The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

Friday, May 30, 2014

... but trailing shrouds of glory do we go ...

(A few things I've read lately and want to save)

The past is never dead. It's not even past.
~William Faulkner 
(Requiem for a Nun)

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
That soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath elsewhere had its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
From God, who is our home."
~William Wordsworth
(a few lines from "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" - From recollections of Early Childhood)

Sculpture of Paper-clad Wire Clothes Hangers
 – hanging from the lobby ceiling at BYU Museum of Art
 ‘Untitled’ sculpture by Dan Steinhilber

"Only to the extent that someone is living out this self transcendence of human existence is he truly human or does he become his true self. He becomes so, not by concerning himself with his self's actualization, but by forgetting himself and giving himself, overlooking himself and focusing outward." ~VF

"Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time."~VF

"Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality." ~VF

"Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 
~Viktor Frankl

“It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us...on the inside, looking out.” ~Jonathan Safran Foer

The Gift

The neighbor was on the front porch yesterday.  He frequently stops over before his evening walk with Blossom, a delightful Jack Russell Terrier, she is intrigued by Sammy, but disdains the cats.  He is a wonderful person, retired, thoughtful, salt of the earth.  I've become very fond of him over the years.

He said he was proud of me for having the courage to tend to my mom.  Courage.  It seemed like a strange word for the situation.  I told him that I was her only option ... I did it because it was the right thing to do.  He said I was actually her best option, but the choice was clearly mine to make ... and chosing to care for her was an act of courage.  It made my eyes sting.  I looked away.  "It actually turned out to be a gift to me."  I told him, meeting his gaze again, and he was interested in that.  His wife's disposition is very similar to my mom's.  He knows that.  And ... he has grown daughters, almost my age.

"How so?"

He wanted to know.

All the other people in my life who have died have done so suddenly.  It's shocking how someone can be so present and then ... just gone.  Goodbyes are hard when one can hold only memories.  And ... quite frankly, for me, those earlier experiences have made it difficult for me to really let people become important to me.  I have liked a little buffer in relationships.  I have liked "spacious" relationships ...  where because they are not part of ones every day the pain/risk is minimized.    Love hurts ... sooner or later, and it can be quite devastating.  The closer one holds "that" person, the more it hurts when they are gone.  I have tended to keep the number of "my very precious people" to a minimum.
It has made me want to fence love in ... and we all know love really is at it's best untempered by fears.
I notice with age, maturity maybe, I am getting better at loving people who may not be nearer for the rest of my life.  I am finding a way to ... and it's good.  Loving folks is good.

I went over there intending to stay for a week ... and to spend the bulk of that time enjoying the company of my brother and his wife.  It worked out differently of course, and I wouldn't have it any other way (the part about helping Momma).  Had he been well, I most likely would not have been needed or wanted ... the burden of her last days would have been carried almost entirely by him.  I say that and it's probably true.  I think it is.  That's how we had it set up.  And ... it was easier to manage the relationship for him.  Things were easier between them, had always been so.  He is moderately "crap" intolerant, which was helpful when dealing with Momma, also ... he was the one person on the planet who she would actually defer to.  Everybody who knows our family knows that.  I don't understand the dynamics of how ... just know that it is so and has been so for as long as I can remember.  Hey Tommy, go ask Momma ... golden boy was a star player on team kid.

But ... as things went, I spent a good deal of time with Momma.  I expected to take care of her ... and  collect information so that my brother and I and our spouses could (help) make choices for her care.  We didn't like the idea of a nursing home, partly because Momma was adverse to the idea, also because the places my brother and his sweetheart had already been able to visit just didn't seem like a good place for Momma.  I mean ... not all nursing care facilities are "good" places.  Momma left the hospital with referrals back to her PCP, and to a cardiologist, also an oncologist ... all three of those care providers made hospice referrals.  We knew Momma had at most six months with us and we all settled in to make the time as pleasant as possible.  I was, and continued to be through out the experience, very concerned about my brother's health ... and I felt like my strengths could make a difference for him where for Momma palliative care was our only option.  At some point I adjusted to/accepted the idea that I had to focus my time resources primarily on Momma's care.  She accepted the continuous company well I thought ... though she didn't exactly realized I was me most of the time, experiencing me as just somebody there to help her or keep her company, she didn't resist my presence ... she didn't ask me to leave as I thought she might.  She did "resist" most of the help available through hospice.  As I sit here in my own home, hundreds of miles and millions of minutes away from there  I am still so very amazed as how quickly she went from seemingly excellent health to her death ... the decline was staggeringly steep. It's so painfully difficult to process that she is actually gone.  And ...  for my brother it must be even more surreal as he had (at least) spoken with her everyday for the past several years.

I don't know about tending to her being an act of courage.  That certainly seems like too big a pat on the back.  She was my mother, of course I would do my best for her.  It was fortunate that she was able to cooperate as well as she did.  We did go round and round several times about ... "I can take care of myself, just go on about your own business and let me be about mine."  I thought it was interesting and sometimes amusing to see how dismissive she was about receiving "help" from me and anybody.  She was fiercely independent and seemed content to be "left alone".  I told her that "leaving her alone wasn't an option from any perspective".  I tried to help her see that even legally it wasn't viable ... as in elder abuse.  She snorted and laughed at that ... "DeAnn! Neither of my children would ever abuse me!"  And of course I agreed with that, but it was impossible to get her to see that leaving her alone would be perceived as poorly (and rightly so I think) as leaving a child alone.  That didn't go over well ... now I was insulting her by equating her capabilities to that of a child ... it actually enraged her.

There is so much that goes in to caring for your own "old" person.  I felt that I was doing pretty good with everything until Momma became mostly bed-ridden ... mostly, in that there were events when she was perfectly able to hop out of bed and bolt across the room ... or yank her flat screen free from it's connections and carry it to the balcony (how did she even unlock the safety bolts?!?).  Once she was unable to maneuver herself to the bathroom she was pretty well impossible to deal with.  For one thing ... that loss of bodily independence was horrible for her.  The very idea of a "diaper" was an affront to her sensibilities (I get it).  The people at the hospice house were great with helping her address that in a dignified way.  I hear people complaining about having to change their parent's diapers and I have to say having cared for five of my own babies probably prepared me for that better then most people have the opportunity to prepare for ... I didn't have a problem with that (other then the diapers aren't as great as the ones marketed for babies and they should be - the technology is there).  It was hard on my mom.  Having one of her babies change her diaper was hard on her ... horrifying so.

I am glad I got to be there for her.  I'm glad my family made it okay for me to be there.  I feel that the time with her was a gift because I got to witness her, a person I know/knew well, "being born into whatever exactly comes next".  I'm still thinking about that.  I'm thinking about the "hallucinations" a little but mostly I'm thinking about how she starting being able to express her pleasure or contentment at the smallest of every things.  All her memories seemed to be good ones.  All of her expectations about her future were anxiety free.  All the anxious energy ... resistant and/or avoidant ... dissipated.  She was present in the moment and at ease.  She was happy ... delighted even. 

I think my mom's earliest years left her emotionally scarred.  I think she did her best to tend to us in ways that she perceived to be most important ... like keeping a perfectly tidy home, preparing deliciously healthy meals, guiding us to high civic and educational standards (mostly ... they wanted polite well-spoken children) ... spiritual matters were less important to my parents then they have been to me.  I think she did remarkably well at what she thought was important and I don't fault her.  What was very difficult for her was anything, behavior-wise, that was contrary to her directives.  She wanted, insisted, with the one exception of my one brother, that the people around her do what she wanted them to do ... and she exerted all her energy towards developing strategies for making that happen.  It came across as bullying ... dominating ... self-centered/selfish ... helpless sometimes ... distancing, dismissive ... denying/delusional ... manipulative ... angry ... aloof.  I didn't mind not being "close" to her.  One of the most surprising things she ever said to me (and it was years ago) was that she never realized that I wouldn't live near her again after I left for college ... that she was saying "goodbye" to proximity (which I think she equated to closeness).  She didn't see herself as "difficult". Everyone else was difficult (those stinkers!)  I didn't doubt that she loved me ... I just don't know how to sort out what "love" was to her.

That time ... those last few weeks ... was a gift.  I'm working on notes about that.  Or maybe this is it ... yes, I think it is ... it's what I've gone back to "put" in bold print.

The gift makes me smile in my heart.

She left me with the desire to emulate the qualities that surfaced in her during those last few days. She left me wondering if that wasn't who she "really" was ... the truest, purest her.

saw this on PINTEREST
Judith McNaught is a writer whom I have not read,
I hadn't even heard of her before today,
but I like this.

With Momma ... I decided to just go for it.  And I'm so glad I did.  I saw qualities I will aspire to.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The little waves, with their soft, white hands efface the footprints in the sands, and ...

The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveler to the shore.
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bill Mauldin ...this arrived as an e-mall unfortunately, w/o a source ... very cool

His work meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those waiting for them to come home.  He was a kid cartoonist for 'Stars and Stripes', the military newspaper.  Mauldin's drawings of two muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubble infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on  the front lines.

Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers for whom he drew; his  gripes were their gripes, his laughs their laughs, his heartaches their heartaches.  He was one of them.  They loved him.

He never held back.  Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, superior officers tried to tone him down.  In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, who informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers to stop.  Now!

The news passed from soldier to soldier.  How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton?  It seemed impossible.

Not quite.  Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, SCAFE, Supreme Commander of the Allied  Forces in Europe.  Ike put out the  word: "Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants." Mauldin won.  Patton lost.
If, in your  line of work, you've ever considered yourself a young  hotshot, or if you've ever known anyone who has felt that way about him or herself, the story of Mauldin's young manhood will humble you.  Here is what, by  the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin had accomplished:

He won the Pulitzer Prize & was on the cover of Time magazine.  His book
"Up Front" was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States.

All of that at 23.  Yet, when he returned to civilian life and grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.

I was lucky enough to be one of them.  Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times  in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of  haughtiness than if he was a copyboy.  That impish look on his face remained.

He had achieved so much.  He won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial, slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands.  But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met.  He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.

During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it.  They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way.  They thought he should know he was still their hero.

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin.  I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally, so Bill would not feel so  alone. Soon, more than 10,000 cards and letters had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Better than that, old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to  let him know that they were there for him, as he, so long ago, had been there for them.  So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list.  Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:
"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002, they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach, California, to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin.  They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings.  Some wore old garrison caps.  Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old.  Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation."

One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important: "You would have to be part of a  combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us.  You had  to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."

Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Last month, the kid
cartoonist made it onto a first-class postage stamp.  It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.

What Mauldin  would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two  guys who keep him  company on that stamp.  Take a look at it.  There's  Willie.  There's Joe.
And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly  observant smile, is Mauldin himself.  With his buddies, right where he belongs.  Forever.

What a story, and a fitting tribute to a man and to a time that few of us can still remember.  But I say to you youngsters, you must most seriously learn of, and remember with respect, the sufferings and sacrifices of your fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers in times you cannot ever imagine today with all you have.  But the only reason you are free to have it all is because of them.

I thought you would all enjoy reading and seeing this bit of  American history!
*I had to switch out the pics from original email ... they wouldn't load, these are from Pinterest and "image"search

Friday, May 23, 2014


Standing at the kitchen counter in my mom's apartment, pinching out my contact lenses for the night ... Momma is across the room, sitting on her sofa, "Thank you Jesus! Praise the Lord!" she exclaimed, "This is the happiest day of my life! YOU are finally wearing false eyelashes!!!"
Too funny.
Yes, I think she was overjoyed.  I was tickled ... and happy to delight her.  Such a simple thing.

Clearing out her things I came across so many unopened "eyelashes".  Decided to try to apply a pair and I have to say ... it's really difficult to get them on right!  Like, it took me a couple of hours!  Then they popped off during the shower ... crazy!  I have new found respect for eyelash wearers ... they are seriously glamour warriors!  Can't believe how much time it takes to get them on!

I never knew it took so much commitment ... beauty, who knew?!

what I'm thinking about this morning ...

a gift which arrived in the middle of a dark night
Everlasting Man ~G.K.Chesterton ... pdf linked
with my thanks

Pleasures are more safely postponed then virtues ... 
greater loss is suffered by missing an opportunity of doing good, 
than an hour of giddy frolic and noisy merriment." 
~ Samuel Johnson

Using trash bags, unused grocery bags and plastic sheets,
Pakistani artist
Khalil Chishtee 
creates life-sized figures wracked with emotion.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Lee D. Baker (2007) ~Flick
While I was in Texas I acquired a traffic ticket ... apparently I was caught in the act of skimping on a stop before turning right on red ... photo capture ... 75 bucks + another 25 because I fumed about it too long.  I don't even have the paperwork anymore ... it has sunk somewhere near the bottom of all    this   stuff ... pinged my brother's pristine driving record (I wish I could tease him that it was probably him driving, it was his truck after all ... his truck was out misbehaving!)  Anyway ... I should be calling them right this minute to get that taken care of.  Not a fan of traffic cameras ... put in same bucket as deer stand in the middle of a corn-laced field ... just not sporting ... technology is draining the good clean fun factor out of driving ... lol)

Yes ... I re-scheduled my colon probe procedure.  Two inquired just yesterday (and rather indelicately I thought), "Did you get your butt check."  These colon polyps tend to be genetic (so you get those with the fabulously long legs Angelbaby).  I think the time may come when my kids learn to say "colonoscopy".  It's a fairly benign sounding word ... I've had several since my mid 40's and they suck.  I dislike the procedure so very much that I had been putting another go at it off  ... for a couple of years now ... you know, no time is the right time for someone to enter through the exit only portal.  I am sensitive about that.  But ... I did have the referral sitting on the dining room table when we left to take Momma to the doctor (and hang out with my brother and SHCFM sister he chose for me).
So ... next week.  Thursday.  And, in light of recent events, I have scheduled an appointment with my primary care guy ... he will most likely schedule other screenings, I will most likely insist that he do so.  Cancer is an adversary that I would not want to come up against.  

Yesterday was a good day for me.  I got out and drove around a bit in the jeep with the windows unzipped ... listened to some fun music ... .  While in Texas I gained 10 whopping pounds ... BBQ and maybe a few bites of BlueBell in support of the cattle industry (are dairy cows consider part of the cattle industry?)  I didn't exercise at all ... well I did a couple of rounds on the treadmill at Mom's building but not enough to even count (apparently).  Yesterday I made a commitment to get "back on track" ... my jeans (and everything else I own except pjs) are too tight.  Sammy was thrilled with the walk.  Dogs smile.  He was definitely smiling.  And I was too ... magnolias are blooming everywhere I look.  I love magnolia blossoms ... they smell so fresh ... and the flower itself is interesting ... and ... because they are blooming I thought of all my gardenia bushes which will be scenting the air pretty soon.

I still feel not myself  but I sense that things are re-setting.  There's still a ton of stuff to do in support of Mom's doings.  But yesterday I drove on to the ramp at my airport ... visited a bit ... and I went by my pottery studio and paid for this quarter's studio fee.  I am ready to work with the clay ... flying is still on hold while I sort myself out ... I'd love to fly with a pilot buddy, but students not at all.  One of the guys totaled his 208 while I was away and other then a broken back his is fine ... he was out there messing with his Navajo and said from now on he is done with single engine aircraft (we'll see) ... engine seized (probably) because of an interruption of service somewhere in the oil delivery ... it was relaxing to talk about stuff that actually makes sense.  It will be interesting to learn what the experts come up with on that.  Pretty amazing tale ... went down in the trees ... he said it was a miracle that everyone survived.  
I am starting to believe miracles are more common then I used to believe ... not less miraculous, just more abundant.  Maybe God is extravagant in His mercies ... . 
I think being a guest "at death" has helped me to be more sensitive to the reality of spiritual things.  I have tended to believe more firmly the things I can see or at least believe I am seeing (my perceptions) but after this time with Momma, and Tommy also, I feel  ... this ... I feel it more clearly:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
and this
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

And, it's helping me realize that Hope is a very big deal.

It's creeping me out a little bit ... it touches my heart and that's always a bit emotional for me.  And ... I know "tender" is good, but it makes me feel vulnerable and that doesn't feel great.

Alright ... ticket, then a few errands.  Maybe I will have time to do my nails today (they look really bad).

Friday, May 16, 2014

Again my home is quiet and this day becomes my own.

"What is to give light must endure burning."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation 
we are challenged to change ourselves."

"If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering."

Again my home is quiet and this day becomes my own.
That painting I did a few years back, it hangs in the dining room and I like seeing it and especially today.  Today it just so happened that the painting and the chandelier crystal (which I have positioned in the adjacent window) interacted to light up a rainbow in the clouded sky.  
Really perfect.  
I am delighted!
Gosh, I love it!

The canvas provides a big enough target ... it's the light which must be just so. 
Just so that the Sun can gently woo that carefully faceted ball ... 
the ball which smiles a refracted spectrum ... right there, exactly where!  

This is the day which the Lord has made ... 

I (can) will (myself to) rejoice and be glad in it.

And ... I do and I am, and it sure gets easier when my little light ball tosses a rainbow (to the "right" spot!), when the feeder is full and the birds sing their great appreciation for a small thing. 

Frankl is right, I think, when he asserts that we choose ... and we are ultimately responsible for, and "tweaked" by, our choices.

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." ~ V.F.

[Viktor Frankl -> Man's Search for Meaning]

big picture of that (without the cool splash of colored light)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

sorting through stuff


Coming Close to the Earth 

I meant so
to bend the bough
but never once
to break the branch.

I hoped
that I might see
the blossoms
       fall intact
without the petals
               coming loose
or even once detached.

What I wanted most
        was love
in a straight
straightforward way.

I wanted you
not as you could be
had I made you up
but the way I found you
no different from
the way you really are.

I thought by now
we might have earned
a chance to come down close
and lie against the earth.

But I am convinced
the earth will not allow
even its truest lovers
membership straight away.

I cannot care
a little for you.
I love you only just enough
to love you all the way.

From “Coming Close to the Earth", 1977, 1978

me - 1977 or definitely after 1975 
Home again ... sorting through "stuff" today and I came across a box full of High School mementos in a box under my bed, things like the McKuen poem and the photo. Pictures like that one are the vintage version of selfies. You'd put four quarters in to the photo vending machine, hop inside and quickly draw the curtain ... almost ready for four strobe-like flashes, then back outside the box and voilà, a sleeve of mostly silly pictures. That was back when 25¢ would get you a gallon of gas ... or a pack of Marlboro 100's.

Being back home is nice ... seems like there is a lot to do ... lots and lots, bunches in fact, of sorting to do. All the boxes seem to be a metaphor for the psychological baggage.  I am happy to say that most of it is stuff that I will enjoy finding the proper place for.  It absolutely amazes me to see how many hand towels Momma owed ... and there are boxes and boxes of cleaning supplies.  How excruciatingly clean everything was in my growing up home has always been a pleasant memory.

I'm putzing around ... should be emptying boxes. Trying to just chill. Really liked seeing this poem again after all these years ... makes me reach back to remember a younger me - she was (surprisingly) a lot like who I have looped around to again (or maybe I have always been), one who loves my people all the way ... just the way they really are (as best as I can see anyway). It's strange how that, being a true version of oneself, tends to be difficult for people. It seems like to we look to others for affirmation, compromising what may be our best characteristics to fit constructed expectations or markers of success.  Maybe especially as I sit here in this house full of too much stuff,  I wonder what it would be like to do with less ... a lot less (but each one of the less a really great less ... lol).  That's what I'm trying to do in life ... find what is really good ... some of it is "stuff" but most of it is intangible I think.

I'm not settled enough to write about the last few weeks with Momma. Some of it, and the more distant past experiences which shaded and shadowed our relationship, are still a bit much to sort out. I loved her very much ... it hurt that she always seemed so dissatisfied with me. I really couldn't understand it ... and I doubt I will. The pain of that has significantly seasoned my desire to accept people (and myself) as they are and to help them (and myself) build on that as they grow towards a strong version of that ... it's why I like being a mom and it's why I like flight instructing.  We are who we are in the process of becoming who we become ... the process seems to me to be a collaboration with God, and with the people and other influences we select.

I don't want to write about my last few, really outstandingly positive, days with Momma tonight.  Going through the "dying process" has taught me some important things about living well ... I am still working through, processing the experience ... and I find myself very tender, raw even ... it's reminiscent of menopause emotionally ... or pregnancy ... whatever it is, it's as though my feelings are very near the surface and I don't know quite what to expect of myself.  I definitely don't feel very efficient ... and that's not troubling in the least.  I'm just not used to being so ... idk ... "feely"?

My brother is doing very well. His blood proteins are way down which is great news, and he is feeling good, also great news. My C is over there this week ... I just hung up from chatting with him and I said my little spy says you is doing well. It is hard for me to be this far away. He said as wonderfully as his sweet wife is caring for him, and as much confidence as he has in his medical team, that he does feel somewhat at odds without me nearby.  I know how it is ... we have had each other's backs for ... pretty much forever as we know it.  Fortunately, L is already arranging  a few long weeks, coming up, when I can go back and see for myself how well he is doing. L and I are busy scouting out possible locations for when he retires (sorta ... he hates it when I say retire) ... and we are clicking off stops at the Texas Monthly top BBQ joints ... and that is fun.  Oh!  And this (who knew!), I love stopping at the Texas wineries!  For ten bucks you get 5 or 6 samplings (two respectable size sips, which we share) of wine.  So far I am leaning towards wines from the Holy Land which one place imports. Their sign said Holy Land Wines and I thought it was some Texas humor but once inside realized they were serving Israeli wines along side their local products.  At Salt Lick Cellars (Driftwood, Texas) the only wine I especially liked was their Sangria, the BBQ was delicious though and the slaw was perfection!

Maybe we will open a bottle every time I have a room in the house set straight ... sounds like a plan!

This summer I intend to just work around the house ... hang out some with my youngest ... walk the dog ... cook (I have missed that a lot) ... and garden some ... maybe work on a tan like the ones that just appeared on that younger me.
And ... I think I might look in on some of Rod McKuen's poetry ... or maybe just spend some time reading my favorites.

So ... chill wine, empty boxes.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Port Aransas

Port A
We are sitting on the tailgate, rolling down the beach access road, I am tossing sea salt original kettle chips up in the air, enticing seagulls ... so tourist.  I've never done that before.  It struck my funny bone.  Great to laugh ... so many gulls!

Seaweed is everywhere.  I gingerly step over the line, six feet wide and high.  I'm afraid it's laced with the notorious portuguese man o' war.  There are huge piles of seaweed stacked up along the shoreline which disappear in the early morning fog.

Monday, May 5, 2014

One of the things I was compelled to think about as I sat with my mother was "how we see ourselves" and with that, maybe a little bit about "why we see ourselves thus".

I've been doing a little bit of reading up on that and it is an interesting and complicated dynamic which combines our interpretation of past events ... ummm, how and where we place/ascribe  value, what we believe about ourselves from words we tell ourselves or accept from other people ... what we do, like our days work and how well we think we do it ... how we treat the people and things around us, including close connections and those more casual, our outlook on our future ... our perspective ...

(... tons of other stuff ... unique ingredients which infuse us ... some we seek, others essentially in the air we breathe ... time to reflect, the times in which we live our lives ... place (I actually "feel" better in Texas ...who knows?  could be something as simple as the wide open big sky ... might be the smell of beef brisket wafting on the breeze rather then pine pollen which is currently simmering locally ... I have underrated the sense of place and for me, it's not just Texas, but Texas definitely is a good place for me), a myriad of other bits and pieces of chance and circumstance ... tons of stuff ... )

It was interesting to find myself in a situation which I would never have chosen; living again with my mother. Some of the time she thought I was a roommate, sometimes, mostly at night, she thought I must be her momma, we came to a time when she mostly didn't know who I was but she felt like I was there to help her, frequently she seemed to not experience me as "other then herself". 

Which I'll try to explain: She would talk as though talking to herself ... wondering aloud about something and I would softly suggest a possibility in response to her puzzling ... she saw things  ... "why is that dog under the table?" she might ask as though asking herself and when she became vexed at not coming to a satisfactory answer I might say something like "he just likes to be near you" and she would smile to herself ... later maybe she would say, that dog (or those children) are getting too rambunctious, and I would say then I'll let them out, and I'd open the door to the patio.

Every once in a while she clicked in on the current situation, she knew I was her daughter and she liked that I was there though she never realized that I had been there for several weeks previous to that lucid moment.  

"Serving" in many different roles was interesting ... she always saw me as present only for her comfort/convenience/care ... except that once when she said thank you for looking after me, I know it has not been easy ... and thank your family for making it possible (that was why it came as such a surprise, she had been only entitled, as an infant is entitled ... ) Her world was very small, so small that it centered on her, that is my unfortunate take on it anyway. People saw her as ... controlling, bossy, bullying ... unhappy, and unable to get happy and, not unkindly, I would have to agree that she did seem to be like that

That's an over a lifetime observation ... not for just those last weeks when health concerns outside her control may have impeded a more contented disposition. 

One of our most central "issues" could be described as boundary issues and I see that, and the most troubling problems I have come to deal with in life, as a result of being raised by a person with unhealthy boundary perceptions.  I think she must have seen me as very much an extension of herself and she spent a good amount of energy frustrated by her inability to control everything and everyone (me included) ... she was not a go with the flow kinda person. Even during her last week at home she was somehow able to go through my things throwing away things like my flat iron and glasses ... and probably smaller items yet to be found missing ... lol ... why?  She always has done so and I have never understood why.  It used to really ping me ... now I shrug and replace ... it will never make sense to me. 
Once I left home for college (not the one she chose) and especially after I married (again, not the one she chose) she pretty much wrote me off as a lost cause ... people have said that she was strategic in her relationships, umm, the people in her life were required to enhance her experience somehow.  I'm not expressing that very well ... everybody probably prefers pleasant interactions.  I'll try to think about that better.  

I like to think of her as a "survivor" ... her adaptations made sense to her.  I think she wanted what she wanted ... and left to her own devices early on, was misguided.  Maybe the best way to describe our later relationship was ... from her perspective: out of sight mostly out of mind.  From mine - I came to believe that she did her very best at parenting us and I admire the force of love and character one's very best requires.  Once I recognized that it was so much easier to not strive with her ... and from a distance it was almost impossible for her to push my buttons.  I made it my goal to do my very best with her.

I think my mom saw herself as "in control" or at very least as attempting to "get control".  I didn't want to make the same mistakes (so I have made different ones).  It was wonderful to participate with her during her last few days.  It'll take a different post to write about that but I had to think a bit about how to note the before version of Momma.  What I saw "dying" was the "icky stuff" ... the stuff that she/life wrapped herself up in ... the self stuff, the selfish stuff.  As her "earth suit" died she transformed right before my incredulous eyes.