Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday FW.

People have told me my whole life that I look like my mom.  Every time it made me growl in the back of my head and shout into my closed mouth that I AM NOT MY MOM!

When they told my mom how much she resembled her mom, I'm sure she had a similar and uniquely own response to being told that.

As daughters we do NOT want to be our mothers.  We want to individuate and rebel against the wicked DNA that stamps us out like clones.  We especially do not want to be mothers we do not like or understand.

My Grami was a stay at home.  Disciplined regarding child rearing and cleaning in a way that makes drill instructors look like cuddly kittens.  My rebellious mama was a career woman who moved half way across the US by herself in a generation of stay at homes who never left their parent's zip code.  She was not exactly cuddly, but certainly our home was full of kid clutter and drifting dog hair bunnies that would have made my Grami stroke out.  My mama's rebellious girl nixed the child thing altogether and made career her path.  And not just any career, but a brainiac one - science.

So that is how we differ.

It's taken a lot more time and even more grace to allow for the recognition of how we are the same outside of our faces.

We three women are wicked smart.  All three of us devour books as if we are starving.

We three women are phenomenally independent.  My Grami could shoot a pheasant, dress and cook it.  She raised two smart kids while her hubby was gone through the week.  My mama had a mean jump shot and taught me never to just give the control of my money over to a man simply bc he has a dick (although I'm sure she would have used the more medically correct penis).  I can strip and paint a house, repair double hung windows, lay tile, and manage my own damn money thankyouverymuch.  

We are all three very spiritual, although the form of that varies.  Grami was Uber Catholic.  Mama feigns Catholic, but really believes in the god of medicine.  I walk both worlds, easily holding them equally.  My religion is neither science nor organized faith.  My beliefs are softer edged and mush together in delightful ways, but no less strong than my predecessors.

We are all so incredibly beautiful.  None of us believing it even as we stare it in the face.  Filled with thoughts of not pretty, awkward and undeserving.  On their shoulders, I alone seem poised to escape that way of thinking.  I call bullshit on it.  I see how beautiful my Grami was, how beautiful my mama is and how beautiful I am.

Yes we are alike.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20 Fast Write

James Garner died this weekend.  Maverick and Rockford Files were integral parts of my childhood and I loved his handsomeness and sassy mouth that never got him smacked.  But he didn't really mean all that much to me not in the way other actors and performers do.  So why write a blog post about someone like that?

I noticed a couple months ago that I was listening more attentively to the death roll of famous folks.  Listening and reflexively, some might say obsessively, checking their age to see how old they were.

Mickey Rooney - older
James Garner - younger
Ralph Waite - younger
Sid Ceasar - older
Shirley Temple - younger
Pete Seeger - older

Younger?  Older?  Yes.  Younger than my mom.  Older than my mom.  I know her time is coming, part of me thinking it might be better sooner rather than later - a fucked up and twisty thought that both makes sense and makes me feel like an emotionless fucktard at the same time.

I never used to do this.  OKOKOK.  I might note if someone passed away who was younger than me with that what-a-waste thought.  But I didn't give any thought to my mom's mortality.  I never have.  She will always be here.  Even when my dad passed away 30 years ago, I never worried about her.

I can't imagine a life without her in it, even as broken down as she is.  And at the same time, I see her suffering every day trying to understand what's happening to her, trying to know why people seem angry at her.  I see the amount of courage it takes to trust me when I tell her something she can't remember.  Sometimes she can't muster the trust and frustration blooms on both sides.  For her it will be forgotten in 15 minutes.  For me it sometimes takes a bit longer, sometimes it lodges like a splinter and I can't quite get it out.

I want her to be happy.  I want to be happy.  Somedays there isn't an equation where both those things can be true.  Some days I choose her.  Days where I feel able and strong.  More and more I am choosing me.  I feel no guilt around that choice.  I should have been choosing me more often from the beginning.

So what is the point of the post - fuck if I know.  It's a fast write.  Maybe it's a recognition of sorts that my life is taking another turn in the spiral.  That as her generation passes from us we are all bumped up generationally, we become the old guard.  I want to dig in my heels and make time stop.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fast Write

Today I got an invite to my 35 year HS reunion.  I wanted to be angry and toss it in the trash, but I couldn't muster that.  The truth is I don't care.  None of those women have a place in my life today.  I am not sad about that.  But that desire to be angry.....what is that about?

My HS years sucked.  No other way to describe them.  I don't blame anyone for that.  I just was not cut out for the experience.  Too different.  Trying too hard to be the same.  Not enough self-confidence to tell people to go fuck themselves.  It's a recipe for disaster.  I am grateful for a wonderful education, but that's about it.

I don't miss those days, so why would I want to reminisce about them?  I don't even long to do that for the years that were amazing, my college years, so why would I hark back to days of unhappiness and stress?  Exactly.  I wouldn't.

So I tossed it in the recycle bin and went on with my day.  I know who I am and it's not that girl anymore.

Monday, July 14, 2014


I come from the frozen tundra of the North American plains
I come from a Crayola 64 pack with built in sharpener
I come from generations of farmers who broke back broke the land
I come from rising yeast, humming motors and the clash of mismatched spirits
I come from old dusty stacks of unread books
I come from barefeet on the cool marble floor
I come from icy Vikings and earthy Huns
I come from birchless forests
I come from big dripping blocks of ice
I come from impossibly unequal DNA strands
I come from telephone wires and Victory gardens
I come from silent women and even more silent men
I come from chasubles, incense and children's voices in the dark
I come from going last
I come from emerald green, royal blue and plain white
I come from small colored bottles in the kitchen window
I come from paper dolls, Spirograph and Mystery Date
I come from Betelgeuese and the small blue planet

I come from a place to which I will not, cannot return

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me.

So yesterday was my birthday.  A day when I usually take stock of the previous year and spend some time thinking about what next year can hold.  I was doing OK with that process despite the fact that tomorrow I am being let go again.  Actually, was doing more than OK.  I was smiling and genuinely happy.  Tuesday I spent jump starting the celebration with my mom and her peeps in memory care who sang the loveliest rendition of Happy Birthday I have ever received.  Everything aligned beautifully and I felt radiant.

That feeling transitioned into my actual BD and I felt happy.  Until about 3PM when I got a phone call from my mom blaming me for her lockdown in memory care, telling me what a hateful daughter I was, alternately begging and threatening to walk home.  She continued on with how I was selfish and had done this to her to make my life easier. On and on it went for 45 minutes.  People will ask why I let it go on that long.  The answer is simple.  I always believe that I can turn these conversations around or at least settle her into a more calm mode.  Call me delusional.  But, it does sometimes work - a fine example of variant interval positive reinforcement  operant conditioning.

Funny how that one phone call was the pin that popped the BD balloon.  I tried not to be angry at her, after all she didn't remember that it was my BD or even care when I reminded her.  Her disease is not her fault.  But I was angry.  Livid that she had managed to spoil yet another BD.  More than angry I was deeply hurt by her words, more so than any other time she has said these things to me, and over the last year she has said them a lot.  More like shouted them.

I went home ate some sugar, knowing it would make me crash after, which it did.  I laid down took a sweet afternoon nap.  But I felt no better when I woke up prowly and restless like a cat.  I needed something, I just didn't know what it was.  (Don't look for the a-ha revelation because there isn't one.  I still have no idea what I was needing in that moment).

Fast forward 24 hours....

Today I feel mostly happy again.  Just a few dregs of that angry hurt phone call remain.  I am not angry or hurt toward my mom anymore.  Just a tiny bit angry and hurt at no one in particular.  Trying not to turn that inward or eat it like I have in the past.  Trying not to lash out at random passerbys to rid myself of it.

So why did I post such a downer - I dunno for the same reason I like imperfect, funny and ridiculous FB profile pix.  I am not perfect and refuse to glam it up so that people think I am.  Fuck it.  This is me.  One day post BD.  And this is what being 53 looks like today.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Hero’s Journey

You won’t find any Homer here
No epic war
No Achilles’ downfall
No divine intervention from Zeus

There is no magic ring
No frightening travels through long dead mountains
in search of hoarded gold
No wizard to step in and save the hero

This is a hero’s journey
of the everyday sort
Every step harder than the one before
Battling the urge to turn away
To turn for hobbit home
To rest
To quit
To say I am not enough

Every day cracked open wider and wider
Til the wind blows through
and whistles around your bones
every piece of you held up to the light
and seen for the lead it is
not gold

it is a journey of shuffled steps
in house slippers
success is a certain knowing light
rarer than any dragon gold

measured in minutes and hours
it is small strangling circles
where air becomes scarce and breathing labored
tempers flare and consume the oxygen that remains

it is ever about patience
finding more
finding none
throwing it away like gypsy coin

A journey that does not cover miles
That succeeds or fails in
The meeting of fingertips
Two people reunited for a moment

This quest is doomed to fail
But the best that I can do
is the best that I can do
and that will be my measure for success


Sleeping with Bukowski

I tried
How I have tried

Doggedly digging for treasure
Pages turned one after the other
Still not a single one turned down in delight

Left him exposed
face down and open
in that vulnerable spot next
to the commode
But it just feels empty shite to me
A voiceless voice fueled by
drunkenness and misogyny

I hunt
maybe too desperate
to find what others rave on

In a last ditch
I take to sleeping with him
Call him Chuck
but still only find empty air
when I reach for him

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...