January 31, 2018

Currently: January 2018

Currently January 2018 on Shutterbean.comCurrently January 2018 on Shutterbean.com

Currently January 2018

The first month of the year is down.

Eleven more to go.

Does this year feel different to you?

Everything feels different to me.

I missed the November and December Currently post and part of me feels let down because I was sooo close to having a whole FULL year of posts to look back on.  I just didn’t have the drive to push through my trauma and write after my mom died. I wasn’t ready to evaluate my months.  It felt like I was in a coma. I had so much to do in a little amount of time and then I went through Christmas and it’s allll such a blur to me now.

The IDEA of a new year and a having fresh/intentional start have helped me to return to a somewhat “normal” work life. I’ve been shooting a lot for One Potato (I style/shoot all of their recipe cards). That got me back in the grocery shopping mode. In December, I used a lot of Door Dash for takeout (didn’t feel like cooking AT ALL). I also became a big fan of Instacart and had groceries delivered a few times. That’s a luxury!  I’m finally enjoying cooking again. Honestly, I didn’t want to clean. I also wanted someone else to take care of me. So, I did.

I’ll have more recipes to offer soon, I hope.

My Everyday Life: Week 3 on Shutterbean.com

Instead of cooking, I moved stuff around my house, organized, made art, sorted out some of my mom’s things and helped my family in January. I spent a lot of quality time with friends. I had a digital detox where I didn’t use my phone for a weekend (other than to play music and take pictures). I’ve been giving myself permission to go slow-not rush, over-analyze things. I’ve really had to ease back into my schedule and let things get sorted out how they’re supposed to, without worrying about it.

My Everyday Life: Week 3 on Shutterbean.com

Inspired By:

I have been inspired by the people who are following me along the way. I had no idea how much love and support I would receive from strangers by sharing my own grief online. I started a hashtag- #keepgriefweird because, in my experience, grief has been/will be weird.

For some people, grief feels contagious.

If you hang around it,

you might catch it.

No one is immune to it.

Some people don’t want to see another person wallow in it.

Sometimes it’s painful for other people to witness.

Sometimes people aren’t ready to move past their own grief.

Sometimes people aren’t willing to accept the fact that we all die.

We’re here for a reason, whether it’s big or small.

Death is inevitable and so is grief.

So many people have gone through this before us.

Sometimes it never really sinks in until it happens to you.

My Everyday Life: Week 4 on Shutterbean.com

So many of you have shared your experiences with me and I am so grateful to see so many different perspectives.

Your guidance and thoughtful words sure feel like a blessing.


We’ve been watching This is Us. Love that show. My mom loved it too. She was happy that some wholesome goodness was still left in entertainment. It was a very cathartic show for our family. It helped my brother and I discuss a lot of things about our childhood with my mom. Sometimes when I’m watching it I feel really sad because I know she would have been really interested to see where the plot went. It’s those little things that creep up on me, but other than that I really love the show. It helps me process a lot. It makes me thankful that I had my mom for a majority of my life.

We also watched the first season of SMILF. Was pretty funny at times. Kinda crass. Can’t entirely relate but I really love Rose O’Donnell’s character. She’s great to watch in it. I forgot how I grew up with her talk show. She was one of my other childhood heroes besides Oprah and Martha Stewart.

And Shameless…definitely jumped the shark. I fall asleep to it every week.

Right now Casey is bingeing on This Old House episodes. We’ve watched quite a few Fixer Upper episodes too. Makes me want to redo our bathrooms so bad!

Orzo with Pancetta and Pine Nuts - a delicious/easy to prepare dinner! Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com


I am currently hoarding a bunch of grief books. I haven’t really made a lot of time to sit down and read. If something doesn’t catch my attention in the first few pages, I pass. That’s where my attention is right now.

After I do my I LOVE LISTS for the week and spend that time reading on the internet, I’m zapped out. Maybe I should sign myself up for a book club so I’ll be forced to finish a book. But what if I don’t like it???!!! Do I have to finish it? That sounds like torture.

Every now and then I’ve been looking through my mom’s recipe binder. I’ll share it one day. It’s special.

My Everyday Life: Week 3 on Shutterbean.com

Thinking About:

The future. I’m 38 now. I could potentially have another life without my mom. To be honest, it makes me feel so many things at once. Where will this work take me? What am I supposed to be doing now? What is life like when my Mom can’t share in it?  She read my website RELIGIOUSLY and so it’s so weird coming back to this space and not having her be a part of it. This blog was a way for her to get to know me and how I saw the world, not just as her daughter but as a friend.  What does my website look like without me knowing MY MOM IS GOING TO READ WHAT I POST? Week 46 was the last week she will have ever seen. My dad doesn’t really read my website. I don’t think?  He only read it when my mom called him over to check out something she thought was cool when she was playing around on the computer. I don’t have a parent who reads my website. That is weird.

It’s 2018 and I’ve been doing this for almost 11 years.


Where do I go from here?

Listening To:

I’ve been enjoying this song when I clean house lately:

This track randomly popped up when I was listening to something else and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear at the moment. Thank you, Spock.

Also, I highly recommend Peaceful Piano. If you want to feel feelings, put on some piano music.

Dream Life:

I’ve had one dream of mom so far. She was laying on the floor wrapped up in a blanket and I looked over at her and she opened her eyes. That’s all I remember.

The week before she died, I had a dream that I called my mother and she didn’t answer. I said to myself, “Oh. Why are you calling her? She died. You can’t talk to her anymore.”  I woke up in a panic, thinking HOLY SHIT what just happened. I called my mom when I woke up and there was no answer, but I remembered she was in Hawaii. So it was a bizarre moment of dreaming of something and having it happen.

Since I had that dream, in the week before she died, we had three really long/deep phone conversations. I don’t know if that dream had anything to do with it, but we didn’t rush each other off the phone. I am so thankful for that.

I feel her presence a lot. Sometimes so much that I don’t realize she’s gone. I feel her all around me!  Her voice is even in my head. So many weird things happen on a daily basis that I know she would appreciate. My mom ALWAYS taught me to look for signs and connections with things so it’s like almost EVERYTHING I see or experience is covered in signs. Sometimes I feel her when I see the color orange. I see hearts everywhere. I feel like she’s speaking to me through music. I think she’s a hawk watching over me. I asked her to find me a parking space twice so far and both of them were right in front of a church. It makes real life feel like dream life at times. Have you ever seen Stranger than Fiction? My life feels kinda like that right now. I don’t know if I see things because it’s a sign from her or if I just think like my mom so much that I find everything so oddly connected.


Right after my mom died I stopped eating. My appetite was all weird. I woke up at 4 am for almost 3 weeks. I got my appetite back at the end of December and started eating feelings. We had so many family functions/the funeral/friends and family visiting. SO MUCH FOOD. So much lasagna, I felt like Garfield for a bit.

2018 Intentions on Shutterbean.com

My intentional word for the year is NOURISH.

I’ve spent the past week trying to be mindful of what I’m eating. Staying away from bread because they lead me down a path of anxiety and when I don’t have them, I don’t have the chance to even go down that path. Restrictions are sometimes the easiest way for me to jumpstart discipline. Anyways, I’m adding more activity to my life and more of a “cleaner” quasi whole30 diet in the mix. The key is giving myself grace when I wanna let LIVE and enjoy something.

Eating Orzo with Pancetta & Pine Nuts because it reminds me of my mom.

Orzo with Pancetta and Pine Nuts - a delicious/easy to prepare dinner! Find the recipe on Shutterbean.com

Getting back into the Meal Prep zone. Hallelujah.

Shutterbean Meal Prep - See more on Shutterbean.com

Highlights of the Month include:

Currently January 2018 on Shutterbean.com

January Self Portrait:

My Everyday Life: Week 2 on Shutterbean.com

Enough about me. What about you? How was your January?

  • Tamara

    My mom died five months before yours. She had been sick for a long time, but her death was unexpected. She was only 56, and I was her caretaker. She had only been in hospice for three weeks. I was with her when she passed. She has been in heaven for 31 weeks now. Each Sunday, I celebrated her life, I grieve every day, and I imagine that she is no longer suffering. It’s rare to see someone going through the same thing at the same time. You are not alone, and your reactions nearly mirror mine. I see counselors, and my closest friends have reached out. You may not feel like you’re doing OK, but you are. Your posts have helped me with my grief, too.

  • Sara

    Stranger than Fiction is totally underrated – I love that movie!! And if you do feel like trying a fiction book, I recently (finally) read a Wrinkle in Time because the movie is coming out and looked intriguing. The book is short and super engaging and the themes of family and connection and time might really resonate with you. Or not. And if it doesn’t, just put it down because you’re a grown up 😉

  • Pepper

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this and *especially* thank you so much for your awesome site. I find so much comfort in your beautiful pictures and words. Keep on doing what you do!

  • Anna

    My mom passed almost two years ago (April 16, 2016) and I saw hawks CONSTANTLY-I just knew she watching over me. Now she visits my sister and me as a cardinal. Reading that your mom is watching over you as a hawk really rung true <3.

  • Ruth

    You are doing an amazing job. I haven’t experience a loss like that, but I can recognize how much it totally upsets your world. Your voice still carries and there is definitely still joy to be had. And your mom is totally still reading your blog 🙂 xoxo

  • Jenn I

    SO much of this resonated with me. My mom passed away almost 6 years ago, and when she died, I felt as if EVERYTHING was connected to her. Songs, thoughts, things I read and saw, everything. I realized that if that’s what I needed, then it was okay, even if those things were connected just in me. I thought a lot about what my life was going to be like without my mom.

    My dad passed away at the end of October. So now I’m without either parent. I’m without parents. It’s the absolute strangest feeling – I don’t like it. I’m getting married in a few months, without my parents. I’m turning 40 this year, without my parents. It’s weird, and it’s hard, and it’s different. But I’ll get through it. We’ll get through it.

  • Emily of The Three Bite Rule

    Beautifully crafted! Yes, join a bookclub! Mine’s through my library and I’ve read so many I might not have seen. Life’s too short to read a bad book, so if you aren’t into it, sometimes the discussion at bookclub can affirm “yup, not for me” or “maybe I would have liked that”. We have plenty of times when somebody says I’m just listening, I didn’t finish. Tell me why this one matters.

  • Heidi

    I love your #keepgriefweird hashtag. I lost my mom a few years ago, She had a stroke and was in ICU for a week before she passed. During that week, Whitney Houston passed away. We weren’t big Whitney Houston fans by any stretch, but I remember thinking “My mom doesn’t know that Whitney Houston died. Now she’s never gonna know Whitney Houston died.” And now every time I hear a Whitney song it kind of makes me laugh a little, (the weird!) because I think of my Mom not knowing she died. I sound so weird typing this but I know you get it.

  • Kat

    Thank you for sharing the peaceful piano playlist with us! I DMed you about it through Instagram stories this weekend, and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks!

  • Ashley

    I think of you and your family often. It sounds like you’re really doing well in focusing on taking care of yourself in the moment, and I really hope you continue to find ways to feel your Mom’s presence.
    Something I did this year when I found myself not reading was joining Food52’s online cookbook club. It not only forced me to read through the cookbooks when I got them, but then to cook from them too (and not just make a couple recipes and then move onto something else). It was really inspiring! I love reading and need to work on that too, but it was fun to try another version that also inspired me in the kitchen!

  • Jane M

    Hello Tracy! My Mom passed 5+ years ago and I was a mess for 4 years. Not sure how I survived – but I did. On a side note, I’ve gotten back into coloring and bought this book GOOD VIBES by Thaneeys McArdle. The pages are fun sayings and it helps put me in a more positive mood.

  • Christa

    I really appreciate this vulnerable and lovely post, Tracy. I appreciate that you’ve shared your journey both here and on Instagram about the loss of your mom and what you’ve done/are doing to move through it. I love your internet spaces and they provide much motivation and ideas for my own life. Hope you continue to take good care of yourself <3

    My friends and I started an article club vs. a book club, inspired by a post on Cup of Jo. It's way less pressure, but still lots to talk about and less of a reading time commitment. Maybe that's something that would work better for you right now?



  • Kate

    I was a little bit devastated when you let everyone know that your mom had passed, and I don’t even actually know you! I think it’s so important that you have been writing about what you are going through, as all of us have done something like this or will at some point. I hope you will not be too hard on yourself when “business as usual” just doesn’t work.

  • Jen

    One time my friend and I tried to start a book club, Another friend recommended a book, and we both hated it, and the worst part was, the one who recommended it never even bothered to read it. Soooooo that didn’t last long! I’ve decided to start sharing my thoughts on books I’m reading on my blog, so that’s always an option too, a sort of online book club.

  • Mittany

    Thank you so much for sharing with us. I actually found your site when someone mentioned your Mom had died.

    Here are my thoughts:
    1) Thank you for sharing your journey of grief:
    I lost my Mom a year ago September. It’s good for me to read about your grief – and cross-check myself. “Hmmmm … do I feel that? If the answer is “yes” then it’s comforting to know “Oh, it’s not just me.” And if the answer is “no” – then it’s a good reflection point for me. “Why not? Different type of Mom? Different relationship? Is it because I don’t WANT to feel that? Is it OK to feel differently (which in general should be “yes” – but sometimes it bares introspection – because it might be an opportunity for growth/forgiveness for me)
    2) I grew up in CA – lived north of SF – but have family who lives in the city. I <3 your posts to see if I know "where that is" … to remember "OMG .. I love that about the Bay Area … or to make notes, "Next time I'm home … I'm doing THIS!"
    3.) I made the Orzo w/Pancetta & Pine Nuts recipe. Except I didn't. (ie: I had to make a sub for the pancetta and I did something else different (I cannot recall what). BUT I LOVED IT. At heart, it's a great recipe. It tasted amazing. I didn't tell you though … because "Who cares?" and also "Not exactly the same recipe because of the subs". But you should know what a solid recipe it is – even if you use bacon & thyme instead of pancetta and oregano. 🙂 It was DELICIOUS!

    Thanks for blogging!

  • Stella

    January is always a little hard – my mom died in 2001 and every time her birthday comes around (Jan 10th) I feel some sadness. I love January too – love the newness of the year, the fresh start. I went with my girlfriend and saw Ladybird and proceeded to bawl my eyes out thinking about my relationship with my mum. Your posts over the last two months have been so healing for me and I really appreciate your realness.

  • Shannan

    Amazing words Tracy.Thank you for sharing.

  • Jenna

    Great words! I’m doing the Cozy Kitchen book club! Well, I’m reading the first book, I probably won’t finish it in time but I’ll have a read through the discussion comments when I’m done and will try stick to it. I guess less pressure as I don’t have to sit in a circle and tell everyone what I thought about it (ugh, worst nightmare) and if I’m not into one of the books I’ll just wait it out until the next one! (First book is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng).

  • Megan

    I’m so sorry. Let your grief process be weird, and yours. I hope you always feel your mother’s presence and comfort. I so enjoy reading your posts, I hope you know your work and creativity really touches others. Thank you for all you do! Sending you love and hugs.

  • Jessica

    Thank you for sharing–I’ve been right there along beside you and I’m so proud of you for not bailing on #keepgriefweird on IG when you started losing followers. You aren’t running from the flames, you are entering them–and it’s hard. I loved this post and how real you’ve been with your followers. I responded a few times to your posts on IG but rarely respond here. I lost the grandma that raised me this past summer and am still working through my grief. I have continued reading a ton, have a Half Ass Book Club with my lady friends here in Michigan where we read whatever we want when we want and just share about all of them when we get together….I’ve only had grief books for 6 months and they still love me and listen.
    While I’m not a religious person, my grandma raised me Catholic and I railed against in my teen years (I’m 39) and never looked back. I found the book On Living by Kerry Egan and read it in two nights. It is SO, so good. She is a chaplain, which I always had negative thoughts about–i.e. that religious person that comes and bugs you and your family in the hospital when shit is awful–but it was nothing like that. I found myself laughing and crying through her stories of living along side people as they were dying. It’s absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t recommend it enough. I also just read The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs. Equally beautiful. I read a dozen more traditional grief books, but these two are not that, and that may have been why I enjoyed them more. Really, we all want to know that our feelings are human and normal and that we will get to a new normal and “the other side”. I continue sending you blessings on your journey. Keep sharing. We are listening.

  • Intentions for the Week - Next Step News

    […] end Recently submit for January (check it out here) […]

  • Vanessa

    Reading this post really hit me hard, especially when you talked about how your mom read all your blog posts. My mom and I were close like that, too. She died of cancer 10 years ago in May. She never got to meet her grandchildren. She never really got to read my current blog because I started it a few months after she died. After all this time, I still catch myself thinking about her several times a day. Losing a parent is so very hard — my heart goes out to you.

    • Tracy

      Thank you, Vanessa. When I am feeling especially sad, I try to remind myself of all of the little things and big things that I have to be thankful for. I am so lucky Cooper knew her. I’m so lucky he is old enough for me to talk to him about her.

      This is what I tell myself when I see a grandma with her grandchild when I’m out. Ok, now I’m crying.


  • Sarah

    Hi Tracy. My name is Sarah and I want to thank you for your honesty. I have been a longtime reader but don’t think I have ever commented. I am so sorry about your Mom. I could see from your blog and Instagram that you two were very close.
    This January has been a tough one for me as I lost my Dad last January 13th. He and I were very close. He was my Dad and my best friend. I thought I had it all under control until January 13th, 2018 rolled around. I was bombarded with condolence texts and messages. And then at 6:45pm my sister texted me and said “Dad died at this time last year.” Yah, grief is weird and different for all of us. That one text sent me on a downward spiral. My word last year was ‘surreal’. Everything just felt so surreal. But everyday I get up and start fresh. Your blog has really helped me try new things to perhaps help ease the grief. Following along with you and seeing you deal with it all so gracefully and honestly has been a tremendous help. So again I say Thank You. I appreciate you.

    • Tracy

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write me, Sarah. I am so sorry for your loss. I definitely know how you feel. SURREAL is the best way to put it. And it is amazing how much one little thing can trigger so much. I saw a picture of my mom today when I was about 2/she was around 35 and she was so beautiful and I loved her outfit. I know she would have told me about that day of the picture if I had asked. It makes me so sad I can’t ask. There’s so much I’ll never know.
      Sending you love & light


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