15 December 2011

Dreams

My dreams have been mostly of loss lately.  Whether the subject be my mother or someone else, or things, or intangibles, the theme has been loss.

Yesterday I had these dreams.


The first one featured my mum.  She and my dad and I were sitting in a living room, the two of them on the couch.  We were all chatting and at one point I realized that, Hey!  Mum is back!  And her brain is working perfectly!  After that, once it became apparent that I was dreaming, the dream ended.  I can’t remember what we were talking about, unfortunately.

In the second dream, I was in some kind of tricky situation where I needed to escape from someone.  I don’t remember that part of the dream.  It was out in the country, in a rural upland.  There were poorly developed roads – maybe dirt, maybe gravel – with trees and shrubs growing right up to the roadway.  I was driving a sedan.  It was summer and I had the window open.  I crested a slight rise and looked out over a wide valley.  What I didn’t realize was that the road turned sharply to the left, but I didn’t.  The car went soaring through the air and nosedived into a lake.  The water was very green.  As the car was flying through the air I saw what was happening and many thoughts flashed through my head about how to survive the situation.  I couldn’t remember if the window should be up or down.  I took a deep breath.

The car hit the water and plummeted like a stone, like a steel coffin.  I freed myself from behind the wheel and struggled my way out of the window.  There were bubbles everywhere.  Green water and bubbles.  I kicked my way to the surface of the water.  As I came up for air, I saw that I was not far from the shore.  I swam a few strokes and found myself standing on an underwater ledge.  I looked back at the car and saw that it was now on the ledge as well.  My thought was, ‘at least it won’t be too hard to get it out of there.’

That’s all I remember.  A strange night's sleep, for sure.


01 December 2011

Some good stuff

Here are some good things that have brightened my days lately.

1) The Kid is moving back to the Pacific Northwest!  Yes, it's true!  Finally!  Zoe's man got a job at that big computer outfit near Seattle and they are headed this way.  I am so effing happy about that.  There are lots of details to work out, of course, but the thought of having her just three hours away is fantastic.

2) T got a job!  A real 40 hour a week job!  True, it's a 6 month temp but they told her at the interview that they want to make it permanent.  Now we just have to set an intention that they find the funding and hire her permanently.  And the best part?  It's doing maintenance at the Zoo!  She started this week and is already thrilled with it.  I told her that if she gets on permanent she'll have to stay for 20 years so that she will have a retirement.  She is so happy!

3) My two best friends are coming for a long weekend, starting tomorrow!  Lisa had been planning on coming for months, she wanted to see my mum one last time but this was the soonest she could get away.  Of course, it's too late for that but she is coming anyway to cheer me up and just hang out.  Then, last week, she told T that she was planning a surprise and bringing my other bestie along for the weekend too!  I'm not supposed to know but T told me because it's hard to hide details like getting out the air mattress and planning for more than one house guest.  I'm sworn to secrecy and I will be the most surprised person ever when KA shows up!  I'm just so happy to have friends who care so much about me.

I'm grateful.  Very, very grateful.  In the midst of my sorrow, here are reasons for gratitude.  Thank you, Universe.  I haven't felt happy for a long while, and here are three outstanding reasons.

xoxoxox

22 November 2011

22 November 2011

Today is my Pop's birthday.  He is coming over to my house for dinner and dessert.  It'll be quiet and low key, which he likes, and just the three of us.

Today is also the 20 year anniversary of the day the kid and I escaped an abusive relationship and landed in Portland, at my parents house, with the clothes on our backs and very little else.

We've got things to celebrate.

08 November 2011

A brief sketch of my parents

I wrote this down back in 1992 or 1993.  My daughter and I were living with my parents at the time in a lovely, large house in Portland.  Some friends of the family had just left after a weekend visit.

We are sitting on the front porch, Mum, Dad and me, discussing which friends and relatives of Janet and Al they had met.

Dad: "I'm thinking of that tall Russian or Slavic fellow who cooked."
Mum: "No, no.  That was Michael.  He wasn't really Russian, he just pretended to be."
Dad: "Well, he sure could cook.  I think he was queer."
Mum: "He wasn't queer - just swishy and posing.  He and I had a good hoohaw about French reductionism."

At this point I start laughing.  "What's so funny about that?" asks Mum, tolerantly amused.
"The idea of having a good hoohaw about French reductionism with bogus Russian queers is giving me a good hoohaw.  French reductionism!" says I.

We return to the discussion of other people's relatives.

03 November 2011

Thursday

I did, actually, take a shower.  And it felt good, and healthy.  And I'm sure I smell better.

But, I did not make it to work.  I tried to psych myself up for it, but it just wasn't there.  Technically, we are allowed to take three days off for a death in the family, and I can see that being adequate for some distant relative... but I feel like three weeks or even three months might not be enough to come to grips with the loss of my mumsey.

I went over to their house yesterday, to check up on my pop.  We were sitting in the living room talking.  All of a sudden my head snapped up and i looked down the hall.  I heard my mum coming.  It was as strong a sensation- both intuited and felt - as I can swear to.  Of course, I saw nothing.  I felt her presence strongly, but I saw nothing.  My pop was blathering on as though nothing had happened.  (I shouldn't say 'blathering', my pop doesn't blather, maybe he was 'holding forth'... he is a retired college professor, after all.)

I had an email from one of my mum's best friends.  She encouraged me to 'stay strong' as, she said, Kathryn would want, no, demand.  Well, that may be true.  My family is fucking stoic.  While we are quite loving, we do not express ourselves fully or dramatically, or effusively, or even physically.  We hugged my mum.  We give pop a 'hearty handshake'.  That's his comfort level.

I'm going to chat with my therapist tomorrow.  I will probably cry.  I have to believe that I will be in a safe space to do so.  Although, being raised as I was, I tend to repress those emotions (obviously) and when they are expected is the time I feel least likely to display them.  Oh, what a complicated thing is life!

I may just take this whole week off.

02 November 2011

What's next

I really should take a shower.  My hair is sticking up like fried bread.  I went to the store like that yesterday because I just don't care.  Of course, it's worse today.

I really should drag my ass to work.  At least for a few hours.  I don't want to be around anyone though.  Maybe I'll go in the afternoon when most people are gone.  Actually, that's a pretty good idea because it will also get me away from the people in my household.

Sigh.  That sounds so grudging and hostile.  T is being great, of course, very solicitous, very caring.  But she is emotionally needy as well.  And is frustrated because she wants to hear all the details and I just don't want to review them.  I mean, I told her plenty about the end already but she just wants more than I feel capable of giving.  She keeps suggesting that I should 'talk about it'... like a '70's after-school special or something.  It's just not my way.

So, if I'm going to try the office today, I'd better not drink quite so much...  that'll be my goal.

01 November 2011

Google reader

If an older post pops up in your reader, don't bother with it.  I edited it to delete my darling mumsey's last name. There are a couple of computer savvy relatives that I would rather didn't read my personal stuff...

Cheers, all.
e

30 October 2011

Gone from our sight, Forever in our hearts

The end was rough, my friends.  Her breathing became labored and raspy, and then gurgly as her lungs shut down and filled with fluid.  Her body was working so hard to keep going.  Near the end, I begged her to let go.  I turned to all corners of the room and looked up in the ceiling and told her that it was okay to go, that this was too hard and that it had to be better on the other side.

I quoted some poetry and prose that seemed meaningful to me and that I knew she liked.  I held her hand.  I stroked her brow.  I kissed her.  I promised her that we would never forget her and that we would love her forever.

I gave her the liquid morphine.  My pop asked me to do all the medicating.  He called the hospice people and got instructions from them regarding the morphine and the atropine.  We gave her the extra morphine.  They upped the dose.  We gave her yet more.

My pop and I were both there most of the time, but taking turns going to the bathroom or making a cup of tea.  I went to the kitchen for my tea run. I sat down at the dining room table and put my head down.  I may have been out of the room for three or four minutes.  Then my pop came down the hall and called to me.  I went into the bedroom with him.  She was gone.  He said that her breathing slowed down and became uneven.  She took a couple of breaths and then a long pause.  Another breath.  And then no more.  I wonder if she was waiting for me to be out of the room when she finally gave up the bodily life.

He wanted me to check to see if I could find a pulse.  I couldn't.  Not in her wrist or neck or axially.  Her eyes were vacant.  We sat with her for several minutes.  Then Pop said that he had to go get my brother.  He walked over to my brother's house (it's only 7 blocks) and back.  While he was gone I kept checking for a pulse even knowing that she was gone.  I held her hand.  I told her how much I love her, even though she already knew that.

Pop and I dressed her in her favorite pajamas and put her favorite slippers on her feet.  I crossed her legs.  She looked relaxed and stylish.  While we were waiting for the undertakers (or whatever they are called) I sat on the bed with her and read.  I stroked her forehead and gave her the occasional kiss and told her, again, how much I love her and how much I'll miss her.  The undertakers came and took the empty shell of my mother away.  The three of us stood on the front porch and waved until the van turned the corner.

It doesn't seem possible that she's gone.  Her vivid presence, her intelligence, wit, warmth and love can't be gone from this world.  My mum was the heart of our family.  And the reigning matriarch of our extended family.  I know with my bodily senses that her corporeal self is gone, but her spirit, her essence, the vibration of her can't be gone from this world.  At least, not as long as those of us who knew and loved her are still living.

Not sure what to do now.  I'm not really taking it in yet.  I guess that happens over time.

Thanks for all of your love and support during this time, dear blog friends.  I haven't shared this much of the journey with anyone else.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

27 October 2011

The ties that bind

What is it that keeps us tethered to this life?  Family?  Ambition?  The will to live?  The determination not to die? Obviously, I have no answer to that question.

What is it that keeps my mum tethered to this life?  Family?  My pop, me, my brothers, the grandchildren?  A desire to live longer than her siblings have done?  A thumbing of her nose to those she doesn't hold in high regard?  Again, no answers from me.

Whatever those ties that bind (and, other than family, I don't know what they are) they are slipping, loosening, letting go of my mother as she begins her journey to the other side.

I have spent the last three days sitting beside her.  Holding her hand, stroking her brow, petting whatever part of her I could reach.  And, she has responded in kind.  Holding my hand, and squeezing it; directing her gaze up at me; reaching out to touch whatever part of my body she could reach.  Often, there are not words.  Or, at least, words that I can decipher.  Sometimes she is speaking clearly but mostly she is murmuring under her breath.  My pop wrote down all he could of what she said from 2:30 last night until 6:00 this morning.  She is having conversations with people who mattered in her life.  Sorting stuff out.

The hospice nurse came today.  She said that it looks like we have 1 to 3 days left, but certainly not a week.  Now, I know that we had that expectation before, but this time I don't feel confident of a rebound.  For one thing, mum can't stand anymore.  She has no physical strength left.  She is surviving on will and determination alone.  When those go, she won't have anything left.

I'll be spending the next few nights at my parents' house.  I'll keep you updated as i can.
Please send up a prayer for an easy transition for my beloved mother, Kathryn Elizabeth.  I know she'll be ok, I just don't want her to be met on the other side by people she didn't like on this plane... but that's just me...

Peace,
elizabeth

25 October 2011

In bed

Mum didn't get up today.

Yesterday she got up and made it all the way to the living room, but did so with a ride on the scooter (the walker, or rollator as they like to be called).  Once she got to the living room she fell asleep in the wing chair.  She stayed there until I left, once my pop was up and about.  I went back over in the evening to help get her to the bathroom and then to bed.  And that all went well.

But, today, she's still in bed.  I'm afraid that may mean that she is staying in bed.  Yesterday she said, a couple of times, "I can't do this anymore."  That sounds like she is loosening her grip.

I spent a big chunk of the morning sitting next to her bed, holding her hand.

Not sure where we go from here.  Or if we go anywhere.

19 October 2011

Medication issues

Ok, so, my mum takes a whole lotta pills.  And, until recently, they were doing their job of keeping her comfortable.  Last week however, we mentioned that she is in some pain when she wakes up.  The nurse thought that she should switch to a pain pill that would last through the night so that she would still be comfortable when she awoke.  Good idea.  Wrong pill.

They prescribed morphine tablets, which apparently work for lots of people.  My mum, who takes handfulls of vicodin and flexeril and other stuff every day, is quite susceptible to the effects of morphine.  We found this out the hard way.

My pop gave her the prescribed dose of two blue pills on Friday evening.  Then the prescribed dose of one blue pill on Saturday morning.  She slept 11 1/2 hours on Friday night, and she slept nearly the whole time I was there on Saturday morning and was pretty groggy the rest of the day.  On Saturday night Pop gave her half the recommended dose, just one blue pill.  She slept really well again.  On Sunday morning he broke a pill in half and gave that to her.  At this point I said, let's not give her anymore!  Let's go back to the vicodin.  He spoke with the nurse on Sunday and she said yes, go back to the vicodin, give her some extra haldol to counteract the morphine and increase the steroid.  (Also, it turns out, you shouldn't break those morphine tablets in half.  They just work faster.)

Another consequence of the morphine was the loss of strength in her legs.  She is having a hell of a time standing and walking.  She has needed help getting up for a while now, but since this weekend she is so much weaker.

And, a consequence of the increase in the steroids is that old demon, 'roid rage.  Holy smokes!  My mother has always had a strong will.  When you mix that with steroids and anger at fate, well, you have a pretty potent old lady rage going on.  Since this weekend, I'm going over earlier in the mornings and going back at night to help my pop get her up and into bed.  It has been crazy.

One thing she insists on is spending a very long time on the toilet.  This became a problem when she had been there for 3 hours and refused to get up.  Yes, three hours on the pot.  I arrived at 9am, as usual, and my pop said that she had been there since 6.  He couldn't wrestle her up by himself and every time he tried she told him no.  Well, he's a good husband, and when his wife says no, he listens to her.  I said this is ridiculous and she can't stay on the toilet for three hours. Her feet were like ice!  Cold!  Circulation cut off!  I said we were getting her up and that there would be no arguing about it.  We decided who would lift where and on the count of three up she would come.  This whole time she was saying NO!  I said, Yes!  We started to lift her and she said, "No, stop, put me down!"  And, dammit, my pop started to lower her back down!  I said, Pop, No, we HAVE TO GET HER OUT OF HERE!  Well, we did.  And she was mad.  And this keeps happening.  In fact, yesterday, after we got her to the living room, she looked at me and said, "Don't you have somewhere else to go?"

You gotta laugh.  It's the only choice.  I know it's the drugs talking.  At times, though, all I can think is, good thing her short term memory is gone... she won't remember the next day how mad she was.

This morning we switched her old comfortable leather chair for a firmer, higher wing back chair.  And, tonight when I leave work, I'm headed to the store to buy one of those elevated toilet seat things.  And then I'll go over to their house and put it on and give her 10 minutes on the pot.  Then she's up and out and into bed.  I can be strong willed too...

12 October 2011

Blogger Meet Up!

Today I had lunch with eb and the Queen!  Wow!  Yes, they are real people!  We had lunch at a little pub around the corner from my house called The RaT (really it's called The Rose and Thistle but we love an acronym).  The RaT is next door to a yarn shop so I think the Queen was pleased by that detail.

It was wonderful to meet these two characters.  They are on the Pacific Northwest leg of their current car trip. Originally there was talk of them staying with me, but with my life being in such a weird state of flux right now, well, it didn't turn out.  Happily, they have friends in a suburb west of here.  And, come to find out, the Queen is allergic to cats and we have three.  Might not have worked out too well anyway.  But, I would have loved to have them stay so that we could drink copious amounts of deliciousness and tell tall tales.  I'm sure it would have happened like that...

However, I got to have a long leisurely lunch with them and that was very pleasant.  Amazingly, the irascible T came along and behaved herself pretty well.  I'm including these two pictures as proof but, as you know, my phone takes the crappiest photos of all time so it could be anybody in the picture.  Especially the second one.

The Queen had on a spectacular tie dyed shirt with a crazed beaver on it.  I was sure she had purchased it here in the Beaver State (yes, Oregon is the Beaver State - look it up!  I'm not kidding!) but no!  It's from a chain of rest stop/gas station/mini-mart/restaurant type thingies in Tejas.  Still a good choice for Oregon, though.


Hahahahaha!  That's me with eb behind the flash!  I think she'll send me some pix, or post them on her blog.  They'll certainly be better than these.

So, there you have it.  Real life people behind all the bloggish glamour.  I love it when that happens.

07 October 2011

October and Matthew Shepard

Originally posted: October, 2008

*******************************************************


Thoughts about Wyoming

With the ten year anniversary of the hate crime that took Matthew Shepard’s life, I am thinking about Wyoming. As are so many us.

Have you been to Wyoming? Have you driven through the state or visited Yellowstone? I’ve done both in the last decade.

My daughter and I took a road trip through the upper Western states when she was transitioning from middle school to high school. She had gone to an “alternative” middle school, run by hippie-ish types that encouraged self expression, among other things. Part of her self expression was her pink, orange and purple hair. As we left Yellowstone, driving through western Wyoming, she got a scarf out of her bag to cover her hair. I asked her why and she said, 
“They kill people for being different here. I don’t want any of them to see my hair.” 
What’s a mother to say to that?

This spring my girlfriend and I flew out to Michigan to collect my daughter’s car and drive it back to Portland. On day two, as we approached the Wyoming state line, we got into an argument. We spent a couple of hours in stony silence. As we drove through Laramie we both started crying. “Why are we doing this to each other?” we cried. “We have to be strong together to fight against the assholes of this world.” We felt very strongly the sorrow, fear and shame that linger in Laramie; or at least linger in our minds when we think about Laramie. We couldn’t stop there, even though we needed gas. We couldn’t set foot on that ground, spend money in their town, even look away from the highway. Every fence reminded us. We pressed on through the town and filled the tank away to the west, in Rawlins. We were on edge through the whole state, and Utah wasn’t much better. We didn’t really breathe easily until we were cruising through the Gorge on the outskirts of Portland. So. Glad. To. Be. Home.

And, Wyoming? I don’t hate the place. I don’t hate the people. I don’t want to increase the balance of animosity in the world; I want to reduce it. I don’t feel safe in vast areas of the US, and I resent the fact that I feel I must be on guard when traveling in those places. But I am determined to give everyone a fair shake, an unbiased hearing before I make up my mind. There are probably wonderful things about Wyoming and I would be happy to hear about them. True, I’ll never live there, but I would like to travel through it or visit without fear.

03 October 2011

New haircut

I just had my hair cut super short.  It was bugging me and that was pretty much the only solution I could come up  with at the moment.  Mind you, I just had it cut a couple of weeks ago, too... If it irritates me again I'm going for the clippers.



My phone takes lousy pictures, but you can at least see how short it is now.  Amazingly, my mum didn't say a word about it this morning.

29 September 2011

Not for the faint of heart ... or stomach




***WARNING***  

!GRAPHIC MEDICAL CONTENT!


Thursdays are the hospice nurse days.  We have an amazingly wonderful nurse named Kathleen.  She fits perfectly with us.  She gets us, we get her, we are all alike in some ways and hugely different in others, but we get each other.  That's important.

Today, after commenting on how great mum is doing, and how she will almost certainly be around for Christmas, she brought up the subject of "bleeding out".

Oh.

Oh dear.

You see, the big softball-sized tumor in mum's right lung which has crossed into her left lung, is sitting right next to and now also encircling, her aorta.  The aorta is called 'the great vessel'.  It takes oxygenated blood from the heart and distributes it to the rest of the body.  When a tumor is adjacent to the aorta, it is putting stress on the vessel.  The oh-so-important vessel can grow weak from that stress.  Sometimes it can rupture.  When that happens, all of that oxygenated blood breaks free of the aorta.  It may go into the body cavity or it may go into the lungs.  It is quickly fatal.

If it goes into the lungs, it will likely come up the airway and out of the mouth.  Kathleen recommends having a supply of dark colored towels on hand.

I'm still processing this information.

It was a fairly sobering conversation.  And it reminded me that while we have been enjoying this gently sloping plateau as much as we can, we have grown complacent.  We now expect things to continue as they are indefinitely.  But, really, it could be over at any moment.

And, for crying out loud Mum, don't cough!

Fuck.

27 September 2011

Still here...

Yep, we're still here.  All of us.  Including my darling mumsey.

She is on a gently sloping plateau these days.  Getting a little worse but not a lot worse.  Losses in cognition and physical abilities and stamina, but her will is strong and she is not done living.  I am grateful for that.

I am still spending every morning at the parents' house ~ well, actually, right now it's only six days a week because my dad stays awake on Sunday mornings to watch football.

I am extremely grateful to my employers for letting me work whatever hours I can for as long as this lasts.  And to my team of excellent coworkers for covering for me when I am not there.

I have a lot to be grateful for, in spite of this terrible disease.

I just have to remind myself of that from time to time.

Because there are many days when I just want to cry.  And, when I get a minute to myself, I do.  But, then I have to pick myself back up and carry on.  Because that's what we do, right?

There's a beautiful sunset right now, outside my office window.  Might as well be grateful for that too.

And for my friends, both RL and virtual who keep letting me know that I am in their thoughts.  Thank you.

01 September 2011

Rebound



Here's the strange thing: my mom is holding on.  I don't know how or why or what is helping her, but after a couple of days that were absolutely dire, she has rallied.  She is out of bed, walking with help, drinking tea, and combing her hair.  We thought that the end of this week would probably be her last, but she has surprised us all.

But... and it's a big but ... there is a booklet that the hospice folks gave us that outlines the final days.  In it, there is talk of a period where the dying person has a rebound and seems almost like their old self.  I wonder if that is where we are now.  

Another strange thing is that during that bed-ridden, excruciating couple of days, mom was very lucid.  She answered questions directly, she had things to tell each of us, she let us know when the pain was unmanageable.  Now, she has slipped back into the random, unconnected (in our minds) monologues, and is disassociated with reality.  I don't know what to make of that.

One thing that I believe helped her was the knowledge that Zoe was coming.  I called Zoe a day or so after the nurse said it would be the end and asked her if she could come for one last visit.  She made plane reservations right away.

I have been at the parents' house for the last ... what, 3 or 4 days/nights?... I'm not sure, at this point.  But, last night I felt as if I could sleep in my own bed with no worries about the night or the morning.  My dad promised he would call if they needed help.

I'm on my way back over there to sit with mom while dad has his nap.  After that, I'm actually going to go to work for a few hours, while Zoe takes a turn hanging with her Grammy.

Zoe can only stay until Sunday.  I don't know what to expect once she leaves.  Oh well, there's just no way of knowing except to live through it.


29 August 2011

Near the end

I am sleeping at my parents house now.  The hospice nurse says we have a week or so.  Mom is sleeping a lot, but when she is awake she is often quite restless.  We had a morning of good lucidity today, although it began at 4am, we'll take it whenever we can.

Pop and I were able to help her to the bathroom, which she much prefers over the other options.  Well, who doesn't, right?  She also had a half a cup of tea this morning, which we consider a fantastic accomplishment.

I have dashed home for a quick shower and clean clothes.  I've answered some emails and thought that I would post this brief update.  I would update more, but my parents computer is a relic and I haven't even tried.

Thank you, all, for keeping us in your thoughts.

18 August 2011

Words to live by

Do not dwell in the past,
Do not dream of the future,
Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Buddha

I'm working on just being present.



11 August 2011

Good days and not so good

It's been a rough month.  It's been up and down, but mostly down.  The shocking thing is how quickly Mom is getting worse.  She makes very little sense.  It's all sentence fragments in a stream of consciousness monologue.  Sometimes there is a theme.  Tuesday was her Uncle Chalmer.  Wednesday was Cousin Debbie.  Today was Lisa and Sybil.  Knowing who she is talking about is helpful.  Makes it a tiny bit easier to follow.

There are some funny things, though.  I mean, you have to laugh or else you cry.  Today she said as I sat down and untied my shoes, "Yes, sit down and take off your trees."  And later she asked me, "How many were staying here while you were dancing on your head?"  I guessed 3.  I mean, what can you say?

My new schedule is this:
Spend the morning, from about 9 to noon, at the parents house.  This gives me time with my mum while she is fairly rested, and importantly, time for my dad to take his morning nap.  It is essential that he stay healthy and rested.  I've been doing this for a week or so, and he looks much better.
Work from about 1-ish to 8 or 9 in the evening.
Go home, sit in front of the tv for a few minutes, go to bed.
On Saturday and Sunday, just take out the work part.

It's not just that her mind is going.  She is also physically very frail.  Some days she can get herself up and walking, but mostly not.  She is pretty teetery, too, so there is the constant fear of her falling.  She has fallen, but so far no serious injury.  One good thing is that they put her on a steroid and it has increased her appetite. She was at the point of eating a couple of bites of toast a day and that was it for her caloric intake.  Now, however, she is eating an entire piece of toast for breakfast and sometimes having part of another one.  Wow!  She will eat a little lunch and a few bites of dinner, but that's about all.  Still, it's keeping her going.

I've told her what a wonderful mother she is, and how lucky I feel.  I tell her every day that I love her.  I can't ask her any big questions any more, though.  Interpreting the answer is so difficult.  One thing that makes me happy is that sometimes, while she is telling some incomprehensible story, she'll shake her head and chuckle.  Laugh at some fleeting memory, and then sit quietly with a smile on her face.  I like that.



05 July 2011

Conflating

Conflate: noun. 1) To bring together; meld or fuse.  2) To combine (two variant texts, for example) into one whole.


Thursday I have to have my dog put to sleep.

It’s time, I know that.  It’s past time, actually.  I’ve been wondering when this day would come, and putting it off.  She is ancient, especially for a biggish dog.  I’ve written about her before.  She has been declining for a while.  Her eyesight and hearing are nearly gone, as is her bladder control.  I’ve been washing rugs for months.  I buy vinegar by the gallon jug.

For the last couple of months (or years), we have had to help her get up off the floor.  We lift up her back end, under her back legs, and hold her steady until she gets her balance and starts walking.  But now, even that isn’t enough help.  She almost can’t keep all four legs under her at the same time.  We stand her up, she falls down.  We hold up her back legs and the front ones go.  T built her a ramp to get from the deck to the back yard and it works just fine as long as you walk beside her, holding her up.

So, yes, it’s time.  I called the house call vet last week to schedule an appointment, and of course he was out of town.  He emailed me back and we set the time for Thursday, 7 July at 4pm.  It’s ok that I had an extra week.  For one thing, she has gotten worse over the course of the week, and it has allowed me to really see that it must be done.  I wanted her to die naturally, in her sleep, but she hasn’t complied with that.  So, yes, on Thursday I must put our elderly family pet to sleep.

Conflate: to combine into one whole.

I can’t help but look at the other elderly dying family member. 

I am not conflating my mom with my dog.  Not really.  But it feels ominous somehow, or disrespectful, or like I’m tempting fate.  I feel like I am taking away what time Cookie has, time that she could be enjoying a treat, or watching the shadows of people pass by from the front porch.  I’m taking away the tail-wagging, tongue-lolling, happy to see me, cheerful individual who has lived in my house for 16 years.  Am I going to cause a shift in the space – time continuum that will cascade on to my mother?  By putting the dog down am I negatively impacting my mother’s survival?

Of course I know that this isn’t true.  My mum and my dog are not psychically connected.  It just feels too close to the bone, too close to the heart, too fragile.  Too something.

My mum still has some time left.  And, she is in much better shape than the dog!  She has good days and bad days, and yesterday was discouraging, but she is still her essential self.  But then, so is Cookie. There isn’t anything I can do, at this point, to lengthen Cookie’s life, and I wouldn’t want to.  She is tired.  She is old.  She is losing the sparkle in her eye.  If I were to keep her alive it would be selfish.  I’m not doing that. 

And I’m not giving up on my mom.  





30 June 2011

Feeling good

I made some delicious beef stew for my parents and took it over last night.  Yes, I know that summer is not beef stew season but remember, we live in the Pacific Northwest and it is not summery here.  So far this year we have had temperatures over 80 degrees just 3 times.  It's cool and breezy right now.  Plus, comfort food is satisfying in all seasons.  The stew is one of my few tried and true, reliable, great tasting meals.  I am not a cook. But, that's ok because my mom is not much of an eater.  She does love my stew though.

While I was there, my dad gave me the run down on the latest visit to the doctor.  Actually, they visited the Nurse Practitioner.  It was very encouraging!  My mom is feeling much better, and her oxygen saturation is staying well within the normal range.  I think the pneumonia is finally resolving.  Also, her inner ear thing (infection? something?) must be better as well, because her balance is much better.  She was feeling pretty perky last night.  That made me feel better.  Oh, and this: the NP told them that they have a couple of patients who have been in hospice for 3 and 4 years.  That made us all feel better.  My dad said, "Let's plan Christmas!"  Smiles all around.

Just so I could feel useful, I ordered one of those fancy walkers with a basket and a seat and bicycle style brakes.  You can get anything from Amazon!  It should be arriving today or tomorrow and I think it will really help my mom with her mobility.  She tires easily but still wants to be out and about.

All of this gave me a really good feeling yesterday.  She may not have as long above ground as I want, but she doesn't yet have a foot in the grave.

24 June 2011

Hospice

I got a call from Raymond at the hospice office yesterday.  Unfortunately, he called my home number and not my cell or my work (both of which he has).  He left a message and said that it was not an emergency, but to please call him back.

I called the hospice office as soon as I got home.  Raymond had left for the day, but the gal on the phone explained what was going on ~ at least, somewhat.

It seems that when a patient is enrolled in hospice care, one of the first things the program does is order liquid morphine to be delivered to the patient's house.  This is to ensure that unmanageable pain is treated whether or not the patient can be seen right away.  Well, that's good.  Why the hell should she suffer as she is dying, right?

But, the question the woman couldn't answer was, why did Raymond call me?  Were the parents out of the house?  She didn't know.  She just wanted to be sure that we knew that the pharmacy would be delivering the morphine that afternoon.

I called my parents and let them know.  It seems that Raymond had called and my mom had basically told him to bugger off.  She didn't know who he was and she didn't have time for him.  She told him that she wasn't interested and hung up on him.  He called back and she told him to stop bothering her.  I guess she thought he was trying to sell her something.  Sigh.

At any rate, it got sorted out and there is now a bottle of liquid morphine on the mantel.  The nurse has called and given instructions as to its use.

Here's something else, though.  When I was talking to the woman on the phone, her tone of voice and phrasing were creeping me out.  She is clearly used to talking to people who are in distress, but I was expecting more of a matter-of-fact tone and not the unctuous sympathy and hushed voice that I got from her.  It was a little weird.

21 June 2011

Vascular Dementia

The lack of oxygen to the brain is a serious problem.  Whatever the reason for the lack of oxygen, the result is not good.  In our case, a softball sized tumor in the lung is pretty much blocking the efficient flow of oxygen, and has been for an unknown period of time.

Dementia, however, is kind of the same whether it's vascular, Alzheimer's, or any one of the other dementias, especially the age related kind.

Weese, if you are reading, I thought about you last night.

I was over at the parents house, they had just finished a light supper of blintzes.  We were talking about how my martial art school looked better after a recent coat of paint.  At that point my mom said, "Well, I remember when you told me that the rabbits were really loud at night."

Umm.... ok.

I said, "We don't have too many rabbits over there, but if they keep you awake, let me know."

What is it about rabbits?  Weese, didn't your mom have a rabbit thing?

20 June 2011

A Not Sad Post

It was Gay Pride weekend in PDX this last weekend and even with my life turned upside down, it felt like a good idea to get out and have some fun.  Plus, there was the work obligation.

We went out dancing on Saturday night.  There's a monthly dance called Hot Flash that is held downtown.  It started out as an old gals dance, but it's open to all women and during Pride weekend it's open to all queers and allies.  It's pretty fun ordinarily, and on Pride weekend it is packed to the rafters and you are likely to run into people you haven't seen in ages.  I had the delightful coincidence of running into some bloggers that I know only in the virtual world!

I was talking with a group of friends and looked over and saw a couple who looked familiar.  I did the usual trip through the mental rolodex trying to place them and finally realized who they were.  It was Jen and Sara from We are (having) so much fun!  I couldn't remember Sara's name at first, but I remembered Jen and I called Sara "The Splicer".  If you read their blog, you'll know that Sara is pretty handy with rope (although we are still waiting for the blog post on splicing, we have seen pictures).  I introduced myself, and we marveled at the collision of real life and virtual.  They are just as nice as they seem on their blog.

When we were ready to go, we were standing outside saying our goodbyes to various friends when someone said, "Hey, it's the Naked Bike Ride!"  How could we not look?  We walked to the end of the block and sure enough, there they were in all their pale glory.  We waved and waved and waved, and the line of naked riders kept coming and coming.  It was actually quite nice out, not too chilly, and not raining.  It looked like they were having fun!  In fact, it looked so fun that T actually said that she wanted to join next year.  We'll see about that!  We found out later that there were something like 10,000 participants.  Ten Thousand!  That's Portland, for you!

Sunday morning we got up too early and made our way downtown for the Pride parade.  I had gotten roped into serving on my work's Pride committee and we all had to be there early and help out.  We sorted, folded, stacked and distributed t-shirts, blew up hundreds of balloons, bagged up buttons, organized the tote bags, and then waited for our turn to step out in the parade line up.  The parade route was not long, I'm happy to say, but what with all the busy work and the standing around and the walking, my legs were tired by the end of the day.  We made it down to the Waterfront, had a corn dog and a beer, picked up some free samples of dog food, some condoms and lube,  and plenty of buttons and stickers and Mardi Gras beads.  Got to chit chat with friends we haven't seen since last year's parade.  It was a long day but fun to see our community in all their colorful glory.

Not a restful weekend, by any stretch, but nice to get out.  How about you all?  Is your city's Pride celebration coming up?  Do you have one?  Go out and get your gay on!

17 June 2011

Wishing

Like many people, I grew up wishing on the evening star.  You know, “Star light, star bright…”- that wish.  I suppose when I was very young I wished for the kind of things that children wish for, like a puppy or a pony or a new toy.  I don’t remember those wishes.

From the time I was about 8 or 10 years old though, my wish was almost always for the same thing.  I wished for my parents to have a long and happy life.  I don’t know why I started wishing that.  I think it started when my maternal grandfather died.

I didn’t know my mom’s father.  I had met him twice, maybe three times.  He lived in Ohio and we lived in California.  It was a much bigger deal to fly across the country back then.  And, none of my family had money for that extravagance. 

The day we got the call that he had died, we were at our cousins’ house.  My mom’s sister’s house. It might have been someone’s birthday.  My mother and all of her siblings loved their father best.  Their mother was whiny and petulant (in retrospect I believe that she had a hard menopause), but their father was their champion.  He was the kind of dad who played with his kids, who was very fair and just and kind and loving.  He worked hard and loved them all and they knew that and felt secure.

My mother and my aunt fell to pieces when they got the call.  Their dad worked for the railroad at the time and had been hit by a train.  Later, the railroad tried to say that he had had a heart attack and fell off one of the cars, but in the end they settled with my grandmother and awarded her a miserly pension.

The pain, the crying, the despair, were overwhelming.  I had never seen my mother cry like that.  I had never seen my aunt cry at all.  They were strong young women with husbands and children and in an instant they were bereft little girls sobbing in despair.

I cried too.  I cried because it was sad that my grandfather had died, but mostly I cried because my mom was crying.  I sat in the front seat with her on the way home and she held me and cried.  And cried, and cried.

My mom was devastated.  I don’t know how long it took her to come to terms with her father’s death, but I think it was quite a while.  It worried me.  I worried that my parents might suffer some bizarre and tragic fate.  I was preoccupied with it at times, worried that my brothers and I would be left in the care of others, to be raised as poor relations.

Mostly, though, I couldn’t bear the thought of being without my parents.  I have the best parents in the history of parents.  I couldn’t bear the thought of them being dead and gone.  I couldn’t imagine how that could be.

And so, I wished.  I wished on the evening star every time I saw it.  I wished whenever we crossed a bridge and held our breath and lifted our feet off the floor.  I wished on birthday candles.  I wished on dandelions.  Any opportunity to make a wish and mine was the same.  “Please let my parents have a long and happy life.”  Always the same.  Always that need for the security of my family.

And now, that evening star has let me down.  My mom has been happy but she is only 75.  I don’t feel that she has had enough time.  When I wished for a long and happy life I was thinking they should live to be 100.  That’s long.  75 is medium.  It’s not enough.  I’m not ready and she’s not ready.  I feel like I am being robbed of 25 years of happiness, or my mom is. 

What was the use of all that wishing?  All of that focused energy directed to a specific outcome?  What good was it?  It served no purpose.  I am losing my mom too soon.  Now I am the bereft little girl, crying and wanting to say, “Don’t take my mama!”

I suppose that eventually I will be grateful for what I had.  I suppose that comes with time.  I hope so.  My mom is my best advocate, my champion, my fierce defender.  Nobody picked on Kathryn’s kids, because they could not take the wrath of my mother.  Who will be my defender now?  Who will stand up for me and defend me and believe in me?

Yes, I will still have my dad.  He is the other half of that equation.  I’m counting on him.  The thought of him without my mom is strange but he must carry on.  We need him.  My brothers and I are still their children.  Even at age 52, I still need my parents.

I don’t know if I’ll bother to continue wishing on that star.  It hasn’t helped.






16 June 2011

The News

Well, it ain't good.

Stage 4, spread across the midline to both lungs, metastasized to the adrenal and lymphatic systems.  Surgery is not an option, radiation is not an option, and the oncologist doesn't think that chemo will be worth the risk.  The chemo won't significantly increase the length of her life, and will make her sick and weaker which could, in fact, shorten what time she has left.

And, what time does she have left?  He wouldn't give an estimate but said it would be measured in months rather than years.

I'm not ready to lose my mom.  Obviously I don't have a choice about that.  My choice is to see her every day and spend as much time as I can with her.

Damn.

09 June 2011

Reminder

I had a good reminder last night to get the hell out of my head.

I've got a lot on my mind right now.  The number one issue being my mom, of course.  Also, it's the busy season at my work and there might not be enough hours in the week to get everything done.  I'm working overtime every week.

On the flip side, my partner is underemployed.  It is aggravating to be working so hard and getting phone calls about how much fun it is to be downtown watching the ships come in at the waterfront.  (T is great for keeping me updated about her every move.)  I don't begrudge her the fun, I just wish I was having some.

So, after hearing (a couple of times) about her escapades downtown, I finally make it home through rush hour traffic.  I'm on the front porch struggling with an armful of crap while digging my house keys out of my backpack.  I'm in a hurry because I have to leave immediately to go teach a class across town.  I get in the front door to find her napping on the couch, completely out.

Ok, I confess that I closed the door rather harder than I should have.  I didn't slam it, but I made sure it closed firmly.  Yes, I was pissy.  I was disgruntled.  I was short tempered.

I looked down at her and said, "Are you comfortable?  You look a little warm with that blanket on."  Then I went upstairs, changed my clothes, came back down and gathered up my stuff and left.  I closed the door very gently on the way out.

Here's the thing.  On Monday and Wednesday evenings I teach martial arts to kids.  The class I am currently teaching is fairly small, only about a dozen of them, and ranging in age from 6 to 12.  These kids are awesome!  Two of them are preparing to test for their next rank.  They are so focused and determined.  I worked with these two for most of the hour, while the rest of the class worked on another form with an upper rank teenager who came to help out.  Everyone - the testing kids, the rest of the kids, the helper and even me- was completely present, working hard and having a great class.

My mood on the way home was a complete turnaround from the drive over there.  For an hour I left my worries and my crankiness behind.  It gave me a chance to take a breath, look at my actions and attitudes, and get a fucking grip!

I can't do anything about T's employment situation, but I don't have to be bitter and resentful about it.  I can't do anything about my mom's lung cancer, except hope and pray and hold the good thought and be there for her.  I can't do anything about my work except keep at it and relax after mid-July.

The old truth remains: I can only change myself.  My attitude is up to me.  Today will be better.

03 June 2011

Pause

I took the day off today.

I worked out this morning.  T and I had our therapy session.  After our appointment, as I was riding my bike to work and I just said "To hell with it!  I'm going home."

So, here I am.  I have a lot on my mind.  I am waiting to hear from my parents after the meeting with the doctors.  I am at loose ends, in limbo, on tenterhooks.  I am no fit company for anyone, and didn't want to spend the day pretending at work.

If you feel like it, email me.  I've got the time to respond.

AND (super important!): Thank you so much for your good thoughts, intentions and prayers for my mom.  I know it helps!

xoxox
e

31 May 2011

Please...

Please set an intention, say a prayer, hold the good thought for my mom.  She went into the hospital over the weekend for pneumonia and they discovered lung cancer.  We'll know more about what kind and treatment options in a couple of days when the labs are back.

Fuck.

11 May 2011

Bit my tongue

So, yes, the Kid left yesterday.  I miss her fiercely.

When T got home from picking up the niece, and they walked in the door, it was all I could do to keep from saying: "Why are you people still here?"

I managed to keep that to myself.  Just barely, but I behaved.  They are trying to be extra nice to me, which I appreciate, but there is no filling of that void with empty words and nice behaviour.

I'll get over it.  I always do.  And, this time I really have something to look forward to: the relocation of the Kid to Portland!  That's what I've got and I'm going with it.



09 May 2011

I haz a sad...

I know I should be grateful, and I am.  April was the best month I’ve had in a long time.  My daughter was here for 5 weeks and it was fantastic.  It just felt so right to have her back.

But, tomorrow she is leaving.  She is driving back to Des Moines.  I can already feel ‘the sad’ creeping up on me.  This afternoon I will help her gather up all of her stuff, load some of it into the car, and spend some time just being around her.  Tomorrow we will have breakfast together, finish loading the car, and wave goodbye.  Yes, we will both cry. 

She is planning on moving back to Portland in the next year.  I’m holding on to that thought.

28 April 2011

I think I did the right thing...



I think I did the right thing today.  I’m pretty sure I did.  I feel a little ambivalent about it though.

Earlier this year, I decided to initiate some changes at my place of employment.  My goal was to oust my almost non-existent manager and take his place.  I am the second in command in our group, after this manager whom we share with another department. 

Today I met with our accountant and one of the other women in the group.  I recommended this other woman for management over myself.  I believe that she will do a better job than I.  I have a definite skill set, and am really quite good at the things I do, but I think M will make a better manager.  Not in the people skills area, because I excel at that, but on the business side of the business.  M has great skills in things like contract negotiation, super attention to detail, organization and coordination of effort… you know, businessy business.  I’m better at people and words and schmoozing.  And, she will need me to schmooze this position into existence.

The other part of the equation is related to time and age.  M is younger than I am, by at least 15 years.  Add to that the fact that I intend to retire* in three years, and I’d rather have her jump through the hoops.  I will help her in any way I can, and will put my effort into helping her create the position, but after considerable consideration I have come to the conclusion that I don’t want the job.

The ambivalence comes in, I guess, because I have been doing the job of the manager for quite a few years and have not been adequately compensated for it.  I have spent a lot of time and energy making our department better.  I have assembled a team of outstanding employees.  I have eliminated redundancies, streamlined processes, fitted the right person with the right tasks, and generally kept things both efficient and serene.  I’ve been the manager.  I’ve just never been paid to be the manager.  I would have liked to have had the salary.

Overall, I believe that it is the right decision.

*I say 'retire' but in fact it will be a big shift.  I’ll be 55, I’ll have 20 years into the retirement system, but I won’t get enough money to live on.  I’ll have to continue to work but I am looking forward to doing some work that interests me, and preferably part time.  The funny thing is, yesterday, in the early morning fitness class that I take, the head of my martial art school, upon hearing that I would retire in three years, said that she would love to hire me to be her administrator.  So, already things are realigning to this new idea.  
That makes me happy.



21 April 2011

Update from the Rose City!

Wow!  What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! 

When last I wrote to you all, we had just returned from the Twilight pilgrimage where a good time was had by our quirky, blended family.  We had barely gotten the sand shaken out of our shoes and shorts when something so amazing and wonderful happened that I am still stunned. 

My daughter called two or three days after she got back to Iowa.  She said that she realized how much she missed living in Portland.  She missed her family and friends, she missed mountains and forests and the ocean, she missed the funky vibe of the city.  She asked if she could come back and stay for a month or so.

Yes, that’s right.  She wants to come back!  She asked me if she could stay with us for a month or two.  Ha!  I told her that she never has to ask, this is her home and she is welcome in it whenever she chooses to stay.  She insisted that I ask T if it was alright, which I did, and of course it was.

So, at first she was going to come back in a couple of weeks.  Then it was right after the boyfriend’s birthday.  Then it was the following weekend.  In the end, she left within a week of calling me.  She decided to drive out.  I offered to fly out and drive with her, but she wanted to do it on her own.  Well, I understand that.  A long solo car trip is a rite of passage, especially out here in the wide open west.  She wanted to have her car here when she arrived, and wanted to bring some of her things that would cost too much to ship.  She brought both her lap top and desk top computers.  And, more than that, she brought her cat.  Yes, let that sink in for a moment ~ she brought her cat.

Now, she has assured me that she and the boyfriend are not breaking up or separating.  Pity.  But, she has definitely matured in their relationship and is no longer doing everything his way.  We have had some long (and short) chats about that.  She told him that she is moving back to Portland with or without him and he needs to get on board.  I am so relieved to see her regain her sense of self and her stubbornness and her will.  She’s got all that, and it’s time to let it shine.

So, the last couple of weeks I’ve had my kid back.  Heaven!  This also means that we have a full house and lots going on.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was living alone in relative silence.  Sometimes, it’s true, I miss that quiet bookish existence, but mostly I am pretty darned happy.

Right now, the boyfriend is visiting.  It was Zoe’s birthday on Tuesday (27!) and he came out for a few days.  They are staying at a hotel.  Zoe told him that he needed to leave by Saturday since my birthday is Sunday (52!).  All in all, this spring is shaping up to be a pretty happy one.

I’ve got lots more to tell you, but so little time to write it down.  I’ll keep at it though, because I know that you all are on Pins And Needles waiting to hear how this saga plays out!  :-)



28 March 2011

The Trip to Vampire/Werewolf Country

We made it safely back from Forks and LaPush!  Nobody was bitten!


Sunset at La Push.

Just to recap, we left Portland around noon on Friday.  Drove through Forks, since we were staying in La Push, and arrived at the beach around 5ish.  Checked into the hotel, ran around like lunatics on the beach, looked for somewhere to eat in La Push and ended up driving back to Forks for dinner.

Same view, in the morning.  Right off our balcony.

On Saturday we spent a couple of hours checking out all of the Twilight locations.  The rest of the day was spent shopping for Twilight crap.  Oh, jeez!  We’ve got t-shirts and coffee cups, and dog tags, and shorts, and pens, and shot glasses, and, and, and…  What can I say?  It was fun and we were supporting the local economy.

Here's a picture of the niece having a pretty awesome time!


Saturday night we had a wonderful bonfire on the beach.  The rain held off until we had burned both bundles of firewood and a stack of driftwood.  By then it was approaching midnight so we didn’t mind.

We collected too many pounds of beautiful rocks and spectacular chunks of wave sculpted wood.  The hotel was great; a two bedroom suite with a big deck and the only thing between us and the surf was driftwood.  There is some massive driftwood in Northern Washington! 
 Yeah, that's me standing on the root end of this log.  Amazing!  Here are some pix from the other end:

That's Zoe.  And here's one of me:

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.  We all had a fantastic time, everyone got along splendidly.  When we got home, all the pets were in fine fettle (ok, the cats were mad for a little while, but that’s to be expected.)

Here's a picture of my adorable gf, in her senior portrait pose...  :-)
She's pretty darned cute!

I would definitely recommend this trip to any Twilight fan.  We had a wonderful time!  We do have some suggestions for the Forks chamber of commerce, though.  They could be doing so much more!

And, last but not least, here's a picture of what it looks like to be riding on the back of your favorite mythical creature:

They go fast!


15 March 2011

I'm still here!

Dear Blog Friends,

I’ve been neglecting you.  I’m sorry!  It’s not that I don’t think of you, I do, and frequently.  It’s just that for the past month or so everything that came out of these fingertips was so negative that I grew weary with myself.  I chose not to bore you with my whining.  And, what did that leave me with?  Right.  Not a lot.  I’m working on that.  Working on having a better attitude, on finding some good in what I do, on seeing that damned glass as half full (or completely full!), you know, trying to put a little positive energy into my life.  So, I’ll keep working on that, but in the meantime I do have something fun to report.

On Thursday night my daughter arrives in town.  Yay!  That’s always good.  On Friday at noon we are heading out for an adventure.  Yay!

Me, T, Zoe and Angela are going on a weekend trip to Forks, Washington.  It’s the home of the vampires from the Twilight books and movies.  Personally, I don’t give a hoot about the damn books or movies, but our girls are excited about it and it’s just fun to get away.  We are going to stop at all of the marked destinations and take plenty of photographs.  We will be staying in La Push, home of the werewolves, mostly because the hotels (both of them) in Forks didn’t look all that great.  Also, this way we get a beach weekend out of the trip too!  Bonus!

Of course, a beach weekend is wonderful but we are just the tiniest bit worried about more tsunami action and radioactive fallout.  But, hell, what’s the sense in worrying?  We’ll be breathing the fallout regardless and if there’s another tsunami, well, at least we’ll be in the front row.  All kidding aside, I think it’s safe.  (And, please don't think I am being insensitive about Japan.  I have been in touch with my Japanese friends and have sent the most needed thing - money.)

So, next week I may even be able to post some pictures of us having fun.  About time!



14 February 2011

The Best Valentine's Day Ever

Several years ago, when my daughter and my best friend lived with me, we three single gals had a spontaneous and wonderful Valentine’s Day. 

Often, Valentine’s Day (or VD as we like to call it), can have a sour note for the singletons.  Nobody to shower all of that love and affection on, nobody to shower you back.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Instead of pissing and moaning, we three decided ~ independently of each other ~ to spread a little VD love around our household.  When we were all three home from work and school, Lisa said, “I have a little something for you girls.”  At which point Zoe and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised, and said, “Hang on, me too!”

We all trotted upstairs and came down with our offerings.  It was better than the Gift of the Magi! 

Lisa bought each of us a heart-shaped pin; three of them, all matching.  Zoe bought each of us a small, heart-shaped box of chocolates.  I bought each of us a bouquet of flowers.  We arrived back in the living room and laughed and laughed.  Each of us had candy, flowers and jewelry! 

We may have been short of lovers that year, but we weren’t short of love.



08 February 2011

Question for you bloggers

Does your partner/girlfriend/wife/significant other read your blog?  Does she (he) know about your blog?  How do you handle that?

I have two blogs.  This one, where I bitch talk about my gf and our relationship, our crazy families, my doubts and occasional delights.  The other blog is for my family and friends that I know in RL.  It's less gay and more topical to Portland.  Although, I have plenty of gay friends and readers on that blog as well.  It's not a gay vs not gay thing, ok!  It's really just a matter of spilling my guts to you all in a way that I can't to my family and friends.  They would probably all hate me or hate my gf.  Gah!  Complicated!

So, how do other people handle that?  Do you let your s.o. read your stuff and just shrug it off?  Of course, many of you never have a cross word to say about your lovers, and how great for you, so it wouldn't matter if she read your blog.  But, for those of you who are in a similar situation to mine, what do you do?

One funny thing is that I can hardly get T to read my family blog.  So, really, I shouldn't be worried!  Right?

Here's the link to my family blog.  Feel free to read and comment or ignore.  I don't know why I am stressing about this.  Do I feel ... deceitful?  Sneaky?  Less than open?  I guess I am.  Does it matter?  Am I overanalyzing?  Probably.  Sigh.  Anyway...

www.pdxreport.blogspot.com

03 February 2011

Well, that explains a lot!

I did drink a lot of Ovaltine as a kid...


01 February 2011

Sometimes I make myself laugh...

I was on the bus early this morning and somewhere along 5th Avenue downtown I looked up and saw Mt Hood perfectly silhouetted between two apartment towers.  The sun was coming up behind the mountain and the sky was just starting to glow pink.

I got out my phone to take a quick picture to share with you:




Yeah, that's right.  Pointed the damn thing the wrong way and took a picture of myself and another random bus rider on the Number 8!

Go ahead and laugh!  It's funny!  I was laughing; still am.



:-)



18 January 2011

January

So, January, and those pesky resolutions.  Hmph.

We are still on track with our dietary changes and I'm still on track with my decluttering project, so that's good.  The 3 day weekend was a challenge in the snacking department, but overall we handled it pretty well.  The best news about all of this is:

We are not lushes!

Since we decided to give our livers a rest during January, we haven't had a drop of alcohol.  I was worried that it would be difficult, but thankfully, we are not yet addicted.  There have been a couple of times when we struggled, but we didn't cave in and I'm happy for both of us.

That being said, I'm looking forward to February!

14 January 2011

Me just now and weekend!

I cut my hair short this week.  Whew!  What a relief!  That chin length bob was irritating me.  Here is a blurry cell phone pict...



It's out of my face, and I like that.

What else is going on?
Three day weekend!  Thank you, Dr King!  I know I should be doing something worthwhile and altruistic, but I am going to start on a new project.


I think that the two most popular resolutions that are made in January are:
1) Lose weight
2) Declutter

I’m going for both!

T and I have started a weight loss plan that seems to be having some positive effect already.  Yay for that!  Next up for me is the long process of decluttering my house and life.

Here’s the thing, I have a two story house with a basement and an attic.  I’m happy to say that the attic is completely empty.  It’s the basement that is an absolute embarrassment.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that!  I don’t let people down in my basement because it is a disaster of epic proportions.

When I moved in to my house, I had too much stuff but couldn’t make decisions about letting it go.  Add to that a moderate tendency to be a packrat, a strong attachment to things of sentimental value, and a desire to reuse and repurpose everything rather than throw it away and you have a recipe for junk.

I did pretty well last spring when I took a week off work to clear out some of the basement.  I took 3 or 4 loads of junk to the dump.  Yes I did!  And I was proud of myself, because it was hard, dirty, and at times wrenching work.  I had to throw away stuff from my daughter’s childhood and that made me sad.  But, I had two “water intrusions” as they say in the home repair business, and I had to clear out the stuff that was ruined.

The first water issue was when the water heater sprung a leak.  The second was a leak in the basement wall under a downspout.  The result of these two leaks was that I had to move crap from one side of the basement to another and then back again.  What had once been reasonably orderly was now complete chaos.

As I said, I cleared out a lot of it last spring, but there is still much work to be done.  Here’s my new plan: I’m going to empty one box per week (minimum, more is ok too) for the entire year.  Yes, I realize that might only add up to 52 boxes, but that should make a difference right?  I might put a widget in the sidebar here to keep track and increase my accountability.  Feel free to ask how that project is going… I’ll need prodded from time to time.