Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hiatus, disjointed;

I didn't want to write about this, about any of it, because I don't want to think about it and I don't want to have to read it again, and but so I am doing it, and then I'll probably bury this post under the type of silliness I am posting to the Facebooks these days (reason I post there is, the "likes" and comments and stuff remind me that I do have friends, people do know me, people can actually hear me).

***

Five days after my mother died, died in my arms, I am running in the bright cool blue California sunshine, watching my heart rate on my Garmin but mostly jumping my eyes around to all the beautiful things -- the breezes in the palm trees, the bright red blooms of a flower whose name I don't know, the baby shoots of green grass from the first rains we've had in a year, somebody's fluffy new Christmas puppy (little furball!) -- and I can feel the soft air on my arms and the breath in my lungs and the solid way my feet strike pavement and even though I know that my house is full of people who are growing more resentful of my absence by the second, I take another lap around the park and feel alive; not happy, not joyous, not anything really except alive.

***

Four in the morning, again. I am grateful that she got to have some fun these last few years. She lived in a new house instead of the old wreck in town, with its cracks and leaks and heavy ballast of 35 years of family memories. She had a great group of friends -- they had sleepovers! they took art classes! they traveled together and sent back pictures of themselves on barges, in pubs, at historic sites and in front of hilarious road signs! I am desperately sorry I never got to go on any of those trips with her -- the reasons were valid at the time (i.e., I was breastfeeding a newborn, etc.), but I knew she wanted me there.

***

Sunday afternoon. I think of all the times I didn't call. We had a longstanding tradition of talking on the phone on Sundays, but sometimes I didn't call. I would be too busy, or out of the house, or knew she was traveling, or just didn't fucking feel like it, or passive-aggressively testing the theory that she didn't know phones would work both ways and if she wanted to talk to me she could call ME, dammit.

***
She wasn't afraid of dying -- she was sure she was going home to Jesus. I'm glad of that, but I wonder what it feels like to have that certainty, and I further wonder what kind of a god would allow her to be so troubled by my lack of belief. That awful morning after she passed, the home health nurse (who is also a family friend) told me that my mother had said to her that she doesn't want to go to Heaven if her kids aren't going to be there. So I told the nurse that I'd take that under advisement -- I think those are the words I used.

***

We were planning a family trip next summer -- she wanted us (me & my fam, my brother & his wife, my sister) to all go somewhere together. I was looking up various destinations, but primarily Maine, which she had in recent years started really really wanting to visit. Those bookmarks are in my bookmark bar. I keep seeing them when I scroll down to look up my other sites.

***

Sixty-six. That's not old. It's fucking ridiculous, is what it is. It's one huge bad choice (smoking for 30+ years, although she quit in 1996, aka the Worst Summer Ever) and a whole bunch of other un-good ones (no exercise, Texas diet, complete lack of preventive health care of any kind), plus who knows what cards drawn from the genetic deck. Those pictures I have -- her as a bleached-blonde teenage cheerleader, a slim local TV personality, a hip young mama -- how are those the same person who only made it to 66?

***

My last words with her were via text. My kids are young and will not understand for years what has happened. I curse openly on Facebook now, and feel free to hit "like" on pretty much every Planned Parenthood and/or Obama thing I see. My sister, alone in the house we have to clean out and vacate by January 31, keeps sending me boxes of stuff from the house -- handwritten recipes, a ring, yearbooks 1964-67, uncatalogued photos from both sets of grandparents and great-grandparents. I can't wash or get rid of the navy Lands' End turtleneck I was wearing all that awful night and day and night and dawn when I was lying on the bed with her as her breathing gradually slowed, pinged awake from a light doze by the alarm on my iPhone every half hour to administer either atropine or lorazepam via liquid syringe the way I'd dose my babies with Tylenol back in the day, talking to her even though she couldn't hear me, reading aloud "To Kill a Mockingbird" from my phone when I couldn't think of any more ways to say it's OK mom, I love you mommy, I'm here, I'm here, I love you and it's OK. 

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Friday, December 12, 2014

"SO proud to work for a company that values its supply-chain workers!"

You know, one of the greatest things I most deeply appreciate about no longer working for my former employer (the global specialty apparel retailer, founded and headquartered in San Francisco) is that I am no longer obligated -- via the ol' unspoken expectation method -- to post this company's happenings on my own personal social media presences, as if I just thought of doing so myself, out of sheer genuine appreciation for its excellent products, good works and fine deeds. I see former co-workers putting up these posts, and I'm just like ... thank the living Shatner I ain't got to prove my loyalty like that anymore.

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Also in music: Dave Grohl is a NATIONAL GODDAMN TREASURE.

Trying to find a particular artist or song on the multitudinous channels of Sirius Satellite Radio is exactly as frustrating and annoying as it was to attempt the same feat on regular radio (usually in pursuit of the next track on my recorded-from-radio mixtapes) back in junior high, only it's way, way more chagrin-filled now because what I'm looking for is one song each from Taylor Swift and Lorde, both of which songs I've heard exactly once, don't really remember the names of, and find it hard to admit I'm pursuing on purpose.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

And a third unrelated thing: It seems like I should be able to sing "Lyin' Eyes," but it's actually at some really strange pitch range for me and the breath control required is beyond my skill as a vocalist, even alone in the car. Weird.

Two Things, Unrelated to Each Other and Both Entirely Apropos of Nothing

1) I remember when I finally saw a twinset in real life. It was during college, early on, like probably freshman year. Some girl was wearing it/them in one of my Core classes. This girl looked like she would've been more at home at, like, SMU or Duke than at Columbia. And as my eye fell upon her, and stayed there -- skirt, sensible low heels, hair neatly arranged in a crisp smooth style, light makeup, subtle jewelry, at nine in the goddamn morning at college -- I realized that on her top half, she was wearing a thing I'd only ever read about: a twinset. It was a ... a sweater, over ... a sweater? It was a lovely blue, very fine gauge, beautiful material -- I have more or less stopped wearing sweaters myself because of the Mamie Van Doren effect and the fact that even the thin ones add about 23 pounds, visually, to my own top half, and for these reasons plus my entire lack of style I would never, ever, layer a sweater upon another sweater, no matter how fine the gauge. So I was impressed, and fascinated, and but almost laughed inappropriately-loudly from the unexpected revelation I had had right there in Lit Hum: THAT'S a twinset! Hot damn! 

2) Mr. Gleemonex and I had a date night a couple of weeks ago (we HAD to go see Dumb and Dumber To, the original is a thing with us), and on the way through the parking garage to the mall where the theater was, I was striding along with my Fast, Purposeful, 360-Degree Visual Awareness Radar, Don't-Rape-Me walk. Which is the way I walk in all such spaces -- parking garages/lots, city streets, endless Las Vegas hotel corridors, etc. This is the way I've done since at least my teenage years, as I suspect most women do, and I never even think about what I'm doing -- if I'm in a space I perceive as any more threatening or dangerous than a Barnes & Noble kids' section, that's how I'm ambulatin', son. And but so Mr. Gleemonex was like dragging on my arm, all "Slow down there, Run Lola Run, we're actually on time for once -- why you gotta be walking so fast?" (not his actual words). I slowed down, suddenly aware of my FP360DVARDRMW, and it was only later that I thought back on it and realized that he, Shatner bless 'im, doesn't walk like I do, because he is a man -- now, he's a GenX lefty feminist man, to be sure, and his walking behavior was as unconscious on his part as my walking behavior is on mine, but if the difference between the two styles doesn't illustrate what rape culture is, then I don't know what would: I perceive the potential for bodily personal threat everywhere (which is unfortunately not unreasonable), and he does not.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aw, man, the Doobie Brothers broke up!

From the Department of Slow Uptakes: I just noticed, today, after dozens and dozens of viewings over the past six or so years, that the Gabba Gang's outfits on the "Space" episode are quite Zissou.


I do this sort of thing allllll the time, y'all.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The houses that handed out booze were my favorites.

Halloweenies: Notes on the Most Wonderful Night of the Year

  • There was a dad at Kid Gleemonex’s school Halloween parade dressed in the orange tux and top hat of Lloyd Christmas (he even had a cane), and it was ALL I COULD DO not to go up behind him and thwap the back of his knees with my umbrella. The only thing that stopped me — and y’all, it was close — was: What if he didn't get it? Like, a friend talked him into a two-person costume he really didn't understand all that well? And here's this crazy lady at an elementary-school Halloween parade, assaulting him for no reason …
  • The girls’ costumes at the same event ran about 20 percent Elsa and Anna. The costumes were clearly stratified by price, from the $8.99 grocery-store version (the modern take on the cheapo-mask-and-plastic-bib store-bought costumes of my childhood classrooms) to the fitted, heavy $140 one with a long train, real beading, and a full, flowing satin skirt with lace overlay and real-looking long braided wig. 
  • I wasn’t able to stop myself shouting “Oi! Potter!” in my big fake British accent at the dozen or so Harry Potters I saw that day and evening. I am what I am. 
  • Rainbow Brite is apparently back. 
  • My own couples’ costume idea came too late to be usable (Friday morning): Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. One person is in a werewolf mask and glove/claws, but wearing a suit and a yarmulke and carrying the Torah. The other person is dressed as a rabbi (also wolfed up). I love a costume that like four people on Earth, one of whom is Tina Fey, would get. 
  • The kids got a great haul in the spiffy neighborhood we trick-or-treated in, but who were the cheap motherfuckers who were offloading all their Celebrity Cruises pillow chocolates? I’d like to go TP the fuck out of their house, man. Shaving-cream their windows too. 

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Friday, November 07, 2014

It's ok. Last year I got saved so I could go on the ski trip.

Here Is A Thing Which You Probably Did Not Know About Me, and Which Will Likely Make You Laugh the Freckles Right Off Your Face If You Also Know Me IRL

I was in the church choir for a not-small unit of time, back in the seventh and eighth grades.

(Might've been sixth-seventh? My mind is like swiss cheez.) ANYway. It wasn't my fault -- me the non-singer with the weak pipes who had a rabid case of performance anxiety despite being a loudmouth in general (maybe I thought nobody was listening?). It was the fault of a person who ... well, I don't know if you could properly call this person a friend; more like -- a person who was in the same class as me, and hung out with me, and did all the usual friend-y shit with me, but who mostly used me as a prop, an extra, in her life. And SHE wanted -- for reasons ever opaque to me -- to be in the church choir. She press-ganged me into doing it with her; the only thing I remember besides her extreme persuasiveness in the matter was that I did like the notion that I'd be seen as a super-extra-Christian if I did it. So.

We auditioned for the music director -- it was an all-volunteer thing, they took all comers; he just needed to see which section to put us in. We were placed, and told to show up Wednesdays at 6:00 or whatever for rehearsal, and 15 minutes early for church on Sundays for a refresher and to get our robes and whatnot. I must say, I adored being welcomed as a "fresh new young voice" by the real choristers, and treated like the Exemplary Christian Teen -- that precise stripe of vanity, rather than a genuine Love Of The Lord or desire to Know His Grace or whatever -- drove about 97% of my churchin' overall. (Sorry, Ma. Truth.)

And we ... well, we did about 60 percent of what was asked. We often showed up to rehearsals, sometimes even on time. We mostly sang what was in the hymnal. We sat quietly during the sermon and whatnot, and you probably couldn't even tell from the pews that we were playing hangman with golf pencils on the backs of our programs the entire time.

Friend-ish Person X got bored of whatever reason she'd had for doing this in the first place and bailed after a few months; I kept going for awhile longer, but then sort of drifted off and finally officially quit when I got a paying gig keeping the church nursery during services instead. And thus ended my gospel singing career.

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