Kelley Kelley Hartnett

All articles by Kelley

 

A Long-Form Morning Haiku*

My calendar saysI was to start writing at7 this morning. That didn’t happen,Because, hello? Saturday.So I slept ’til 9. I’ve had my breakfast.Leftover pizza. Coffee.Which has me thinking:...
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I Swear My Dog Speaks English

Murphy, our Australian Cattle Dog (Red Heeler) mix, joined our family as a 10-week-old rescue. Within a week of bringing of her home, I promptly skipped the country for several days, leaving Jack to make the startling solo discovery that Murphy is part Velociraptor. I distinctly remember calling Jack from my lodge in Kenya (long story), and hearing, “I don’t know about this dog, Kelley” and “I think we’ve made a mistake, here.” Heelers are...
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OK, Enough of That Nonsense

So, you guys: I have an explanation for why I’ve been sharing such embarrassing things on my blog for the past two days. I’m officially coming down with something, and, apparently, virus molecules (or whatever they are) have clogged my (already quite ineffective) Filter for Determining Appropriate Blog Topics. I am mortified—mortified—by some of the things I’ve confessed. So I’m going to try to make up for it tonight by sharing some of my better...
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What Have I Done?

OK, I seriously have so much work to do today, but I also have a commitment to myself to honor. So before I write something I’m getting paid to write, I’ll write this: Holy hell, did I put into writing that I haven’t cleaned my bathroom in weeks… and then actually hit publish?  I did, didn’t I? Well, then. You might as well know these things, too:...
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Some Things I Pro’ly Ought Not Admit Publically

A couple of weeks ago, I made a commitment to start my day by writing something I’m not getting paid to write. I figure it’s the only way my book is ever going to happen. Plus, writing is good for my mental health. And I could use more of that. So far, my track record has been pretty miserable—but it’s better than it would’ve been had I not made that commitment. So I’m still counting...
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On Workplace Culture

Murphy Grace, my nearly two-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix, is an early riser. Shortly before my 6 am alarm, she stirs and stretches—whimpering just loudly enough to get my attention. She’s polite that way, I guess. After a couple minutes of “I hear you, Murphy. Settle down. It’s too early,” I sigh, get up, feed her, and take her outside. And then? She goes back to sleep. For hours. I’m self-employed, and my supervisor (me)...
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Nope

I went to church this weekend with the intention of “getting back to church.” And I left the service thinking, “Nope.” Again.  Nope has been my involuntary reaction toward church since July of 2015. Of the 220ish Sundays that’ve passed since I was last a church employee, I’ve attended maybe a dozen services. Each of those Sundays, I’ve gotten out of my car; taken a big, cleansing, courage-gathering breath; and tried. I pushed my cynicism...
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Let’s Play Dress-Up with Tarantulas

Raise your hand if you go all doe-eyed and goose-bumpy thinking about ideas like intentionality and mindfulness.  OK, now raise your hand if your reality looks more like accidental and distracted and, well, Netflix. Yeah, me too. I just don’t do quiet and still and present and focused terribly well. I’m relatively organized—a plan-aheader—but that’s not the same as doing things on purpose. Also? Planning to do something is way different from doing it. ...
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Day Plus 914

Many weeks ago, it occurred to me that—as far as my blog was concerned—my dad was still alive. I rather liked it that way, so I’ve resisted sharing any updates. But it’s been nearly a year since he died (on Day Plus 597), and while I don’t buy any bullshit stories about grief having a time limit, I’ve decided it’s past time to start writing again. I’m a bit out of practice, so in the...
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Day Plus 317

So, it’s been a minute since I last updated you about my dad. As the saying goes, no news is good news. Welp? Today, I have news. It’s good news (she said with crossed fingers), but I’ll admit the past six weeks have been tough. For those of you just joining us, let me do a quick recap. Two years ago, Dad was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) which progressed to Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML). We were informed...
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Saying Yes

So, I’m making a documentary. Yes, really. I mean, I’m not doing it by myself, and I’m certainly not doing the camera bits, but I’m writing and directing it. Honestly, it feels a little ridiculous to say any of that out loud. I have friends who are legit filmmakers who are probably all, “Whut?” at me right now. I mean, I don’t have the education. I don’t have the training. I don’t have the experience....
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Oh, Christmas Tree

The following is a slightly fictionalized account of a conversation I had this week. Mom: “Is that your Christmas tree?” Me: “Yes.” Mom: “That one there? The one on your front porch?” Me: “Yes.” (pause) Mom: “Are there ornaments on it?” Me: “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s outside. Of course there aren’t ornaments on it.”...
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Kneeling at the Side of a Stingray Pool

I have a bit of a complicated relationship with God these days. And by “these days,” I suppose I actually mean “my entire adult life.” My pendulum swings widely, and unpredictably, between hook-line-and-sinker-for-Jesus and not-at-all-sure-I-buy-any-of-this-like-at-all. Interestingly enough, I tend to have my most spiritual (I guess that’s the right word) experiences when I’m in full-on skeptic mode. Take, for instance, my recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo....
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On Belonging

Okay, look: I’m not the most athletic person in the world, okay? But last year, my favorite friend did this unbelievably difficult kayak race called the MR340, which inspired me to put myself through some sort of physical challenge. (Besides eating too many donuts, which would be a more typical Launa-inspired physical challenge.) (I’m not wrong, am I, Launa?) ANYWAY. I can’t run (joints), I don’t enjoy biking (butt), and I didn’t want to kayak (dark...
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Day Plus 33

So, in general, I’m trying not to eat junk*, but after Dad’s appointment with the oncologist today, I decided a celebration was in order and I picked up a dozen sugar bombs from the best donut shop on the planet: Donut Drive-In. (If you’re from St. Louis and you’re about to argue with me about World’s Fair, that means you probably haven’t actually tried Donut Drive-In, so shhhhhh.)...
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Day Plus 28

Welp? Dad’s back in the hospital. Yeah, I know: “Booooooooo.”...
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Day Plus Sixteen

Dad’s home. It’s so good. And it’s a little scary....
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Day Plus Eleven

Chemo-induced mouth sores are no joke. And there’s not much more to say about that. In other news…...
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Day Plus Six

Big news: Dad got his last dose of chemotherapy today. And Jessica, today’s nurse, declared it to be his last dose ever. I love the optimism. There’s just so much damn hope in that place. It’s contagious, and I adore them all so much....
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Day Plus Two

Since we’re basically in wait-and-see mode, I likely won’t post every day. Soooo, assume no news is good news. Or, at the very least, not overly concerning news. In fact, just now the nurse said, “Well? I guess I could get some vitals on you or somethin’.” The way I see it, if Amy has to think hard to come up with something to do for Dad, he’s doing jussssst fine. Day Plus One (yesterday) brought...
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Day Zero

So, today was pretty uneventful. <happy dance> I mean, other than Dad getting his transplant. </happy dance>...
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Day Minus One

Quick update on today: Dad’s doing super-great. He ate three meals, walked 16 laps around the floor, rinsed with saline three times (to avoid getting mucositis, which causes nasty mouth sores), used his spirometer (to exercise his lungs and prevent pneumonia), and started working on a puzzle I brought....
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Day Minus Two

And the phrase of the day is: roller coaster. I got a text from Dad early this morning: Sour stomach. Nothing’s helping. Bring bottled water.  DAMMIT....
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Day Minus Three

This morning, two doctors and a couple of nurses told Dad that yesterday was the worst of it. Dad wasn’t buying it at all, and I was only cautiously optimistic. I don’t know why we doubted what they were saying; these people simply don’t engage in sugar-coating. If it’s going to suck, they say so. So when they say, “Today will be better,” we should know they mean it....
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Day Minus Four

Yeah, so eff cancer. That’s my attitude tonight....
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Day Minus Five

Random Thought 1: Since Facebook became a Thing, I’ve had loads of friends post about all manner of health (and other) struggles. I need to confess that I’ve not always given my complete attention to those posts. So many of them have big words and long explanations, and besides, I’m rather easily overwhelmed by others’ suffering. And now, hello, I’m posting the same sorts of updates. I’m humbled and deeply grateful for your willingness to keep up with me. I can’t...
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Day Minus Six

Okay, so far? The stem cell transplant process involves a lot of sitting around, frequently interrupted by sundry wonderful people: nurses, nutritionists, housekeeping staff, physical therapists, doctors, and doctors-in-training. More than once today, I’ve said, “That person was, like, 12.” (I am, like, solidly 40-something, and I’m astounded by how young medical professionals are these days.)...
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Day Minus Seven

Today, my dad began his stem cell transplant process. Okay, I know a bunch of you are all, like, “Wait. What?”...
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On the Occasion of My 25th Wedding Anniversary

It was January 25, 1992. I was barely 21 years old, seven months away from receiving my bachelor’s degree, and, on that night, I was wearing an impossibly puffy, disastrously sparkly, stupidly expensive gown. I begged my bridesmaids to tell me jokes as they fussed with my gigantic hair and smoothed my over-indulgent train. “I’m going to throw up. I really, really am.”...
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Tequila and Amazing Grace

Although this story begins with a margarita and includes a scene in which I’m shaking uncontrollably on the floor of my parents’ powder room, it’s not actually about drinking too much. It’s important you know that right up front....
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I Don’t Care Who’s Sitting in the Oval Office

I had a rather large glass of wine last night while I was watching the election results roll in, and I fell asleep before the finale. I was awakened at 2:16 am by a text from my eldest daughter: “I don’t know if you’re up and saw the results of the election. Be careful going on social media tomorrow.” My youngest also texted me: “Why is he allowed to be the president, mom? I’m so scared.”...
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Sometimes, Quiet is Violent

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. “Sometimes, quiet is violent.” – twenty one pilots So, here’s the thing: A few weeks ago, a Black friend of mine called...
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Training to Climb a Volcano

In March of 2009, I climbed an active volcano in Guatemala—Volcan Pacaya. Yes. Really. ...
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Uncomfortable

A few Sundays ago, my parents’ pastor offered me her pulpit. I hadn’t preached for more than a year, and because she said I could teach about “anything,” I leapt at the opportunity....
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Things I Thought I Might’ve Done By Now

As many of you are (painfully) aware, I’ve recently become an Empty Nester. Along with the expected emotional upheaval (I miss my kids a whole, whole lot), I’m working through some other garbage. Namely, I’ve reached the rather painful conclusion that my life is half over, and (aside from rearing two dynamite young people) I haven’t done a damn thing with it....
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I Need to Talk to You About My Car

All right, here’s the deal: I drive an Audi TT convertible. Given that I’m sort of a loudmouth about poverty and privilege and materialism and minimalism, that may seem a little hypocritical. So before you go all TMZ on me and hire someone with a drone to scope out my (non-existent) multi-million-dollar ranch, I want you to know something about my mid-life-crisis-mobile: Jack talked me into it....
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Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s August 1, 2016. Otherwise known as the first day of the month in which I become an Empty Nester. A couple of weeks ago, an older couple came into the shop where I volunteer. (They were actually about my age, but whatever, okay? Just whatever.) As I was ringing up their cranberry orange cinnamon rolls, we began small-talking about kids, and when I mentioned that my youngest is heading off to college in the fall, they were...
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And Also

Yesterday, I wrote this post: A List of People Who Are Human Beings in No Particular Order.  I wrote it in 10 minutes. I know it’s a hot mess in spots. I also know it’s incomplete in a lot of ways—and I want to correct a piece of that tonight....
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A List of People Who are Human Beings in No Particular Order

A baby taking its first breath. A momma who chose not to carry her baby to term. The nurse who assisted with the procedure. The pastor holding a condemning sign outside the clinic. The man forcing his girlfriend to stay in the waiting room....
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Area of Refuge

Hi. It’s Kelley. It’s been more than two months since my last confession post. The last few weeks, I’ve been wholly self-absorbed. My youngest squirrel graduated from high school. We sold one house and bought another (much smaller) one. We discovered none of our furniture would fit in the new place, so we spent hours shopping for a bunch of new stuff (which is not nearly as fun as it sounds) (first-world problems)....
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Queer

estimated read time: I brag about my kids on Facebook. Over the past several weeks, I’ve posted many, many times about my high school senior, Bekah. Yesterday, in my ongoing attempt to dispel my kids’ assertion that I have a favorite child, I posted about my college sophomore, Emily. I mentioned how smart she is. I mentioned how much she’s learning and, consequently, teaching me. I mentioned that she’s a queer woman....
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I’m a Blogger Who Does Not Blog

estimated read time:  Oh my gosh, you guys, I’m a blogger who, apparently, does not blog. But I can’t not write today, so here are four things I have to say:...
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Mouse

estimated read time: Saturday  I’m getting in my car to take it to Firestone for an oil change. Jack’s planning to follow me so I have a ride home. Me (as I walk past my car): Hey, Jack? Any chance there could be a mouse in my car?...
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Food

estimated read time: It took me eight years, but I finally did it: I gained back every pound I lost. All 30 of them....
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South

estimated reading time: She was sitting on the shoulder of an I-70 west on-ramp, holding a sign that read, “SOUTH.” She was wearing plastic sunglasses and a hoodie, and to her left was a collection of 11 or 12 suitcases and duffle bags. As Launa and I passed by her, we talked for a moment about going back to let the woman know she was sitting in the wrong spot to go south, and we marveled about all of her bags, and we wondered who...
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A Birthday Party at a Homeless Shelter

estimated read time: I’ve been arguing with myself all evening about writing this post. I’m always, always, always afraid of saying something stupid/offensive/ignorant, particularly when it comes to issues of social justice. But then I decided that if we don’t talk about stuff, nothing’s going to get better. So, here I am: Talking....
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Maybe It’s the Sunshine
(or Beauty in Four Movements)

estimated read time: I think I’ve told you this—or you’ve undoubtedly noticed: I’m the angsty sort. I get wound up about all sort of things—some worthy of the wind-up and some absolutely not. While I’m not ready to label myself a pessimist, I have to admit it’s been easier for me, lately, to see the yuck and the wrong and the not okay. But the last couple of days have been just… well, they’ve been pretty great. ...
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I’m Not an Idiot, and Neither Are You

estimated read time: It’s February—still nine months away from Election Day—and I’ve already started unfollowing people on Facebook.  I should back up. A few weeks ago, I had myself a bit of a moment and I unfriended more than 600 people on Facebook. Not unfollowed. Unfriended. ...
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On Being Counter-Cultural

estimated reading time: I’m frustrated these days. Okay, okay. I’m usually frustrated. But lately, I’m especially frustrated. There’s this preacher-guy named Michael Frost, whom I respect quite a lot. A couple of years ago, he lectured a room full of professional Christians about how we should be leading “questionable lives.” That is, if we’re truly following Jesus, our lives will look so completely bonkers to people around us that they’ll be asking us why we’re behaving so strangely. I’m talking about unreasonable generosity....
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Things That Happened Today

estimated read time: In case you’re curious what I’ve been up to today: I accidentally ordered and consumed 1/4 of a skinny vanilla latte before I remembered that I’ve quit caffeine cold turkey. I learned someone nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize....
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