• Airplane in sky for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    The Anxiety is Real

    My sister recently had a baby. A little girl, her second, perfect and tiny and the best possible thing to happen in this year of horror. My dad was finally vaccinated, and he was traveling to see my sister and help with her children. I jumped at the chance to see them both. But that is all the subject of a different blog post. This blog post is about what it’s been like to be on a very full airplane, next to perfectly nice people who are nonetheless scaring the shit out of me. No, they are not reckless, and they have mostly been wearing their masks. But my greeting…

  • Meat on table for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Death by Pork Butt

    I told myself I couldn’t freak out until 10 pm. I had been worried for the past hour, but I tried to rationalize it. Everything was fine. It wasn’t really that late. But then 10 pm arrived, and I let myself get really worried. Where was Chris? He’d been over at his sister’s house that evening, sitting around the fire and chatting with his brother-in-law, Josh. A few friends and neighbors dropped by to say congratulations on our engagement, and Josh was smoking a pork butt in his new smoker. Chris had let me know that things were behind schedule, as the pork butt was taking much longer to cook…

  • car driving like that in blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    Sometimes Bad Things Don’t Happen

    The crash was so loud and the impact was so close to me that I screamed involuntarily. “Are you hurt?” the man working at Goodwill asked as he ran up to me. I looked down. The car hadn’t touched me, somehow, but it was close enough that it had brushed my long skirt. “I’m okay,” I said, grateful that he’d come over, even if he was violating the 6-foot social distancing rule. I wasn’t so sure about my car. I had been parked and standing next to my car when the other car ran into mine. The driver of the car had gotten out and was profusely apologizing. The other…

  • Bus at sunset for blog by DC widow writer Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck


    About two months after Shawn and I started dating, we went to Vietnam for a week. I know this may sound like major excursion, but we were living in Japan, and Vietnam was just a few hours away by plane. We made a plan to start in the south and take the train north. We had no hotel reservations or timeline of events, except that our plane flew into Ho Chi Minh City on a Saturday and out of Hanoi a week later. It was the type of plan I often made in my early 20s, which consisted of, “I’m sure it will be fine.” We spent a great first…

  • Door of classroom like that of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    Just in Case

    About 15 minutes before the end of my last class of the day, an email was sent out. I saw it pop up on my computer, and I knew: our school was closing too. The students didn’t know yet – they were engaged in a discussion about how the government should best address the outbreak of covid-19 – but I knew that quickly they would know from other students passing by the classroom. “I have to end this early,” I said to them. “We just got word that our school is going to close tomorrow, and I want to make sure I have time to say a few things to…

  • Daughter of DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley runs in cross country race
    New Perspectives

    What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

    I was driving to a cross-country meet with Claire a few weeks ago, and she was really nervous. “I have butterflies!” she said from the backseat. I tried to calm her down. She’s still in elementary school and she was only going to be running a couple of miles. “It’s for fun, anyway,” I said. “But what if it’s terrible?” she said. I could hear the worry in her voice. “Okay,” I said, “what’s the worst thing that can happen today?” “I could die!” Claire said. “You’re not going to die,” I said. “You know that. So let’s think about what actually might happen.” “I could have to walk,” she…