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Aurelia means golden. She was named after her father's mother. And while she was not a huge fan of the name, she came to terms with it later in life. I always thought it was pretty - like her.


On this last day of 2011, for my 400th blog entry, a tribute of memories to my Mom.

Sleeping with me when I had pneumonia for the first time when I was two.
All the clothes she sewed for me (that I ruined!). Her being happy that my sister wasn't "a tomboy", so she could have one girl who liked being dressed up. (It's still that way - my sister wore a dress to the funeral. I wore trouser jeans.)
Our Barbies being the envy of the neighborhood because of the clothes she sewed for them. Her sewing away in the windowless, concrete, steel doored "hurricane room" in Guam. (My dad ripened the bananas in that room.)
Her sense of humor. 
Her sense of adventure - a Florida girl who lived in Alaska - three times. And whose favorite place in the world was Hawaii. 
Giving us pie tins to bang when we lived in Kodiak to scare the bears away. You kids take these with you. (we never took them)
Making snow ice cream. You kids make sure that's not yellow snow.
The cookie book that had stars and notes next each of our favorites.
Every Christmas the tree would have a color theme - the blue tree, the gold tree...etc.

Her craftyness - ceramics; these giant grapes she made out of some poisonous smelling epoxy. The grapes were then wired to a driftwood "vine". You kids get out of the garage while I'm doing this.    
Beaded Christmas ornaments. Crocheted afghans and baby clothes.
These big plaques of peacocks and Hindu gods that her and Dad made - a kind of paint by number kit but with beads and sequins. You kids leave that all that stuff alone. 

Her "Indian" nose (a bump she claimed was from a Native American ancestor) - that some plastic surgeon offered to "fix" for her. She was greatly offended. 
Being able to tell when a cantaloupe was ripe even though she didn't eat them, yet could not pick out a good apple to save her soul. (she didn't eat those either) You kids eat those apples!
Having a knack for picking the hottest day of the year to do her canning.  
Her love of hosting a good party complete with pickle forks and shrimp dip. You kids get out of that dip!

We kids miss you. Thanks for being the best mom ever. 

Age nine. I love this "Dorothy" picture

With her beloved father

Twins! I'm sure she made those matching shirts. 1954

Dad with his adored 1955 Thunderbird - July 1955

Mom in St. Pete - 1955


Pins and Needles

Paper thin conviction
Turning another page
Plotting how to build myself to be
Everything that i am not at all.

Sometimes i get tired of pins and needles
Facades are a fire on the skin.
And i'm growing fond of broken people
As i see that i am one of them.

I'm one of them. 

I'm one of them.  

Oh why must i work so hard
Just so i can feel like the noble ones?
Obligations to my heart are gone
Superficial lines explain it all.

Sometimes i get tired of pins and needles
Facades are a fire on the skin.
Oh i'm growing fond of broken people
As i see that i am one of them.

Sometimes i get tired of pins and needles
Facades are a fire on the skin.
Oh and i'm growing fond of broken people
As i see that i am one of them.

I'm one of them.

I'm one of them. 
I'm one of them. 
I'm one of them.  Oh.


Achy Breaky Heart

Well, its official. I'm sad. (three weeks yesterday)

A different type of sad than when my dad died, maybe because that was unexpected. There he was, happy to be coming home next week and less than twelve hours later - dead.

This is a more tired, less crying, kind of sad. I don't want to do anything, like go to work. The thought of January, February, March, April all spread out in front of me with no time off is depressing. The two weeks I had off was spent with her dying and then all the stuff I needed to do.
No time to just rest.
To wallow.

Duke Hospice called me Tuesday to remind me (very gently) of their bereavement program.
I think I'll look into it. I don't want to get down the road and implode.

In other news:
I have lost 32 pounds since August. That's something I guess.
And I have a sock monkey hat.
But you knew that.

An Almighty Thud
We Were Promised Jetpacks

I lost my crown
When it hit the ground
With an almighty thud
I went to pick it up
And reveal my weaknesses to the crowd

And I lost my home
When I lost my throne
To a successor
With far more expansive plans
Than I ever did
I abdicated
[ Lyrics from: ]
You're the last thing I want
I'd love to stay here
You're the last thing I want
I'd love to live here

I sat in my castle
And I waited on news
From one final battle
That we couldn't afford to lose
And I whispered suddenly
My greatest fears to anyone who would hear me

You're the last thing I want
I'd love to stay here
You're the last thing I want
I'm going to stay here



The night before my mother died I dreamed of my next door neighbor (her father has a brain tumor).

[Real life]: I told my other neighbor M. that B's dad had the tumor. I assumed [bad idea every time] that M. knew since her son was taking care of B's dog. Of course M. had no idea. I thought about confessing to B. that I had told M.
But didn't. Until the dream.
And in the dream I confessed and we both cried in my car in my driveway. Later that morning I wondered if her dad had died too.
But she has not been home much for me to ask.

Yesterday morning I dreamed I took Lillie (my black cat) to an outdoor coffee shop. I held her in my arms, (this would NEVER happen in real life), and oddly enough, she was quiet (again - total dreamland). There were two dogs who were very interested in her, so I was trying to fend off the dogs and order coffee. When the coffee came, it was in a very tall, about three feet high, vase type contraption. The coffee was more like chocolate pudding and there was seafood in it. They assured me I would LOVE it.



Oh dear. I had a post. Or at least post ideas. Until I clicked "New Post" - or what is now the pencil icon in Blogger. will just have to muddle along with me I guess.


Happy Pagan Holidays, Solstice, Hanukkah, Christ-mass, etc., etc., etc.


Look what E. gave me! (sock monkey hat in case you can't see from the angle) I LOVE it. Our server at P.F. Changs (Jewish Christmas Eve) last night thought it was a bear, but it was dark in there.
He got a $10 tip for saying my dirty martini would be so dirty I'd need a cigarette afterwards. That and it is the pagan holidays.


I am STILL freakin' sick at three and 1/2 weeks.


Received the death certificates yesterday - zero "sanitized" copies. Not sure what I can do without those.

Had a nice Atkinsy breakfast of bacon and eggs. BACON!

Saw The Descendents last night (see Jewish Christmas Eve above). Excellent George Clooney gazing, but movie less funny than expected; seriously - could they not have given that woman some chapstick?!



The Countdown

I don't know about you, but for several weeks after the "spring forward" daylight savings time change, I'll say to myself, [if it's nine o'clock], "It's really only eight o'clock." Eventually, the change becomes real.

That's kind of what's happening now.
It's been one week today since Mom was buried, two weeks tomorrow since she died, three weeks tomorrow since I got sick...

I am deep in executrix mode, which sucks for a closer such as myself.
Everything hinges on something else - mostly death certificates - which I still don't have (two weeks tomorrow...).
And I discovered she did not claim her C.G. pension the tax year prior to her moving up here, so I need to file an amended return. I can't close accounts and divide up the "estate" until all this is taken care of.
But first wait for the 1099-R form, then file, then...more waiting.

Waiting. The bane and curse of the closer...

Here's a couple of things I've learned the last few days:
- When someone tells you they need a "sanitized" version of the death certificate - that means one without the cause of death.
- Make sure you get copies with the cause of death and some "sanitized" ones. Because of HIPPA laws, some places can't file them if the cause of death is on them.
- Do NOT tell the cable company the reason you are canceling the service - they want a death certificate. Really cable company?! I am paying YOU money, not the other way around, I don't need to prove anything to you. Unbelievable.
If you pitch a big enough fit, they will transfer your crabby indignant self to someone who will cancel it - no questions asked.

I'm not sad (yet), more...incomplete. As if something was missing or I'm forgetting to do something.


The Beekeeper

I've told you I find beekeeping fascinating and scary at the same time. This guy takes the "natural" approach to the next level.

Here's a link to the Bedlam Farm blog about a book on beekeepers: Backyard Beekeepers of the Bay Area.

And here's a song about beekeeping.

The Beekeeper
By Dessa

Here comes the beekeeper
With her pitcher full of smoke
She'll put us all to sleep I hope 
It’s dream and honesty
Sweet Prometheus come home, 
They took away our fire
And all that scarcity promotes
It’s desperate men and times
What fine design, what hands, what minds
The envy and eden, the tools and our reasons
Clear in the animal Animal's eyes
We stand up right, build fires at night
Made on 6th day to rest on the 7th
For now we just try to survive

The surgeon and the farmer meet
Each greets the other with a bow
They're kindred instruments you know

The scalpel and the plow
And in the shadow of the mountain
We work when work abounds
And we wear out all our prayers
When the work runs out

What fine design, my hands my mind
The envy and eden, the tools and our reasons
Clear in the animal Animal's eyes
We stand up right, build fires at night
Made on 6th day to rest on the 7th
For now we just try to survive.


Eight More

posts and I'll be at four hundred. Oscar just jumped up to help and now there's a big gray cat butt in my face.

I am still sick; as of Wednesday it will be three weeks. I'm at the place where it seems like I will never feel well again. My glands are swollen and I'm hacking up a lung or two or five.

My sister told me about a chocolate bar that has chipotle, salt, and Pop Rocks in it (they call it popping candy). The chocolatier is Chuao, the bar is called Firecracker. Southern Season carries it, of course. It's fun.

I don't want to use up all my random crap on this post, have to save some for the other seven.

Thank You

Now that everyone is back home and things have settled a bit, I wanted to say THANK YOU to:

the Gals, who sat with, laughed with, prayed for, virtual hugged, packed up, fed, coffeed, well-wished, ballooned, gift certificated, and hand held me.

my family, who traveled days to get here/there and, as exciting a story it might have been to tell later, didn't have a Jerry Springer moment (the potential was there people). And who, even in their own sorrow, fed and comforted us.

the friends who kept our home fires burning, our pets fed, our children safe. Who picked up mattresses and kept an eye on the landscapers. Who hugged our necks and just plain loved on us real hard.

all those far away [on Facebook and beyond] who sat with, laughed with, prayed for, hugged, well-wished, and hand held, albeit virtually. Those were just as important and beloved as those received in person.


Here's a pretty little song that has nothing to do with the post.


Sweet Home...

you're welcome for the ear worm. A song about Alabama by a band from Florida (not just Florida, but J'ville). 

Anyway, Mom is truly home now, buried next to my father in the family cemetery.

There were no Jerry Springer moments (sorry to disappoint), I got my hug quota for the year, and the Lenox birds have been passed off to my aunt.

We went out after the viewing to eat, then to my brother's hotel for story telling. And laughing. And maybe a wee bit of drinking.

I got asked if I was my sister's mother. Hilarity ensued I assure you. And the [older] man who asked the question is still trying to take it back.

Speaking of my sister, she left today. I'm praying for tail winds, smooth connections, and great weather all the way back to Juneau.


What Now?

I don't know.
Should I keep this blog and change the tagline or start a new one? Maybe I don't have anything else to say. Well, that's probably not true quite yet (or maybe ever).

Let me tell you something - I have the best friends in the world. They've been all rally-round-the-flag-boys.
CP made sure I had retail therapy, as well as a Cheesecake Factory burger and salad on Wednesday. (And it was her birthday too)
Thursday I called people - the VA and the C.G. and Social Security. Took care of my little car Blanche and had her degreased and vacuumed after she visited her BF's over at Auto Logic. A vehicular version of a mani-pedi.

I spent way too much money on this while I was waiting for them to finish her check-up:

People checked in via text and phone calls, sent gift certificates for facials and Starbucks.

Friday, CP (again) helped, (and by helped I mean she did most all of it), me pack up Mom's room one more time. I have touched that stuff five times since 2008.

We took a break for supper and had this:

Oh my gawd was that good. And I ate every last bite of it.

Today I walked with the Gals, ran errands, got a book on CD's from the library, met TROSA at CB to pick up everything from her room. The TV, coffee table, dresser (broken), bed frame, clothes, etc.
The sooner it's cleaned out the more money is returned. I have a feeling that will be helpful in paying for her transport back down to Florida.

It's weird that she's gone. Even though I hoped for it these last few months (in the nicest possible way. You know what I mean.).

Well, up early tomorrow for the drive down to Florida. I haven't even taken down the suitcase yet and Oscar knows something's going on. He will not leave me alone.

Be thinking on what I should do about this here blog, okay?


It Is Done

Today, December 7, 2011 at about 10:05 AM, Mom crossed over.
She'd been trying to get over, (and I'd been encouraging her along, believe me), since Saturday.

Sunday she said "Omar" very clearly, and "Elka", a little less clearly.
I don't know anyone named Omar or Elka, except for Omar on The Wire. (And yes, he is my boyfriend.)

I said if they're here to take you, you just go ahead on Mom.

She didn't listen.

I said a lot of things on Sunday. I got mad at her. Told her she was being a stubborn Florida mule.
Then switched tactics and told her we all loved her and she was free to go. Told her she did a good job and we would be okay. Go be with Dad and Mookie and Whiskey...[inserted all the dead people and pets I could conjur up].
I went through a box of Kleenex. I cried and railed at God and told him I was going to be pissed at Him if she was in pain. (He knows me, it's okay).
I told her that she was pissing Jesus off by keeping him waiting. Someone pointed out that since she wasn't a money changer in the temple, I was probably lying on that last one.

I read Alice in Wonderland to her. We looked at pictures. I timed the breathing stoppages and the moaning intervals. I watched The Last Time I Saw Paris. 

I reminisced about things. All the crappy artwork on the mantle. Keeping my Girl Scout pin and the award I won for writing in 8th grade in her jewelry box. Her goofy cookie making habits (the recipe says it makes five dozen, dammit I'm going to get at least that), having a laughing spell in the frozen food aisle at Big and Crusty Bagels in Publix. (Who would give that name to a food item?!)

She stopped talking on Monday. They increased her morphine to a bigger dose, every hour if needed.
When she slept, I could go home. That was our drill for four days.

Steffi was with me (thanks for that), this morning when it happened.

She did it on her own terms. Like she did everything else.

I love you Mom.