Thursday, December 30, 2010

slice of life

Sitting in a hot tub, third story balcony, au naturelle, with a cold drink. The breeze across my face is cold and brisk, about 30 degrees. The water, warm. The view: snow capped mountains to my right, not far away, red rock bluffs and cliffs covered in snow, like a rainbow. Or bacon. Nice. Very nice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am learning about my parents, their lives before I was born, dad’s friends in the Navy, through old bills and letters and photos. I learned dad’s Navy buddy named his son after him. This stuff had been in the house a long time, but mom said leave things alone, as did dad, and as an obedient child, I did not rummage. So now I am looking at old photos of people who were dear to my folks, and I don’t know a thing about them. Who is that family in front of a Christmas tree without a mom in the photo? Whose 40s wedding? The sailor with the tattoos in Japan? The dancing lady in the pasties and a scarf? Those handsome dogs? The men in the Japanese jazz bar?

Label the past. Talk to your parents.

I found the ornaments which are in my childhood pictures. More importantly, in Wayne's childhood portraits, which mean they are a good ten years older than I am. so glad I bothered to sort and save. I nearly just let them go.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Well, the lights are on at dad's after the mysterious "electrical" problem. Really just a random switch in the kitchen which turns off half the basement lights. Larry found the little gaskets for the shower, so that seems to be fixed; we won't know until we get the water back on. I am reluctant to do that if he isn't standing there. Since he's usually only home on Saturdays, that will be tricky. No use to stress over it until he's back from Omaha in a couple weeks.

Got the last of the big items except for the two beds out of the house. That's a relief. One single bed will head to the dump, the other is a craftmatic without a mattress. I hope I can sell or give it away, but I doubt it. May small items like chairs and a couple tables, sewing desk and so on. Still a metric buttload of trash though. And the scary, scary prospect of trying to salvage what is in the back bedroom where the cardboard boxes are rotting into the carpet. Ick. That's hazardous. I will need a respirator. Burning Man gear to the rescue yet again.

I was up ay dad's house for just over an hour last night, and I got tight in the lungs fast this time. I'd been into the pantry and stepped into the back room briefly. I am up at four in the morning with an asthma attack. Oh, I am not wheezing, but I am definitely not breathing right, feels as though y airways have been lined with cotton. Aching, stabby cotton. Do Not Like. Trying a littl eherbal tea, although I really should have my breathing meter out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn, where are you?

October was unusually warm in Utah until yesterday. I hid from the rain and wind all day and did nothing but play games and mope.

This morning began with the sound of hail pounding on the chimney cap and gutters, waking me at 5:15. I stayed awake!

I went outside an did some winterizing chores, moved the garden solar lights, the water globes, the gnome, put up the new bird feeder. Brought in some stuff which could freeze. Used a hooked branch to get my Halloween streamers down where they'd blown up in the gutters. Got a faceful of cold, dirty water and wet leaves. Joy. Moved the skeletal flamingos out to the front with the rest of the decorations. I had one more gnome to move, he's holding a mushroom like a cup. I flipped him over on his side to drain and saw some very cold but still alive yellow jackets clinging to the underside of the mushroom. I just left him, and them, be. Yikes if I'd grabbed them!

Just as I finished, there was a snow flurry. Snow?! I still need to have Larry mulch the roses and button up the rest of the yard. Oh yeah, the big maple still is full of green leaves, she hasn't even turned red yet! A big snow storm will break her branches that way.

Now I have to change my clothes, I always feel "tickly" after I've been walking around insects. Comes from a wasp crawling up my pants leg when I was a teen. No, no sting, but a severe and lingering fear of creeping flying things.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Christmas cards

I must have thrown away a hundred or more, mom kept them all. From the 80s to the present, and no doubt there are more lurking in the basement.

When dad died, there was so much more to it than his departure. Cleaning the house means reconnecting with mom and all she left behind. Sure, when she passed we took many of her things, but this is the deep down daily things. Bills and junk mail, letters and cards, her graceful handwriting everywhere. Her love of beautiful things and cute little toys. All the things she received from us, or planned to give to us. Wrapping paper and tiny soaps and all those perfume bottles. Her crocheting, all those patterns and all that thread, all unused now.

Connections, connections. Today I feel so very weepy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


There be monsters here.

Larry went through mom and dad's nightstands for me, not asking a lot about what to keep. A small brown book with Family Record stamped in gold on the cover made it home. A family tree book. Inside, in mom's beautiful hand, were our names as Mother and Father. Below were the empty lines entitled Children. She must have bought it when I was pregnant. That wasn't a very good Christmas, was it?

Interestingly enough, only the women on my side were filled in past my grandparents' generation. I guess you start with the childbearers. Larry's side was entirely blank. So on the plus side, while I knew my great grandmothers' maiden names, I can now rattle them off. Houghton, McGregor, Brown, Nelson.

I could not stand to throw away the little book, but I made sure it was somewhere I could not run across it casually ever again. I tossed it behind the tall Japanese desk in my work room. I won't be the one who moves that piece of furniture. It may well stay there until I die.

And I'm okay with that.

Monday, October 11, 2010


We're still chipping away at the deep pockets of stuff in mom and dad's house. Mom is making her presence known, through dresser drawers I couldn't bear to empty years ago and bags of "bills" from the 70s and 80s. Bills which are really PCH sweeps and credit card offers. Perfume bottles on the mirrored tray. My brothers' bow ties from when they were little. A favorite cat mug and a broken Husky mug. Old postcards, some sent, some just kept. Stacks of stickers and stationary and receipts and instruction manuals for electronics long since lost. The police report from when the house was broken into in the 80s. Rainbow pillowcases and scarves. The white leather belt dad favored in the 70s, yikes. Pictures of people I do not know and babies I can't identify. Cases of canning jars and cases of homemade jam of unknown vintage. Pans and pens and candles and magazines. And dolls. And crocheting and fishing and photography incidentals. And cookbooks and old food storage buckets. And Navy stuff which must be sorted carefully because dad and the Navy were one and the same in our minds.

And crystal glasses. Mom and dad must have bought a new set of glasses every year or so.


Pay homage to Minutiae and Detritus, the household gods who occupy the homes of the recently deceased.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Intangible Aura of Material Goods

Stuff is just stuff, except when it is not.

Stuff is utilitarian, surely. That's the easy part. You need this knife to cut your steak. You need shoes so you don't freeze your toes off.

Stuff can be pleasing and delightful. We call that art for the most part. Everyday items, well made and good in the hand are a wonder.

Stuff can be plastic crap from Mal-Wart, and not worth more than a disdainful "screw you" and a toss toward the landfill.

Stuff is history. "This is the first known example of tool making by proto-humans." "This is your great grandmother's scarf she wore on her journey from Europe." "This horse is my first toy."

Stuff can be potential. Did you buy that blouse because you needed to cover your tits? No? You bought it because it gives you a feeling, perhaps of being secure financially, of being pretty, of being chic. Mom bought cookbooks, not for the recipes, but for the possibility of loving family dinners. Look in any craft room and it will be stacked to the ceiling with patterns and scraps and fabrics, each a symbol of the loving mother handmaking memories with her children.

Stuff is memory mixed with emotion. "This is the glass teapot Mom bought in the bazaar in Shiraz, next door to the silversmith who made the silver bowl for the Empress." The glass teapot represents every magical day in the bazaar. "This is the print I bought for dad's birthday at the New Sanno." The print is more than a gift, more than art for the wall, it represents dad's love for Japan, and for every joyous weekend spent in a fine hotel. Cat stuff means mom, every bit of porcelain means a love of beautifully crafted pieces, travel to far places, and an abiding respect for the wider world.

Stuff is best with stories. Stuff which has lost all history, has lost its people, that is sad stuff indeed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kitty kitty

Dad's little girl cats, Trixie and Punkin, live in my basement guest room. They are sweet and loving little cats, and they were dad's constant companions. The problem is, I can't get Oide to be anything but aggressive with them unless I have my hands directly on his scruff. He has attacked Trixie a couple times, he's drawn blood. I thought I got them doing well, but only if I am there ad they are ignoring each other. Punkin won't even come out of the room now. This breaks my heart.

They're safe, well fed, they have a clean litter box, a scratch post, toys which they do play with, a window to look out, and I spend time down there several times a day. Trixie loves me. I simply feel very guilty as they want to be near people all the time and that can't happen. They don't even like each other much. Ounkin should be an only cat, and Trixie would get along if Oide would. LOL, Harry gets a glimpse and runs upstairs and hides under the bed! I can't imagine them trying to get along with dogs, never going to happen.

This isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but it is a little piece of sadness in my world.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mountains of Crap

Long time, no see.

Burning Man happened. It was okay, we had rain and whiteouts and didn't get out of camp much. Just a weird year, and not in the most interesting ways. My camera died a dusty death.

Still dealing with dad's house. I finally have the nieces off their asses, some of them, to retrieve their treasures. You want your inheritance? Come and get it.

Marvin is still in the basement but he's hiding from me. Only a couple weeks left on his 30 days to vacate. I don't think he has the money, but I don't care now. I cared when I thought he was a human being, not a filthy pig. Ford and I were emptying the cupboards so the kids could see the dishes and such and take them. We're talking a lot of nice things from Japan. Anyway, I opened the drawer and there's not a fork or spoon to be seen. WTF? And then I got looking at the "daily" dishes. Almost all of them are AWOL. So I went downstairs to see if I could spot any. I never have gone into Marvin's room, I don't go into people's bedrooms if their doors are closed. Never. But I had decided to push the door open to see if I could see any dishes. DAMN. I could only open the door a few inches. The room is chest high is GARBAGE. What. The. Hell? He can't be sleeping in there, he must be using the recliner upstairs. No wonder he was upset when we took all the old mattresses away. I think he'd been sleeping on the mattress dad died on.

I thought I was giving the man privacy, not license to make the basement into a toxic dump. I had thought of some money to help him move, but now? Not a dime.

I will wait the 30 days to avoid the legal hassle of evicting a resident. He could become a squatter then and have rights. No fucking way. In two weeks, his time is up and I can legally throw him out. If I have to call the cops, I will. The health department too if that's what it takes.

I hate it when I trust people and they turn out to be a waste if my faith in humanity.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No news is not good news

I didn't have much to post about in June, and July was just bumbling along.

Dad died the 21st of July, in his own bed, in his sleep, his cats by his side. He was 87 and resisted any suggestion of assisted living or an aide or housekeeper coming in. He went on his own terms.

I feel terribly guilty, did I not do enough? Of course not, but we each do what we can and beat ourselves up over the slightest things, and the not so slight.

Trixie and Punkin are living in the basement. Harry runs from them, Oide is curious but hissy, and I don't know how to make the peace. I love the cats in shifts.

Dad's house is so full of stuff. There is a lot to sort out and the nieces and nephews want mundane crap like the TV. So many treasures. I cannot keep but a fraction, I have no room. I am dragging my feet because how can I dispose of a lifetime of wonder and love?

David is cheerful and easygoing. The SILs are being laid back. There isn't much in the way of money, the car can't be retitled for a month (stupid DMV), and the house is a wreck.

I'm going to Burning Man without half the art I usually make. I have no heart for creation, but the event won't wait.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Again.

John is home. Miracle is not a word I use lightly, I don't believe in miracles in the slightest. But he bounced back, healed rapidly and is good to go. Still healing his trachy hole, needs to rebuild strength, but overall, an amazing recovery. He calls Larry about once a week, kinda cute to listen to the two of them chat in parallel.

Element 11 was four days of rain and mud. I had a tremendous time, but mobility was an issue. The NoCostco was great, but I need to run it a bit tighter. Most folks were gracious about what they took, but some people went whole hog, and others took things for gifts for people not even attending. I don't know how I feel about that. I mean, one gal took necklaces for folks in camp, lovely burners I know, but others took items to give to who would never attend a burn. There is no right or wrong here, but somehow the second set of "gifts" felt off-kilter. But I am glad we made people happy.

I developed a deep hacking asthma cough; Larry wouldn't let me near the fuels or smoke of the big burns. Came home exhausted and am still struggling with energy. My upper lip is completely broken out in cold sores. Ouchie. Love my Denevir.

The art isn't going well, nor the sewing, or planning. Even the housework and bills/paperwork move like molasses. I need to weed. I need to move. I need to be something other than a sad fossilized gnat encased in unforgiving amber. Dull amber at that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Been a While.

I have no news of my nephew John since Jeremy went back to New York. One would think Sarah would answer her phone or return an email, but no, not so much. Unless I'm phoning into limbo? I must make an concerted effort, I guess.

We went to Cabo with Larry, free stay, free rental car, tons of free food. It was fun, beautiful resort, tons of love, but I didn't enjoy myself like I normally do. I will post pictures eventually.

I haven't got much in the way of art started. The NoCostCo project is simple, otherwise I'd not get it done. Feels like an obligation, not fun.

I do not feel like sewing or painting or making collages. My housework and gardening aren't up to my usual sub-par standards. My exercise and eating plan derailed; I gained back what I'd lost last month while in Cabo. People annoy me. I don't even want to watch TV. I want to play mindless video games and daydream.

Yep, I suspected I was depressed, now I'm pretty darn sure. I know what to do to shake it, just gotta get moving. Change the physical, the mental will follow. Plus do things like acknowledge my feelings, blog is a good place to start. I have been keeping my mouth shut a lot lately; mostly because I know I'm irritable and easily set off. Yes, this is different than my usual trigger points.

No docs, thanks, they prescribe meds which make me cotton-headed. I know what a therapist would say; I did begin graduate classes to be a family counselor. I found it too depressing. Seriously.

No worries, this isn't a huge deal, just another bump in the road. I still want to know what's around the bend, I ain't getting out of the car!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'd call it Improvement, but we saw what happened last time.

My nephew is doing better, responding to treatment. he is out of the medically induced coma, but is still on a breathing tube (trachy-style) and so heavily sedated he may as well still be in the coma. I wouldn't call it "getting better", but it is positive progress. I'm just pessimistic lately.

My sailor nephew has three weeks at home. This is good, his mom needs him. After all, this is the son who lost his father, my brother, in 2008. Tough times, but he is a tough kid. Loves the Navy, loves being a nuke, he'll be alright in the long run. However he's going so far in the hole on his leave days that we won't see him for at least a year after prototype. Meh, he'll be busy on the boat no doubt. He did come over and we had a great visit. Beer and pizza and trash TV and talk, talk, talk, get three sailors in a room....

Nothing else of note, doing the garden, gearing up for Element 11, trying to get back to working out after that tumble down the stairs. I still have deep bruises on the sides of my knees. Doing okay on the eating plan, although I have had two meals out in the last week: Chinese at Golden Dynasty and Mexican (chicken mole burrito) at Javier's. Nummy, but I can tell they're bad for me. Ah well.

Friday, April 9, 2010

What? No, no more.

My nephew John is in ICU. Massive infection, renal failure, pneumonia. They have him in a medically induced coma. We will lose him, and we will lose him soon. He is only 23, disabled, lives in a group home. He probably has been ill for some time and didn't say anything. No one noticed? His brother is in NY, at Navy nuke prototype. I hope he can come home. But it may be too late.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Life and stuff.

Kwitcher bitchin, life is too short. Go get laid, hugged, drunk, whatever. Make some art, pick up some trash, dance, laugh, play. Be kind to animals and grumpy people slinging your grits. Tell people you love them, because even loners have those who care. Give a gift. Don't be a spectator.

Enjoy life, and if want you want isn't coming to you, get off your duff and go find it. Whatever it is. You don't need things, but if things make you happy, go for it. travel, or not. But laugh, laugh, laugh!

Open your eyes, open your heart. Love the world around you, for it is an amazing place, and you are an amazing piece of it. A plain life can be as joyful as a glamorous or exciting one, as long as you live it with spirit. Never let a day go by when you aren't thankful for the air you breathe and the heart which beats inside you. Find the wonder of the dawn, the glory of the moonlight. Or just enjoy a good movie and some delicious popcorn. Dance, even if it is only in your heart.

Okay, enough of the hokum. But I mean it. Don't overthink it, do it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


And now Kim is gone too. Just like that.



They say no news is good news. In my case, with this blog today, it means I am overwhelmed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One day at a time.

Talked to Larry today. The docs adjusted Kim's meds to relieve the blood/brain problem. She was alert when he went in to see her, so that is great. There will be an MRI soon to see if the cancer has spread to her brain or if there's another issue. But today was a good day. Some times that is all you can ask for.

I told him to take his nieces to Hot Topic and buy them B-Day gifts. Two of them are turning 13! And a un-B-Day gift for the third one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Damn Cancer

Improvement? An illusion.

I don't check my emails at night and have been having kinks in my wifi. I checked this morning. Kim has very much taken a turn for the worse. She's not been eating, and they cannot feed her via an IV as that only feeds the cancer cells. She cannot get up or turn over by herself, far too weak to consider more chemo. Tom, her husband, says she got much worse last night. She barely acknowledges the presence of visitors, and cannot talk beyond a quiet grunt. Her cognition is not what it should be, not even considering the pain meds.

MyLarry went to work this morning to talk to his dispatcher. That's when I read the email concerning Kim's turn. I called, we got him on a flight as soon as we could. He grabbed his pack from the truck, and tossed in a few clothes, he's traveling in his Central work shirt and clothes! (Plus, Yikes on same day fares). His sister Wendy will pick him up in Ohio adn they will drive to WV. I see there is a big storm rolling through, but Larry is a professional driver, he can plow through anything. The planes? who knows? I do hope they make it before Kim passes. She could leave us any moment now.

Kim is six months older than I am. She has an 11 year old daughter, and a loving husband. How terrible for all of them, for all of us.

I had to stay behind because I was up here in Ogden, and truly we can't really afford this unexpected trip. Oh, we can pay for it, and all our bills will be paid, but it is a crunch. Larry will lose a week of pay, and we have the Hawaii bills due now. Crap, huh? And if there is a funeral, we likely will not be able to attend. Which I mind for the family, but not for the funeral itself. I abhor funerals. Too, too many in my life these past ten years.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Kim is slightly better. Many thanks for all prayers and healing thoughts for her. I'll know more later today or tomorrow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cancer is Eating my Family, Part Deux

MyLarry is near Tacoma, WA. with a load of steel. By DOT regulations, he has to stop at the 11 hour mark, so that's a two day trip out and two days back.

Last night he got a call from his little sister, Aletha. Kim, his big sister, is still in the hospital. She has ovarian cancer, and has had complications from the surgeries. her intestines are twisted and not healing properly, there are tumors pinching under her kidneys. she isn't passing waste, either solid or liquid, it is all backing up. The doctors have done a couple surgeries, but she needs more, and is too fragile to handle it. She'd die. The cancer needs to be treated with chemo, soon. She is too fragile for chemo, she'd die. If she can't pass waste and process the toxins, she will die.


Cancer sucks.

Aletha told Larry he should get on a plane if he wants to see Kim, but that isn't possible right this minute. I don't know if I should go too. I want to support him, but I also don't want to detract from his visit focused on his family.


Crap, crap, crap.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not so Happy Birthday

No, my birthday in Hawaii was most excellent. Best one in years, right after the 51 hour party.

A friend's sister lost her little baby girl early this morning. An online friend, but one whom I have been communicating with for several years now. I interact with her more than I do with family. Watching the pregnancy, the excitement, the birth and the subsequent struggle with health problems made this child very dear to me.

The little girl was named Evvie, short for Evelyn. Which is my mom's name, by coincidence. Mom died a few years back, soon enough I still get misty this time of year. Today is her birthday, she would have been 87. I know dad misses her. I wanted to go see him today, but I can't make the walk (insert usual list of physical complaints). So, I am sad and weepy on two counts. Evvie and Evelyn and Dad. Three?

If I believed in an afterlife and heaven and all that, I could say something mushy about Mom looking after the newest little angel. But I don't. But I could see it, Mom would be right there for her.

Ah hell.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Year, new blog, I still won't blog daily.


Trip to Hawaii and a Happy Happy Birthday.

High blood pressure and triglycerides and my Wii Fit Plus.

House sitters behaving badly.

Walking to the podiatrist.

So there you have the content of my blogs which are floating around in my head and which I do not want to write at this time, but will soonly.

Happy Freaking New Year.