We saw Seryn at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City, then in our living room.

A couple of weeks ago one of my friends, Geoff, texted me that Seryn was coming to my favorite venue in Oklahoma, The Blue Door. I’ve wanted to see this band for a year or so and was half-heartedly thinking about a trip to Dallas in June to catch them. But…they were coming to my backyard! Nearly literally! The Blue Door is about 3 miles from my current house (about 1.5 from my new). 

The show was on a Wednesday night, which is a night when I always have my kids. They had been to their first show a couple of weeks ago and these tickets were only $10, so… family outing! The day of the show I took them straight home from school for snacks and disco naps. We were all set. 

Seryn on Band Camp. Feel free to start the music while you read this post. 

Geoff, his wife Holly and two of their kids saved us a seat on the front row. They also saved us cupcakes. 

Cupcakes & Seryn

The show was incredible. I get a little judgey of bands who fill the stage with lots of people as often one or two of those people’s only function seems to be to provide body count and perhaps more cowbell. Not the case here. They keep six musicians on stage who all play something besides their primary instruments. And what a line up of instruments! That night I saw banjo, drum kit, extra tom tom for the lead singer, violin, ukelele, misc percussion, several assorted guitars, electric bass (sometimes played with a bow), two xylophones (one sometimes played with a bow) and a partridge in a pear tree.

Additional elements of the soundscape were provided by Mother Nature. That night a typical, tornado-possible, dramatic spring storm came rumbling through the state. As several of the songs ended in their beautiful, delicate arrangements the music would soften into near silence while the thunder rolled in the distance, seemingly on cue. It was magical.

They had two more members of the band who were production people to help with things like sound and merchandise. Eight total. As the show ended, Holly heard one of the band members mention that they needed a place to stay. She wished they could but their house was in El Reno, 1/2 an hour away. 

Flash to a seemingly unrelated moment earlier in the day when I saw my friend Ann post that she often makes decisions based on the story it would provide to her life. And that she was moving to live on a chicken farm.

Seryn was my chicken farm.

I gave my contact info to Jenny, the only female band member. That seemed the least creepy way to go about it. I am not one so desperate for a story that I’ll hand my name, address, phone number and Instagram handle to a guy. Yet. 

I told Jenny that I had a five bedroom house about three miles away. That we were about half-moved out and that there weren’t enough beds for everyone. She enthusiastically said they mostly needed just a roof and floor. I moved my son’s extra mattress to an empty bedroom and put my daughter into my bed before they arrived. (BTW, it’s been years since I’ve slept with her. What an ENORMOUS bed hog.) Sure enough, about 40 minutes later after I arranged kids into bed, she called to say they were on their way. 


My front door seemed like the gateway from another realm. Eight hipster humans, all very nice (and most very tall) entered my living room laden with backpacks and pillows then took off their shoes. I really urged them to look at the carpet because that wasn’t necessary, but like I said….they were nice. They thanked me profusely, asked for the showers, asked for directions for fast food and worked out their sleeping arrangements. It turns out that only three of the eight had to sleep on the floor (I think. I didn’t check with my own eyes.) I stayed up late talking with one person or another. I had a long, lovely conversation with Trenton about SXSW, Newport Folk Festival (bucket list for both of us for different reasons) and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival (which both of us loved dearly for the same reasons). And about his Native American culture, lovely wife who is in the restaurant biz and music in general.

After not enough sleep, I got up and got the kids ready for school. We walked softly around the house and tiptoed through the living room. My daughter whispered as she looked at the guys sleeping on the sofas, “This is so weird. But so cool.”

I took them to breakfast at Kitchen No. 324 after promising them that it really was just down the road. I think I clinched it when I explained the “free” part. They marveled at the space (hell, I still marvel at the space) and raved about the food. I was proud and happy to have extended hospitality to a group of talented artists who were also nice people. If you get a chance, check out a tour date. 


The only theme for his birthday this year was FUN.


I think that image properly describes how happy he was to turn 8. It was a splendid party. We decided rather than have the party at one parent’s house or another this year we’d find some kind of fun place in OKC near the neighborhood of his school. 

After polling Twitter and Facebook, I rediscovered The Exchange. How could I forget The Exchange?! I’ve been to plenty of parties there over the last couple of years and they are the same people who orchestrate Cityscape. I visited one day a month or so ago and beyond the legos, gorgeous light, old brick walls and….light up dance floor? 

Hell. Yes.

I know my silly monkey and how much he’d love to cut loose and goofy on a real dance floor. He did not disappoint. 


None of them did, really. 




We did pizza and cake and Lego.





I did not authorize the black icing, but he certainly approved.


I don’t know where to fit this pic in, but it was too good not to include. This was a spontaneous meditation before commandeering the dance floor.


And this is him 7 1/2 years ago.

All charm

I need to go lie down now. ::whimper::

Heartbreak hurts, a lot.

I feel I am now approaching a master level understanding of heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, I am very sure there are people in the world in much, much more pain than I’ve been in the last three weeks. And I know that there are a lot worse things in this life that can break your heart besides a former lover. And they are terrible. And I am sorry those things exist and keep on breaking hearts. But I’m not writing about those things tonight. I’m writing my experience.

Don’t get excited, there’s not going to be gossip-worthy stuff here today. Probably not future posts either. I have too much respect and love for the entirety of this now departed relationship to ruin the ending even further with a stream of specifics. I am, however, writing it all down offline in as much detail as my scattered and broken brain can muster. There’s some really good stuff flowing onto the keyboard and maybe one day I can find a way to use it to help someone else through their own broken heartedness. 

I am speaking here about the hurt. Holy shitballs, people! I had no idea that broken hearts could feel so terrible! For a week it was really, really hard to get out of bed. I couldn’t really work. I couldn’t really eat. Sometimes I couldn’t really walk. I shook. I shuffled. My chest felt full of bricks. When wailing was at its worst, my whole body hurt like I had the flu. It was freaky… in a way I was totally flipping out with sadness but there was a compartment of myself that was all, “Whoa. WTF? You have body aches from sadness??” I cried and cried and cried. He and I talked and talked and talked. I ran for the comfort and logic from my friends and therapist. And my friends who ought to be therapists. Friends made sure I ate at least once a day. Friends hugged me and petted my hair and let me ramble on for hours. Friends made sure I understood how valuable and loved and special I am during a week I didn’t feel very valuable, loved or special. 

He and I have 4 kids and they have had a friends-turned-sibling relationship for over 2 1/2 years. We lived together for 8 months. They are all very sad. He and I are very sad. We all wish it could be different from our own particular angles, but it isn’t. This romantic relationship is over. He’s lost his best friend and I’ve lost mine. Beyond us two, the reasons why it’s over don’t truly matter, it just hurts like hell and I’m finally getting a glimpse into what real grief is like. 

Grief sucks. Grief is unpredictable. Numb/angry/sad/rinse/repeat. But never in the same order. Never for the same triggers. Never at the same time time of day. Never at the same place. 

The support I’m getting from my village is breathtaking at times. My gratitude cup runneth over. I have one friend who encourages me to show up on her porch whenever I want for whatever reason. Another friend texts me stern logic that sures up my self-esteem enough so that I could bear to participate in the most menial tasks of life. Several others take me to lunch. Another goes with me to a movie. Another texts me insults about him because they know I’ll laugh at the absurdity. 

I wish I could turn my love off like a switch. But I can’t. Instead I have to endure the shut down. The breaking. Every day is different. There can be a really, really happy day happening and I will remember the tiniest little memory and I’m in a sadness spiral. Sometimes for days. Sometimes I am filled with bravado and “Fuck him! I rock!” and then I realize I’m standing in a place we used to go or hear a special song and I start to shake. There are days when am eerily and uncomfortably calm, which seems to be how my particular ‘numb’ manifests.

I remember reading on www.dooce.com and www.blurbomat.com when Heather and Jon Armstrong were proceeding through her separation and eventual divorce. I don’t know/remember the reasons for their split, but I do remember their reactions. I have this mental image of Heather crying on the bathroom floor from scenes she described of her grief. Jon would create posts that always ended in affirmations and it was clear he was trying to work through some heavy internal stuff. My other internet idol, Maggie Mason, spoke only briefly of her divorce. I appreciated them acknowledging their life changes on their blogs at whatever level they were comfortable with. I also appreciated them not pretending like nothing happened, tra-la, nothing-to-see-here-folks. This is my attempt at that.

Yes, this isn’t a divorce. But it feels like it to me. Or worse. I’ve been through divorce and break ups. What’s worse than divorce? Let’s call it Soul Obliteration, Level 6. Higher levels of Soul Obliteration include losing a spouse or child. (Level 9 and 10, respectively….I imagine.) When I returned from SXSW (tales coming soon), I had two trusted friends walk with me into my now 1/2 empty, 5 bedroom, 3000 sq ft house. We walked into each place and space where things looked different so I could touch or comment on them and cry. They sat with me as I absorbed this new space. Another friend is coming next week to burn sage and smudge the shit out of this place. 

I can’t stay here. I can afford the mortgage without too much sacrifice, but this enormous house is too much for 3 people, two of which only live with me half of the time. My daughter wept on the living room floor last week after I chastised her about being behind on her book report. As I urged her to pull it together, I’m not that mad, she said she wasn’t crying about the book. She was crying about the house. “Can we please move? I don’t want to live here. There are too many memories. I miss my sister and brother.” My mama heart was so proud of her for expressing her feelings, something she is historically not able to do very well. But, I was also so very sad for the pain she and her brother are going through. When my kids are crying over my failed relationship, the knife…it does twist. I promised them this will never happen again. It won’t. Of all the things my heart doesn’t understand in this situation, this is one thing it does understand: This won’t happen again.

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