Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

June Check-In

I just got back last night from my weekend in Missouri memorializing my close friend, Jared, who passed away in February. My aunt, who is moving from the area this summer, picked me up from the airport when I arrived on Friday and we had an early dinner and reminisced about my grandparents and talked about lots of stuff. Then I headed to my hotel where I met up with my BFF, Chad, who made the trip from Chicago. We hung out at the bar that Jared managed and met some people he worked with and then hit the hay pretty early. The next day we met up with about eight other college friends who were close with Jared and we celebrated his life into the wee hours of the morning, which he would have loved. Sunday was the day of his actual memorial at the arts center where he was a big fixture, and it was moving and sad and lovely and I’m so glad I went.

Jared was a prolific amateur photographer and constantly took photos of his friends/ people in his life. At the memorial, his brothers had set up a couple tables full of photos they found in Jared’s house, and on the very top of one of the piles was a photo I knew existed but hadn’t seen in years. It’s the first picture ever taken of Simone and me, twenty years ago this summer, when she was just a few days old, just after she showed up at my doorstep looking for a home. When she died in October, I looked everywhere for this photo and couldn’t find it, so I was really happy to see it among Jared’s collection, displayed so I could easily spot it, a little parting gift from my friend.

Needless to say, I’ve totally neglected this site for a few days while I immersed myself in all the big feelings of the weekend, and now it’s going to take me a few days to catch up. I have a bunch of emails to read and respond to, and since there’s no school today and I’m on mom duty, it may take another day or two before I have a fresh post up. Thank you for your patience – especially during this past year in which I’ve had a lot of personal stuff needing my attention and affecting the time I’ve been able to devote here. Joanie starts full-time public school (universal pre-k for the win!) in September, and it will be the first time in eight years I will have five days a week again to work on my own projects and not have a small kid at home needing me (at least from 8-2, anyway). I’m looking forward to being able to re-priotize this space in my life, as well as some other writing I want to do.

In the meantime: how are you? What’s new in your life? What are your summer plans?

35 comments… add one
  • MissD June 11, 2019, 9:47 am

    When you have more time for yourself, I really hope you’ll publish your Alphabet series and sell it on the site. Because so many of us love your stories!

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  • courtney89 June 11, 2019, 9:52 am

    What a sweet picture!!! Kitties are just the best. Sounds like a very touching service, and lovely that you were able to make it to the Midwest.

    I’m in the Southwest and we’ve had such a great May / start of June weather-wise, but here come the 105+ days, so i think i need a lake / beach / mountain trip soon so it’s happening!!

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  • honeybeenicki June 11, 2019, 10:22 am

    What a great picture! I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like you celebrated him in ways he would love, so that’s great!

    I have been mostly just reading, not commenting lately as I’ve been crazy busy. Someone left at work almost 2 years ago and I took over her job and it is WAY busier than I’m used to. Add that to a house full of animals and a crazy mini-me who keeps me on all of my toes and I have no time to myself.
    How exciting to get your days back! Enjoy them 🙂

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  • Kate Avery June 11, 2019, 10:26 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You honored I’m well, though.

    Like I said in the open Friday thread, I got a new kitten who was desperately in need of a home. Also, I’m sure I’m bugging people (including strangers on internet forums) by being unable to stop talking about it. But, it’s legit the only thing going on in my life.


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    • Kate Avery June 11, 2019, 10:27 am

      Honored him, I mean.

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    • Kicia June 11, 2019, 10:42 am

      He’s so freaking cute! Does he have a name?

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      • Kate Avery June 11, 2019, 11:50 am

        I’m a lit geek, so don’t make fun, but…..


    • Allornone June 11, 2019, 11:52 am

      shoot. somehow signed under the wrong name. But yea, Catsby.

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    • Dear Wendy June 11, 2019, 7:09 pm

      OMG, he’s really cute!

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    • Lucia_la June 12, 2019, 4:27 am

      Aww he’s very cute! I took in an abandoned kitten about a year ago now and he’s the absolute best (even though he’s a little shit sometimes). It’s been so fun watching him grow and develop a personality.

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  • LadyinPurpleNotRed June 11, 2019, 10:39 am

    I got an incredible new job that starts next week. I cannot wait. My old job was kind of soul sucking and they didn’t treat their employees right. I got such a good feeling from the new company, they offered me a higher salary than I asked and the benefits package is unreal. I feel so fortunate to have this new opportunity and all that it will allow me to do. Plus, summertime in Chicago is HERE and it feels so good!

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    • Dear Wendy June 11, 2019, 7:10 pm

      Congrats on the new job!
      And, there’s nothing like summertime in Chicago!

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  • Ruby Tuesday June 11, 2019, 1:00 pm

    Simone, Jared, you, and your family are in my thoughts!

    In other news, I am getting married in 11 days and I might punch my computer in the face if I look at The Knot’s countdown one more time.

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    • bondgirl June 12, 2019, 7:37 am

      As a newlywed (6 weeks now!), I totally relate to your pre-wedding stress. So much crap went down in the final 2-3 weeks and honestly, all you can do is just roll with it…and have the wine handy lol. Accept that some things are out of your control and try not to dwell on it…and delegate when you can. If someone offers to help, take them up on their offer. The whole wedding planning process showed me the only people in my life worth moving mountains for. I hope you at least have a day-of coordinator that will do all the worrying for you on the big day. I had one and she was utterly amazing. The wedding day itself will FLY BY (it’s so true!) so make sure you take time to absorb each moment. Don’t fret so much about visiting each guest, they all come to you anyway!

      Hang in there these last 11 days! The wedding’s gonna be awesome!!!

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  • Kate June 11, 2019, 1:41 pm

    Things have changed a lot for me this year! I’m working two different jobs (a startup with some former co-workers, plus some additional consulting work to supplement while that gets up and running) and trying to go to night school for a graduate certificate in a Computer Science topic that doesn’t come naturally to me and now I’m like why the hell am I doing this. I also have two family members having health issues.

    Anyway. I want to talk about Target T-shirts. They put in one of those smaller urban Targets like a block away, and since I’m wfh now I go over there all the time. I love their t-shirts from the A New Day and Universal Thread brands. They are surprisingly good quality, very soft and comfy, and nice cotton that doesn’t make you hot. I buy them for my aunt who’s in a nursing home too, because they’re perfect for someone who is being dressed by someone else and having their laundry done institutionally… you can’t have fussy, delicate clothes. And the nurses keep saying how cute and modern she looks in the striped patterns and even tie-dye. One of them stopped me in the hall and was like, omg, you are bringing her the cutest shirts!

    Universal Thread jeans from Target are awesome too! I stopped buying cheap jeans years ago because they never look right and often stretch out and just aren’t flattering. But whatever they did to these, wow, they got the fabric, the fit, and the stretch right! I bought distressed skinny ankle jeans (good for people who aren’t tall), and they’re like my favorite pair these days.

    Also, I was away from home and picked up some of this conditioner at CVS (just in a little packet like this) https://www.nexxus.com/en/us/all-hair-types/nexxus-vital-8-in-1-hair-masque-for-all-hair-types-605592701924.html
    And I LOVE it!!!! It’s great for my hair, which is wavy/curly/frizzy but not thick, and also is color treated. It is silicone free. I just use it as regular conditioner although it’s marketed as a masque.

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    • Ruby Tuesday June 11, 2019, 6:10 pm

      Target’s clothing (and home!) lines have really improved in the past couple years. I bought a great skirt for Pride recently, plus pretty much an apartment’s worth of furniture in the past two years.

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      • Kate June 11, 2019, 6:40 pm

        Was it the rainbow tutu skirt??

    • anonymousse June 11, 2019, 7:50 pm

      Congrats on the new endeavors!

      I really like the Universal Thread line. I haven’t tried their pants, but I bought a few pairs of their shorts this spring. They are comfortable and look good.

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      • Kate June 12, 2019, 2:48 pm

        Thank you! It turns out I actually like doing stats analysis in R, it’s kind of like brain teasers, but the amount of time this class takes up and what it’s doing to my sleep schedule, fuuuuuck.

        I want to get some of their shorts that are, like, dressier, with a tie waist. I have good jean shorts already, but their other kinds of shorts are really cute!

    • LisforLeslie June 12, 2019, 6:49 am

      So things are pretty slow in your world… cool.
      Remember everything you’re doing has a purpose and a good hair day can make your week.

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      • Kate June 12, 2019, 2:49 pm

        Haha, thank you, that’s true.

    • MaterialsGirl June 12, 2019, 2:03 pm

      I do love those tshirts! I’ve grabbed a lot of target tshirts for maternity and now nursing. they’re so comfortable and hold up great.
      Also, love the nexxus stuff. I used that during the winter now and again

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  • TaraMonster June 11, 2019, 2:58 pm

    What a beautiful photo, Wendy. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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  • Ange June 11, 2019, 7:14 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss again Wendy but it sounds like a beautiful celebration of life among the sadness.

    Mostly I’m just excited to be living with my husband again soon, even if I’m going to freeze to death. I’m still wearing shorts and tshirts in winter where I am and we’re moving to a pretty cold region. Ugh.

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  • Anonymous June 12, 2019, 1:06 am

    That photo made me tear up.
    I am having a shitty June. Another Christmas Movie is kicking my ass. And today as I was out near Joshua Tree, California — I had the grim task of touring a friend’s property that was hit with a wildfire yesterday. The house was saved. But 5 of 7 pristine desert acres burned. Many Joshua Trees are gone and I was left just wrecked by the melted cactus strewn everywhere. And all because some asshole tossed a god damn cigarette out a fucking car window.
    If I ever see anybody do that… I will first run them off the fucking road. Then drive right over again and again until they are nothing but a shit stain on asphalt.
    Life sucks. Just fucking over it.

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  • LesforLeslie June 12, 2019, 6:57 am

    That is a picture of two babies. You’re a baby in that pic (a cute baby, but a baby nonetheless).

    Work is hell right now. After 12 hours my brain just stops. I’m glad it’s summer so at least if I start in the dark, I end when it’s still light out. And a new client lead is stepping in and I did a little checking (everyone knows someone ) and this person has a reputation for smiling to your face and then stabbing you in the back. I’ve started putting my entire team on notice and given explicit instructions on engagement.

    But I’m planning a short get away to Montreal with my mom followed by a visit with my sister & nephew.

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  • MaterialsGirl June 12, 2019, 2:07 pm

    Life is.. at an intersection right now. Both of us are trying to find new jobs since our company is circling the toilet drain and the management is just awful. i’m ready to nest, to settle in as a family etc. MaterialsBaby is getting bigger and mobile and the nightmares about the many ways she can get hurt are overwhelming. Trying to take it easy, enjoy the morning stroller runs, the beautiful Chicago summer and homemade pasta.

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    • Kate June 12, 2019, 2:52 pm

      That just happened to me, company was obviously going down the toilet. They had laid off all but 3 of us, so it was like, anytime. I found the new startup gig JUST as they were closing up shop, which is nice because I can collect UE while contracting until the startup can hire me FT. Good luck, it will work out, but it’s stressful when it’s both of you, damn.

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      • MaterialsGirl June 12, 2019, 7:06 pm

        Completely. And my brother. More than likely, the company will be sold, but people are leaving en masse and it’s really time. Plus, if they are sold and keep current management, then our problems are the same. But I did just go to Target and buy some T-shirts so feeling better 🙂
        Do you like the start up?

      • Kate June 14, 2019, 8:59 am

        Buying Target t-shirts does make me feel better emotionally, I don’t really know why.

        Yes, what the startup does is really cool! We have to now sell some stuff, and then get venture funding. I really want it to work!

      • MaterialsGirl June 14, 2019, 10:37 am

        Good luck, Kate!

        Also, rocking a target top today.

      • Kate June 14, 2019, 12:48 pm


  • Taylor June 15, 2019, 7:30 pm

    That picture is so lovely. My condolences on the loss of your friend Wendy.

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