Archive for July, 2009


Friday, July 31st, 2009

I took yesterday and today off but they have been days jammed with to do lists and work issues that arise no matter what. So this morning I rode my bike over to my favorite place, City Park, and took some photos of things that make me smile:







The most special people in your life

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Today is July 31st, but I turned the calendar in the laundry room over to August just in case I forget tomorrow. It’s a calendar that Flower made me last year for 2009 and for August it has three photographs of my mother and the caption reads “the most special people in our lives” – how appropriate.

Meditation on my mom

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I went to the hospital for the afternoon visiting hour and a half and I asked for a comb so that I could get the knots out of mom’s hair. I combed through almost rastafarian type mats. After that I put moisturizer all over her face, especially where they had moved the tape around her lower cheeks from the tube for the vent. Then I made a small braid on the side of her hair.

She never woke up except once when I was saying “mom, mom, mom!” trying to get her to engage with me. She opened her eyes and smiled and then closed them. Or at least tried to close them, the one where she fell and had surgery remains partially open all the time.

I took her hands that are puffy with fluid and tried to massage them and pinched her fingers. Then I pinched her toes that have those inflated shoes on them so that they massage her feet constantly. Her calves are like little sticks, almost Little Mermaid like sticks.

Towards the end of my visit, I just stood there looking at her and holding her hand and my chest felt like something was sitting on top of it of gigantor proportions. What now? What next? What? It’s just a huge puzzle. If my mom dies, I will be sad for the rest of my life missing her. If she lives, what does that mean? Long term care? What?

It’s one of those situations that is fraught with no good answer. Yes, there is always that singular chance, a miracle, that she uses this as a wake up call, gets better, and undertakes a brand new life. But since I’m 50 years old, I don’t put a lot of stock into these sorts of James Brown turnaround acts.

So the elephant on my chest just sits there as if he has no where else to go.

Isn’t that the way it always is

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I was talking to my neighbor over the fence and catching her up on what is going on around here, we’re getting ready to start the fifth iteration of the adoption book, mom was not progressing today, my sister wants to sue me; my neighbor laughed and said she needs to talk to me more because she instantly feels as if her problems are nothing in comparison. It’s great to be needed.

I was telling her the irony of the fact that my sister is in Atlanta dictating to and threatening me, and I’m here working and taking care of mom, and to top this whole little ice cream sundae off, my mother always wants to know first how my sister is doing. Maybe Dad was right and mom does love her more than me, or maybe, just maybe she worries about her most because she knows I’m not a nutball.

When I was coming of age, I used to say to people that my sister needed my mom more than me and that is why she got all the attention. Then when I got older I said I didn’t need either one of them because they were both nuts. Then someone told me, well, you may not need them, but they certainly need you. Then through therapy I learned it was a big no no to say I don’t have needs and I am supposed to admit that I need them.

I need to go to Portugal.

I need to go to Portugal.

I need to go to Portugal.

The darkest hour is just before dawn

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Since this has surely been the summer of our discontent and hey, hurricane season isn’t over yet, I’m just going to focus on something my father used to say, he said it in Ladino and I wish I could remember the words, but the saying is that just when you think it is the blackest that is when the light comes.

So I’m willing to believe that uncertainty, lunatics, the moribund and dead aside, things are looking up because after we finish this next iteration of the adoption book, and this Sunday when we bring the family to the airport to head back to Croatia, and whatever is the next step for my mother, and who knows where the economy is headed or where we are going, after all, I choose to believe we have something to look forward to (did I mention Portugal?), no really, I mean big things like change in the U.S., more fuel efficient cars, a love bonanza (if you are willing to open your heart) and so much more.

Just listening to WWOZ and the sound of Louis Armstrong’s voice fills me with overwhelming joy. What’s not to hope for – the next Satchmo, perhaps?

You can’t please everyone, so you have to please yourself

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

So much truth to the art of selfishness, thanks Ayn Rand. There does come a time when you can put your best foot forward and find that people just want to stomp on it out of pure spite and so whatyagonnado? Well I say you do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around.

Meanwhile, here at the OK Corral it’s countdown time – our visiting family leaves this Sunday, mom is slowing being weaned off the vent (albeit we had a set back today), the adoption book requires (yes you guessed it) another revision, and I’m slowly going out of my mind, it’s just a matter of time.

Satchel mouth

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

It’s Satchmo Fest in New Orleans and this weekend is filled with free entertainment everywhere. It’s also White Linen night on Saturday, when the galleries all open up their doors and everyone wears white and hits the streets. WWOZ has been playing nonstop Louis Armstrong and that has been a delight! Armstrong got his nickname Satchmo after the editor of a magazine called him Satchel Mouth because of his large lips.

Louis Armstrong is one of the best things to come out of this great city – today I was listening on the way home from the hospital to a recording Armstrong made in Africa of A Wonderful World – it doesn’t get any better than him. He said of this city – “Every time I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine—I look right in the heart of good old New Orleans…It has given me something to live for.”

Learn to live simply – like a dog

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Look at these two – not a care in the world – they’re fed, sheltered, loved and know how to have fun. There are so many humans who could use a lesson in how to live simply like Wolfie and Loca do:


Growing up and moving on

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

You know a million years ago when I wanted to be a writer of fiction, a whole host of people told me, “Why would you write fiction, when you have your family?” I said yeah, but that doesn’t interest me at all because it is MY family. Then I started this blog nearly five years ago and as much as I wanted to write about things that mattered to me in being a woman trying to figure out life one entry at a time, my family snuck into the picture, larger than life, and there they are.

Today’s meditation is #13 in the Tao te Ching – it is for those moments when I feel like “huh?” and how to know myself, know when what I’m doing feels right and what feels wrong. My sister said it is wrong of me to say anything about my mother having DTs because alcoholism is something you’re supposed to tip toe around and sweep under the carpet. I disagree, alcoholism has been around since days of yore, and so has lunacy.

Recently, I was thinking of Pat Conroy’s book The Great Santini, where he described his domineering and terrible father. The Great Santini is a Disney character compared to my father and actually I read somewhere that Conroy actually toned down his father’s pitch for that book. Remarkably, although Conroy’s family turned against him because of that book, it ended up bringing him and his father closer and the insight from the book helped his father remake his relationship with his son.

My own father died in 1985, so that isn’t going to happen, but writing about the forces that shape my life helps me understand them/me better, and I hope in some small egocentric way that it helps others understand their situation better. When Dorothy Allison wrote about how her mother basically turned a blind eye to her sexual abuse, you have to believe that she was helping some other poor kid understand that they are not alone in this big wide world with their problems and there is a way out.

But I digress – I write because I have to and that feels right to me – back to the Tao te Ching – Lucky 13:


Success is as dangerous as failure
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

The elder messed up gene

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

My sister called today to say that she knows I tried to finagle my mother into a will and that I made her sign a blank form and she has all the evidence of this and I am not going to get away with anything.

It’s always refreshing to get a call from my sister – each message screams LUNATIC – but I digress. The truth is about eight years ago I think I read in INStyle magazine that you could do your own will online. So I went to the website and did one for me and Steve making my older niece the executrix. I told mom about it and sent her the forms. I don’t know what she did with it. Since that time, I learned that those wills don’t stand and I had my attorney actually do a real will for me. And since my attorney is mom’s attorney, he did a real will for her.

The point is that my mom is in the hospital. She has NOTHING. And who gives a flying fuck about her will? And what would I be trying to finagle? What I envision happening when my mom passes is a lot of sadness and boxes to Goodwill along with a refrigerator that has food items containing 1998 expiration dates on them that will need to be cleaned out and thrown away. Will shmill.

The truth is that as I have said before The Family Tree Stops Here – there is a large cosmic reason for this.