on this day, 5 years ago...


On this day, 5 years ago, an acquaintance passed away. I wish I could say she was someone I was close to, but the reality is, we weren’t really good friends. Her boyfriend, and eventual husband, was childhood friends with my boyfriend, and eventual husband. We saw each other in passing and at social engagements on a fairly regular basis, but the reality was, we had nothing in common. She was much more domesticated than I was and she had a level of confidence I couldn’t comprehend or process. Not surprisingly, we never really became friends, we just hung out when our husbands hung out and even then, it was at a superficial level.

What I remember most about her is her obsession with kids and motherhood. Even though she had a graduate degree and a good job, nothing mattered more than being a mom, and a stay-at-home mom at that. I totally judged her. Once she gave birth to her daughter, she followed through, and quit working to be home with her new baby. Again, I totally judged. But from there, things spiraled. She got sick and diagnosed with a terminal disease when her daughter was about 6 months old and she passed about 8 months after that. It was one of the most horrific things I have ever witnessed, and I just witnessed it from a distance.

Years later, I gave birth to my son. For those that have had a kid, you’ll recall there is a period afterwards where you are just sitting looking at this little baby thinking “what the fuck did I do.” But I then started reflecting on the levity of the situation; on the fact that I just brought life into this world and that I am responsible for this human for the rest of my life basically. That the relationship I have with this human could dictate his future, his happiness, and his ability to navigate the world and have healthy relationships and fulfilling endevors.

I had a new determination to live, but more importantly to live without regret. A realization that this child is my legacy and I wanted to enable him to be the best person he could be. And that lead me back to my widowed friends wife. I had just experienced one of the most pivotal moments in my life, and I thought of someone who I didn’t even really know? It was so strange, but in that moment, her confidence, her wisdom about the importance of motherhood just encompassed my whole being. I thought about how if I only have 6 months to feel the level of happiness, joy and contentment that I felt holding my son in my arms, that 6 months would not be littered with back to work anxiety, especially to go do something I didn’t love.

The reason I write this today is because this year, the anniversary of her death comes at an awkward time in my life. I am vetting my professional options, and it’s a trigger for regret of leaving the workforce in the first place. I calculate how much money I would have earned, and think about how liberating it sounds to have only professional obligations for several hours a day. I am networking with people younger, smarter and way cooler than I ever was and wonder why anyone would ever want to work with my old ass. I miss the relationships, the day-to-day banter, and the challenges of work. But then today happened. I woke up and saw the date and immediately thought of her. I thought about what she would say about my situation, and it remind of me how precious time is and how short our lives really are.

As her family remembers her today, they have no idea that some random person like me is also reflecting on her life. It is a tragedy that can never be justified, but through her tragedy, through her life and her values, I gained a perspective that has provided me with the best 3 years of my life. I am so thankful to have crossed her path and so devistated that I now cannot tell her directly that she was totally right and I was wrong. November 3rd will always be a day to remember the importance of family, love and life. I will also remind myself to be grateful for every breath I take and every hug I get with my son. As a tribute to her life, I will never take mine for granted.

the good bad and ugly of mental health in society, specifically our schools and our personal lives

Laurie catches up by telling us about her awesome experience at the Breakout Room. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, Crimson ends up in Cheboygan Michigan and sees the divided America we hear of, with shrines to Donald and solid love for Hillary. Randomly, we end up talking about the warm fuzzies we get from our awesome father-in-laws (yes we got off topic). But, then we move to the realities of mental health in our educational system by looking at its failings and identifying some of the gaps we currently face to start solving the problems. All of this was inspired by NPR’s website dedicated to the “Silent Epidemic” which goes through the realities of our current system for our youth and how it is lacking. We also discuss the importance of social science research, and understanding how it can improve our day-to-day lives. Given we are seeing a millennials surge into the mental health system, we have a generation of adults looking to better themselves, and develop coping skills that can improve the lives of many generations beyond them. We close out with a half ass sell out to Westworld, but Crimson passed out so she couldn’t fully comment. So more to come on that next week.

the trump tapes, rape pests, the value of consent, and the great regression of the right.

Warning: this episode is super-explicit.

After a cheers to Laurie for officially being a fully licensed therapist, we catch up. Hillary and Donald went head-to-head for one last, horribly uncomfortable, time and we can’t help but comment. Then we move on to the largest controversy of the election, the Trump Tapes, where Donald Trump is able to normalize the term “grab them by the pussy.” While the discussion could be about just how offensive this is, instead the ladies decide to pivot to the implications this has on the societial norms and human behavior. Crimson provides a defense of decent men, an argument well articulated in blog form on Huffington Post. While this election has been a nasty one, it may be a catalyst for men to finally stand up and defend decency towards women. Our discussion then moves on to trying to understand the line between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and what the word “consent” really means. Crimson highlights an episode of This American Life, where they discuss college campus assults and you can see how the area between dating/parting and harrassment/assult can feel like a gray area for our youth and how education could help circumvent a major issue for both men and women on college campuses. Which brings us to the first thing we agree with Rush limbaugh on. He perfectly articulates the liberal vision of how to progress forward in the sexual murkiness with one word, consent. To wrap it all up, Crimson, once again, sells out for Michelle Obama and her beautiful speech in response to the Trump Tapes. This may be the only uplifting 28 minutes of the longest Presidential election, ever. And Laurie leaves the discussion on a hilarious note, with a call out for SNL’s Melania Trump music video, which is a spoof of one of Crimson’s past sell outs, Beyonce’s Lemonade.

how to reconcile perception vs. reality

The ladies catch up with a discussion of the Vice Presidential debate performances by Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. Laurie talks about Hurricane Matthew, and the flock of birds at risk, which totally canceled Crimson’s family vacation. After a sellout to the Anchor, OTR we discuss the repulsive, or enjoyable nature of oysters. Crimson gave the a try once, in [Rhode Island](http://www.rhodyoysters.com/], and finds it to be the most repulsive thing ever, but Laurie loves them, and they are delicious at the Anchor. Then we dive into discussion about how the concept of individual perception is difficult to negotiate with the realities or facts of life.

How do we come to terms with the fact everyone lives in their perceptions, but some have self awareness that others do not? Crimson wants to find the justice in it all, but Laurie keeps it real and points out some more practical implications. At the end of the day, you can’t change humans, you have to learn to accept them, regardless of their perceptions…well maybe. Crimson may disagree? On an related notes we discuss two awesome books the Year of Living Biblically, a book about a mans pursuit to live literally as the Bible commands. Also, Whats the Matter with Kansas, where Thomas Frank trys to explain why some voters vote against their best interest.

debate, debate, debate

Laurie gives us an all important update on the Brangelina drama, and then we dig into all things debate night. Crimson tries to buy a bottle of The Federalist Zinfandel, featuring her favorite founding father, Thomas Jefferson but instead buys the version with George Washington on, which is a total buzz kill and embarrassment. The ladies try to break down debate night by discussing the fashion, our favorite moments, and our overall assessment of the real impact of the debate.

Laurie sells out for the The Cincinnati Food and Wine Festival and Crimson shockingly sells out for John Oliver because of his brilliant way of putting the “Clinton scandals” in perspective of this election and her competition. Oh and check out Hillary Clinton on Between Two Ferns and let us know if it is as awkward for you as it was for Crimson.