will remember his larger than life personality. He burned too bright, too fast. I will always regret not spending more time with Dan, during the short and intense time I knew him. Though I comfort myself with the knowledge that he would forgive me, if I could tell him. I don’t think he ever really knew the extent to which he was loved, and he’ll be missed terribly.

His fiancee, Sharon, has created a fundraising page for anyone who would like to contribute to off setting the family’s funeral costs.

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/8SVy2?psid=17864c7595de4f238343a8e2678fae45

 

bright and girly

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I was recently inspired by the chapter I’m reading in John Water’s book Role Models. It may have been intended as satirical, but I took his statement to buck trends to heart. So when I heard neutrals were the look for spring, I pulled out my brights. 

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I used a matte top coat to pull the colors together. 

Then I decided to go femme with a chunky rose gold glitter over a pale pink. Is it just me or does anyone else have an issue with chunky glitters? Seems like if you don’t do multiple coats, you get hardly any on the first application. 

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I’m looking forward to some experiments coming up in the future. I have so many ideas!