Has it been that long?
Two years ago, I was living in a little 700-square-foot apartment in Merriam Park a block away from O'Gara's with a circus performer.
Two years ago, I was working a hateful job at an embroidery shop, doing everything short of the finances and the embroidery itself - the work of two or three people - and was barely making ends meet.
Two years ago, I had lost faith in radio, and listened exclusively to my iPod or CDs.
Two years ago, I drove a PT Cruiser automatic with a 6-CD changer and a moon roof.
Two years ago, my world was shaken by the emotional earthquake that was losing my grandmother. And I'm still feeling the aftershocks.
Since then, I've been trying so hard to live the life she'd have wanted me to live. I've been doing things I hope she's proud of and, well, some other things I hope she looks the other way on.
Today, I live in a 3-bedroom apartment with a couple and their 6-month-old daughter. I'm able to see my Tiny Roommate grow and change incrementally every day. And I've seen her, cradled by her grandmother, in one of the chairs that used to belong to mine.
Today, I'm working as a "temporary employee" at a company I've been at for over a year now. It's the longest I've stayed in one place. The people here are phenomenal, and sometimes that's half the battle. The other half is the work itself - it's constantly changing and, therefore, never boring.
Today, I listen to MPR 89.3, The Current. Alternative music with a local bent to it, and completely supported by member contributions. Every shred of faith in radio I had lost was returned the day I discovered The Current.
Today, I drive a Jeep Wrangler manual with crank windows, manual locks, and both a hard top and a soft top (or I can go topless). I learned how to drive a manual, and listening to the Current more than replaces the CD changer.
Today, I'm still feeling the aftershocks.
It's a big year in my family, with my brother graduating from high school and my sister getting married. My cousin Kyle just had his first communion as well. There's a lot going on that she's not here for. (And yeah, part of me wanted to end that sentence with "that she's missing," but that's hardly fair at all.)
The one scenario my sister and I keep playing over and over is Grandma, up in the Great Beyond, with her sister-in-law, Rose. Grandma and Aunt Rose passed away about a month apart, and, having married brothers, were pretty close. Rose's grandchild is getting married on the same day as my sister. I can only imagine the hijinks that will ensue up Yonder and, having seen the two of them at weddings before, I can only hope that there's cab drivers there, too.