Thanks all (again)

“I’m just seriously lucky. And I have amazing friends.”

That’s what Mary (Mare) McHenry told me over the phone, and it’s not the first time she said it. And I can relate, because, like her, I’m lucky, and I lucked out with friends as well. When I think of her words, I think, in no uncertain terms, that she’s one of the people I’m glad to know (and no, it has nothing to do with her cooking!).

This has not been an easy tax season, and it has not been an easy year.

What some of you may not know, and this went double for when Bruce Nazarian passed, is that I couldn’t take time off work at all. My grandmother passed right before a major deadline; even though I am sure I wouldn’t have had a problem taking bereavement leave, I just couldn’t do it. And because Bruce wasn’t immediate family, regardless of how close he and I were, I couldn’t even think of taking bereavement.

Muscling through the extended tax deadlines with two deaths of the people who were my family… really, on the list of shit I had to deal with, that takes the top spot.

And if not for my friends, I would really, really not have made it even to this point.

Here’s the thing, kids. I am a hard-ass, but I’m not so much a hard-ass that losses don’t affect me. There’s only so much “getting over it” that a person can do before they need a little bit of a boost in getting through the daily grind. I hit a serious wall in March, and it got to the point where I was lucky if I could tell what time it was. And just FYI: sleep deprivation takes your short-term memory and puts it through the shredder. I’m only now at the point where my brain can reconstruct what happened in the past 7-8 weeks.

And I am lucky, so so so very lucky that I had people to get me through all of this.

Mare. Karen Hartley. S.R. Torris. Theresa Guerrero. KT & Kristine Jones. And a few more people. I’m thankful for their presence, because at more than a few points in the past 4 months, they would be the only reason I would have to smile on a given day.

And what I’m looking forward to right now is a great summer – and a great rest of the year – full of more smiles, with those people, and many others. KT and I have plenty of photos to snap. Mare and I have lots of delicious food in our future. Karen and her sister Cheryl and I are sure to have a few shows to attend. There’s many more smiles ahead, and I definitely want to pay it forward with a few.