Adrienne Furness's Blog, page 16

November 26, 2012

I’m getting to that point of packing where I’m throwing things in boxes whether or not they have a relationship to one another. I just want the things in the boxes. Part of the problem is that I have relatively poor spatial relations skills and cannot for the life of me make the boxes work out right. Mine always end up with these weird gaps, which, at this point, I’m stuffing with whatever comes to hand.

Also, it’s become clear to me that I’m a pen hoarder.

I knew this about myself, but a few days ago, I came across my high school diploma, thought This is useless, and threw it in the trash. No debate, no drama, just adios. I know this is how I should be about the pens. I know that the sane, reasonable response to the number of pens I own would be to throw almost all of them out and start over with, say, ten pens I like, and then when those pens run out of ink, go out and buy new ones. I imagine other adults use a system like this, but when I start contemplating getting rid of some of my pens, they all become my favorites, and I can’t do it.

This is how people wind up buried in mountains of trash.

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Published on November 26, 2012 02:08 • 48 views

November 25, 2012

But that’s for wimps.

Me? I move and get a new job and set my couch on fire.

Burning the couch is going to go down as one of Tammy and Adrienne’s great moments, and Ron refused to help us because he said it was a waste of time. Pshaw, Ron. Pshaw.

I didn’t get any photos of us getting the couch into the pickup truck, which is a shame, because that was definitely the most amusing part of the story. As soon as Tammy came into the house with the kids, Benny hid under the couch because omigosh it was just too much. Also too much? The weight of the couch. It had two recliners in it and was very, very heavy–almost too heavy for Tammy and I to move, so it is a good thing that Lucas has gotten big and was there to help. Once we were actually moving the couch, Benny spent an unhappy minute trying to scoot himself along so as to remain under the couch before he gave up and ran away to the basement.There's a Lot of Cool Stuff at Tam's Parents' House

I should have also gotten a photo of the couch tied into the pickup truck with a piece of frayed twine that shouldn’t have held for the drive out to Tammy’s parents, even though it did.

Tam’s parents live on a lot of land out in the country, where it’s still aok to burn things you don’t want. I grew up in this environment, and it wasn’t until I was well into my 20s that I learned the shocking truth that there are places in this world where it’s illegal to burn trash in your own backyard. I see the sense in it, but it’s also a shame, because I always did enjoy setting a fire. More on that in a minute.

Anyway, when we got to Tammy’s parents’, we put the couch in the payloader.

I Really Wanted to Drive the Payloader

Because, yes, Tammy’s dad has a payloader.

Have I Mentioned How I Took Lu to See fun. for His 13th Birthday Because I Totally Rock Godmothering?

I know. I’m totally jealous, too.

Obviously, Tam’s dad had a pile of stuff he wanted to burn already started, because that’s how things work in Kent. Tam’s dad drove the couch back, dumped it on the pile, and then he and Tam tried to start the fire. I watched this until Tam’s dad gave up and went to get some gasoline. Once he was out of sight, I was like, “Hey, can I try?” So Tam handed me the matches, and I had that thing going in about a minute. I should maybe put “burning things” under skills on my resume.


Sixty seconds later, I started worrying about when Tam’s dad was coming back and whether or not we had a plan should the woods catch on fire.

This is When I Started to Worry About the Fire

If you are so inclined, you can see/hear a video of me not quite sure how to react to the destruction I had so happily wrought.

You’ll be glad to know that we didn’t inadvertently set WNY on fire, but we did successfully put an end to the couch. I was surprised at the way even the metal crumbled. Maxwell was all, “Some of the flames are blue! Some of the flames are green!” And we were like, “Stay back. Don’t get in the smoke. No, really, stay back.”

And then it was gone.

It's Gone

I was pretty exhausted after all this. It was more emotionally draining than physically, although certainly Tammy and I did some work hauling that thing around. I, for one, have been hauling it around in my soul for years. I wish I could say that I got home and spent some time reflecting or quietly packing up my house, but instead I drank a little more than was necessary, had a good cry, and texted a few of the people I love most in the world to make sure they were still there.

And they were.

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Published on November 25, 2012 12:06 • 16 views

November 22, 2012

It was only as I started packing up my house that I realized that I have never put anything in the spot where Brian died.

He died in the living room. I think he was sleeping, but I don’t know because I was sleeping too. I was on the couch; he was in his hospital bed, near enough that I could reach out and touch him. I knew he was dead the moment I woke up, but it took a minute for all of me to catch up while I put on my glasses and got the cat off my legs and checked Brian’s pulse.

I was thirty years old. I lost my mind. I don’t know how long I lay there sobbing next to what had only hours before been someone breathing and talking who I loved. I calmed down, finally, and became so still, thinking about all the morphine on the table next to the bed. Thinking about everything I didn’t have to do.

When you’re taking care of a dying person at home, a Hospice worker will put a note on your refrigerator telling you what to do when that person dies. You may scoff when they do it–How could you forget?–but they’ll insist.

I stared at the morphine, and I remembered the note. It was a long eight steps to the refrigerator. I hope those eight steps are the hardest thing I ever have to do in this life, that my hardest thing is already done, but what’s really hardest is knowing that maybe it’s not.

People took such good care of me after Brian died. I was a broken thing–pushing myself through my days, dreading everything, feeling no joy. I forgot that it was possible to feel any other way, but I learned again, slowly. Very slowly.

That was eight years ago.

Last January, my father called me and told me some things I already knew, like that I wasn’t happy. That it seemed like I wasn’t doing the things I wanted to be doing. That maybe the house and some of the other things I was clinging to were getting in my way.

He told me I could let go and try some new things and that the people who mattered would still love me. He told me everything would be okay.

I knew these things. I did. But I also knew that fixing them was going to be hard work.

But I finally decided to do it.

And just like back when I was a broken thing, people helped me out. They helped me fix up the house and clean and get rid of my stuff. They gave me places to stay during open houses. They fed me. They helped me get a new job. They listened to me when I had to talk (and talk and talk) about the things I was trying to do and the things I couldn’t seem to manage.

The people closest to me seemed relieved that I was finally doing something that needed to be done.

When you experience a major death, if you are fortunate, some counselor will find you and tell you not to make any changes in your life for a year or two. This is because every part of you will want to run from knowing some things that are true. Like that you can put all your energy for years into keeping someone alive, and they can die anyway. That you can never know what decision it might have been that meant the difference between that person living and dying. That whatever happens, you will make yourself walk the eight steps to the refrigerator, because the person whose survival matters most to you is your own. These are the kinds of things you have to sit with for a long time before you can both know them and be okay with them, and you have to learn how to sit quietly with the truth before you can move on.

This past Sunday, Tammy helped me haul my couch away, and we burned it. There is a stack of packed boxes in the spot where Brian died, and I move in a little more than a week. I’m renting, partly because I want the ease but also because I’m not sure where my life is going. No one has left a note on my refrigerator telling me what to do.

I have some ideas, though. I have my hopes and dreams.

And things are okay.

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Published on November 22, 2012 17:52 • 15 views

November 20, 2012

“Every aspect of life is difficult for people. It’s all a little too much. We’re all deeply overwhelmed by it.”

-Judd Apatow in “Judd Apatow’s Family Business” by Dave Itzkoff in NYT (November 14, 2012)

I don’t have time to read or write right now, but I cannot seem to stop myself from doing either. Life’s a little crazy, but it’s also engaging, so there’s a lot to think about and talk about. Like Judd Apatow’s upcoming This is 40. Apatow talked about the emotions that led him to make this film in the episode of WTF that I’ve been telling you all to listen to for a year now, and he talks some more about it here. I’m turning 39 in a few weeks, so 40′s on my mind, too.

And also–thanks, Jules, for pointing this out–the film includes a new Fiona Apple song!

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Published on November 20, 2012 16:46 • 11 views

November 19, 2012

Thanks to eisha for posting this video on Facebook, because I love it. It also reminds me that Shut Up and Play the Hits is out on DVD, and I totally want to watch it again. Maybe a few times. I feel like that one might make my Best of 2012 list, which I should probably start working on soon so I can post mine before everyone else in Film Club posts theirs. That would be a nice change of pace. Although there are also some films that should be contenders that I haven’t seen yet.

Which reminds me that I should run along and do some things.

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Published on November 19, 2012 15:51 • 5 views

November 16, 2012

Not that I’ve had much time for baking cakes lately. I did bake a decent vanilla one out of Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito a couple weeks ago, but the highlight of that cake was the white chocolate buttercream frosting, which was so delicious that it felt like the cake was getting in the way.

There was a similar phenomenon going on with the maple pecan cheesecake cupcake I had at Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe tonight.

I’ve eaten out a lot this week, and I haven’t gone to the gym once. The most exciting thing I cooked was a fried egg sandwich. I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee.

I got things done at the library, though, and I made progress on The Great Purge. I got far enough with packing that I had to take a couple days off, and I’ve even started getting a few of the things I need to have before I move. In just a few more weeks, budget season will be done, I will be in my new place, and I will be back in my usual habits with cooking and exercising. I’ll be starting to build whatever comes next.

It will be my thirty-ninth birthday.

Perhaps I will bake a cake.

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Published on November 16, 2012 18:41 • 5 views

November 14, 2012

Once again, Film Club has descended into the male members demonstrating their affection for one another through insults. Lisa popped in to contribute to our latest discussion, which I’ll be getting to way at the end of this post, and we had an even rarer visit from Tara. Lisa and Tara tried to interject sanity into Film Club, but, sadly, sanity is not what rules Film Club.

Before I get to the task everyone’s been harassing me about, I want to show you what I expect to be the number one film on every Film Club member’s Best of 2012 list. I know the whole cast of this film, although, most notably, Lucas is featured in it, as the dude in the hard hat. Maxwell also makes an appearance; you’ll see him in a crowd scene holding a sign that says “BIRD KILLERS GO HOME” and shouting his fool head off. I make an appearance in the same crowd scene, although, as is so often the case in my daily life, you can’t see me because I am covered up by a protest sign.

This film will be screening at the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival in NYC on December 2. I move on December 1. I’m trying to figure out how I can do both things in one weekend without acquiring additional superpowers. For you locals, there will be a screening here in Rochester at the end of the month. I’ll be posting details.

All right, and fine, John, I’ll post my Best of 2000-2009 list. Before I do, though, I have to say that I was a little flip in my choices and so have been eager to post them, if only to get John and possibly other Film Club members riled up by things like my capricious inclusion of three Will Ferrell films. I realized after I made my list that I neglected some important films (like No Country for Old Men, which would have been in my top five had I remembered it), but unlike rulebreakers Arthur and Ben, I didn’t change my list after I submitted it. So here it is in all its disorganized glory:

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge!

Big Fish


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Up in the Air

28 Days Later

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Bowling for Columbine

Lost in Translation

Hurt Locker

It Might Get Loud

Inglourious Basterds

Finding Nemo

Tropic Thunder

Bridget Jones’s Diary



The Others

Kill Bill, Vol. 2



Little Miss Sunshine

Stranger Than Fiction

The Ring



Bubba Ho-Tep

Grizzly Man

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Published on November 14, 2012 07:34 • 6 views

November 13, 2012

“It reminded me of talking, how what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said. It wasn’t much in the way of comfort, but everything has a little failure in it, and we still make do somehow.”

-Bartle in The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

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Published on November 13, 2012 03:07 • 4 views

November 12, 2012

Benny's All Like What the What?

I think he realizes something is up. That’s a pretty big deal for Benny, realizing something.

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Published on November 12, 2012 03:38 • 12 views

November 11, 2012

I have never understood the fear of death. I fear life. I fear pain. I fear getting it all wrong.

I figured I’d ask the Magic 8 Balls about my fears while I packed them up.

Question: Am I getting it all wrong?

Hannah Montana Magic 8 Ball: MAYBE JUST MAYBE


Ruby Gloom Magic 8 Ball: YEAH, SURE

Princess Magic 8 Ball: YOU KNOW IT!

Series of Unfortunate Events Magic 8 Ball: AS I SEE IT GRIM

Magic 8 Ball Whose Name I Do Not Know: :(

Sarcastic Magic 8 Ball: IN YOUR DREAMS

Glee Magic 8 Ball: YOU’RE BORING ME NOW

Magic Yoda: WHY

I Can Has Cheezburger Magic 8 Ball: I DUN FINK SO

NAPA Auto Parts Magic 8 Ball: STABILITY IS KEY

Nightmare Before Christmas Magic 8 Ball: MOST LIKELY


CRAZ 4 TXT Magic 8 Ball: EWWWW! TMI! NO! ROFL!

Positive Affirmation Magic 8 Ball: WHO SAYS YOU’RE STUPID?

Spongebob Squarepants Magic 8 Ball: TODAY’S NOT YOUR DAY

Simpsons Magic 8 Ball: OKELEY DOKELEY-DO!

Muppet Show Magic 8 Ball: DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, BUSTER!

Financial Adviser Magic 8 Ball: SELL NOW

Magic Fortune Cookie: TRY THE EGGROLL

Magic Date Ball: NO WAY!

Care Bears Magic 8 Ball: YOU GOT IT


Dr. Freud’s Therapy Ball: LET’S GO WITH THAT

Instant Excuse Magic 8 Ball: THE VOICES TOLD ME TO

Shrek Magic 8 Ball: YES, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE

Time Warner Magic 8 Ball: UNLIKELY

Traditional Magic 8 Ball: MY SOURCES SAY NO

I guess I don’t get to know the answer to that question any better than anyone else does.


I was unable to get responses out of a few of my Magic 8 Balls, as the water’s gone wonky in some of them and made them unreadable.

Magic 8 Balls Ready to Go

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Published on November 11, 2012 16:02 • 7 views