You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2014.

A 1978 Chevy Malibu arrived in my life the same day as my junior prom dress.  In the land before cell phones my parents schemed (?) that as I came into town my dad would be checking out my new, surprise, car.  I drove it until the frame rusted through in college and I was heartbroken (as was Ron my mechanic as he had done a lovely job with it).

A 1989 Plymouth Horizon arrived in light of the death of the Mailbu.  One third the size and a stick shift it became my most robbed vehicle (twice) and it sat in the best parking place in apartment complex for 18 months (without ever moving) while John and I shared our good car and  carpooled (and car sang) to work.

A 1998 Honda Accord (purple with pin stripe) replaced John’s 1991 Geo Storm and we shared that car for a long time.

A 2001 Honda CR-V was purchased for my birthday the last summer John was alive, having convinced him that I needed something under warrantee if we were going to be driving half way across the state indefinitely.  Blue, stick shift, perfection, I still miss that car.

A something or another white caviler couple was cash purchased when I wanted to be debt free after John died.  The lowness to the ground and the enormous doors were absolutely rage inducing and it was by far the most ball-sucking-piece-of-disgusting-trash I ever owned. It was also a fully functional vehicle with no problems and I had gotten cute cow seat covers for it.  I have no idea anymore if the car was that terrible or if I just needed some place to focus being distraught.  It doesn’t matter anymore because it was the right car for somebody.

A different 2001 Honda CR-V at the loving hands of my mom and dad.  In times of grief and chaos it is easy to see symbols and signs.  We did, it was, and it became the car I drove from the summer of 2002 until this morning.

Jeff got pretty sentimental about the car this morning, so we loaded up and went to Dunkin Donuts to take it for a final drive.

I spent two hours at a Nissan dealer and had a lovely experience.  I might not have had the psychological victory of Beating The Man At His Own Game but I also paid what I was willing to pay for a vehicle I wanted to drive.  So, the sales guy had an easy sale on a beautiful morning and made a little more than he would have otherwise??? So?  If we aren’t mad – what is the problem?

Having a 12 model year jump (this is a 2013) means I’m surprisingly idiotic about the inner workings of a car with Navigation, Bluetooth, and a key with no key — but hey.  It works out fine.

It felt good.

One of the ways that I wish American’s talked about death differently is the way we have trouble acknowledging funny moments that happen when we keep seeing the grim reaper out of the corner of our eyes.

When John was 31 and living in a different town with a surgically implanted rolling suitcase / *heart* he lived in an apartment complex.  The town didn’t have a large college community, but this was the kind of apartment complex where 19 year old women moved to prove to their mothers that they TOTALLY had their shit together.  He had a thing for 19 year olds.  There was a swimming pool.  He came to sit by the side of the pool late in the summer while I splashed around and he ogled the women with tans so well established that you could be pretty sure they weren’t working 9-5. I told him in absolute seriousness that if he (with his life support device and epic amount of antidepressants) could talk any of these women into bed that he had total freedom to do that.  For the next woman walking past, “hey there.”

Later, when his body was lingering and his mind had left, his mom requested the last rights (rites?).  The Haitian priest was surprised when none of knew the holler’backs.  His family had left the church 30 years earlier and I had been in a Catholic church maybe once in my life.  Instead of holler’backs we were trying not to giggle.

My mom sent a typo to me via text today.  For a woman whose husband is in hospice, and during the Halloween season nobody would have believed it had they seen in on Damn You AutoCorrect.

Dad’s true voice showed up yesterday to announce an absurd sentence.

The reality can be that ultimately we bring who we are to every situation we are in.  Sometimes, especially around those we love, we are funny.  We mean to be sometimes, and it happens accidentally some times.  Even in sad times, there will be someone who wants to crack a joke to break the tension.  That is ok.

Here is my promise to you, if you ever want to tell the story of a funny thing during a sad time – I’d love to hear it.  Laughter through tears is amazing.

Ok, so there is some illness and some sadness and some general stresses here.  But tonight, I’m going to be fueled with other things.

I like.

I like than when I walk out of N4G at work there is a big window where I can see the north Georgia mountains in the distance. I like mountains in the distance more than i like driving on them so it is pretty much perfect.

I like that there is a Starbucks where I work. I also like salted caramel mocha – mainly for the salt.

I like that my kid is having a touch of Snugglyness which I haven’t seen in awhile.

I like that my husband supports me in so many ways.

I like that Libby had just the words I needed today.

I like chocolate milk, especially with Ovaltine.

I like bourbon, but not with chocolate milk.

I like that I can find most of my choral parts online to rehearse with, and I like that there is one that nobody can find on YouTube.

I like that I’m singing again this Christmas even though first rehearsal I was totally froggy and feverish.  I like that it isn’t my first time as tenor so when the gentleman next to me was making wise cracks about bad sight reading (I’m horrible at it especially in bass clef) it didn’t feel like an attack so much as him humble bragging because his is quite a good sight reader.

I like fall, and the colors and the memories that come with it.  Most men that have loved me first fell in love with me in the fall, and I like that as a bit of a tradition.  It makes me remember them all fondly.

I like orange – from fluorescent to burnt, I like orange.

I like you.  You’re patient and kind.


So, at work I started a picture on a resting white board and I was pleased when we collectively added to it over a day or two.

My baseline reaction to the question, “what should I do?” Is “make something”. A list, a pile, a clean spot, a game, a race track, a cookie. Whatever. Just make something.

I needed a bit of that myself today a bit. It is a beautiful fall day that could have been filled with yard work, pumpkin patch, and car buying. The reason it wasn’t was strep throat for two of us. I’m run down and tired and a beautiful day was getting screwed royally because napping was the only thing I could muster.

So I napped and eventually had enough energy to get some pumpkins via The Easy Route.

Then I knew today was finally the day to do the water colors I’ve been flirting with for a year in my mind. The ones that would help sate my desire for an impossible fall beach trip. In a DayQuil inspired mania I got out all of my stuff and got them done.

I am sick and distracted and damnit I made something today.


I’m puttering around after mom has gone to bed. Dishes (sorry,Dave) and recycling (again, sorry), the counter, but not the kitchen table. It has been a long day but we got to the end with everybody safe and sound.

I can’t find the change dish. It is absurd that there isn’t one because it has always existed. In the kitchen usually, but in Herrin it was on the buffet in the dining room. Even at 23 I snatched quarters like I could still get a bag of M&Ms for 35 cents. My brother drinks Dr. Pepper and that drives the cost higher but I grab from the change dish at 14, or 17, or (apparently) 23 so I can get a snack or smokes. Ok, so the smokes was only at 23.

I’m staying in what I think of as dad’s room. It isn’t here. It doesn’t make sense in mom’s room, she has come to the age where she happily dishes out exact change at a moments notice.

The thing is that I have plenty of change right now. After a couple of days of All Cash All The Time purchases I am loaded down with change and I absolutely hate flying with change. It weighs too much (especially carry on) and isn’t worth the energy. I’m flying tomorrow, back to husband and son.

I have all this change, and I want to leave it here, I took so much when I was young and could pretend that nobody would notice a jar with no quarters or dimes.

I have so much debt to the change dish and I can’t repay it all, but this handful here I want to pay back.

I can’t find a way to put it back.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t need to. I want to.

I’ve mentioned my dad is sick. Well, let’s call dying in that he is clearly in the home stretch but is not imminent.

I have debating both internally and with people whose opinions I value about when / how / why to visit now instead of then. Then instead of later. Someday.

It was the eye rolling and hand flapping that came in the immediate aftermath of the words “possible heart attack” that sent me to orbitz for a same day plane ticket. Not because I thought they were wrong, or that I thought anybody was going to try to do something invasive but just because what this man, my father, is enduring WITHOUT A DAMN HEART ATTACK is enough.

So I am with him and mom, and I suspect that when I leave I will kiss him on the head and say that I will see him next month (the planned visit). He has packed up and put down his social graces, but he is still clearly himself, even if he is becoming the pocket sized version.

Still, I am in my hometown in the fall. My ears are cold but a sweater is too much. The leaves on the branches have only changed at the tips. The sky is perfect. The pumpkin stand that had the perfect pumpkins two years ago for Pumpkin Fest is loaded for bear. The hospital I volunteered at is doing the big raffle while my dad naps upstairs and a friend from LLV is down the hall.

I got a big smile when I walked in the door. Today he wants to sleep without people watching. So he will and I will be wistful.

For awhile, a surprisingly long while actually, things in my life were pretty mellow.  Hectic, and sometimes not.  Sad, but mostly not.  Normal – almost always.  Pleasant.  Busy, but not taxing.

I got soft.

I killed an animal with a 2001 CR-V on Saturday.  In the end they didn’t total my car – but that feels insane because anybody who saw my car would recognize it as kind of a POS.  Not totally, but with the glory days a few years ago.  My car is the the high school cheerleading captain of 1994 who still lives in her home town.  Good lines, aging quickly.  So, surely I should get a new ride, but that was never simple – and I doubt it ever will be.

Jeff had a thing a couple of weeks ago that reminded me that nobody sees him the way that I do.  That is a good thing, and breaks my heart at the same time.  Things have turned a corner since then, I think, because the adults we swore would rise up – have.

You would never believe the amount of dental work I’m getting done between now and December 1.

I went to a conference about lung cancer and left inspired and absolutely crushed at the same time.  So inspirational in so many ways and so late, and so stigmatized, and so … I have done some of the things that I set up as goals, and some I have targeted for November.  Still, I am going to post the link here and I haven’t yet because.

We’re taking a trip to Illinois soon.  My dad, you see, is very sick.  He is old.

He is dying in a more tangible way than we ever believed possible in the dorm rooms in college when we knew everything.

I liked it when I knew everything.

So.  Peter Capaldi.

Gotta say, I like him so far.


(grateful to the fine folks at BBC for putting this together)


Now, I was never Matt Smith’s biggest fan, but he had moments of grace at enough intervals that he wasn’t a disappointment. He was just never going to be my Doctor (Baker & Tennant if you want to know).  I miss Rory still, and I hope that I see River again some day, but when Matt Smith said he was leaving I didn’t weep.  I think his exit was poorly done, but I’m not sure it could be helped after a 50th episode that clearly took a lot of time and craft.

I hated Clara last season, such a waste of a companion, but she’s growing on me this year.  In part I think it is because of the relationship with Pink, but in part because her role in the Doctor’s life is played out as a job as much as like a giddy, grand adventure.  She isn’t a typical companion, and she’s finally acting like someone with a special role.  Not the Impossible Girl – whispy, ethereal and ultimately just drifting around him.  Instead she is the girl under the bed – she’ll put him bolt upright, but he knows enough to lay down when she says.

So, the minimalist magician.  The introduction was … fine …. it typically has such a burden to Proof of Concept that you can’t do much more than march the new Doctor through the transition, the meeting of people, and the choosing of clothing.  The first interaction with the Dalek (we couldn’t wait … a month?) was also … fine … better than the rainbow Dalek for sure.  Still, the combination of blunt and hamfisted is kind of charming to start out with, and more importantly it gives him somewhere to go.  Matt Smith’s Doctor was flat footed and flirty with dashes of really old from time to time.  Tennant was always tinged with joy but had no problem as The Oncoming Storm.  I think Capaldi has the chance to start rough and smooth out over time – and as equal a chance to harden, and I like that my good guy is kind of a jerk right now.

I like him.  He can stay.



Pick Up – the idea that junk mail should never touch a flat service in my home so I walk it straight to the trash.

Put Down – the idea of tagging 170 things to make $100 at consignment.  I gave up my number, I won’t do consignment again.

Pick Up – the single food commitment of eating some raw vegetable every day.

Put Down – the idea that teaching my son that difference is interesting will (for the first time in all of human history, I know) be enough.

Pick Up – a book of stamps to mail my mother a necklace.

Put Down and put down and put down.