10 Years

When we met, we both had 3 things in common —  

  1. We didn’t believe in the construct of marriage
  2. We never wanted kids
  3. And our love language was freedom

 

Cut-to 8 months later – there we were standing at the alter exchanging vows and dreaming of what our future kid would look like.

 

Life is bat-shit crazy like that.

 

I never imagined our marriage would take us to so many places 10-years later.

 

Places that made us work so fucking hard for our relationship.

Places that made us laugh uncontrollably.

Places that questioned our beliefs in who we were.

Places that were so sweet we could barely take in the goodness that surrounded us.

 

Places that we look back on now with gratitude that we survived that leg of the marriage trip.

 

10 years of marriage.

That was never the dream I had for my life.

I never wanted marriage or kids.

I wanted to be a famous actress and talk show host and travel the world.

And as much as I loved the men and amazing relationships I had with them in my life, I always ended up loving myself more and rarely budged on compromise.

 

Call it timing. Call it maturity. Call it whatever you want.

In this partnership…I softened; I chose to work through my shit.

And I’ve had to keep making that choice over and over and over again.

Because it is a choice and partnerships take hella work sometimes.

 

Sweet-Cheeks,

I love you. There’s no word that can accurately describe my gratitude for your handsome ass.

You’re brave + tender; courageous + kind; annoying + hilarious.

I love how your brain overthinks most things in life + how I can’t follow most of your thoughts because the words are just too big and oftentimes, I feel like I live with the reincarnate soul of Nikola Tesla.

I love that you put up with me and all of my wild ideas and the non-conventional adventures I want to go on in life.

I love how much you love our daughter and how you lose your breath just thinking about her sometimes.

I love that you’ve never tried to dim my light; you’ve only helped me illuminate it – especially in times when I couldn’t reach my own on switch.

 

And thank you for choosing growth over comfort every damn day of our life together.  

 

Cheers to 10, baby 😘

 

Order the groceries

My best 80’s hair has a hot grief tip for ya…

Order your damn groceries 👊🏽

After The Vic went tits up (that was his way of expressing when someone died 😂), I found myself EXTREMELY overwhelmed, especially at the “little” things.

I literally felt like I was going to break down and crawl into a fetal position at the self check-out in Target because even THAT was too much for me.

(Turns out — thanks to my awesome grief therapist — grief is not only processed emotionally, it’s processed physically as well.)

The next thing I knew, I found myself scouring Amazon for house items I’d usually buy when I was out and about (pre-grief) and spending hours reading ingredients, finding new food items and perfecting my online Thrive Market order.

My brain could handle that.
My emotions could handle that.
Therefore, I wasn’t breaking down in the middle of Vitamin Cottage anymore (well, for now).

Mental health matters, y’all, especially when you’re in a season of grief or overwhelm.

Take care of you. Do the easy thing. Order the fucking groceries.

Control

It was a Monday; I buried dad in his light blue coffin – with full military honors – two weeks prior.

I thought I was ready to do life.


As I was driving my daughter to school, I pressed the gas pedal to go on a green light and the next thing I knew I was screaming, “What the fuuuuuuuuck?!” at the top of my lungs as my daughter and I spun in an intersection like we were on the Tilt-A-Whirl ride at the State Fair.

I officially became a person who was hit by another person running a red light.

(My daughter and I were pretty much ok – thank you, God, star particles and whatever holds this galaxy together!)
 


What started out as pure gratitude for being alive from that accident, turned to some sort of bitterness because I found my grieving process derailed.

The headache and poor communication from an insurance company.
The in-between of car repairs.
And don’t get me started on the rental car situation.
 


I wondered though – why was I bitter? Shouldn’t I be over-the-moon to be alive and not mangled or completely broken?

I was bitter as hell because I wasn’t in control.

I was ready to grieve, damnit, and then I get in an accident.

That wasn’t in my plans.
That. Wasn’t. In. MY. Plans. 
Do you hear that? 
 


I’ve been the controlling type my whole life.
Even as I say that about myself, I want to delete it.


As long as I can recall I tried to have a constant grip on anything I could regulate in life.
 
Don’t worry, though, I know it stems from my dysfunctional childhood where I had ZERO control (#WorkingThroughIt).
 


It’s an odd dichotomy though – the “big” stuff (death, marriage, kids, friendships, people stuff) I’m super hands-off and all, “I can’t control people!”.
 
The day-to-day stuff, whoa, mama can’t help herself! I try to be 10 steps ahead at all times when it comes to my house, car, cleaning, planning, travel, etc.

Details give me pleasure.
 


And that can actually be helpful in a lot of ways. Take my career and business in digital marketing – that’s literally my business: Digital Details. People pay me to figure out and execute their business’s digital details. And I love every second of it.
 
On the other hand, obsessing over how my husband doesn’t place the dish towel the proper way in the kitchen, or fold the towels a certain way or being thrown off by a last-minute schedule change – not helpful.  
 
Not helpful at all.
 


I don’t know why it took my father’s death and a dude to slam my car in an intersection to wake me up to the fact that trying to figure out every detail in life blows.


It’s exhausting and when you’re in the throes of grief – controlling anything beyond your own mental health is utterly draining.
 


I’m not saying I’m “cured” from trying to control the details, but I’m more aware.

More aware that control is an illusion and I can spot a spin-out a mile ahead now.

More aware that it actually feels better – not worse – to loosen the grip in life.

More aware that kitchen towels don’t care how they’re folded, so neither should I.

And more aware that tending to my mental health and grief is the first and only step I need to be ahead of.
 


Love + Tilt-A-Whirl Lessons,
Keli

 

 

PS — No, I will not give up my obsession with packing light and rolling my clothes to save space. Take the oddly folded towels, Control — but you will not take my packing superpower! 

It’s Never Goodbye, It’s Only So Long…

The Vic

My pops…

The guy I talk (write) about all the time. 

The dude who I said has the number one spot in my heart (even my hubs knew his ranking). 

The man whose humor surpasses any comedian I’ve ever watched.

And who rocked a raging case of CRS/Alzheimer’s like no other…

Went tits up recently (Vic’s words for anyone who died was “tits up!”).

 

I had the privilege of honoring who he was in life and writing his obituary, which I knew could have absolutely NO pretense in or around it! 

 

Here’s to The Vic, my pops, for showing me how to live a life with just enough grace, heaping compassion and a fuck-ton of laughter. 

 

 

Please enjoy an obituary fit for a man who lived life mostly on the edge and rarely did he overthink much. 

 

The Vic Obit

 

Victor Michael Conci, Sr. – more appropriately known as “The Vic” – completed the family round table and joined his mom Rose, father Vittorio, brothers Charlie, Joseph, Hank, sister Mary (Reno) and nephew Chuck on August 23rd, 2019. He’s now singing opera with Pavarotti at the top of his lungs and keeping whoever is in charge up there on their toes.

 

The Vic came screamin’ into this world on December 10th, 1932 in the mining town of Rugby, Colorado. We don’t know if that town still exists, but he sure loved spouting off that he was born in Rugby as if it was a legendary town nobody knew about.

 

Vic was the youngest crumb-cruncher born to Rosalia (Rose) and Vittorio Conci – both whom left the old country of Italy and set sail to America – for what (we hope) was a better life. We’re sure, however, both Rose and Vittorio questioned that decision after Vic was born.

 

By the time Vic came along, he joined his siblings Charlie, Mary and Hank to give his mom Rose hell – and not many years later – officially sent his father Vittorio packing his bags.

 

After brother Charlie made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II, when it was time, Vic joined the Marine’s (“Semper Fi Mother F***er” he loved shouting). He served in the Korean War and never let us forget that he endured Major Payne’s (yes, that was his real name) slaps upside his head and he finally overcame his fear of swimming because they threw his ass in the water and told him to swim. He never did like water much after that – including showers.

 

A career in the Marine’s wasn’t for rebellious Vic and so post-Korean War threw him into adventures in California, Wyoming and eventually settling back in Colorado.

 

Eventually, he did land in what would be his career at the CF&I as a steelworker. Now, truth be told, he spent as much time at the bars doing shots of Crown Royal, sucking back 7 and 7 drinks while smooth-talking the ladies as he did slinging steel.

 

The Vic was an equal opportunity lover (especially if you were at least 10 years younger than him) and so began his string of three marriages and kids we ponder are still unaccounted for. (We’re waiting for a Maury Povich moment where we see if Vic is truly the father!).

 

Fortunately – throughout the three marriages – we can account for Kim, Marijean, Mike, Keli (Josh) and Codi Conci as his offspring. And he even welcomed being a father at 50-years old when most people that age were reveling in their empty nest.

 

Mike and Keli especially gravitated towards Vic’s larger than life personality, unmatched wit, sarcasm and most of all unconditional love and the unique ability to not take life that serious.

 

When Vic wasn’t rebel-rousing, you could usually find him with his family cooking (especially a spaghetti sauce or chicken soup), cutting a rug on the dancefloor, singing Pavarotti or Bocelli at the top of his lungs with absolutely no shame, and watching his favorite sports on TV. You could even find him yelling at the television screen when Jerry Springer was on.

 

When life threw him a raging case of CRS (Can’t Remember Sh*t/Alzheimer’s) you better believe he made the best of it. His easy-going nature, light-hearted disposition, and infectious laugh made those 10+ years some of the hardest, yet fondest that Vic and his family had the honor and privilege to be a part of.

 

Vic never lost his ability to laugh at the slightest joke, make fun of himself and know that at the end of it all – we’re only here a short stay.

 

He packed his life and those around him full of humor, levity, kindness, compassion and wholehearted love.

 

After 86 years of raising hell on Earth, he flew out of this world like he lived: easy and his way, surrounded by so much tenderness and devotion you’d think it was Mother Teresa on her death bed…but it was The Vic.

 

(A special shout-out to the living and breathing Earth Angels at the Bruce McCandless State Veteran’s Home and Frontier Hospice. You ALL made his last two years [and final week] there like the party that he thought life should be. Your grace and care for Vic and the entire Conci family will never be forgotten!)

 

Cheers to a long life well-lived, and in honor of The Vic and his life – go worry less, live more and hug your people!