A whole lot of words to say I can't find any

I have been writing this post for months.

It just won't come. Let's see....you know how sometimes, you know you just have to have something? Something, like, oh, a hoagie. The hoagie. You've had a hoagie before, and they're always good, but you know that somewhere out there is the hoagie. You look in all the right places; on South Street, near the Vet, at every place that sound Italian, like DiCostanza's and Anthony's and Luigi's, you search high and low and you just never can seem to find it. And then one day, for no particular reason, you stop on the most unstoppable little alley on Philadelphia Pike to run into the bank and totally by accident, when you least expect it, bam. There it is. It's called something obnoxiously simple like Claymont Sub Shop and it is the answer to all your prayers.

You know, at this point, that you will never, ever give up on it. No matter how far away you go, you will never replace it. It's the one.

I just compared my best friend to a hoagie. Someone shoot me.

Today, my one, my perfect thing, celebrates her birthday. I have a hard time with her birthday post every year because I am so tangled up in a web of emotions about her, and it gets hard to pull one out and talk about it. This year is the hardest by far, simply because the one single thing I want more than any single thing in this world is to sit on her porch with a beer and an ashtray and diddle away her birthday with her. And I can't. And it sucks.

I have known a lot of people in my life, and have made more friends and acquaintances than I could ever begin to count, but of all of the relationships that I have forged in my 32 years, only a very, very small few have stood the test of time. The distance. The constant motion of life.

She is one of them.

She is my forever, like it or not. She came into my life totally by accident. She stayed in my life only by proximity. She grew inside my life quietly and subtly and gracefully, as she does all things in her life. I have never, ever known a person like her before. She is beauty and strength and wisdom and compassion all wrapped up in a neat little package. She does not do lightly. She's an all or nothing kind of girl, and that may be her most admirable trait.

She is honestly the baddess bad-ass I have ever met.

I have no idea, at all, why she is still here with me, all these years later. She has seen me through the absolute lowest low point in my life, a place that cost me the majority of my most valued relationships, and she never faltered from my side. She held my hand when it was needed, she knocked me in the head when that was needed, she guided me at every turn, even when I didn't know it was happening.

You know what I bring to the table in this relationship? Nothing at all, that's what.

I did nothing to deserve her, I do nothing to deserve her. I moved 1400 miles away from her, where I cannot share the first milestones in her life since we have known each other. She just celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary, and guess who wasn't there? She will become a grandmother any minute now, and guess who will be able to call her and say congrats, but will in no way be able to snap the pictures of her and her daughter and her daughter, like a good friend should? Me, that's who.

But I can tell you this. No matter where I go, no matter how long I'm gone, no matter what I do or who I meet, nothing will ever even come close to taking her place in my heart. She is my one, and I looked for her for a very long time. She changed the direction of my life, simply by being. There is no, "I love her like a..." I just love her, totally, fully, without condition or pretense. I love her in the way I never believed people could love each other.

She makes me believe in something.

So, my dearest Gigi, if you even read this, just know that, though I am not there, that I am so there. I am there every day and I always will be. I have never had an honor more great than being your friend, and I can't imagine I ever will again. You are not just anyone, and you cannot be replaced by just anyone. You are the only you, in the world, in the lives of those who love you. You are my blessing and my reward and what makes it all make sense. I wouldn't change one stinking step of the past 32 years of my life, because each road I walked brought me straight to you.

Thank you. For you. For everything. Someday, I will find the right words to tell you what you have done for me. Until then, just Happy Birthday, from my whole heart.

Just another Memey Monday

Well, you all rock. I asked for memes; you delivered, hardcore. Today, I have a lovely little pile to dig through. There were two that were totally fitting for Valentine's week, but I went with this one due to a looming birthday post to come on Wednesday, provided I can find the right words. From OhMommy, my classiest friend, comes the Bloggy Meme.

How long have you been blogging?

3 years, one month and 21 days exactly. I have moved this blog 4 times in those 3 years. I think I should research adult ADD more in-depth.

What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
3 years and 3 months ago I had no idea what a blog was. See, I am skeptical at best about the internet, even still. A few years ago, I met this chick. I met her son, honestly, and her son introduced me to her, in email form. She wrote an education blog and wanted to ask me some questions about my public school. I started reading her blog, and was crack-whore addicted in, like, 5 whole minutes. A few months later, I had my own. A School Yard Blogger was totally my Blog Momma. I started the blog just to document my kids lives, with no hopes of anyone actually reading it. But she read it. And on Wednesday, I will finish that story. And then, somehow, somewhere, I came across The World Wide Rant. Andy writes a blog in Denver, and again, I had to have it. Every day. Andy is totally my Blog Daddy. Through him, I met David and Stephen and Mr. The Retropolitan, and they made me want to be a better blogger. They are my Blog Trysts, for sure.

Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?

Trying to make money? No. Expecting to make money? No. Care whether I do? No. Running ads anyway? Hells yeahs.

I have those ads, and I ONLY have those ads because the kids godfather would not shut the hell up about me not running ads on my site. I respond well to condescending nagging. I ran them, and I am glad I did, because I think BlogHer is a rocking rad organization, and, well, I wrote a whole bit right here about why the money might not be great, but that's not why I run them.

What 3 things do you love about being online?

1. Giggling. I really like to giggle. And you people? Crack me the hell up.

2. Having something of substance to do. Most of the time, this blog is absolute nonsensical ramblings, but even I can admit that every now and again, I get it right. I get it right, and someone out there is touching or moved or able to relate to something, and that is a wonderful feeling.

3. My typing skills are VASTLY improving. This should translate nicely into the real world. At some point, Mr Lady is going to have to be gainfully employed.

What 3 things do you struggle with online?

1. Spreading myself too thin. I struggle with this in real life, too. The more I read, the more I find and the more I want to read. I worry that I don't read people's blogs enough, and I worry that I don't comment on them enough, and I worry constantly that some backhanded remark I made somewhere offended someone. I forget that I have a very defined sense of humor, and not everyone gets it.

2. Not whining all the damn time. I have a hell of a lot of stories under my belt from the past 32 years, and some of them are not pink and rainbowy, and sometimes they come out. I aspire to be the person who finds either humor or purpose in everything thrown my way, preferably both, but sometimes, it just comes out all emo, you know? I forget sometimes that a few other people read this, and that it's not just a diary anymore, and that maybe I should have a cut-off line on certain topics. I am working on it, though. Enter, the Totally Inappropriate Haiku category. For when I've got nothing but the Eeyore's.

3. Anonymity. This little site is slowly getting around the family circle. It is also slowly getting around the internet. For 2+ years, it was just, like, 15 people that I love reading it. Now, the Mommy Mafia has come over (hearts!) and The Donor peeks in (hi baby!) and any day now, someone is going to send this link to my mother in law (edits!). I liked the anonymity, because I could honestly say whatever the hell I wanted to, and god knows I did, and now I am losing some of that. I am worried that it will change what comes out. Also, I have this eencie teencie* little issue with social anxiety, and yes, it totally transitions itself online. I am seriously, cripplingly shy, and my natural defense to that is to start saying really personal, inappropriate things. That doesn't exactly help in the whole "Super Stealthy Secret Blogger" department, you know?

And that's it. Do I tag people? Has anyone ever not done this thing already? Dude, I hate tagging people, but I am totally tagging Molly, because I'd like to hear her answers, and Leslie Dillinger, because I miss her and she just quit smoking and this should keep her fingers busy for a half an hour or so, and Alison, because dude? Have I ever tagged you before? It's so totally your turn.

*Eencie Teencie in the exact same way that the Golden Gate Bridge isn't.