This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 17

Every year I try and make sure I do something meaningful on September 17. This year was no exception. My brother Tom asked if I wanted to meet him in London, England. He was going on business, so we ran around a few days before his meeting started. I thank Tom for such an offer - I wouldn't have thought to do something so special on my own and it was nice to be with Tom to celebrate Jim's life.

We had such fun. I arrived there the morning of September 17, jet-lagged but thrilled to be there nonetheless. Stepping off the Tube and into Piccadilly Circus reminded me of the previous trips I'd taken with Jim. The fun and the sense of adventure we'd had. And I wondered what took me so long to get back to Europe. I truly love it.

The first time Jim and I went to Europe, we decided to go to Rome after Christmas. I got cheap tickets and called Jim at the office one day. A bit hesitantly I said "Um. You know how we always say we're going to Europe but we never do?" ... [suspicious pause on the other end of the phone] ... "Yes?" ... "Well, I bought us some tickets to Rome. We're going to be there for New Years." ... [sigh] "Okay. That sounds fun!"

Jim wasn't sure what he'd signed up for, but when he saw the Colosseum he was off his rocker with excitement. Something about the Colosseum really clicked in his mind (luckily we went to the Colosseum first!) and he realized that this was a really fabulous thing to do. We had a marvelous time in Rome. We chose one major tourist attraction to see per day. But otherwise we hung out in the cafes and little restaurants, ate great food, took walks, shopped, napped, and drank coffee. That was it. A simple trip that was beyond awesome. We saw all the major sights but we didn't try to cram so much in that it wasn't fun.

This was my fourth time in London so Tom and I didn't try and see the sights. We walked, talked, shopped, and ate fabulous food. We spent hours at Portobello and Camden Markets, and an entire afternoon looking at books on Charing Cross Road. It was the kind of trip I loved to take with Jim, where we didn't have a schedule. We just did...whatever...and tried to soak it all in.

I miss Jim every single day. Literally not a day goes by when I don't feel the ache, the hole in my heart that seems to never shrink. I see Jim reflected in my kids. In my home. I hear his words and think of his soft arms wrapped around me. I so miss him. I hope that I am honoring his memory and keeping him alive for my kids. I have better memories than they do, so I always hope that I appropriately convey to the kids the truly stellar man that their father was.

I still miss you every day, Lambchop. I love you. Thanks for the adventures that we had together - they mean so much to me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


A number of people have asked me to update the blog. The last blog I wrote was after an exceptionally frustrating date. It's been a crazy summer, full of events and revelations and even...a new boyfriend. :)

So here's the scoop:

That date from the "Argh" post was, simply put, the worst date of my entire 2 year career. Worse than the guy who went out with me for a few hours and then asked me to be his "friend with benefits". Worse than the racist. Worse than the guy who lied about being divorced. Worse than the guy with a gaggle of kids who wasn't even separated and asked me out at a bar - then had the gaul to flat out tell me he was still married. The best part about that night was the 2 hour phone call I had with a friend of mine while I waited in the parking lot in my locked car to verify that the coast was clear for me to go home. But, I digress. That's not what this blog is about.

This blog is about this summer. The three major things I did this summer:
1. I took the kids and went with my folks and one of my brothers to Oregon to check out if I would like to move there.
2. The kids and I spent three leisurely weeks up north.
3. I dated A LOT. And I met someone special. And I fell in love.

Ladies, no scrolling down to read about the love part. ;-) You have to read everything so you have it all in context!

1. Oregon. Beautiful. Scenic. Hot. Expensive. Hippies. (Sorry Suzy!) And as aforementioned boyfriend calls them "Trustafarians". Basically, rich kids that choose to be homeless because they've devoted their lives to following Phish, smoking [insert drug] and dragging a dirty dog around while begging for money. Hey, I like Phish too - but let's face it, I'm too old and high maintenance to be homeless!

Oregon was not for me. More to the point, I didn't believe it was for my kids. I'm not ripping on Oregon. I loved it as a vacation spot. It was just a solid knock in the head that where I've been in the past and where I'm going in the future are two vastly different lifestyles. Ashland reminded me of my neighborhood in Atlanta. I loved that neighborhood. *When I didn't have kids.* Jim was never particularly fond of the hippies, but I always found it funny. This time, I was annoyed at the hippies and their lack of caring for their yards. If you want to hang a giant peace symbol made from Christmas lights, great. But hanging it on a $600,000 house seems a

Oregon made me appreciate Kohler. I've always had a bit of an "I'm too cool for school in Kohler" attitude. Jim loved the one-horse town feel of it. He loved the Stepford feel. He loved that all the yards are neatly trimmed and that they have a sense of community. He loved that he would be able to walk the kids to school and see many, many people we know on the way to school or out and about in the village. I used to scoff at Jim and tell him he needed to toughen up - that Kohler was a gross misrepresentation of the real world and that the people here are too sheltered. Um...I don't know. Maybe I've been living in Shangri-La for too long, but...I like it when I see people I know. I like it that I can walk my kids to school. (Although I don't because we're always running late!) I like it that everyone's yard is neatly trimmed. I L.O.V.E. it that the kids in Kohler can run around outside for hours on end and play without fear. And I love it that my kids and I are sheltered in the sweet bubble that is Kohler.

SO, that's not to say that my dreams of moving are completely laid to rest; rather that I've tabled them for the time being. I'm happy with where I am and what I'm doing. I can't beat the location of my house, my neighbors, my neighbors kids, or my support system here.

2. Three leisurely weeks up north were nothing short of fabulous. We ate cookies. We played on the beach. Took pontoon boat rides. Saw friends. Drank wine. Ate drippy soft-serve ice cream cones. My friend Sara came to visit. My three weeks were cut a teensy bit short by the untimely passing of a friend. Sara went home early so I could go to the service. My friend's entire family has helped me and my kids through Jim's passing. It made me reevaluate my path. It made me wonder what my next steps in life should be. It made me mourn for my friend, for his wife, for their kids. It made me sad for their dreams lost. And it made me revisit my own dreams lost. I cried, really hard, for a single night. Aforementioned boyfriend came to the service with me and witnessed my unbearable range of emotion. My nervous laugh that is loud and inappropriate. Tears rife with grief. Anger.

After thinking it through, I decided that:
1. I will be to my girlfriend as a few have been to me - persistent. I needed that. I'm hoping she'll take me up on offers. If she really doesn't want to, I'm hoping she'll tell me to get lost. But I needed persistence to keep going, and some people really did that for me.
2. I have three things to focus on this year - my kids, my home, and the Disney marathon. I'm running (well, Judi is running, I'm limping/walking) with Judi in memory of Jim. She and Jim were going to run it together. Heaven knows I can't run it with her, but I can be there to celebrate with her at the end. Or...I can be there to celebrate with her three hours after she finishes! The kids and my home - my goal is to get it together for my kids. And have a home that I'm proud of. And that means cleaning up and getting organized. I'm hoping all this running and organizing will put me in a good place for parenting.
3. I will no longer be a chicken. I will tell people how I feel about them. I will put myself out there even more than I have before. And God knows I'm pretty much all out there emotionally. Over the last 3 years I've not been good about calling people, contacting friends, etc. It's something I used to work on that I'm no longer doing. I put many of my relationships on the back burner to focus on what was immediately in front of me. I feel ready to continue on.

So the three weeks, wonderful, and although tragedy struck my friends' lives, I hope it's made me a better person going forward. It certainly gave me pause to reevaluate my life.

Here's an enormous thank-you to my parents, who watched the kids. Played with the kids. And gave me and the kids tons of love.

3. Are you ready for number 3? I can think of at least one person that is partly covering her face as she reads this with one squinted eye. God love her, that person is one of my very best friends, Susan.

This has been one hell of a fun summer. I've dated no less than 5 guys. All of them interesting. All of them fun in their own right. After Eric and I broke up, I wasn't ready for another relationship. So I dated around and made it very clear to each of the guys that I was just looking to get out of the house - I didn't want anything serious.

But then...I started going out with Susan's brother, John. At first we were friends. Because he was single and I was single and we certainly had enough to commiserate about regarding the dating scene. I first met John at my kegger. He helped prep for the party and we had a nice talk about dating. It was John that I talked to for two hours after my awful date from the "Argh" post.

I knew something may have been different in Oregon. John and I had already hung out a couple of times, and we were texting back and forth. That's not so unusual - I'm all about texting. It's easier. But my brother Tom teased me and pointed out that I would get all excited when John texted me. Tom actually did a little skit about me and my texts from John, and I started to wonder if there was something more to it than I realized. Then I noticed that I was basically hanging on my phone, waiting for him to text me. And that when he did, I felt a thrill run through me. OVER A TEXT. Aw. Shoot.

Before I got back we agreed to go out two nights in a row. I was delighted. And when we did go out, he asked me to date him exclusively. We did a three week "trial" in which we were supposed to get everything out in the open. He knows I'm neurotic. He knows I'm a hypochondiac. He knows I have a horrific temper. He knows I'm moody and high maintenance. He knows I miss Jim every day, and that I plan to celebrate Jim for the rest of my life. I just put it all out there. Because honestly, that's the only way I know. I learned from Reid (the Yoda of honesty) - if I can't be 100% honest, then I'm hurting me and the other person in the relationship. 100% honesty might be painful for a moment, but misrepresentation and lies can be painful for a lot longer, if not a lifetime. In any case, I decided not to be a chicken with John. I put it all out there and let him know how I feel.

How do I feel? In short, I love him.

He makes me excited. He makes me calm. He makes me right. He makes me shut up and listen. Not because he commands it, but because I want to. (We all know that right there is a feat in itself.) He makes me laugh. And shake my head. He makes me think about the future. When I get one of his texts, I feel a thrill. When I see him, my heart pounds and I grin like a fool. When he leaves, I'm utterly depressed. I hang on his every word. A lot of them I have to look up in the dictionary, which I find embarrassing and humorous.

He's not like Jim, except in one way. He is, as Jim was, a magnificent human being. I am honored to spend time with him. I know something is different about John the way I knew something was different about Jim.

I can't say what will happen. I know John loves me. I don't know how much or if it has the staying power that Jim and I had. I am fearful, of course, that I am offering this out to John, Susan, and the world, and that it will fall flat. But I can't ever know if I don't try. If I don't put myself out there. If I don't learn. If it falls flat, I'm a resilient optimist. I'll try again - with no less abandon than I'm using now. Because that's who I am, take it or leave it. I hope to high heaven that he'll take it.