Another R for Earth Day…Reduce, recycle, reuse, and refuse…

22 04 2015


There has been a long gap in my thinking out loud into the vast space of the interwebs.  I got tired of all the noise and will play catch up and explain in the days to come.  But that noise…it got to me just like the constant nagging of my geriatric feline. I’m forced to shut her down in the basement about once a day to keep me from some uglier scenario.  The vet always laughs when I complain about the vocal prowess of this animal.  I’ve been tempted more than once to crate her up and ship her off to a long ago ex-boyfriend of Shop Girl.  Back in the day they thought it’d be adorable to adopt a homeless mouser.  He owes me 13 years of back child support.

Last month sometime, or was it a week ago, or mid-winter – I have no idea anymore…I thought Bitty Kitty had finally decided to sprout wings and leave us all behind.  She had signed an advanced directive years ago so there will be no heroics in the last days. After spending a day hanging out in the nether regions of the Money Pit, I checked on her before bed and found her hunkered down on a cerulean blue down jacket of Billy’s.  I know…don’t ask.  (remember the 4Rs: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and the 2015 addition:  REFUSE to take time to clean your basement or attic).

I slept somewhat fitfully that night imagining the scenario in the a.m. – contacting the vet to dignify the remains and all.  Being a typical Spring in the Mitten State meant it was still pretty cold out so I figured I could use the garage as a temporary morgue if need be.  I remember that the next day had some kind of busyness to it so I thought there would be a delay in the funeral arrangements.

Tentatively opening the basement door that next morning, I wondered if I’d be letting her soul fly out past me since the only other escape route would have been through the sewer via the basement floor drain. Imagine my surprise when that cranky, meowing, nagging, whining, and bitching sound connected with my ear drums.

When I shared the news with Shop Girl later in the day she quipped, “Your people refuse to die.”  MY PEOPLE REFUSE TO DIE????!!!! There have been any number of mornings since the first of December when there is nothing but silence when I’m expecting creaking and complaining from the 110 year old floor boards of Ggma’s bedroom above my head as I’m perched on the couch in the living room having my first coffee exilir.  When I just can’t take it anymore I’ll open the door to find her snoring loudly buried in two down comforters.

I can only hope that the end for both of them will find them nestled in feathers and sleeping.  I don’t know what really awaits on either score.  I’m not in charge.  I’m just here to be the wind beneath their wings.  Take it away Bette.

Ggma’s version of Hide & Seek

30 01 2015

You’d think with all of my years of experience this would be no big deal.  Things go missing almost daily so I stop and prepare myself for getting into the “hunt mode”.  Those TV commercials about finding the wife’s keys in the fridge are such old news at this point.  At this stage we are talking about Hide & Seek v4.0.  I take my time and try not get rattled and remember it is just stuff (most of which can be easily replaced).

My chronically messed up sinuses look forward to a good bath each morning from a squeeze bottle netipot.ggmhs2 I used it yesterday – took it apart, washed it properly and left it in the sink to dry.  Or so I thought.  So this morning I microwaved the distilled water, added the saline mix and went to screw on the top…and…suddenly the top was MIA.  I had seen it during the day yesterday hadn’t I?  I looked in all the places I thought it could have gotten on its own – then I switched gears.  Freezer?  All kitchen drawers?  Bathroom?  Floor?  Garbage?  Under the microwave?  It was about an hour’s worth of hide and seek before I decided to just consider it another one of those mysterious vanishing things that will some day all be revealed.

My last resort is always to ask. Ggma gave me that blank stare like I was talkin’ gibberish…”What?  The black tip to a squeeze bottle with a straw kind of thing attached to it?  What?”  #($*0)@#%#&2 is what she heard.

Then I noticed the two week old wilting arrangement of birthday flowers.  Daily she will pull out whatever looks past gone, add more water and enjoy it for yet another day.  She’d moved it off the kitchen table yesterday when I was out picking up her prescriptions and put it on another surface.  I stepped closer.  Tucked into the lovely last days of the arrangement was exactly what I expected to find…ggmhs1

motion blur

18 08 2012

This sums up how I feel about the last four years.  If I do a slow shutter blink,  I’m just not sure what is real.  It’s all a blur.


15 02 2012

Does our society have watchers – those who sit and wait? Do we know how to sit Shivah when that moment comes?

Do we know how to be still? Be silent?

Not ask questions. Not look at our watches. Not fidget. Not fret.

Why am I wired to sit in these quiet spaces in the waiting room of life? Not the room where feet are held to the ceiling, a wail heralding the start of the race. What is she called – the opposite of a midwife? She who can so easily walk out of a days events to sit and watch the chest slowly rise and fall?

The last foot falls in the hall-not the pitter-patter but the stilted shuffling of feet too tired to leave the ground save that final jump. Life boils down -simmers down-simples down-quiets down. No feet to the ceiling. Just a soul searching for an open window to make its final flight.



29 05 2010

I awoke at the bewitching hour of 2:30 a.m., headed down to the couch for the second half of my night, only to wake with a start four hours later and within ten minutes was in the car headed out of town.  See, I’d been AWOL from the Mrs.’ place for almost seventeen days.  Seventeen days!!  I had gladly volunteered to be the Nanny in Nashville while Shop Girl got some important work done on her forthcoming EP a few days prior to the GAGAGorgeous wedding of one of my nieces.

The Mrs. had had a chunk of her calf surgically removed along with the erring basal cell carcinoma a few days prior to Shop Girl, Donny Diva and I heading for the open highway headed due South.  So today was stitch removal day…and a few other chores that had piled up.

As I drove up to her house, I noticed that she was headed into the garage with an empty bird feeder in hand.  We got that filled and re-hung and added the hummingbird feeder to the weekly chore chart. While she finished getting ready, I filled her pill boxes for the week, sorted through the huge stack of mail, and did a quick clean out of the sour milk from the fridge.  We left the house an hour or so before the appointment with her Devine Doctor (his name is Dr. Devine) in order to stop at Ace Hardware for a few things:  a flag to decorate Billy’s grave, various and sundry red, white and “blue” planty things for her container gardens, and two very important signs to post at her front door and back door…”No Solicitors”.  (She had been recently rattled by some “suspicious” people showing up at her door trying to sell things).

From there we quickly drove out to the cemetery to say “hey” to Billy and give him a hearty salute for Memorial Day.  That left us just the right amount of time to get to the Dr.’s office so that we could sit and wait for 40 minutes until he came in to clip the stitches.  Next was the weekly trek to Culver’s for her deluxe Butterburger value basket with onion rings substituted for fries.  She had been concerned with her diet and had just asked the Dr.’s advice. He asked, “What diet are you on?”  She answered, “The diet that I eat all my favorite things.”  He laughed and said that at her age – that was an appropriate diet.

Next we headed to the other cemetery to check out the other part of the fam leaving us just enough time to get back to the house for an appointment.  As soon as that was squared away, I sent her for a time out in her chair while I went back to other stores for other stuff.  She wanted her kitchen door window a little less exposed.  Those “visitors” really shook her – so I found a great little look thanks to Jaclyn Smith’s hip new designs for KMart (tell me you get the sarcasm…).  Another stop in the card aisle for a graduation card, two thank you cards and a bridal shower card.  A quick run through the ATM before stopping by the hearing aid dr.’s office to pick up more supplies she uses each week then back to the house for her to do her writing therapy filling out a two birthday cards, an anniversary card, a check for six month’s of auto insurance, the aforementioned thank you cards and the graduation card.

We filled out the calendar for the next important social gatherings of the summer.  Next it was time to deal with the two plus weeks of accounting I had to catch up with while she decided to play with some of her jewelry.  Being the total stoop that I am, I asked about one particular necklace that she’d gotten for Christmas…she had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT!  So the search began…I put the calculator aside and had to go look.  Like a magpie, she had things stashed in a gazillion little boxes, satiny pouches, coin purses and every other little kind of container that catches her fancy.  Finally, I struck gold – not literally though and I figured that finding that necklace was more important to me than the fact that the check book was balanced give or take $60…it was getting late.

One quick check on the salt level of the water softener and I was getting closer and closer to being done. She usually starts a two-hour countdown clock when I leave expecting a call saying that I’m back home…but I told her to delay her start time since I had to run back into town before leaving.  Another stop at the post office to mail all those cards and bills, then a stop to fill my car up with gas and a much needed bath to wash off the dust and dirt from the last 1278 miles rolled in the last days.

A mere 14 hours after I’d left the house in the morning, I was back in my driveway.  Another week.  That’s what I get for taking so much time away…payback.  No, seriously – sometimes when more than a week goes by – things pile up but that is true for all of our lives.  I stand amazed that here we are coming up on the second anniversary of Billy’s leaving us high and dry and she is doing more than just surviving.

This is the stuff of life:  weddings, babies, chores and cemeteries.  There are days when I think I don’t have another ounce of energy to fit another thing in.  But there are also seasons.  Seasons when we do nothing but spin in circles running from one life event to the next – and eventually there will be a season of silence.

Life is like an onion:

18 10 2008

you peel it off one layer at a time and sometimes you weep.

Carl Sandberg

I just found two more blogs that inspired me to sit here and type even though I can’t see straight. Too tired to be here making any sense of anything – let alone writing, I’ll link you to them soon enough but getting my cursor where it belongs, hitting the right keys and copying URL’s is over the top right now. Let’s just revel in the fact that I am discipling myself to write something today. Any points for that?

Fourteen hour days take their toll on the 20 / 30 somethings – let alone someone almost twice their age. My normal pattern is to start with a photo then move on to the writing. The camera I’ve been borrowing is far far away – taking in images I only hope to view someday with my own eyes parked behind the lens. There are lots of choices in my iPhoto library so in the meanwhile I will use something already captured and make it work. Today, or rather tonight – this one works.

It took some real ahh haa moments thinking about the centering issues I was having, to discover what was really going on in my head. First, having to go back to Billy’s Doctor’s office…but this time it was her turn. Last time, we never even made it back to the “re-visit” that was scheduled for three days later – because by then he was in hospice. To physically step back into that space for the first time was hard even though I wasn’t consciously thinking about it at the time. The second whack upside the head was going back to the funeral home to help her choose the headstone. Tomorrow morning I’ll head out to another necessary evil. There is a Memorial Service being put on by hospice for everyone that lost loved ones in June, July and August. Layer by layer, by layer…peeling it back…

I heard a piece on NPR this week that took my breath away. Please do me the favor and take a minute to listen to Ashley Grashaw’s essay about the California wildfires and the very personal way they affected her family. Even though I was in tears because it all seems too recent and too painful to have to do some of the things she talks about, I was strangely relieved that “dismantling” quirky little things left behind by someone’s life is not to be rushed, very hard emotional work and should come with whatever time frame is appropriate for everyone involved.

So about those onions…eating onions for every meal, every day is not what I want to do, but they are really good, served up many ways. There are times that I just need to peel it all back layer by layer, bit by bit and get at what it is that is making my eyes water. But long ago, working for a chef in a restaurant kitchen, I learned some tricks of the trade to keep my eyes from overflowing. I’ll do the same with all of this. I’ll savor the taste…layer by layer.


hooray for hollyhood

16 10 2008

It was hours before dawn when my alarm sounded. Quickly swallowing two café con leches, I was headed to the grocery store 10 minutes after they opened. There wasn’t enough milk for all the coffee everyone was going to need today. Next, I was off to Shop Girl’s place to load the car with enough black pants, skirts and sweaters and white collared shirts to clothe an entire choral group…but she needed plenty of options for the twenty teens that were to be glued to desk chairs for the 10 hour work day.

We were some of the first ones at the location and it’s a good thing because before long the hallway was littered with film boxes, camera carts, screens and other gear particular to the likes of these guys. Soon after we rolled in the rack of clothes and got organized, the “talent” (kids that had to look like they were in school even though they were skipping school to be in a movie…talk about karma) started showing up. Fortunately, most had enough of their own clothes to look the part of uniformed “prisoners”. Luckily having done her homework, Shop Girl had extra things for needed fill-ins. Before we knew it they were calling “quiet on the set”…and we were rolling. Literally…

Next on the agenda was to return all the various and sundry black and white designs that we wouldn’t need for the next two days. Yes, the return desk at Target looks a little wonky-eyed at Shop Girl when she comes back two days after buying dozens of options to return all but a few. Her credit card company even called to ask if someone had stolen her card there were so many random charges on it these last few days.

It’s the magic of hollyhood. Once we returned that stash, we were off to buy more wardrobe options from Goodwill and Salvation Army for the next two day’s worth of shooting. The fittings are tomorrow evening so what doesn’t work then will be returned by Saturday morning. Get it? This is just too fun.

One thing is for sure – we will all sleep better tonight. The night before shooting starts is a no-sleeper in our house – too many things whiring around in the head of Best Boy…too much wondering if Shop Girl got all the right sizes…and for me the only excuse is it was a full moon and I never sleep during those. But tonight – once the first shots are “in the can” – everyone will rest easier. By the time we repeat this pattern for 7 days in a row of 10-12 hour days on set and 4-6 hours of prep work…it’s no wonder why Hollywood types are so whack.

quit your belly achin’

5 10 2008

When I was a kid and got to feeling sorry for myself or complaining about things that didn’t really matter my dad would tell me to quit my belly achin’.  It never felt good but just like the best lessons in life – some things take a long time to make sense.  So today I’m shaking myself by the shoulders and trying to get a grip.

Back in the spring, I stumbled on a blog site that is eye-candy for me.  You’ll have to take a couple of minutes and treat yourself to some of Maryam’s photos from her life in Morocco.  All the colors, shapes and mystery are a daily treat.  She’s living my fantasy life as she and her husband are building a guest house that we hope to visit someday. Her professional line of work, as a human rights and democracy specialist takes her to some very sad places on our planet like Rwanda . Reading about her time there started my day off with a different perspective.

It’s easy to feel like we can’t do anything to change the rottenness of the world.  Yet, I know it isn’t true.  Yesterday quite unexpectedly a friend stopped by.  He is barely older than our own kids – married six years with two young daughters.  A year ago they moved to South Atlanta working with a group called Charis.  They recently relocated to a newly rehabed house a block from where they had been living. The welcome wagon in that neighborhood came in the form of a shoot out between two rival gangs right on the street in front of their house. I stand in awe of the fact that they are even willing to be there in the first place.

Tikkun olam  is a Jewish phrase having to do with repairing our world – worrying not only about our immediate community but doing things to change the world at large one small action at a time. I needed this today – to take my puny eyes off myself.