The penny collector…..a year has passed

Good Morning, Dad….

It’s the one year mark today.  I can’t believe it’s been a year.  And I can’t believe I haven’t written in five months. I have so much to share with you.  But first, let me just tell you how much I miss you.  How not a day goes by that I don’t tell someone about you.  How I STILL pick up the phone to call you.  How much I miss your laugh.  How much I miss hearing about how many reps you did at the gym.  How much I miss having you as my cheerleader.  I miss all of those things.  Every Single Day.

And in the same breath as missing you (mainly because I don’t think I really take a breath without missing you), I think of all the things that have gone on in this past year, and I smile about so much.  Just as you would have wanted.

BUT FIRST, a story about the day after you died……

The day after you died, Danny and I were sorting through some of your things and found ourselves in the basement looking through boxes of paperwork (I’m not sure why you had check registers from 1979, btw,but you did).  As we moved all those boxes, we found more boxes behind them.  Inside of those hidden boxes were pennies.  We all knew you had a large penny collection.  But really, a large penny collection can mean so many things.  As it turns out, your collection was OUTRAGEOUS! You had 600,000 pennies, dad.  SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND. I mean, seriously.  That’s crazy. We knew those pennies couldn’t stick around any longer.  They had to go to the bank. Danny and I joked this was your last word about exercise to us. “Oh, here you go, kids……time to carry 3 TONS of pennies upstairs and to the car.  And then carry them again into the bank. Oh, and while you’re at it, you’ll have to unroll them all, because the bank doesn’t take rolled coins anymore.”  So Danny and I (mostly Danny) carried the pennies upstairs and to the car (we took four separate trips to many banks).  We didn’t realize the fact we had to unroll the pennies until we got to the bank.  So we stood at the change machine and set up shop.  We broke open the pennies into big containers and then dumped them into the machine.  Over and over and over again.  Until we broke the machine.  And then we went to a different bank.  Until we broke that machine.  And then we ended up at a bank in Alabama.  Where we broke that machine.  And then back to the original bank, because they fixed their machine.  And then we broke that one.  It was insane.  But all the while, YOU continued to connect with people.  Everyone was curious about our penny collection.  And so we told them about you.  And they walked away with the biggest smile on their faces.  And I gave little collections to kids that came in the bank.  When we broke the change machine at your home bank for the last time, I gave your favorite banker one of your lucky pennies to remember you by.  She loved you.  And me giving her that penny will come back around to more recent days (that’s foreshadowing, which Danny says I’m not very good at).  But really, the story of the penny I gave to the teller will become a story later in this letter to you.  Before I get to all that, let me just say that depositing 6K in pennies is a wild journey.  One of the best parts is that the change machine spit out the wheat back pennies, and those were always your favorites.  And mine, too.  So we’ve been able to share those wheat backs with your friends and family.  I even got a tattoo of one.  In your memory.  Every time I pick up my guitar to play, that penny is looking right at me, and I love it.  You’re with me.  Always.

one cent
photo by Neilson Hubbard

Okay, back to present day……We’re having a baby

We’re pregnant, dad!  26 weeks and 1 day to be exact.  I want to tell you the story of all the fertility stuff in a letter one day, but it’s so long and involved, I can’t get into now.  I can’t believe this kid doesn’t get to meet you.  I can’t believe you don’t get to meet this kid.  I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that for months now.  There’s no wrapping my head around it though.  You’re going to be an amazing story to this child.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of all the medicine I took to have this baby.  OMG.

Here’s all the medicine we injected into my little body to have this baby!

On making a new record….

I had anxiety about the one year anniversary of your dying.  I didn’t know what that day would look like.  So I decided to record a new album, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the recording process today.  I feel so close to you.  It’s a pretty confessional record.  In the vain of this blog, actually.  (you inspired me to do that, by the way).  I’ve never been so excited about a project.  You know why?  Because I have a producer that is rocking my world.  And I have musicians I’m meeting for the first time that are totally getting what this project means to me, and they’re playing their asses off.  And, most importantly, I have you with me.  Literally.  I have a little altar set up with your ashes and photos and a candle.  And I have this tattoo.  And the songs.  It’s not a hit record, by all means.  It’s beautiful though.  Raw.  I can’t wait to share it with you.  It’s for you, dad.  It’s for the rest of the world, too.  Because I think the rest of the world can connect with these songs in some way.  Thank you for inspiring me, dad. You’ve made me a more connected and thoughtful musician.

And isn’t it cool the way the life cycle is working?  I’m here making this new thing with a baby in the belly and you’re in this jar next to my work station.  The cycle of life.  It really is beautiful.

And so today I’m going to record with the amazing band I’m working with.  I’m probably going to laugh a lot.  And cry a bunch, too.

And back to the penny I gave your favorite banker……

Once your taxes and all that fun stuff were completed, it was time to distribute the money from your bank accounts as the final thing on your “to do” list.  So I wrote the checks from the account and distributed them to the family.  Although it wasn’t all that much money, it was still significant.  So I wrote the checks and everything was fine until I received notice of bouncing one of the checks.  I was STRESSED, because I had worked so hard to do everything correctly.  Lo and behold, the statement said we were one cent short in your account.  ONCE CENT.  ONE PENNY.  I laughed so hard.  So I called the bank and spoke with your favorite teller.  She remembered me giving her a lucky penny and immediately deposited it into your account.  And so it goes.  You continue to be helpful and make people laugh.


Okay, it’s time to get to work in the studio.  Dad, I love you and miss you.  I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  I feel you with me now more than ever. I cannot thank you enough for being the brightest shining star….

I love you.


Here’s some of the photos from your final days that still help me heal from all of this……



The Holidays, Hormones, and Husbands…

Good Morning, Dad….

I know….it’s been FOREVER since I wrote to you. I tried around Thanksgiving and simply couldn’t do it. I’m here now though…..sort of.

Thanksgiving was beautiful.  Rick was here.  Mom and Jeff were here.  Danny’s family and friends.  Thirty some folks in all.  I felt present and happy.  With that presence came missing you.  I’ll admit, I cried a few times.  But that’s okay. It’s all about the firsts.  I’ve already written about that.  But we’re still working our way through the year, and there’s still a lot of firsts to come.  And dad, everyone keeps saying you’re always with me, and while I sometimes THINK I feel you with me, I’m actually not really sure.  What does it feel like?  When are you here? Right now you feel more absent than present.  Maybe I’m just tired and unaware. Maybe it’s just a phase.  But really, maybe I’m just fucking exhausted.

On Sleeping

I took some sleep aids for a while to try and sleep, and while it seemed to “work”, I’m not sure it REALLY WORKED.  Like for real WORKED.  I think when I take a sleep aid, I just don’t remember not sleeping.  And that DOES have it’s benefits.  I don’t feel as anxious about not sleeping, which is good.  But I also don’t feel rested.  Ever.  I need to work on the sleep thing.  Do you know what the not sleeping is doing to me?  Well, let me start by saying I can’t remember how to sing certain things. It’s like I have something neurological going on.  I can’t remember certain words.  Like I kept calling our Thanksgiving puzzle (yep, we have one of those), a pillow. And then I was getting the colors of the puzzle confused.  I kept calling purple red. And yellow orange.  But back to the singing.  It’s my favorite thing in the world to do.  It’s second nature.  I sang before I talked. It’s what I do.  And now I can’t remember notes. I have to think about it.  I’ve never had to think about it.  It’s all muscle memory to me. The following other things happen when I don’t sleep: I have no patience, I blame the way I’m feeling on everything around me, I fight with my husband, I cry all the time, I feel anxious, I feel depressed, I don’t exercise, etc…… And then with all of these reactions to no sleep come more reactions…’s a never ending loop of being too exhausted to deal and then being anxious about it and then not sleeping again. I’m sure it’s a lot like being a new parent…..except I have no kid to show for it.  So there’s that……


Just got going again on all that.  Right now I’m on the injections that remove all the estrogen from my system.  Do you know what that does?  It sends me into temporary menopause!!!!  SO FUN!!!!  And do you know what that does?  It makes me NOT SLEEP! AND, I get hot flashes! OMG! BRING IT ON! MORE!  And this is the time I clean out my system, so no sleep meds.  And I’m ramping down the caffeine.  And in one more week… wine.  I don’t drink much, but I like my morning cup of coffee and I like my wine with dinner.  Those are two things I like. Or love.  I love them so much.

On Being Married.

Being married is hard.  Being in any partnership is hard.  Danny is an amazing husband.  I know that.  I also know it’s difficult to recognize all the amazing things when I’m exhausted.  I can’t decide if what I might feel in a particular moment is an underlying issue that’s surfacing from lack of sleep, OR if I’m just a crazy nut lady that has no grasp on reality.  Maybe a mix of both?  Dad, I need guidance on how to be a better wife.  Danny and I are totally fine, by the way.  I just know I’m not easy to be with these days.  So I’m trying to figure my way through that.  I think I’m just afraid of everything right now.  And so all my reactions are fear based.  And that makes those reactions RIDICULOUS.  All part of the grieving process I suppose.  Like laying in bed at night thinking,”Why would he want to be with me right now?  I’m a crazy person.  I better get my shit together so he doesn’t leave me.  Wait, I’ll go start a fight with him.  Wait, that’s a horrible idea.  Okay, I’ll go start a fight.  THANK YOU FEAR!”

WWRD (what would Rich do)…..I think WWRD is a wonderful section for this letter blog, don’t you think, dad?

Dad, I know what you would do.  You would exercise.  SO, that’s what I’ve decided to do.  Starting today.  I’m going to run again.  I love running and somehow it’s become a stranger to me.  I’d like for me and running to be best friends again.  And I also would like running to love my knees. I’m also starting to practice yoga again.  Yoga changed my life (you already know that though).  The fact that I’m motivated to do either of those things in this moment is a miracle.  Thanks, dad.  Wait, that’s it….here you are….right with me… this moment…..telling me to exercise!  You’re so awesome!

On the Music Front….

I’m not going to talk with you about this yet.  But there’s big things a brewin’.

The Holidays

Mom and I put up a Christmas tree!  We did so on the first day of Hanukkah.  So we made a beautiful dinner on our new grill (thanks mom and Jeff!), lit the Christmas tree, lit the Menorah, made candles, listened to the “Hipster Christmas” music channel on Pandora, and exchanged gifts.  It’s was beautiful, dad. I need not tell you how much I miss you during the holiday season.  Remember how Rick and I would ALWAYS find our Christmas presents?  We tore the house apart looking for them. We were such brats.  You were so patient. I remember the year Rick got that robot that had an eight track player in it! What was that thing called????  Do you know what I’m going to miss?  Shopping with you on Christmas eve.  We were so good at that.  And honestly, those Christmas eve’s with you are some of the best memories of my life.  I loved how we sat and drank coffee first.  And we talked about our plan for the day.  And then we would execute the plan flawlessly.  And we laughed so hard our stomachs hurt.  Oh man, I miss you.

Random Thing:

This blog is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read:

Welp, it’s time to get back to my day.  I have a show tonight. And tomorrow night. And then Rick and the kids are coming! I talk about you all the time, dad.  I tell stories about you.  Anytime something happens that reminds me of you, I talk about it.  I swear if I heard your voice right now, I’d sleep like a baby again…..

I love you, dad.