I have MIA for many months. I would love to say I have been writing a book or being published somewhere but come on. I’ve been mostly, when not working, sitting my chair either staring blankly at the tv or just staring blankly. I am having a crap year.

50 was supposed to be my year. The year I dig myself out of all the holes I got myself in. The lottery money was supposed to come pouring in and the weight was supposed to starting dripping off. None of it happened. Just more holes. I fought hard with Capri to make 50 my year. I feel I should have been more of a lady and let her have it. Truth is I am no lady. I did have a great birthday party. Those wonderful Colonie girls are as bossy and scary as us South Troy girls. They made it all happen so me and my old, old friends could sit back and get stinking drunk. OK maybe only me. I was in bed at 7 pm that night and, to my credit, worked the next day.

I did go away with Capri and Socks for a weekend at the casino. We (mainly Capri) almost got into a fight with the “ladies” in the room next to us. We realized that we were not ready for casino bingo. It was six hours long and there was smoking in certain parts of the bingo parlor. Six hours would, damage Capri’s bladder, put Socks over the edge, and my back would seize up. We passed and decided that eating, shopping, talking Capri out of advent calendars and fancy recipe boxes, stopping for afternoon coffee and treats, and avoiding getting our asses kicked were more our speed. Also, Socks did try to kill me by unplugging my CPAP machine in the middle of the night because Capri needed to recharge her phone. I am not really sure who was the mastermind if any. Socks did promise to try not to kill me next time. The word “try” makes me nervous. I am getting my own room next time.

There were also many, many dinners with the THS 86 friends. They are always an overindulgent, overeating bonanza. In February, it was a red couch party. In July it was a hot dog bar party. In October it was an Italian sausage party. Not the sexy kind, actual food sausage. That is my kind of sexy sausage party. I’m too old and fat for the other kind. Also in October was Socks’ 50th birthday party. It was a costume party. Capri and her husband were Bob and Linda Belcher. I was Beefsquatch. That was a special night in many, many ways. It was the last time we would see an elder in our lives. Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. For that, to see this wonderful person for the last time so happy and fun, takes away some of the hurt. Just some of it.

There were also many Friday pizza nights, taco parities, poetry readings, features, and adventures. My last one was to Gloversville where it was billed as a “one-woman show”. I wasn’t really prepared and tanked it. So it goes. I have seen some great new poets this year and got to hear some great words. I have been kind of stuck in the writing department lately. I guess I need more quiet time to catch up with my thoughts.

One of the weirder evenings this year was recently at the Hangar on the Hudson. I love seeing live music there. It is very Troy and very cool. 3b bought me a ticket to go see NRBQ. It is one of his favorite live bands. He has been there for me all year simultaneously comforting me and driving me crazy so I felt an obligation to go. I started to get a migraine and cancelled at the last minute. I was ready to unclip my bra and call it a night when 3b came back into the house and declared that he had a flat tire. He wanted to drive my new lease and since no fucking way was that happening, we headed to Troy. We walked and the first thing I noticed were chairs. Usually, at these shows, it is all dance floor. OK. I find a spot in the corner in the back. I like doing this there. I like being in the back, as I don’t dance but I can still see everything. As the migraine medicine sunk in, I realized that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The second thing I noticed was how old everyone was. I was young in this crowd. Cool. Not so much. As the band began, I started to get why 3b liked them. That was until the improvisational jazz began. I respect jazz, jam bands, and insanity, just not all a once. They lost me. It was painful. It went from 3b declaring to me (or himself), “what a treat” to “come the fuck on”. Then some local legend gets on the mic, promotes his own show and does a number with the band. It didn’t seem planned, it just seemed rude. And then there was elbow man. He stood on palates above and in back of us with his hands on his hips and turning very quickly from side to side thus giving me a couple of rapid-fire whacks to the head. Before I had a chance to process this, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I just hit you in the head.” That was it. That is all he said. I look a 3b and decide before I start swinging I move. Elbows then moves over just enough to rapid fire a couple of shots into 3b’s head. 3b turns around and looks at him and the man asks him if he is mad at him. No shit. When I moved to avoid troublesome girl, exactly the same height as me steps in front of me real close. I had her hair in my face close. I gave her three sharp waitress checks and she just turned around and smiled at me. Not a regular smile or an angry smile, worse than that. She gave me a vacant smile. The smile of a crazy person. Oh great, I just found a small vacant spot at the bar and prayed for it to all end. 3b was very apologetic but in the end we all laughed.

I would love to say that this year was full or more laughs than tears but that wouldn’t be true. It was one of those years full of “growing pains”. I hate growing pains. I hope you had a fantastic year. I hope to have a better year personally next year. I am grateful to have my girl be healthy and when not in a tween rant, she is a kind kid. My fingers are crossed for next year. If nothing else, I hope to get a nap.