Blogging has been slow here at LivingSmall because I just haven’t felt like I had anything interesting to say. It’s been a weird month — I’ve been a tiny bit depressed — I have to say, I sort of thought this grief thing would get easier at some point — like after I made it through the first anniversary, or got through the holidays — but it still just sucks. And trying to write this book isn’t helping — I mean, last January was SO horrible what with the crying on the couch with the dog in my lap, and the endless reruns of Judging Amy and all, that what sane person would decide that a reasonable course of action would be to sit down a year later, and describe it all in detail? And then there’s the Real Job, which has me frantic with worry — I got booted into a similar but totally different job back in October, and because it is similar to what I used to do, my manager seems to think that I actually know what the fuck I’m doing. Which I don’t. I spent three hours the other day trying to figure out how to update the cross references on this minor document I’m working on — three hours! And I’m going to have to rewrite two user guides, two administrators guides, and build online help for two different products — and the online help thing is such a mystery to me that I’m surviving by living in complete denial that I’m going to have to do it at all.
So anyway, I’ve been feeling very bitter and grinchy and sorry for myself because I have far too much debt to quit the Real Job to write full time, which is a ridiculous idea anyway because whatever literary career I had lasted about a year and a half before my novel went out of print, and I don’t know whether I can even finish this memoir-thing, much less sell it. I’ve also been in a dark hole of sadness and terror that with Patrick gone I don’t have anyone to rely on, which since I seem to have neglected to acquire a husband along the way, and I’m now of that age where it’s more likely that I’ll be killed by a terrorist than ever married, well, I’ve been indulging in little dark fantasies of winding up as an old tottery woman alone in this house with my dogs. But because I really have been trying very hard to keep my chin above water, I invited everyone over for Family Dinner last night.
One of the things I’ve found most difficult has been Sunday nights. I like to cook a nice dinner on Sundays — I like a house that smells like food, like people actually live there. So one of my New Years Resolutions was that I was going to start having people over on Sundays and I was going to cook. So I did — there were six of us last night. I made a big pot of braised short ribs, and some lovely yellow saffron rice, and a salad. Nothing fancy, just Family Dinner.
Now, at my table we had three writers, a photographer, and a former movie star — and because my friends are all a little bit older than I am, and because that President is promulgating this lie that Social Security is in “crisis” so he can dismantle the last safety net most of us have, the talk turned to getting older, and what the hell we’re all going to do. No one I know really has a steady income, (well, except me that is, because I have the Real Job). We didn’t come up with any solutions, but in some weird way, knowing that nobody has their shit together, and that even my seemingly-stable, sort of grown up friends are scared as shitless as I am most of the time, made everything much better. We had a nice dinner. We had eachother. We had a lot of laughs planning a communal Old Age Home — one with a bar, and a pool for our old broken bodies, and of course, dogs would be allowed. All joking aside, there was a real sense that somehow, we’ll all figure this out together. Which is just about all the solace one can hope for after another dark January.