Miles, 2005 – 2023

This is the post I’ve dreaded writing for years, and over the past week, I started several different versions of it. The truth is, nothing I can say would do justice to the cat that was Miles, but his death warrants more than just a passing mention in a comment on a Friday Links post.

How Did You Decide Whether to Have Another Baby?

A couple weeks ago, I opened up my IG stories to quick advice questions anyone might have (saved to a highlight reel here). The most common question was: “How did you know if you wanted a second baby?” I gave a brief answer in my stories, but I thought I’d open the topic here, too, for anyone else contemplating this question or able to share a personal experience. Much like deciding whether or when to have a baby in the first place, I think a lot of the decision process comes down to listening to your heart, considering your family dynamic and whether you think a baby will add or detract from…

Simone, 1999- 2018

This morning we had to say good-bye to our dear Simone, my companion of 19 years. I’ve written about her a lot on this site, most notably here. I was 22 when she showed up on my doorstep one summer evening back in 1999 in Springfield, Missouri. She was teeny tiny and fit right into the palm of my hand. I didn’t want a cat though, didn’t know what to do with a cat, had never had a cat; I gave her to some neighbors. For the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I thought I’d made a mistake giving her away and I considered asking for her back,…

She’s Here!!

We’re thrilled to introduce our daughter, Joanie May Condell, born at 8:26 PM on 7-7-15, 5 lbs. 13 oz. She’s sweet as can be and can’t wait to meet her big brother later today and more family and friends soon. Everyone is healthy, happy, and tired. More photos and details to come.

Happy News

In early November, about a week before we moved into our new apartment — the bigger, three-bedroom apartment our family could grow into regardless of whether we remained just the three of us or were lucky enough to add a fourth Condellberry to the mix — we grabbed some dinner at Shake Shack one evening. At the table next to us was a woman who used to own an upholstery and design store in our neighborhood until she closed it a couple years ago. She was there with her tween daughter. “Hi,” I said as we sat down, “You reupholstered a chair for us a few years ago.” It was a chair…

Five Years After the Proposal

Five years ago today, Drew asked me to marry him. I’ve told the proposal story a bunch of times, but for those who can’t get enough (or, you know, haven’t heard it before): pre-Jackson, we always had a Friday evening tradition of meeting up after work and getting shit-faced at Happy Hour somewhere and then eating a drunken dinner around 8 and then falling dead-asleep at like 9:30 with our contacts still in. Romance! Anyway, it was a Friday evening five years ago when Drew asked if I wanted to meet him for a walk in Central Park before getting shit-faced, and I was like, “Sure, why not?” At the time, we…

Showing Up: The Single Most Important Thing A Friend Can Do

Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of letters and seeing a lot of topics in the forums about friendship — specifically, trouble making and keeping friends. As I get older — I’ll be 37 (!) in a few days — I’ve noticed several things about friendships: they are harder to make and keep as your life fills with more responsibilities (career, spouses/partners, kids, aging parents, and a mortgage and other bills to name a few); friends’ support is more important as your life fills with more demands, challenges, and successes to celebrate; the best friends aren’t necessarily the ones you have the most fun partying with but are the ones who SHOW…

Happy Birthday, Miles

He turns 8 today, that handsome guy, and he’s celebrating with belly rubs, a long brushing session, lots of naps, and some extra Fancy Feast. P.S. Jackson, who is really into calling things by their names — or at least a name, even if it’s one he’s made up — now calls Miles “No-Mass.” (I don’t get it either). When I told him this morning that today is Miles’ birthday, Jackson lit up and yelled “NO-MASSSSSSS!!!!!” and then ran at top-toddler speed over to Miles, plopped on top of him and gave him a full-body hug. Simone is already dreading her birthday in July.

Alphabet, A History: W (Winter)

The following piece of creative nonfiction is part of a series I started on my personal blog a few years ago called “Alphabet: A History,” which is a collection of short, autobiographical vignettes, focusing mainly on relationships (familial, romantic, platonic, and self). It’s July, 2004 — hot and sticky. We’re sitting in his backyard drinking Gin & Tonics and taking turns reading the latest issue of Vanity Fair. “You have any beer?” I ask. “No,” he replies, reaching for his wallet, “but I’ll buy if you fly.” I stand up and take his money, my arms are full of freckles, and I’m wearing those Nine West flip flops with the little black…

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