Category Archives: friendship

Together We Have Walked

Am I the only one shocked that it is July? What the heck happened to the end of June? In fairness, I have needed a lot of time to really recover from this past school year. Normally, by the end of June, I have already started on the summer projects. Not this year. I felt like I needed many days just sleeping and not doing much without staring at a long to do list. I think I’m slowly easing my way out of this recovery towards a more productive summer. I know what you might be thinking. Why does she need to be productive? Simple. During the school year, I put everything I need to do outside of work to the side. Now, it is time to get things done, which feels good.

During the last couple of weeks, I have had some scheduled conferences with Rhonda. Not only does this allow us to finalize plans for that weekend in Vegas (I hear a band is playing!) but to get us started on what has become a new project. Yes, I said new. Initially, we thought we would just write about something we had outlined previously. Well, we discovered that it didn’t thrill us. It didn’t excite us. So, we did what any insane people would do. We talked. We brainstormed. We listed ideas. We came up with something that we think will be great. Now, we have lots to do as we continue to formulate our new idea, which has led us to ask some questions on our social media. It also brought us back to thinking about Duran Duran. We are not just thinking of the band in the way that is common. It isn’t just about the music or videos or fans but placing the band in a larger context, in society, which I really love.

This has made me happy. First, I love thinking about Duran Duran again. They have become something that is just a part of my life, rather than something special. I personally needed to remember why I love them and this is helping me do that. Second, and more importantly, I have loved chatting about the band with Rhonda. We needed to do that. It brings our connection back to life and more. One thing that I have become certain is the importance of working with others. I couldn’t have run a successful campaign without a team, without people to brainstorm ideas with, to seek feedback, to question and to be questioned by and with. It helped me do my best work. The same is true with teaching. I am very fortunate that I get to work with people I like and work well with. Being in a team has helped all of us be better teachers. The very same thing is true with Rhonda. If we were to work on this project by ourselves, I’m certain that we would do an okay job but together, it has a much stronger possibility of being awesome.

Here’s the thing that we have always known. We bring different strengths and perspectives to this blog and to any project that we do. At the same time, we both love the band. Likewise, we both enjoy the heck of researching and writing. We share enough while at the same time balancing each other out, filling in any gaps, and pushing each other to do our best thinking and writing. I tend to think that we are not that different than any other successful team. Look at the band. They share a love of music and more. At the same time, they also are not completely alike. I suspect that they have pushed each other to create the best music possible or to put on the most amazing live performances that they can. Now, I know that they can all do fabulous work on their own or with other musicians as their solo and side projects show. That said, I think that most of us would agree that Duran projects are better than any of those. Why is that? I think it because of this balance as well as the pushing that happens within a good team. I, for one, am super thankful that they all found each other. Likewise, I feel extremely fortunate to be a member of teams in all facets of my life from politics to teaching and, most importantly for this blog, to fandom.

-A

I’ll Hold on to the MemorY

This is not my typical blog. I wish that my writing partner had this one to write as she is so much better at this sort of thing than I am. I’m much more comfortable with facts, analysis, and statistics not because I’m unfeeling but because that is far safer. On top of that, my friend and her loved ones deserve the highest quality of blogs. That said, I’ll do my best for her and her loved ones.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, our friend, Alana, lost her fierce battle against cancer at the end of the week. The outpouring of love and grief on social media for her shows just a fraction of how much she meant to the people who knew her. I suspect that everyone who ever met Alana loved her and wanted to be around her. She was one of those special people who was just genuinely warm, friendly, and supportive. People were drawn her because her presence made everyone feel comfortable and safe. Even someone like me who cautiously watches people before opening up to them immediately knew that Alana could be trusted. It was obvious that she was just such a good egg.

I don’t remember exactly when we talked for the first time or actually met in person. I don’t think it was long after that first time that Alana’s presence in my world and in Duranland was felt. I know that it must have been fairly quickly after we started this blog. There were many times in the first few years that Rhonda and I weren’t always so sure about what we were doing here. I’m not even sure we really had a plan and so we often seemed to be wandering aimlessly, uncertain about ourselves. Yet, when we were really questioning continuing there was Alana offering her support and her encouragement. Even years later, after she had been diagnosed, she still supported us either through comments or through donations. She was so good as dropping in with some inspirational statement at just the right time that I began to wonder if she wasn’t psychic in some way. She just knew when she was needed.

Duranland needed her, too. This fandom of ours is not always easy. There is an inherent competition that continues to burst on to the scene despite any and all attempts at stopping it. Too often fans seek more of everything, including more knowledge, more insider information, more contacts with the band members, more photos, more VIP tickets, etc. Alana was the antithesis to that. Don’t get me wrong. She loved Duran Duran and loved being at shows and with other fans but she never tried to one up someone else. She was someone that we should all try to be more like, myself included. I think back to a general admission show in Biloxi, Mississippi in the summer of 2012. When Rhonda and I decided to go to this show, we decided to go all in. This meant getting up at the crack of dawn to wait in line, all day, in hopes of getting up close. Somehow when we got into the venue, Rhonda and I did, indeed, make it to the front, holding on to the front rail for dear life. Who was right behind us in more than one way? Alana. I remember turning around and seeing the huge smile on her face. Yes, she was thrilled to have a good spot to see the show for herself but she was just as excited for us, for having our first front row experience.

After that summer, with encouragement from people like her and others, Rhonda and I jumped in to plan a convention that we held in Chicago in October 2013. Again, Alana was there the whole time keeping our spirits up when things were tough with the planning and at the convention itself to help us celebrate. The night before most attendees arrived, a group of us went out to Neo, a club that I loved, for their 80s night. We danced and danced in between getting drinks and trying to explain to people there how all of us from such different places would be together in Chicago. As Planet Earth played, I remember this feeling of pure joy spread over me. I was at home, doing what I loved with my people, people who understood and accepted me. That feeling is not one that I have a lot but I knew then and I know it now that Alana had a lot to do with that.

Like many that Alana touched in some way, saying goodbye is tough. I wish I had more time, more fun, more Duran experiences with her but feel so lucky that I got to call her my friend.

-A

Words Are All Remainders

Last weekend, I shared the list of the top 15 Duran Duran songs in terms of lyrics as voted by the readers of this blog. I had chosen that particular homework task because I have been thinking a lot of how much the lyrics of Duran songs matter, how much I have connected with various lyrics at different times. It doesn’t have to be some big moments in my life for this happen. I often find myself, for example, sitting it my car when a Duran song comes on and some lyric catches my attention. Maybe it is a lyric that seemed poetic for the first time or perhaps, it is when the line completely matches how my day was or how I was feeling about a specific topic. While there are other artists who have great lyrics, there has always been something special, more meaningful, more intriguing about Duran’s lyrics. Realizing this, I started thinking. Is there more than can be done with lyrics besides the homework assignment I just gave? I think yes.

One of the things that I have always been proud of is when we have been able to get Duranies more involved in the fan community. For example, seeing Duranies come to meet ups, meet other fans and become friends make my heart smile. After all, the friendships are what makes fandom worth it. As much as I love Duran’s music, I’m not sure I would still be around if it wasn’t for my friendships. They keep me going. Anyway, is there a way to have people participate in our fan community more in connection with lyrics? Hmm….again, I think yes.

So far I want something to do with lyrics and something that would increase people’s participation in the fan community. Could I also do something to help people get to know each other more or better? Maybe I am thinking about this because I struggle with getting to know people online and vice versa. I recognize that I’m not the easiest to get to know and I know that my lifestyle might be a lot different than most Duranies. I’m not married. I don’t kids (beyond the 120 I have at work). While there are a lot of Duranie teachers out there, I don’t see a ton of Duranies who are political activists. I recognize that people might not think we have anything in common or might even be turned off by this activism. Yet, like everyone else, I’m more than these labels. It would be nice to be able to show more of me and to get to know my fellow fans more. Okay, now, my task is to come up with something that involves lyrics, will make people participate more and allow the chance for people to get to know each other better.

Here’s what I’m thinking. What if I asked questions of fellow fans but the answers must be in the form of lyrics. What example I could ask a question like, “What Duran lyric best describes your life right now?” I would hope that this would get people thinking about Duran lyrics. Then, of course, I would hope that they would share their response online and explain as much as they are comfortable with about the reasoning behind whatever lyric is chosen. Maybe I would have a question a week? It would give people time to think, to respond, and to discuss.

What do you all think about this idea? Would you participate?

-A

Just Like That River: My Online Friend Joel.

Hear them shout across the land

I think I have been trying to collect my thoughts since last night, when I heard that a fellow fan named Joel David had suddenly passed away. We knew one another online, but had never met in person. I suppose I’m still shocked this morning.

We had been in the middle of dinner – we’d started late because of that dreaded Daylight Savings Time nonsense (if you’re on Twitter, you know how much I detest it!). Sure, my clock might say 8pm, but my body says it’s 7pm, and that’s that. Walt and I were still sitting at our counter, watching American Idol (yes, I’ve succumbed) and talking over our half-finished glasses of Cabernet. I saw my phone light up and decided to inspect it. My older kids are far enough away now to where I tend to worry more.(I know I shouldn’t, but I’m a mom. Plain and simple.) I picked it up and drew a huge breath, loud enough for Walt to hear.

Durandy’s news that Joel David had died was bright and easily read – right there on my screen. I re-read his short note over, and over again, because out of everyone I knew of in Duranland – I couldn’t quite believe it was Joel that we’d lost. I would hear from that guy nearly every day. Whether it was a comment on Facebook about something I’d written on the blog, Twitter, or connecting on one of DDHQ’s own status updates – Joel was a mainstay in the community. I appreciated his usually sunny-outlook, and his support.

I’ve seen you on TV

I spend a lot of time online. (Although my phone tells me that my screen time was down 25% last week!) I spend a lot of time talking to people on Twitter, among many other things. It is how I choose to remain connected to the world. Most days – I don’t mind that I don’t necessarily know my neighbors or have friends nearby. I am able to open my phone, get to Twitter, and chat away with people whenever I feel the urge, and I like that. Between my trusty laptop and my phone, I’m pretty set. I’m not someone who thrives by having lunches with friends, or shopping dates – although they’re nice – they’re not a necessity for me. Social media though? Yes, it’s a thing.

I’ve had friends – and yes, Amanda is one of them – say to me that they don’t have time to be online. They’ve got careers and real things to do. They want time with actual people, and I don’t fault anyone for needing that. It is important to have people you’re able to call at 3am that can be there. Online friendships aren’t always the same. They’re not necessarily as deep or meaningful. In some ways, I get it.

It’s true that a lot of my friendships might be superficial. I mean, we chat about a band, so sure, it doesn’t seem like we get into the nitty gritty of politics, or childrearing, or personal convictions (but often times, we do). And no, I wouldn’t call my online friends at 3am. But then again, I wouldn’t call anyone at 3am, except for maybe my mom, my sister, and my kids. From my own experience, good phone calls don’t come at that hour…unless maybe you’re very confused about the time difference. (Listen, my math isn’t that great so….)

Regardless, I get the point. Then again, you’re reading a blog from someone who hates using the phone for it’s originally intended purpose. Just saying.

I know what you’re thinking

It’s true. I don’t have a job, much less a career. I have some spare time (although not nearly as much as one might think) on my hands. While I indeed have some personal thoughts about careers and life-choices that I won’t bore you all with here, I think the main point I want to make is that we all choose how to connect with people.

My path is likely different from most anybody else reading this. Different does not mean “less than”. If you’re looking down your nose at me, or the other people who like being on Facebook or Twitter for the pure social aspect, you should probably rethink your own intentions. I’m happy that I’m online. I don’t look at it as a waste of time at all. It is how I choose to interact with people other than my immediate family. For me, various types of social media have been how I have made, and maintained, 90% of the friendships I’ve had as an adult, believe it or not.

When I first really got involved in the Duran fan community, it was through message boards. I met Amanda as a result of one of those boards. When Twitter and Facebook gained in popularity, I made the jump to those platforms. Then the blog and website came along, and we even still have a message board. (albeit I am hard pressed finding time and remembering to go over there a lot – but I try!) I am on and off of Twitter all day. I can scroll through, respond to things in a fraction of a second, and be off again; even while I’m working with my youngest on her math. You’d think I wouldn’t have to stand over her to get work done, but you’d be wrong. Kids are great.

Two, of a billion stars

Joel is one of those people that I would often see a note, or see a new Instagram post from. He was, from what I knew, a happy guy. He would reach out when he had something to say, and he even checked in with me when I admitted being very depressed last year. I loved seeing his pictures, and enjoyed knowing he was a part of this community. Had I not been involved on social media, I would have never connected with him. For that matter, the same can be said for many of you reading this, or tweeting to me or Daily Duranie on Twitter.

I guess my feelings today can best be summed up like this: I’m sad that I won’t see Joel online anymore. He was a friend, and I felt like he cared. I feel terrible for his friends and family. His loss will certainly be felt by a lot of people. Knowing Joel, I am betting he had absolutely no idea that so many of us would respond as we have.

When she shines, she really shows you all she can

By the same token, I am no longer going to feel less important or impactful because I have time to be online, or because I have made friends this way. No, I am not a big career-person, and that’s hard for me to admit. I wanted a career of my own, but it just never quite worked out. I am probably not changing the world in a huge, noticeable way. However, I have done things to make a part of this world – my teeny-tiny little speck on it, anyway – a little better. More importantly, we ALL have, in ways that are both big and small. We don’t always see the impact we have on others, but I can promise it’s there. Have faith in that, as I try to do the same each day.

I don’t go through life assigning importance to people based on some sort of arbitrary sort of list, pondering over whether or not they’ve contributed to society, or causes, at an appropriate level. However, even if I had, Joel never failed to make me smile. In a world and on platforms that are filled with people so angry they can’t even see the good that is out there – Joel spread happiness. There’s nothing wrong with that in my book.

Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand

It isn’t lost on me that our Duranie world is the teeniest bit smaller today. Many of us are sad or are struggling. (Shout out to my buddy Alana – I’m thinking of you!! You too Heather – keep on healing, my friend!) Those are healthy and normal feelings to have and share with others. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. We’re not ALWAYS dancing on the sand…but aren’t we lucky to have found a community of people who understand when we do?

There’s always something to be thankful for.

-R


I Don’t Really Know What I’m Doing Here

Sometimes I’m caught in a landslide

I think I’m beginning to realize that it’s over for now. Everyone has gone home, and we’re all coming out of the haze of exhaustion that surrounds us like a snuggly cloak when we’re in the thick of it. We don’t even notice how tired we really are on those mornings in between shows – at least not much beyond saying we need coffee, or that we’re SO TIRED – because we have another gig waiting. That energy tends to keep us fueled up, and ready to keep dancing.

Yeah, that was all fine and good until last night for me. I was tired when I got home on Sunday night, sure. I mean, I left the Vespar bar at Cosmo around 4am (what on earth was I thinking?!?) and only got a few hours of rest before my body decided it was wake-up time. Even so, it wasn’t that bad. Monday night, I’d say the same. I was tired from dealing with school – my youngest is really giving me a hard time at the moment – but I was fine.

Last night though? It was my body telling me that I was done. I had gone on a walk in the late afternoon, charging up the steep driveway from my house and out into the surrounding neighborhood. I just needed time to listen to my audiobook and not think. By the time I got back, I couldn’t wait to be done with dinner so I could go to bed!

My beat’s so in time

This morning I had to take the child to school and run to the store. On the way back I was thinking about the weekend. I had such a great time. That, in and of itself isn’t a surprise. I was in Vegas, my friends were with me, we ate, laughed, drank, danced and talked our way from Thursday straight to Sunday. It was everything I’d hoped for and more.

I think that for me it is knowing that it will be awhile until I see my friends again that makes me saddest. Amanda and I have been friends for fifteen years now – truthfully I think it was just about this time in 2004 when she first posted on our message board about going to the convention. Might have been a few months later, but not much. Our lives have changed a lot since then.

It is unreasonable to expect that nothing will change. I think even the way she and I look at shows or prepare for them is different now than it was in 2005 when we first went to that Chicago show. I didn’t know much of anything then, and the entire “process”, so to speak, felt new. In some small ways, I miss that “brand new” feeling.

I’m out of reach, I’ll talk if it feels right

Nowadays, Amanda and I don’t connect nearly as often. Every once in a while we do catch up – but right now, she’s far busier than I am, teaching at school and managing a local election campaign. I’m proud of her, and I am thrilled she’s going after her passion. Sometimes though, I worry that her joy in doing this – the blogging and the fan thing – has waned. Yet, I understand. Last year I had zero passion for anything, really. Packing boxes is what got me through. I wouldn’t think, I’d just pack. Fandom isn’t something that you can’t pick back up again, though. Sometimes you really do have to put it down for a while in order to fully appreciate it.

Getting together this weekend felt like a triumph, really. I found that I appreciated being there, seeing the lights, feeling the hugs, and seeing the joy in the faces of my fellow Duranies and other friends. It was truly beyond words. Coming home hasn’t really been a let-down, but it does make my heart hope for more to come.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to feel that way once in a while. Participating in fandom can be really fulfilling. I had told my friend Patty, and even Dom at one point that going to these weekend things where we have the chance to hang out together after a show, feels a lot like family reunion. We might be dysfunctional from time to time, but we’re still family.

-R

Live Beside It, Laughing Till You’re Crying

You might have heard that Wisconsin has had quite a winter. Actually, it started out quiet and very mild and then it took a turn. We have experienced almost the entire season’s snowfall in a few weeks on top of having beyond frigid temperatures. This has resulted in six snow days. I have been teaching for a long time and we have never had as much. In fact, the number is double the maximum number of days we had in the past. What the heck. Anyway, when I have been at work, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with our curriculum now that we have a lot less days to work with. This led to a funny discussion.

Before I dive into the details, I have to provide some context. When I first started teaching at this school, the entire United States History Team consisted of women, except one. Even our assistant principal was a woman. Over time, this slowly changed. Now, I look around and realize that I’m the only woman among all men. How did that happen?! Luckily, the men I work with are generally good guys (not that I would ever tell them that!). They are well-aware that I’m a pretty outspoken colleague when it comes to issues surrounding women’s rights and women’s voices. (I do teach Women’s Studies, after all.) While they respect that and do try to check themselves, they also cannot resist to give me a hard time every once in awhile.

Earlier this week, we went over the daily topics for the next few weeks. By doing that, we realized that Wednesday the 20th would not be a teaching day. On that date, our juniors take the ACT. While many teachers proctor the exam, the 9th grade teachers like myself have a meeting. Then, the afternoon is usually open for us to work. This led me to literally shout out in glee. Is it because I don’t want to teach? No. It has to do with perfect timing! The free afternoon will give me time to get the plans for the substitute teacher ready. It will ease my stress at work tremendously.

You can imagine my colleagues shock when they heard me squeal. They know that I’m not usually one to enjoy teacher work days. This forced me to explain that I will be gone on the 21st and 22nd while still giving minimal information about where and why I will be out. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of my Duranie activities but knowing my colleagues, they would twist it, somehow, to give me a hard time. Finally, after too many questions, I told them that I would be in Vegas for Duran. Their response was super predictable. One of them said, “There you go again. Letting your life to be dedicated by a bunch of guys,” before laughing his head off. I laughed, too, especially after I threw a pencil at him.

I wasn’t even mad by the comment but clearly he doesn’t really understand fandom or at least my fandom. Yes, the subject of my fandom is Duran Duran, a bunch of guys. That’s true. Yes, I’m traveling to Vegas to see them live. Absolutely not a lie. While it might seem like my life revolves around them, it doesn’t. While I adore Duran shows and believe that seeing them live in the best way I could spend two hours ever, they are more the excuse, the icing on the cake. Yep. Duran Duran is the best excuse I have to get together with my friends, away from home.

My Duran Duran weekends do consists of hours watching, singing and screaming during those two hour concerts. More than that, though, they consist of spending time with my female friends. There is something that is good for my soul when I am surrounded with other women. While we might have really different lives, opinions, perspectives, etc, we do all have some shared experiences simply by being women and then by being Duran Duran fans. It feels safe.

For those of you who do not know me, let me share a little secret. I very much like to be in control as it makes me feel safe and protected. When I’m around my female friends, there is less of a need for that. Instead, I can let me hair down, so to speak, and just have a good time. This is a welcome relief from the day-to-day experience of what I call “normal.” Besides, who else can I laugh with when it comes to talking about how the aging fanbase needs different touring items now that we are in our 40s? Who else can I giggle with when we begin to discuss some of the band’s more interesting fashion choices or dance moves?

So, in reality, going on tour isn’t really about five guys in a band. No, it is about having a girls weekend spending time doing what we love best.

-A

A moment worth celebrating

Some days are just meant to be celebrated!  I am super behind today already, but I needed to take a minute and congratulate my dearest friend on some VERY hard-fought victories.

A lot of people, including myself – simply vote on election day. We proudly display our “I voted” stickers as though we’ve done something monumental, take selfies and display them all over the net. My friend Amanda takes the process a lot more to heart. She volunteers for campaigns, running and organizing teams of people for canvassing, among a great many other things. In short, she lives, eats, and breathes campaigning. Since 2010, she has been working nearly non-stop to “right” some of the things that have happened in her state. Last night (or early this morning!), election results appear to show that her goal has finally been reached.

My purpose in writing this post isn’t to get into political debate over what anyone else may think or feel is right or wrong…but simply to prove a point that I think has been very lost in this world lately.

Amanda and I kind of sit on opposite sides of the political spectrum, to some degree. I lean more towards right of center. She is most definitely on the left. Yet we still get along, and agree on a great many things. We find common ground because THAT IS WHAT NORMAL, LEVEL-HEADED PEOPLE DO.

I respect Amanda, 100%. I celebrate her victory because she is my closest friend. I wouldn’t set out to hurt her any more than she would me.  I am incredibly proud of her today (although I still would have been proud even if her candidates had not won), and I’m overjoyed that she is able to feel like she can celebrate her hard work. Everyone needs that, and I’m relieved that SHE is relieved.

Sometimes I think our governments, social media, and media in general, are so focused on making sure we see what makes us all different that we forget to notice and comment on all of the things that make us similar. The common ground is there and miles wide, we just need to be willing to find it. That doesn’t mean looking at your friend and saying “You’re the one who voted for the guy I don’t like, so you need to change your thinking and know that I’m the one who is right.” It means listening to one another. It means doing a LOT of listening, and a lot less talking.

Social media is great for talking. Tweeting is really just about who can yell the loudest. There’s a lot of that going on. I’m wondering more about the listening, though. Who is willing to do more of that?

Count me in on that side.

Congratulations my friend. I am thrilled for you, and for your state. I know how much of yourself you put into this election and campaign. It is inspiring to see that kind of hard work amount to so much. I hope you never lose sight of what you’ve accomplished.

Oh, I know this has little to do with Duran Duran. Except that it does. Amanda and I are both fans. Our common ground has ALWAYS been this band. I know of fellow fans who are far more liberal AND far more conservative than I am. Yet when it comes down to it, we all love the band. It’s a great starting point. I strive to remind everyone that when it boils down to it, I really do believe there is more that makes us similar than different, no matter the color of our skin, the loves of our life, or where you fall on the political spectrum. I think that to some degree, we’re all a bit guilty of forgetting that from time to time.

Onward and upward.

-R

Who Do You Need?

Sometimes, it feels like weeks take on a feeling, a theme.  Last week, it was all about political action.  This week, there has been a 360 degree turn, which has led me to think about friendship, support and    the importance of common experiences.  (I hope that you all let me express my thinking for a bit.  I need it.  I promise, though, that I will get to a Duran connection eventually.)

Some weeks at work focus on curriculum development or assessment.  Unfortunately, my week didn’t have anything to do with that.  No, it was about kids who are hurting, emotionally, and for good reasons.  I have had students come to me with suicidal thoughts, mental illness, concerns about sexual assault, and discrimination.  Yeah, clearly, their problems are not surface ones.  These kids came to me for comfort, for hugs, for advice or for a place to vent, to talk, to express their conflicted emotions.  With each one, I offered hugs, my ear and any advice that I could.  As each one walked away, I felt frustration that I couldn’t do more and sadness that they have to deal with these incredibly tough issues.

As I now sit in my living room, I am left thinking about support.  Did I support my students enough?  Did it matter that many of their problems are not ones that I have experienced first hand myself?  I wondered if their families could or did offer better support.  Did their friends?  Should I do more?  If so, what?  Even as I type this, I ache for them.  They are so young and have so much on their plates.  I admire their strength and their ability to pick themselves up to move forward.

As I ponder these students I am so fond of, I think my own friendships.  Do I offer my friends enough support especially when they are struggling?  If not, how can I?  Then, I think about myself.  Things haven’t been awesome for me, either.  Am I as strong as my students?  Do I seek the support that I need like they do and did?  I have to say that I probably don’t as I think I have gotten pretty good at hiding my own pain and putting on a good front.  I let pride rule and I don’t often ask for what I need.  Again, though, I think about my kids.  They didn’t let their pride get in their way.

Is it more than just pride for me?  Is it because I assume that no one would understand because they haven’t experienced what I have?  Maybe.  Does having first hand understanding of something matter? I think of Rhonda.  We have had many conversations over the years about how we are the only two people in the world that understands what it is like to be half of the Daily Duranie.  I think about those blogs in which people have unleashed it on us, telling us not only that we are wrong but that we are “desperate” or “pathetic” or something similar.  If there is a negative comment that gets to me, there is no one better to turn to than Rhonda because she has been there, too.  Our unique experience as the Daily Duranie does bring us closer and causes us to lean on each other at times.  I wonder if that is the same thing with members of Duran.  Have they turned to each other at times solely because they are the only ones who understand what it is like to be a member of the band?  Maybe.

Are their some experiences that are so unique that others couldn’t get it and couldn’t give the amount and kind of support that is needed?  I don’t know.  This is where I fail for myself.  I often don’t share problems I have with people who I suspect wouldn’t get it.  Now, I have to wonder if I am not giving enough credit to other people.  So, this week has reminded me that people can and should ask for help or support when they need it.

-A

If You Leave a Light On…

I am lucky enough to write this blog post on Friday afternoon due to a much-needed and much-unexpected snow day!  Normally, I write the Friday blogs on Thursday nights.  Fridays usually mean work for me followed by running some errands and making my weekend to-do list.  Every once in awhile, I have something to look forward to.  When I’m really lucky, I have something to look forward and the energy needed to enjoy them.  Today is one of those days.  What do I have to look forward to?  I have a Skype conference scheduled with my partner-in-crime.  While some might argue that a “conference” does not sound like fun, I would disagree.  Well, yes, some work will get done (it has to!), but it also gives us a chance to catch up, too!

What is on the work portion of today’s conversation?  Our list is rather lengthy, actually.  Most importantly to many reading this blog, we have some convention tasks to deal with.  Most specifically, we must get a little Kickstarter campaign up and running.  The goal is to get enough funding to meet the down payment for our convention location, the home base for our convention, happening during Duran Duran Appreciation Day/weekend.  This, of course, is key for us to move forward with our planning.  Be on the look-out for that!  The other big topic for us is about the Pop Culture conference we are presenting at next month! EEEK!  Next month definitely makes it sound like it is right around the corner.  We have planning to discuss, in terms of our travel, but, more importantly, our paper and presentation demand our attention, too.  Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to all of it.  For me, none of that feels like work even though it takes time and energy.

Beyond all that, I cannot wait to simply catch up.  I have to admit that I have not been that good of a friend lately to Rhonda or to my other friends.  When I have had a chance to check in, communicate with my friends, find time for them, I just haven’t.  I could describe the reasons for this, but I’m not sure how much any of you really would be interested in that.  I’ll say it this way.  It has taken the vast majority of my energy just to get work related tasks done along with required household chores.  (Let me just ask right now.  Why can’t my cat do the dishes or laundry or pay bills?!  Why is he so useless?  Apparently, he thinks his job is to just be cute!  The outrage!)  Now, I’m hoping that my snow day along with today’s conference helps to push me back to normal.

Once that happens, I’ll be better able to keep up with any and all news in the Duran sphere of the world.  I know that Simon is going to be a grandfather and that they are going to be playing in Dubai soon. Other than that, I feel like I have been in the dark, which is unacceptable to me!  After all, the blog needs me to be somewhat in the loop.  My happiness requires that, too!

-A

The door is standing open

Rarely do I find time to write three blog postings in a single day, but on this Monday, I make the time. For me, this post, which will publish tomorrow afternoon, is about processing, cleansing, and still more processing, I suppose.

A little more than an hour or so ago, I stumbled upon news that another one of our extended Duranie family members has passed. Her name is Lisa Amaral, and I am certain that many of you reading probably knew her. She was a regular on DDM back when it was a busy “crossroads of the world” for Duran Duran fans, and from what I can tell, she was loved by many. To be that kind of person…I don’t know what that is like.

Despite my sadness, I didn’t really know Lisa. We were not friends, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise as I write this. That isn’t the point. I had a great many friends that were close to her, loved her, and are incredibly heartbroken today. Their grief is palatable on every level, and I wish I could hug each one of them.

Back in my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to delude myself into believing tomorrow would always be there. I only had a few friends that died between the time of middle school and college, and just one that I knew well. It was simple to tell myself that someone dying when they were my age was practically unheard of, unless they were very, very ill. I was healthy, young, and had a lifetime ahead of me.

In my thirties, I lost a few other friends. One that was very close to me in my local MOMS Club, and that was a tragic loss. I started realizing, but trying my best to ignore, that a “lifetime” didn’t mean any particular length. You get what you get.  I watched my own father die from a disgustingly evil disease, but even then, I pushed that thought out of my mind because I was a mom and had things to do. Tours to go see. Bands to meet. Friends to make.

Now I am cruising through my forties. The time seems to have sped up with each passing decade.  I have lost a few very close friends, and seen many family members and other friends battle illnesses that are meant to kill. I am still a major procrastinator.  The saying, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is one of my favorite. I’m awful.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but somehow, I still haven’t. I see friends at events like the weekend in Las Vegas and many times I’m the one standing there…or walking by… hemming and hawing about whether or not I should even go up and say hi. I immediately assume that I’d be interrupting them, or that they don’t really want to be attacked in the middle of a hallway as they’re standing by, waiting for an elevator or chatting with friends. I saw a lot of people I knew that weekend, but very few did I run up to and say hello, or hug, even if I wanted. I was content to either just wave from afar, or say nothing. Yes, I’m shy, but I’m also not very good at approaching people out of the blue.

We don’t know if we have tomorrow. That is a concept I can’t seem to teach myself. I wasn’t friends with Lisa, but I knew her. I knew who she was, and I saw her that weekend in Vegas.  It is unfathomable to me that life can just end without warning in three weeks time, yet it happens all of the time. It’s hard to process that idea.

I don’t like the idea that over the next I-don’t-know-how-long, I will have other friends and family die. I worry that I won’t do the things I should do in the meantime, because it’s easy to slip back into that place where I delude myself into believing I have forever to tell people how I feel. It’s maddening.

For those of you reading who knew and loved Lisa, you have my heartfelt condolences. I am so sorry. A great deal of my friends are posting about their loss, and it is a testament to Lisa that she has so many friends that adore her and are heartbroken.

When these things happen, I always think about how I’m glad I went to the shows I did, or that I’ve had a chance to talk to some of the people I’ve met along the way. I’m grateful for the friends that are willing to put up with me, and for those that push me way the heck out of my comfort zones, too. This time though, I’m starting to think that I need to take more chances with my emotions. I need to make sure the people I care about know how I feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.

Rest in Peace, Lisa.

-R