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Waste Not, Want Not - updated

Sunday night before "Mad Men", I watched several episodes of "Buried Alive", a show about hoarders. The show is done with an empathic touch, no judgment. The ones with hoarder parents of small children are particularly heart wrenching.
A common thread seems to be having OCD, depression, and/or a traumatic event - death of a loved one, a brain injury.

My mother had (has?) a touch of the hoarding, which was controlled by being a military wife and moving every three years or so. But once they retired and settled down, the "might need that" gene took over.

Granted, there were no goat paths through the piles - in the house that is, the garage was a different story. She saved every scrap of fabric, every notion, every pattern, piece of yarn - no matter how small, and packed it into either a closet or the garage.
In the dresser and night stand department, Dad was allotted two drawers out of fifteen. She kept clothes that hadn't been worn in years, uncomfortable shoes, every card, photograph, and horrible craft project sent to her by friends. She seemed to think that a rejection of a gift, no matter how useless or ugly, was a rejection of the person who gave it to her.
(Real friends don't hold friends hostage over gifts.)

Food: there were roasts in the freezer that were eight years old, peaches and pecans from the late eighties. I once found a box of Rice-a-Roni in the pantry that was twelve years old. It had been moved from California.

Sometimes I yell at the TV when people are moving from their 2400 sf home into someplace bigger, because they've "outgrown" it. People - you don't have too little house - you have too much crap! (Judgment - yeah, I haz it. There it is, right on the end of INFJ.)

When I first moved to Florida, I spent an entire day cleaning and organizing the garage. Within several months, it was back to piles and paths.
I used to get mad at Mom when she couldn't find the Halloween decorations she just bought because they had been swallowed up by the abyss of the garage. She spent so much time (and money) looking for things and then having to buy more because she couldn't find them.

And she said I was wasteful.

Check out this site, courtesy of poking around the Unclutterer.


$*%&(^ Story Corps

On Friday mornings the local NPR station (WUNC) plays a segment from Story Corps; their mission is ..."to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives."

99.9% of the time, this segment makes me cry. As I'm putting on make-up.

This morning it was a wife and husband talking about his battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Guess what I did.


Clean Up Woman

I was crabby with a side of no patience yesterday. There were lots of "I had a red one but the wheel fell off" types of conversations. I had to repeat every single thing I said. And then she'd say "I know that." Arrrgggggghhhhh.

We looked at pictures before we went to supper. She said my brother was her husband. Sam was the "little one" and Dakota was "the other one". She did know her aunts and her mom.

Have taken over the washing of her clothes, as she doesn't have the wherewithal to put her dirty ones in the clothes basket in the first place and out on Friday in the second place. Maybe we can save some money on her "personal care".
She folds up the dirty clothes and lines the perimeter of her bed with them. She kept trying to take out the dirty clothes out of the laundry basket and fold them.

Handed her a pair of clean pants and she threw them on the floor. I asked if she wanted to hang them up or put them in a drawer, she said she'd carry them. She was carrying a paperback book and her Anon. CP pouch (she loves it).

I hung up all the clean clothes, sorting her shirts by color - who knows if that will help. I couldn't find the shirt we bought two weeks ago. Where does she hide this stuff?! It's one room! And she doesn't remember the shirt, so it does no good to describe it to her - yet I did it anyway.

Went to Nantucket Grill. She had her usual filet and mashed. The server was very perky and Mom kept making fun of things she said when she waited on other customers.
While I was cutting up her steak, she occupied herself by touching all of my onion rings. Gaaaa! Got pouty when I said to stop and told me I was ugly. I said she was too (it was just that kind of day). She said she didn't believe me.

I'm pissed/hurt/sad I don't have her support or advice or comfort anymore, especially now.


"Let's Go Crazy"

Please note: no cats crossed the Rainbow Bridge during the writing of this blog post.
DL - put down that Kleenex.

Dearly Beloved,
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called "life"
Electric word, life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time...

If you don't like the
World you're living in
Take a look around
At least you've got friends...

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down?
Oh no, let's go!
Prince - "Let's Go Crazy"

I know, the picture has nothing to do with the lyrics. He's just a funny cat. At no time in my life have I ever had another cat that lounged around like that. Finn makes me laugh, and I need all of that I can get. So that's why that picture's there.

The job search has begun. I sent my resume out last week to two places and one said they'd keep my resume on file because in two years if they expand, they'll need an office manager.

I laughed.
That may have been the wrong response.

Have an application from Trader Joe's in front of me.

I want to be in denial. And drink heavily.

Probably neither one of those is a good idea.


I was in Firehouse Subs in Durham earlier this week and noticed their mural.

It made me laugh. Out loud.

Firehouse Subs was started in Jacksonville, FL by firemen and each franchise has a mural involving the fire department that relates to the town it's in.

For those of you who don't live in NC and/or who aren't fans of college sports (a religion here in the South), UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University have a huge rivalry that peaks during March Madness.

The fireman is representing the Duke Blue Devils. The fiery ram - you guessed it - UNC. (Duke won the championship this year) When UNC wins, they close off Franklin Street (the heart of Chapel Hill and the campus) and have a bonfire.

Anyway, it made me laugh. You probably won't, but hey, it's my blog man.


Mid-Life Crisis

Lillie might be having a mid-life crisis.

In the past few months, she has become more assertive to her nemesis Oscar and demanding of my affection.
Her favorite thing lately is to drape on the back of my chair like a vulture. A purring black fur pillow.

I'm having my own mid-lifer right now. After eleven and a half years, I need to look for a job.

There's nothing like a job search to make me feel like the most incompetent person in the solar system. I know a very little about a lot of things and I'm afraid I'm not very good at any of them. At least that's what it feels like.

Except for a very brief period of about four months, my entire work history has been with Mom and Pop enterprises. I am not a corporate "culture" kinda gal. (Am I yogurt?!) Even though I am a rule follower, there seems to be an abundance of rules just for the sake of having rules. Common sense could dispense with most of them.

And oh lord, the jargon. "I'll reach out to them." WTH. I ALWAYS picture someone reaching their arms out and it makes me laugh. It's so silly. Why can't you just say you're going to call them?
Same with "ping". "Sure, I'll ping them this morning." Isn't that the same as "reaching out" to them?!

So yeah it's kind of apparent I'm not cut out to raise through the ranks of Citi Bank or some such.

Last night I met with one of the kindly Gals who is a life coach. She's given me homework and a new resume format - both of which I am avoiding right now. I did go to the job search site she suggested.

Despair is lurking just around my solar plexus.


The Russians Are Coming!

My dad was a storyteller.

Meaning, he told us completely unbelievable things and I always believed him.
"Cats are really elephants."
I knew it!
(He never actually said that, but if he had...)
Dad would say the most ridiculous stuff you ever heard with a straight face.

My brother inherited this trait. Very droll, my brother. Funny. Never laughs at anything I say, 'cause I'm not funny. I'm always trying to make him laugh and it never works. Awkward. He is a tough crowd. (although he did call me to say he laughed his hind end off at the vacation post. Pleased me to no end.)

Anyway, one day when we lived in Kodiak, my father comes home from work, (Master Chief Radioman, USCG), and announces that they're working on a secret project: a new code to replace the Morse Code because the Russians have decoded it.

Now, I'm sure all you smart folks out there (ah, that would be everyone but me) see two or three holes in this little scenario straightaway. (If you haven't, email me, because have I got a bridge for you!)

And just so you don't think -
"Oh how cute. Of course all five year old's believe their father's stories." - I was in high school people.

So little ole high score IQ me (higher than Charles Manson's!) goes to school and tells anyone I can find who will listen: GUESS WHAT? MY FATHER IS WORKING ON A NEW CODE BECAUSE THE RUSSIANS HAVE DECODED THE MORSE ONE.

I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. We learned the Morse Code, I remember it being in my handbook. My father used to write our names on our lunches in code.

The one thing I apparently forgot was...

The Morse Code is an INTERNATIONAL freakin' CODE.

Everyone knows it - even the Russians.

.-- ... .- - .- -. .. -.. .. --- -

Color me gullible.

-.- .. --


Happy Birthday Dad

Today would have been my dad's 85th birthday.

He was a lot of things: funny, grumpy,
(my son called him Grumpa), patient, impatient, keeper of unreasonably high expectations - for himself and everyone else, undemonstrative, generous, stubborn, kind, insensitive, a hard worker, loyal, stubborn (I already said that, but he was really stubborn), prone to go on and on about stuff, (guess that's where I get that from), bigoted, polite, unable to repair most anything, but a collector of tools anyway, lover of peace and quiet, books, music (certain kinds anyway), cats, gardens, nature, and family.

Moving back to Florida to be with my parents was the best thing I ever did. It repaired our relationship. My father and I did not speak to each other at all for an entire year when I was 15-16. (Yeah, I may have inherited a stubborn gene or two.) And that year colored the next twenty four.

It wasn't repaired in the dramatic way I pictured - of course. He had changed, I was older. We laughed about some things that happened, like the vacation.
He said "I must have been a real jerk.", and we were good. (I wrote a letter apologizing for my stupid behavior many years earlier. He never said anything about it, but he kept the letter.)

Miss you Dad.


Girl Fight!

Yesterday afternoon as I negotiated my car through the construction that has been going on for oh so long in front of the building I work in, my phone rang.

It was Wynwood.

Seems Mom got into an altercation with a woman she's usually friends with.

Hit her.

No one seems to know what caused it. They were talking one minute and the next, Mom stood up, smacked her, then went outside. They tried to get her to come in because it was hot, but she is part Georgia mule, so someone stayed outside with her for awhile.
When she came in later, she was fine. Self imposed time-out. They're both fine by the way.

Mom probably won't remember the fight or what set her off. There's just no way of knowing. Suggesting she might want to use her fork is enough to get the stink eye, a five minute pouting session and get called a bitch.

And in this corner, the bantam weight contender for Wynwood...



There's a lot of talk about Prop 8, gay marriage, etc. going on. Today in Raleigh there's a protest about something connected to it and an anti-protest and on and on and on and on.

Here's what I think:

It. Is. None. Of. My. Business.

None of it. Nope, not even that. Or that. That either.

Who sleeps with whom.
Who marries whom.
Who votes for whom.

There are people out there who do think it is their business to tell me (and you) what God hath said; what I should/should not believe about most anything; what kind of person I am whatever way I happen to lean; what God thinks about me on top of it all.

I've noticed most of these people's opinions do not include love, nor are they presented with a loving attitude.

Didn't I read somewhere that God is love? Now where was that...?

Here's my KISS verse: " God with all your strength, heart, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself..." (my paraphrased version)

The "love your neighbor as yourself" is the kicker for me; it cancels out all the "But"'s.

But they're [fill in the blank]
But they believe [fill in the blank]
But they like [fill in the blank]
But they voted for [fill in the blank]

Sorry, doesn't matter. My job is to love them, like I love me. (most times even more than I love me, because I'm not so good at that sometimes - yikes!)

It's hard to do. Try it sometime.

There's a show on MTV called "If You Really Knew Me".
It's a one day Challenge workshop for high school students to help prevent bullying, racism, and violence in schools - walk a mile in someone else's shoes basically.
It reminds me of the work my dear friend Sherman was doing (Bridgebuilders) before he died (miss you Sherm).

Anyway, on one of the shows a young man breaks down crying because his Christian (oh how I want to put quotes around that word), parents tell him everyday he's going to hell because he's gay.

WWJD? Pretty sure it wouldn't be that.

Now here's where I get to practice loving my neighbor.
Because I want to punch his both parents, the pastor, everyone in that church, and bring that boy home to live with me.

"...And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace ..."

"Imagine" by John Lennon


Pardon My French

Friday, August 6.

Took the day off work. Mom was dozing out front wearing a suede jacket with sweater sleeves. She had the bag that Anonymous CP gave her (don't know what was in it.).
We head back to her room because she needs to use the bathroom.

I've decided to document the shelf objet d'art.

This week:

It's a shrine either:
A.) To my brother
B.) Christmas
C.) Diet Sunkist
D.) All of the above
It's nicely arranged. In the envelope behind the pine cone is a pair of underwear.

I find some black linen pants and a t-shirt because it's 98 degrees (again) and get the lock box out from under the bed. This should hold the Mother Lode of jewelry.

There's a bowl in the bathroom with a pair of underwear folded neatly in it.
"I was in a hurry.", she says when I mention it.
Well that explains it. (Although it does not explain the pair in the envelope.)

Get her to change clothes; she has two bras on. (What is the deal with the two items of clothing?!)
She likes the linen pants. Doesn't remember having them.

As we leave, she asks, "Why do you have that?", pointing at the lock-box. "That has my stuff in it."
I'm going to put it in a safe place for you.
"Oh, okay."

Where's my Staples "EASY" button?! I've been plotting how to get that box out for weeks.

It's nail day, and that means Wal-Mart in Hillsborough. Not a soul in there and she's done pretty fast.

Wants to hold my hand crossing the street. Still calling me Mommy. I ask her again what my name is.
Stop that! Seriously, what's my name?
I name off a few more names, some ridiculous, then,
"Yes." (It is.)
"I thought about it and just kept going."

On the way back to Durham, some so-and-so in a large foreign car does not move over (even though there was plenty of time and room) as we're merging onto I-40 and I drop the F-bomb (as I am prone to do for offenses much less than this).
Pardon my French I say.
"Your French was wonderful!"
That was funny.

We're waiting to make the turn into the shopping center (another Wal-Mart) for lunch at Jason's Deli and she flips her shade down and says, "Well, you were talking about talking."
As a homeless man makes his way down the meridian, she says, "Uh oh, here he comes." She sounds disgusted.
She spots another homeless person across the road, "I see a man wanting something. Too bad."

We get a piece of strawberry shortcake to share, she gets a chef's salad, a Reuben for me.
She conversates with the salad:
"Be good now tomato."
As she picks up some lettuce:
"Flipper! Where's flipper?"

"I don't know what you're thinking in your brain."
Guess what, I don't know what's in yours.
"I don't either."

I show her a picture of Oscar on my phone,
"I always thought he was very lovely."

We went to Kohl's to take advantage of the tax free weekend and a 15% off coupon.
She halts right in front of the costume jewelry.
Ten minutes, three necklaces, and one bracelet later, we move over to the clothes. She ends up with one pair of pants and two t-shirts.
All of which she will forget she has.

She needed to wear the jewelry out.

She felt up to a drive to the animal shelter so I could drop off some old linens, including a $60 duvet cover Oscar ruined by tearing holes in it.
("Lovely" cat indeed.)
We looked at cats, "I hope they can come live with me.", (I resisted the cutest little black cat named Prince - because we have "the balance".) and a couple of dogs through the door. Not a peep about Mookie.

We stopped off at Cook-Out to get a coke, (the best, with a nice bite and crushed ice), and she decided she was hungry. Ordered her a small burger and fries. We just ate.
It's that hollow leg.

Five hours after we started, she was back home.
"That was nice. Thank you."


It's Already Broken

Well, my wonderful blue bowl from Orcas Island is no more.

Friday night as I was putting things back after the painters left, I noticed it had a big ole crack in it.

So I said my mantra three times, thought of all the delicious popcorn and pasta it had held, the pleasure I'd gotten from using it and looking at it over the last six years, then took it out to the garbage.

But wait, there's more to this bowl's story.

My long time friend, the one I flipped off in the food court (hangs head in shame, again) bought that bowl for me for my birthday a few days before "the incident". So it has had a mea culpa element to it as well.

I could get all philosophy-y about it and say the bowl is/was a reflection of the relationship, but gack.

Thanks JC for the fabulous blue bowl from Crow Valley Pottery. I'm glad we got to spend some time together.

Time Has Come Today

Yesterday I was late for my dear friend Pam's birthday party.

I've known about this party for a long time. The invitation has been posted on my frig for about a month. I saw it every time I went into the freezer for a Trader Joe's Fiesta Fruit Bar (raspberry, lemon, strawberry layers!). With the heat that's been pretty often.
It's on my calendar on my phone as 2 PM, with an alarm set for 1:30 PM. I told someone else that was my schedule for Sunday. Sorry, I have to leave for this event at 1:30.

So I'm lallygagging around the house yesterday around 1:20 when I get a text from Pam - Where are you?
What are you talking about?! I thought to myself, I don't even need to leave the house for another 10 minutes. Jeez.

This was a milestone birthday and her family had asked us to share a story of how Pam had touched our life; I had written it out on the back of the invite earlier that morning (I tend to ramble...and having it written is helpful).
I flip the invite over, and there - PLAIN AS THE HAIR ON MY UPPER LIP - is 1 PM.

I was raised by a father whose motto was, "If you're on time - you're late." I took this to heart. I abhor being late. It makes me cranky and anxious.
Yet, I am often late since I moved here, because even after seven years, I still under estimate the traffic time suck. Fifteen minutes should be enough time to go five miles and sometimes it is not. I HATE that.

However, this is not just being late, it is time confusion. It's happened with movie times recently, so much so that I highly encourage people to double check the times.
But movies are one thing, people's milestone birthday's are another.

Is my dyscalculia acting up in my old age? I always thought I didn't have issues with the time portion of the learning disability - but apparently I do now.