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Letter to my Dan Dan

Dear Dan Dan,

You’ve been on my mind a lot lately, and the past 2 times I’ve been to Tucson I didn’t go visit you. I’m sorry, I really am. I’m not ignoring you, I just miss you too much. Sometimes I feel like Sansa after Lady died, like I’ll never quite be whole again.

I guess I have so much to say that I don’t know where to start. Kind of like my dissertation at the moment… which I should be working on, so instead I’m writing this letter.

Do we have souls? And, if we do, when do die do our souls live on? Where? Somewhere with internet? I hope so, because otherwise you’d be hard-pressed to read this.

Anyway, I just… you’ve been gone almost seven years, and you’ve missed so MUCH. A lot happens during that time, ya know? (Some things stay the same, though, like me cleaning up after you. Your tombstone can get so DIRTY so quickly!).

Well, I still don’t know how to fill in 7 years’ worth of information in just a letter, so I’ll just highlight what comes to mind, shall I?

Let’s start with me. You died the summer after I graduated from Scripps, I had a steady long-term boyfriend and was about to start my MA studies at UA. Well, I got my MA, but left the boyfriend. I spent almost every summer being academic in either Italy (AAR) or Greece (ASCSA), and got into UVA for more graduate school. I’m focusing on the iconography of Greek heroes on late Archaic Athenian vase-painting, and as long as I don’t botch anything horribly, should be “Dr. Bartlett” by this time next year. “Elizabeth Bartlett, ABD” just doesn’t quite have the same ring, ya know?

Harry Potter defeated Voldemort (turns out he was the final– and accidental — horcrux). Snape always loved Lily.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time came to an end with the 14th book, and though many people died it was a great ending and you would have been proud of Mat. I still love Nynaeve and Perrin the most, though.

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire got picked up by HBO and is about to embark on its third season. It’s full of sex and violence and British actors, and now Mom has read all the books, though there’s still another one (or two?) to come.

By the way, the Mayans were wrong. 2012 came and went, and the world did not end.

Stephanie is studying abroad in Prague, and her blog and pictures just make me want to be abroad, too.

I did spend summer and Fall of 2011 abroad, actually. Okay, I guess I can’t complain too much. And Brie visited me in Athens!

Though it’s the future, we do not have hover boards such as depicted in “Back to the Future II”.

We do, however, have a black President. He just got re-elected for his second term. Yeah, he’s no Bill, but we like him well enough.

Hollywood remade “Les Mis”. Wolverine plays Jean Valjean and the gladiator was Javier. Anne Hathaway did a stellar job as Fontine… and I cried horribly when she sang “I Dreamed a Dream”. Not because she was also crying  at the same time (it was a bit over the top), but because that’s OUR song. Remember when we did that duet of you on piano and me on vocals for the talent show at Stanford Sierra Camp? Man, what was I thinking. You were such a good sport.

Annie got married and is now a step-mom! You would have loved the wedding, there was a live fiddle band and square-dancing and lots and lots of cake. Ted got married exactly a year before that, and it was a great excuse to see Brooklyn and cousins. I am still NOT married.

Joss Whedon did it again with “Dollhouse”. It was only one season (thanks, Fox), and it was awesome. Not as awesome as “Firefly”, but up there.

I still can’t do as many push-ups as you could (100!!!, geez), but I could try. I did set a world record in the 100% Raw Federation for the squat (130kg) for my weight class and age group, and Mommy set a world record for deadlift (92.5kg!) for her age group and weight class. I’ve also become a personal trainer for both Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting, and I compete. Crazy, I know, but you’d be proud. If you were around I’d somehow talk you into coming to a gymnastics gym and getting you on the rings. I bet you could’ve done some crazy shit up there.

We sent a robot to Mars, and it took some cool photos.

A man broke the sound barrier with a free fall from space, and the whole world watched him not die in the process. It was really something!

Weed is now legal in 2 states in the US.

http://trextrying.tumblr.com/ . Yeah.

Gay marriage is now legal in many US states, and that number is growing! I think the main issue there (with our generation) is that it is still an issue. Equality for all, right?

Every year we (Mom and Dad) sponsor summer research for a graduate student in the math department at UA, as well as a yearly lecture series in your name. I’m sure you’d approve.

Bubbe’s the only grandparent left. She’s going to live forever, probably.

I discovered I liked chopped liver, and that I like making it, and that I make it well. You split, I choose.

I still can’t believe you were allergic to tomatoes. You ate them ALL THE TIME.

You were always my favorite sibling, you know 😛 Okay you were my only sibling. STILL. Best older brother a girl could ask for. Fierce friend for all who had the privilege to know you. Intimidating intellect for those who braved to converse about matters of the mind with you. Silly sense of humor.

Even though I focus on heroes of the ancient Greek sort, you’ll always be my number one. Miss you and love you forever and ever.

(cowboy Dandan and the Princess Elizabeth)

Hope the pecan pie is good wherever you are. Mine may not be as good as Dad’s, but I have some on your birthday. Always.



PS: I may be surpassing you in years, but you’ll always be my older brother. Always. I had to learn the hard way that life is short and precious, so it’s best to just live well, laugh often, and surround yourself with people and things that make you happy.

So here’s to you. Slainte! (you would’ve loved Ireland)

(handsome man!)