July 24, 2014

The View From Here: On the Brinks

Today I have a View from Kelly of Kelly Roberts Writing.

I began reading her words when I set out to get this post ready, and I was instantly sucked in. I had skimmed it briefly when she first sent it, but my skimming didn't get the point across.

Her writing is wonderful! Just see what I mean....

On the Brinks

Many important things fill our Brinks fireproof lock box. 

There are certificates of birth and marriage, and thankfully not death. 

There are wills, my husband’s and mine, the kind drafted by lawyers— we keep the kind strengthened by perseverance through years together with us at all times. 

Savings bonds, social security cards and snippets of a child’s caramel-colored hair also rest in the box. 

It holds old family photos orphaned from their negatives and feet of negatives with no photos to show for them. 

It holds our daughter’s baptismal certificate, and her DNA kit in the event she is ever kidnapped and found later unidentifiable—the latter now much more telling of her identity than the former. 

It holds my tarnished baby ring in the original two-inch square Siegel’s box and a tiny dead woman’s white-gold wedding band. The woman—my grandmother, my Mimi—is now ash. She lies in a box of her own, within another box, underground, nestled in the crook of the arm of the husband who outlived her.

But it’s the blood red, torn fake fingernail that seems the least worthy of the lock box’s fireproof safekeeping. I used to have more, found in various places over the years: the driver’s side floor board of a ’90s model Olds Ciera, the ice cube box in my parents’ freezer, the pocket of that dead woman’s mink stole. 

This is the only one left.

Mimi died a few months after my first marriage in 1996. She’d been hoarding bottles of morphine in her bottom dresser drawer over the last weeks of her late-stage lung cancer. She died “in her sleep” in my parents’ room, the one she gained in a coup d'├ętat in the last months of her life. 

In her lifetime she had been a hairstylist, a newspaper man’s housewife, and a no-denim-wearing woman with tall, bulbous, gray hair that added at least three inches to her nearly dwarf-sized frame, although she gained an additional three wearing the high heels she rarely took off. 

Mimi, a former burlesque dancer, taught me dirty Czech words and always wore red lipstick, feathered out from her thin, dry lips like tiny streaks of cherry juice. She used to let me stuff her post-mastectomy, prosthetic jellied breasts into my A cups, and she made the best chicken gizzard dressing and chocolate malts ever. 

She made me feel special by placing a cold glass of water on the nightstand when I slept over, water drawn from her kitchen “zink” that my younger brother wasn’t allowed because he peed the bed and had to sleep on the side with the plastic mattress cover.

When she died, the idea that I would see her in heaven one day placated me. I knew the guilt of not having thoroughly appreciated her when she was alive would no longer sadden me and I’d have the chance to ask her to fill in all the details of a life summed up in a blog post.

In November of 2010, I went through a religious de-conversion. Thanks to Julia Sweeney and her eff-ing one-woman show, it happened almost as inconsequentially as my conversion years earlier when the large girl with even larger ’80s hair on the school bus asked me if I knew where I’d go when I died. 

My de-conversion happened in less time than a weekend nap but had been progressing for years, like shedding skin I no longer needed. 

Standing at the sink in my kitchen one day, looking out the filmy window at my neighbor’s listing garage and spent flowerbeds, the sensation of a multi-story, free-fall Disney World ride crashed into me, and only one thought bellowed inside my head: 

There is no heaven, and I will never see Mimi again. 

Before that day, before that realization jumped on my back and flattened me to the ground, I never cared much for things. Quarterly trips to the Goodwill where we’d drop off garbage bags and boxes filled with unwanted, unused and unnecessary items left me feeling clean, light and renewed. 

“Safe keeping” was for hoarders…and atheists. 

After my de-conversion, I thought about what would happen if our house caught fire and everything burned. All tangible connections to Mimi would be lost. She would be gone for good. After it was clear that “this” was all I’d ever have, I assumed I would appreciate everything in my life a little more, that I’d never take family, friends and my health for granted.

Instead I distanced myself from friends of all kinds: those from my childhood, those I’ve met through work, and especially those who still believe. 

I decimated my body and my wedding vows. Both happened over years and in split-second decisions, affecting the physical and mental well being of the inhabitants of my home in ways I barely gave a thought to. 

I hold tighter to the ones I’ve already lost, the ones already gone. 

The ones that remain I’ve let slip through my fingers like water poured from a cold glass on a nightstand.

Now I keep the most ridiculous, useless crap: a scrap of a metallic blue Lifesaver’s wrapper, also found in the pocket of the dead woman’s mink stole and that my husband framed for me for my birthday; metal caps from iced tea bottles; sweet words on Post-It notes; a green and blue yarn bracelet meant to keep me safe through surgery.

Mimi hoarded bottles of morphine to end her life. 

I hoard remnants of her to keep her alive. 

One got the job done; the other is the best I can do.

Whether an atheist or a believer, I think we can all get
that we shouldn't let the people who remain
"slip through my fingers like water poured from a cold glass on a nightstand".

Seriously, I gotta read more from Kelly, and you should too:

**If you'd like to contribute YOUR view, contact me or go HERE.**

photo credit: Auntie P via photopin cc

July 22, 2014

When You're Absolutely 100% Just DONE with a Relationship

I have had a very, shall we say, rocky relationship with the woman who was my step-mother for about 30 years.

She came into my life when I was around five and a half, not long after my parents separated. She moved in with us (my father retained custody of me) and I think things were OK, for a little while at least.

As time went on, she was pretty hard on me, even though I was a very good kid, by all accounts. She expected me to love and appreciate her automatically, pushing her boundaries as my dad's girlfriend (and eventually wife) to the point of trying to take my mother's place. This was a sore spot for her, but it wasn't our only problem. It was certainly no reason to treat me the way she often did.

Groove, Interrupted

An every other day habit.

Tie shoes, pop in earbuds, step outside, breathe in some fresh air.

Walk to the rhythmic sounds.

July 20, 2014

What Summer With Kids Looks Like

We are justabout to the halfway point of summer here and I've made some observations of how things are shaping up in our house.

Keep in mind that my children are 14 and 8 1/2. I no longer have Littles. Also keep in mind that things have been quite upside down as far as routine or normalcy go since my husband's most recent surgery.

That's not to say we have no routine this summer. My days typically entail:
  • Either sleeping in or getting up with the sunrise
  • Chores or exercise
  • Shower
  • Lunch
  • Various errands or computer time, interrupted by helping my husband or kid needs
  • A load of laundry
  • Scratching my head over dinner
  • Wondering where my son is off to and if my daughter will ever emerge from her room
  • Finally growing tired of the computer
  • Heading downstairs for a cocktail and Doctor Who with Mark (maybe the kids too)
  • Too often letting the kids stay up as late as me
I didn't say it was a good routine.


July 17, 2014

The View From Here: No More Self-Sabotage

This week's View is from Mari Farthing of Mari, Quite Contrary.
Mari wrote about a very personal issue for her.
I hope you will read and give her supportive comments.

No More Self-Sabotage

A few years back, my doctor told me I had something called metabolic syndrome—meaning that I was a victim of my insulin, which was completely out of whack and I would need diet, exercise and medication to put my life back into order. More specifically, I would have to lose a significant amount of weight to get my insulin in control.

July 15, 2014

No Longer a Candidate for Kidney Transplant

I just opened a letter from the University of Washington Medical Center dated March 5, 2014.

I hadn't bothered to open it when it first arrived because I already knew what it contained. Mark's nephrologist had called us into his office to tell us what the UW transplant surgeons decided:
"Your risk of transplant surgery and immunosuppression outweigh the benefit due to multiple medical co-morbidities including coronary artery disease and vascular disease."

"We understand that this is a difficult time for you, but transplant is not the optimal treatment for all patients with kidney failure. Due to your high risk for complications, the physicians feel you will do better on dialysis. Our transplant team supports the best treatment plan for you as an individual."

July 14, 2014

First Comes Love

Boy and girl meet.

Flowers, candles and Zima woo.

Girl and boy decide to forge ahead together.

July 10, 2014

The View From Here: Not Ready for My Dream

You guys? I am so late getting this ready.
See, I've had this cough, probably caused by post-nasal drip, for like, three weeks.
Which has nothing to do with this post, except that it's the reason
I'm only getting it ready at 11:15 PM Wednesday night.
My friend insisted on taking me to the walk-in clinic and it took a really long time.

I'm telling you this because I am not really able to come up with some interesting anything
as an intro for this post. Thankfully, my guest, Asheritah, wrote her own bio,
which I will give you at the end.

What I can tell you is that this is a very deep and meaningful one.
(Most of them are, really.)
Read on!

Don’t Wish for Your Dreams to Come True… Yet