Archive for May, 2012


life for the living

I spent most of the day in my mom’s room at the hospice center, adjusting pillows, giving sips of water or soda, applying chapstick, leaving for visitors, talking to caretakers about pain medication, etc., etc.

I left twice — once at 11 to get a much-needed cup of coffee — a frustrating trip that took me past two coffee shops Siri told me were there but very much were not, a not-as-brief-as-it-should-have-been stint in a Starbucks (where the slowest person interviewed was put on a solo pre-lunch time shift), and which almost culminated in my getting hit by a car pulling away from a red light while I turned left on my green. Still haven’t figured out what the guy was thinking — he was stopped. The light was red. Mine was green. I even checked it again when he started going — I was just tired and addled enough it would be the kind of mistake I would make, but it was green.

Anyway, he didn’t hit me, I continued on my way, etc. etc.

Then tonight one of my brothers took over for a couple of hours and I went and bought beautifully-scented hand lotion and a little hooked key ring that will hopefully keep my keys from getting lost in the bottom of my purse and I ate a delicious bowl of French Onion Soup accompanied by a lovely and reasonably-priced Merlot, and I was so stressed on the way back (I can only presume from being gone, since there was really nothing stressful at all about either the soup OR the wine) that I was breaking out in hives.

I looked at clever, cute, interesting things (some of which I posted on my pinterest board and ate a lovely meal and looked at all of the people on the streets and in the stores and restaurant and thought: my mother is dying, and you have no way of knowing this. And then a woman and her mother sat down next to me at the restaurant and ate a very awkward meal together, and I thought how wonderful it was that they were having dinner together but that they should talk, talk!, talkaboutSOMETHINGforpete’ssakebeforeit’stoolate! and then I wanted to stand up and tell this to everyone there — the lovely waitress who sold me a glass and a half of wine, the busboy who kept filling my water glass, the people at the next table with their plate of mussel shells —  but I didn’t. I finished my wine, got a croissant for mom’s breakfast, paid my bill and left.

But now I’m telling you. Talk to your mother. Talk to your child. There’s all kinds of stupid crap and ways we disappointed each other and she didn’t love you enough or you held a grudge for too long or whothefuckcares just talk to each other. Whatever you, or he, or she, didn’t do, you or he or she did the best they could do at the time.

When things go wrong I often say, in a little-girl voice with a little-girl pout “I want my mommy.”

I can’t say it like this anymore. It means something else entirely.

I want my mom. Or I at least want her not to hurt any more, and when I look at her I see me with Only Daughter at my bedside and I know that there won’t have been enough time.

Never enough time.

So talk. Talk to each other.


too stupid to drive

You shouldn’t get to drive a car this pretty if this is how you park.

Just sayin’.


helpful pinterest

I always want to ask, is there a reason Glenda can’t categorize it herself?



this week, a.k.a., this is water?

So, a few weeks ago I was asked if I was interested in being Music Director at the church where I have been, merely, Pianist.

I accepted.

There are various reasons for this, the most obvious of which is that with this job I will, for the first time, get to be In Charge of Something That is Mine, and I only had to wait 47 years for it.

I also get to learn how to (actually) sing and how to conduct a bell choir, and get to put together a chamber concert series to raise money for social-justice causes in Our Fair City.

All good things. I’m really looking forward to all of it.

But all of this is happening in May, which is usually my month to Recuperate From the Academic Year. Instead this month has been a scramble while I try to Get My Act Together in preparation for our upcoming trip to visit Husband’s family on the western boundaries of Canadia (as I like to call it, and which strikes fear into his heart that I will Actually Say This in Front of His Family)(I have, btw, since they read this blog), and then six weeks of teaching at a summer camp, while presumably being organized enough to justify my salary as Music Director while being mostly conspicuously physically absent.

Meanwhile, as you probably know, my mom is in hospice with a glioblastoma in its fifth-and-a-half year along with DVTs in her leg and lungs.

Oh, and Husband’s Father had a heart attack on Wednesday night.

It’s really, really, in case anyone is Keeping Track of These Things, a bit Too Much to Take.

I got home today in between 3 hours at the church trying to make sense of 10 years of Bad Filing Practices and an oil-change and tire-rotation $37 trip to the service department that became a $300 60,000-mile maintenance tune-up and 3 hours of group lessons to a bag of raspberry and strawberry plants that Needed To Be Planted Today or They Will Die.

30 seconds after I planted the last raspberry plant Dexter the cute-but-stupid Dog had pulled one up and chewed it to bits.

Meanwhile Husband is off rescuing Stepdaughter from her now-defunct Chrysler Town and Country that was about to transport all of her earthly belongings from school to home, while I get ready to go visit my mom in hospice for 48 hours.

Needless to say, I’m Not Having a Very Good Day.

I’m feeling like I’m caught up in this vortex of Trials and Tribulations (call me Job, just don’t call me late for dinner), and I’m vibrating. Only Daughter gave me a very nice hug tonight and asked me if I was okay — she said that she doesn’t really hear Mommy laugh very much lately.


No kidding.

Last night First Son and I sat on the couch reading commencement speeches — notably David Foster Wallace’s last, which was okay, but not actually as profound as I’d expected. I have a DFW quote on Facebook:

That the cliché ‘I don’t know who I am’ unfortunately turns out to be more than a cliché. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place, and, like, hurt. That you will become less concerned with what other people think about you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agenda-less kindness. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid.

First Son thought it might be from Infinite Jest – a book we both hope to read, but each (independently) got far enough into that we knew needed more Time to Think and Process if we were going to do so successfully, so not yet, not yet.

Anyway, the commencement speech we found included a little anecdote, about two young fish swimming along, and encountering an older (presumably wiser) fish, who asks nonchalantly, as they pass each other “How’s the water?”  Wait a few beats, and one of the younger fish asks the other, “What the hell is water?”

DFW points out: This is water. This is water.

I’m trying to remember that.

If you can all send pillows of comfort and strength in Whatever Form With Which You Are Comfortable, that would be great, and greatly appreciated.

There was a really bad storm the other night, that went on literally for hours and hours and hours. At one point, around 2 a.m. or so, I opened up the app on my phone and saw that there was a front of stormage extending from Arkansas to the northern peninsula of Michigan, and the storm was just tracking along it, and the line seemed to pass right over our house. We live in the forest, (a forest which has had at least four trees fall in in the last 6 months), so bad storms kind of stress me out. Plus we’ve had Serious Water in our basement twice, and the lightning was striking trees and transformers in our backyard and it was raining so hard it sounded like it was hailing, and after a few hours of this I said to Husband, “This could stop now. Really. I’ve had Just About Enough.”

It’s how I feel about the vortex around me right now. I’ve had Just About Enough.

This is water. This is water.

I need to go sit on the beach. With Husband, an amusing Chardonnay, and a couple trays of sushi.



wouldn’t have thought this would be that much of a problem

Guess you just never know.


I can’t decide

Whether I like this (the original, I believe):

or the cover by Jayme Dee:


I do know that I have a new favorite song. For this week, anyway, during which I will listen to it way too many times and by July wish I hadn’t. Like eating too much cake, that’s what I (always) do.


speaking of missing the point’s version of a croissant “recipe.”

And I don’t think they were being ironic.

Kind of like the jokes about how to make a million dollars or win a Tony.

Haven’t read far enough down yet to know what I need unscented garbage bags for. Not sure I want to.

Feeling a little like I’ve stumbled into some kind of parallel universe where “recipe” actually means “joke.”

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