Mom always took an interest in our friends; some of my friends even called her independently of me. She was friends with my sister's ex-husband and my brother's ex-girlfriend. She always asked about them, "How's [fill in the blank]?" "Have you heard from ________ lately? How are they doing?"
But she probably didn't remember Fawn, even though Mom called her "another daughter" when she had her heart surgery in 1999.
Mom looked good, must have had her hair done that day, although she kept insisting she hadn't. She only had one shirt on, which was a plus; it was about 97. She was in a great mood. We were heading for Rick's Diner, then she saw Nantucket Grill, her steak place, and wanted to go there. After the filet mignon and three cups of mashed, she got a slice of coconut cake seeing as how it was free cake night.
She wanted ice cream to go with her cake, so we went to Harris Teeter (Fawn thought that was a hilarious name for a grocery store.). Mom was calling me (and Fawn) Mommy and laughing. She held both our hands as we crossed the parking lot.
Inside she started looking at magazines. I left Fawn in charge and went off to get the ice cream, when I came back Mom had collected a Pepsi and a Snickers bar.
On our way out we ran into Kathiey, which is always a treat. While we were chatting, Mom spotted fresh strawberries and toddled off towards them, so we cut our visit short to pay for the strawberries.
We sat on the front porch of Wynwood and while Mom ate her ice cream, Fawn and I took phone calls from from our friends Roy and Richard. Richard is one of my friends who used to call and talk to her.
She wouldn't know him from Adam now.
It helped that we've spent weeks together before, so she's had the heads up on the nose dive I can take when traveling or spending lots of time with someone. Not nose dive as in depressed, but going internal (translation for extroverts: quiet) because that's how we process information.
What comes to mind for me is a whale showing its flukes, meaning they're diving down deep and will be gone for awhile. I wish I had such a clear signal.
A few years ago, while spending five days with a friend I'd had zero contact with for the previous twenty five years, I had a massive melt down and employed a gesture so horrifyingly juvenile it astounds me to this day.
I flipped her off.
That's right. Flipped her off in a crowded food court. Awesome, huh? (Honestly, how second grade was that?!)
Note to self: This can be what happens when down time is not had.
I had not yet come to grips with my introvertedness and by the time I realized what was needed, the downward spiral had started and presto! it was too late.
Actually, it was rather effective at getting me alone time. But not in a good way. Go figure, the melt down and ensuing gesture damaged our friendship.
It also made me nervous about seeing people and/or traveling. "There's no telling what she'll do!" "Will resort to ten year old behavior!" "Able to irreparably damage friendships with a single finger!"
Extroverts don't usually have a clue about how much down time Innies need, sometimes even we don't (see above). We need to be alone and quiet to recharge our "batteries".(extroverts recharge by being WITH people)
We can be adaptable though. An hour reading at another table here, a few minutes alone in the morning/evening there; that time helps us be the charming friend you remember.
Google "how to travel with introverts" for some interesting articles.
Dyscalculia, a cousin of the more well known dyslexia, is to blame for my directional issues. It relates more to math than reading. Some people experience problems with time, but that is lower on my list. Concepts, directions/left-right, numbers/math, games, athletic/dancing ability (as in lack thereof) and low latent inhibition are where it shows up for me.
Took Fawn to the Amtrak station in Raleigh this morning, had one hiccup getting there - Google Maps did NOT give a critical veer to the right, necessitating a stop at a restaurant for directions and a turn around.
The gas was this close to empty, my stomach was in a knot, I was afraid she'd miss her train and throw off her carefully planned schedule and...sheez. Thankfully (sort of) we are not in Europe and the train was a half hour late, so we would have been fine even if another turnaround had been on order.
On the way back, a one way street prevented me from going back the way I came, then I was really messed up. Got gas, asked for directions, got on 440, was actually going the right way, but thought I wasn't. Turned around, asked for directions again and got back on 440. I was two exits from where I needed to be the first time. Took over an hour to get back to 40.
I've had it with getting lost.
My current GPS.
The Breeze at Dawn
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
You had your meat, salad (iceberg lettuce), canned vegetable (four or five heavily rotated - corn, peas, green beans, lima beans, butter beans), and potatoes - mashed.
Fresh vegetables were shown who was boss by being cooked for hours with slabs of pork fat.
Take that vitamins!
My father served as an unwitting foil to my mother's aversion to anything new. When I moved back home, I did some of the cooking, but only if the recipe first passed my mother's rigorous inspection. The veto usually was, "Oh dear, your father wouldn't like that."
But it was her all along. The non-trier. There was "the face", then,"I don't like that.", when she'd never tried it.
If she happened to be with me at the grocery store, she'd look in the cart, surveying the beets, zucchini, fresh garlic, jicama, kiwi, spinach, etc., then shake her head sadly.
"Honestly, I don't know where you came from. You know your father and I aren't eating any of that, right?"
She'd never had a nectarine or a fresh cherry in her life.
"Honey, of course I've had cherries.", she'd say, slightly exasperated. "There's a jar in the refrigerator right now."
Not that Dad was completely immune to the food weirdness.
He about had a heart attack in the garden one day when I took a green bean off the runner - and ATE IT! RAW! Then gave one TO MY CHILD!
You'd have thought I'd handed The Boy a running chainsaw, lighter fluid and matches, then told him to go play in the street.
Dad was this close to doing the Heimlich maneuver on both of us.
My mother's idea of worldly cuisine was spaghetti. In her defense, she did make award winning spaghetti sauce and everything in it came from their garden. No garlic or Parmesan cheese though ("Smells like baby vomit, how can you eat that?"). Later tacos were added to the repertoire.
We had potatoes just about every night. My job, night after night, was to peel them, mumbling under my breath, "Jeez, what are we, Irish or something!?"
When we did have the other white starch, (usually with stew), there were potatoes in the stew. There was no escaping the tuber. (I rarely eat potatoes anymore - unless they're fried)
My best friend in junior high and high school was from Guam. They had rice like we had potatoes and oh how I loved to eat at her house - heaven! Her father thought I was being polite about eating rice and always asked if I wanted bread and butter. (he thought all us Anglo Saxons did that) "You don't have to eat the rice. Really, you can have bread and butter. No need to be so polite." Oh heck no. Rice please!
Chicken adobo, octopus, soy sauce on roast turkey breast (yummy!), all manner of culinary excitement was eaten at her house. After school we would whip up what she called "Guamanian eggs" - cook diced bacon and onions, then pour in some eggs and scramble. Actually sounds pretty southern don't it?
My one rule for The Boy when it came to eating - he had to take one bite before saying he didn't like it.
That might have back fired though, 'cause he wanted his own order of escargot at five.
"Please, sir, I want some more."
Turns out it wasn't the seventeen year old frig (chances are it will be soon though), but an electrical outage on one leg of the circuit.
An electrician came out, of course by that time the power was back on, checked all the outlets, even took the panel off the breaker box (there are some scary looking wires in there!) and checked the connections. Every little thing looked fine.
All is well - until yesterday; I came home and the frig was off again! Worked yesterday morning. I plugged it into the next outlet, which works.
And sure enough, like the electrician said, other things are off that I didn't notice last time, the microwave (previously the stove hood), the guest bathroom, part of the guest bedroom, and...HORROR of HORRORS...
the AIR CONDITIONER!!
Oh the humid humanity!
Didn't realize the programmable thermostat was on the circuit until I was going to bed (after a marathon of "The Wire" - TV worked) and thought it was a bit hot.
Thank God for ceiling fans!
The really odd thing is it being one day short of a month since it happened.
Duke Energy is going to check outside (they don't do inside).
I'll keep you posted. (I know you can't wait!)
I liked Merv the electrician so much I asked him to install a microwave over the stove, something I had been wanting for years. So I guess that was a win-win.
My little Manx cat Finn is the NC native of the group; he was adopted from Independent Animal Rescue. I saw him in Petsmart and it was total adoration (on my part) at first sight. Because hello?, Siamese AND Manx - pretty much my two favorite cat breeds rolled into one. How could I resist?!
I'm pretty sure he's smarter than me and if he had opposable thumbs he would rule the world.
Finn McCool, or Fionn mac Cumhaill for all you speakers of Irish Gaelic out there, was a legendary Irish giant. Think Paul Bunyan but with women, swords, and killing. Oh, and dogs instead of oxen.
According to Bad Ass of the Week, Finn "...created the Isle of Man (from whence the Manx cat hails) by trying to hurl a giant chunk of Ireland at a guy who was pissing him off. Finn just didn't give a shit."
Wow. Good on ya, Cameron.
Northern Ireland is [probably] where several relatives on both sides of my family came from. While there for three weeks in 1995, it felt like home. (I believe in what some Native Americans/American Indians call blood memories; pieces of memory passed down through our DNA. Not scientific at all. Don't care.)
Being a Libra, conflicts both personal and beyond are very disturbing to me, and I'm not a very political person. But this stuff in N.I. gets me going and when someone who's English apologizes to the Irish, well, that's huge in my book.
Granted, apologizing is not asking for forgiveness, but it's a start. Akin to the first step of fixing a problem is admitting there is a problem.
The former cardinal of Ireland, Cahal Daly, did ask for forgiveness.
"In January 1995, he made his own striking gesture to the cause of reconciliation between Britain and Ireland. Invited to become the first Irish Catholic Church leader to speak from the pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral since the Reformation, he used the occasion to ask the British people for forgiveness for the wrongs and hurts inflicted upon them by the Irish people." http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0101/breaking2.html
That is an amazing thing. See what he did there? So disarming. So humble. It made me want to meet him (and I did.).
I have a friend who says forgiveness is FOR-GIVING. It's a gift that can set people free. Really. I don't mean that in a churchy way.
Maybe what the world needs more of is not love, but forgiveness.
they want to be when they "grow up".
The person who's known they were a doctor since they were five, or would implode if they couldn't horse trade, write, fight fires, sing, build rockets, teach, etc.
Something in my INFJ-ness makes me adore taking personality tests. The ones with easy questions like, "Would you rather go to a party or stay at home with the cats?"
It's the Luke-this-is-your-destiny type tests that are utterly unsatisfying to me.
Here's where they stump me: "Describe your perfect day." "What makes you happy?" W.T.F. Who can do that?!
I'll tell ya who - people who already know.
I like doing a lot of things in my perfect day. What the hell is happy? (The Scots blood rears its cynical plaid head.)
One thing I've noticed, once an accolade is received, I'm done. It doesn't have to be a Pulitzer; a simple honorable mention at the county fair will work. Poetry, photography, drawing - pfffttt, finished, fin, finito, the end.
There is nothing in me that will cause me anguish if I can't do it. (Other than breathing or walking around.) At the same time I really long for it.
Whatever it is.
The phone calls asking me how to work her remote, or telling me she'd screwed up her cable TV - again.
The repeating of something she'd just told me.
The frantic calling and asking where I'd been because it had been so long since I'd talked to her, when in reality, it had been two days.
The personality changes, both subtle WTF? moments and bigger things, as in the dating of completely inappropriate men (a.k.a. married).
I urged her to get her meds checked, maybe some combo was not working. She said she would. She didn't.
All this happened after she had bypass surgery. She never had a heart attack - she did poorly on a stress test, but what non-exercising smoker wouldn't?
Instead of taking a different tack with her, like seriously working on her to stop smoking for one, her doctor encouraged a bypass. My mother, being from a generation that idolized the almighty doctor (unless he's telling her to quit smoking), just took the pill(s) or the surgery without question.
Recently I came across this article from a book that advocates a medicinal alternative to coronary surgery (pssst, "...there appears to be no advantage in terms of preventing heart attack or death by performing either angioplasty or bypass surgery.")
"...the true frequency of complications after bypass surgery such as stroke and loss of cognitive function is as high as 30%."
"Cognitive decline complicates early recovery from coronary artery bypass surgery and may be evident in as many as 75% of patients at the time of discharge from the hospital and a third of the patients after 6 months. These results confirm the relatively high prevalence and persistence of cognitive decline after coronary artery bypass surgery."
I totally believe this is what happened to my mom; for her, bypass surgery was completely unnecessary. She had just turned 64 - the memory loss was immediate, then came strokes and the very not well thought out decision to stop taking all her meds for over a year. Now, a mere ten years later at 74, she's living in a room and doesn't remember her life.
I'm not saying a bypass isn't the right thing to do - I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Surely it is the right thing to do sometimes.
What I am saying is this - don't be bullied or intimidated into a drastic medical procedure. Just because they do them every day doesn't mean it's not seriously major surgery. That could change your life.
Wait. Take a breath. Gather some research. Get an advocate to go with back with you.
This paragraph broke my heart:
"A smile cannot, of course, save everyone; the motivations behind suicide are too varied. But simple kindness can be surprisingly effective. Mental health professionals tell the story of a note left behind by a man who jumped off San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
If one person smiles at me on the way to the bridge, the man wrote, I will not jump."
Too often I am guilty of not paying attention to the people around me. I'm wrapped up in my own little vanities, my own sorrowful thoughts, have my own agenda for getting through the day.
I have a touch of the empath, but tune it out most all the time because there's too much, often painful, information flying around out there. It's like finding a station on the radio, many channels are just static, then bam, one starts coming in loud and clear.
Several years ago in Whole Foods, while preparing my coffee, I happened to glance over at an older woman sitting in the booth next to the coffee station. We looked at each other. When I say looked at each other, I mean - our souls touched for a second.
It's disconcertingly powerful when that happens. Almost like an electric shock.
Then God (yes) put the thought in my head to talk to her.
Actually - not just talk to her, to go over and hug her.
"What?! Are you kidding? No! Personal bubble, man! You of all people know how big mine is. Actually HUG her? You are asking too waaaay much of me pre-caffeine. I don't want to. I'm minding my own business here. I have to go to work. What if it's embarrassing? What if she starts crying? What if I start crying? NO." (so much for empathy!)
Yea, talking back to God, great idea. Just call me Peter. Good thing He likes me.
I looked at her again just to make sure and yep, same soul connect, same nudge from God. Then guess what I did?
Guess what else? I look for her every time I go in Whole Foods, still think about her all these years later and wonder what I had for her, what she had for me. Maybe a human touch, a kind word would have changed both our lives.
I'll never know.
I'm going to work on remembering that a smile (no personal bubble involved), just a smile, might save some one's life.
Should one or shouldn't one?
Some people say no, it's out there, so leave it.
But I can't stop myself, especially if it's a cringe worthy typo like your/you're, their/there, or my personal favorite, its/it's.
Oh no, I cannot leave those hanging out there on the web. I also change pictures, re-arrange sentences, add things I've found lurking in a brain cell.
What say you fellow bloggers, to edit or not to edit?
(The picture has nothing to do with the post, but it makes me laugh.
Look, up in the sky, it's Super Lillie!)
Here's Fawn and I on a little trip we took to Northern Ireland back in 1995.
Apparently I did not get the memo on sunscreen and Ireland did not get the memo on supposed to rain all the time; together we made some sunburn. (Crap, I just realized I was still in my thirties in this picture.)
We went on this trip with three teenagers from the school she was running/heading/thought of/implemented. Long story for another time.
She said she's going to be blogging about her trip since she's a life coach and all about the relationships. Oh boy...I'd better be on my best behavior! :-)
photo credit: Carrie Anderson Carver
His name is Noah, and I think we're getting married - that is, if Oscar Wilde (my cat) and Noah's wife approve.
After prompt writing yesterday, CP and I went to the 2nd Annual Nine Toes Pottery Sale. Ronan is an up and coming BF. A lot of his pottery has a Who-ville sort of vibe. Skulls or bugs are used often. Definitely quirky. Not for everyone.
Ronan's guest pottery was Noah (he has an excellent stamp, says the pottery stamp geek) and I bought this bowl here.
Now mind you, the picture from my cell phone camera does not in ANY WAY do justice to this bowl.
It is delicious. Full to the brim with fabulousness.
Over two weeks.
She was out in the lobby again, wearing two tee shirts ("No I'm not.") with a belt. Dirty hair. Sweat pants.
Mom snippets du jour: (my but I'm very French today. Mais oui.)
"It's hotter than hell out here." I suggested a change in attire before we left, but temperature chats don't register anymore.
"Leafy?" This is what she heard when I asked if she was sleepy.
"I'm trying to get my mouth in the right place." I have no idea.
"Ding." When she opened her to-go box of pie.
"There's a lot of that." Rain clouds
"It's calm in here." K&W cafeteria
"Your hair doesn't like you." After I mentioned my hair looked all crazy.
My mother is five
trapped in the web of dementia
a small fly
blissfully unaware of the spider
in her head
encroaching, wrapping, muffling
her brain cells in silk
I too am trapped
first born short straw drawn
while the others go about their business
Trapped by guilt and love and
By blood and honor and
Trapped by right and trust and
By worry and shame and
what if it were me
You have fifteen minutes to write after given the prompt. This poem must have been lying in wait, because I was done in about five. This is the original:
My mother is five, trapped in the web of dementia, a small fly blissfully unaware of the spider in her head. Spreading, creeping, encroaching on brain cells daily.
I am trapped too, first born short straw drawn, while the other two go about their business far away.
Trapped by guilt and love and responsibility
By blood and honor and more guilt
Trapped by right and trust and should
By worry and shame
and what if it were me.
He may also think we're married.
He has to be in the same room as me. He sits at the window waiting for me to come home. He sits on the toilet waiting for me to get out of the shower. He sleeps next to me every night (sorry non-existent BF, you've already lost out to a feline). When I'm sick, he lays on my lap. If I go on vacation, he loses weight. If I'm on the couch, he's on the couch.
Oscar was adopted in Florida from the shelter. I was there with someone else who was getting a kitten and I saw him. He did all the right cat stuff; I couldn't stop thinking about him. When I went back to see if it really was true love, he came right to me and swatted at any other cat who came near me, so of course I caved.
The honeymoon was over pretty fast. I've had cats for years and I could not figure him out. He would go from purring to biting in a nanosecond. And I mean biting, puncture wounds, blood. He disemboweled my arm on more than one occasion. No warning, no ears back, no tail swishing, no growling.
Then he would lay down by me, put his paw on my leg, look up at me purring away. Try resisting that.
For months I walked around with a squirt bottle. Finally we came to some kind of understanding, I'm not sure what happened. Now nine years later, as long as I don't touch his hind feet or his stomach, it's the perfect marriage.
: marked by or causing hilarity : extremely funny
— hi·lar·i·ous·ly adverb
— hi·lar·i·ous·ness noun
So Taryn over at Inner Fat Girl said I was hilarious. God bless her.
I mean how hilarious can one be when you only have fifteen followers (side note: is fifteen the most stupidly spelled word ever or what?! Where's the "v" from five? WTH.)
Those women (including Taryn) are full of the hilariousness. Really. Check them out.
Does anyone actually eat that fondant that's been touched by half the free world?
Seriously, I wouldn't eat it with your mouth.
When they start fondling the fondant, and they always do, I have to switch channels.
Three times a day you eat a healthy meal - what fits on a [regular sized] plate. Sounds great, easy even.
Guess what? Every frickin' day I screw up by doing at least one of the three no-no's.
Add to that not having cracked open a Jari Love DVD since October 2009 and not going to the gym since, oh I don't know, the Eisenhower Era, and there you have it.
Some of my best friends are analytical. And my previous very long term boyfriend.
You might be asking yourself, what is an analytical? There's a clue in the first four letters of the word. (Heh) These people are the information gatherers of the world. For them, there is no such thing as too much information. In fact, daring to suggest that all information on a particular subject may have been attained is a veritable act of betrayal akin to stabbing them in the heart.
The question they ask is "What". As in "What more can you tell me?" "What other information do you have?" "What are the specs on this product?" The information glass is NEVER, EVER full for them.
The only problem (well maybe not the only one) with being wired like that is making a decision is like the tenth circle of hell (I can only imagine.); it's hard to commit to most everything - marriage, a meal, a car, a paint color, a tent.
So the BF and I, we like the camping, and have decided to buy a tent.
We have a few requirements which I include here for your reading pleasure:
1.) He must be able to stand up in it. He's not that much taller than me, but a guy wants what he wants. No harm, no foul.
2.) It needs those pouches under the windows for glasses. This is my one request.
3.) It needs to sleep five. They say subtract one from the number it says it sleeps for comfort. There's three of us plus a friend for Shawnn. So a tent that says it sleeps five is great for four people. Math. It's complicated. (Why can't they just say it sleeps four comfortably?!)
4.) Needs to be compact so the cooler can go in the trunk instead of the back seat, making room for friend.
5.) We have a budget of $100.
Shawnn is spending the summer in NY with friends (very good friends), so we stop at our local outdoorsy place in Petaluma on our way to SFO.
Go upstairs, to what I like to think of as the camping dioramas, and there...
...is a navy blue Eureka dome tent, sleeps six, on sale for $99. BF can stand up it in, there are pouchy things under the windows. It is compact and lovely and perfect when folded in its tiny pouch. (But you and I both know it will never go back in the pouch that way ever again and will be bungee corded together and thrown in the trunk.)
Yay, can you believe it!? The first store we go to! It's perfect, right? Meets all the criteria, right? Let's get it! Wait, wait!...why are we leaving!?...
We take Shawnn to the airport, then hit several places in San Francisco. Nothing strikes his fancy. This is where I start asking, "Why don't we just get the Eureka in Petaluma? It was perfect. Why do we have to go to all these other places?!" (My question, being a supporting style, is why. This is the question, according to the BF, that there is no answer to and it drives him batty.)
We might even have gone to the big camping place on the way to Sacramento. I can't remember anymore. After the second place in SF, I lost interest because of being in an information overload induced coma and all.
We go to at least two other places in San Rafael. Mind you, this is pre-Internet, BG (before Goggle). We'd still be looking right now if those options had been available. It speaks to the superior gathering ability of the analytical type - he knew where all these places were - from a phone book!
Finally, in Novato, a good six hours later on the way back home, he spies something he likes.
Guess what? IDON'TCAREANYMORE! Get whatever you want.
At this point I hate camping. I hate tents. I hate shopping. I'm pretty sure I hate him a little bit.
He buys the tent. The tent with aluminum poles that have to be put together and take up a lot of room, instead of the bungee type poles that don't - like the Eureka tent.
The tent that does NOT have pouches under the windows, even though pictures on the box show them. The tent that never zips up correctly and always puckers, no matter what you do. The tent that takes up so much freaking room with its duffel bag carrying case that there is no room for Shawnn's friends to come camping with us. (This may have been BF's cunning plan all along.)
The tent he got when we broke up.
Who knows how many times a phone will ring before disconnecting?
Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer.
The answer is...thirty times.
This is another huge difference between Now Mom and Prior Mom. Prior Mom could not let the phone ring and would literally get out of the shower to answer it. She was so afraid she'd miss something. Now Mom doesn't answer the phone anymore. She doesn't connect (ha) the ringing with something she needs to do.
I don't think we ever watched a movie together in its entirety. It was always interrupted by a phone call and she could not let go it to voice mail. She'd then spend forty five minutes talking (yakking, as my dad put it) to whichever of her myriad friends/family members it happened it be. Used to piss me off actually - what am I, chopped liver!?
My sister called it her umbilical cord.
Mom was the hub of the wheel and without her we are unconnected, adrift. The rest of us are not that great in the communication department. My brother and I are like Dad, one or two word responses and done in about five minutes (I love texting, it's a God send). My sister will talk - if you can get her to answer the phone. My mom kept us abreast of each others news and in doing so, enabled us in our dysfunctional communication skills.
The cord has been cut.