Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Golden Turkey

Some of these hit a little close to home.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Weekends These Days

This whole month of November I've been going over to Patt and Craig's....at first thinking I was taking care of her as she recovered from gall bladder surgery and then knowing that there was a cancer diagnosis....cooking, cleaning, singing, surrounding her with that good energy. Even when my own energy has been exhausted, dark, cynical, and angry.

Stella and I haven't talked yet about the awful fighting of last week. But at least the tension has dissolved. She went with us last weekend to the river and it was good for everyone involved. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past few weeks:

A paper flower/ornament/decoration that Loretta and Audrey made. The young boys, Kole and Cavin, had an absolute blast dancing to D.'s guitar playing. Their #1 request? Songs about "spiders and snakes." So he played "Wipe Out" and the Batman theme song. They danced ferociously.
Last Saturday evening the full moon rose over the ridge at Trigger Gap.
Sacnite, one of the Three Stooges.
Clay, enchanting us with his music.
My Stella, giving Tigger some love.
D. and Clay....imagine the most beautiful guitar playing. Then imagine it doubled!
Clay loves Gonzai, the territorial but adorable Shiba Inu.
Patt and Craig have quality pets. Like Bella (naughty Django naps behind her).
And Tigger the kitty loaf.

We're keeping our spirits up. As of this afternoon I am OFF WORK until Monday! Angela is here in Arkansas! There are pies to be made. So, yeah...soldier on.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Putting My Failure On The Internet

Last night/this morning was worse. I have an extremely angry and depressed teenage daughter on my hands. She is very angry with me and probably herself.

I don't know what else to say.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Breaking Point

Today was the day I lost it. The stress and tension of having two close friends in two separate hospitals for two very different reasons finally got to me. Typical to stupid human behavior, I took it out on the person closest to me. I yelled at Stella this morning for leaving dirty dishes in the sink YET AGAIN after promising to me that she would "take care" of them. The two most annoying words in a child's vocabulary are "I'm gonna."

"But Mom! I said I was gonna take care of them"

"Yes, but you didn't"

"But I'm gonna!"

"Yes, but you didn't. And now it's 12 hours later and food is hardening to a concrete in the dishes and they're still not done."

"I SAID I WAS GONNA."

"When is GONNA? Some time in the undefinable future??? Just DO THE DISHES NOW already!! If you'd started at the beginning of this conversation, they'd already be done!"

You can see where this is going. And it's not pretty. Arguing with a teenager is ridiculous, fruitless, and even more frustrating. They're like 2 year olds who cuss at you.

But I'm still not justified in yelling at her this morning. I was tired and angry and exhausted, still very worried. I lost my temper. I'm not proud of it.

I need a nap.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cautious Optimism

So maybe things are looking up? A tiny bit? That's the weird thing about serious diseases and death. It slows things down into incremental stages. So we get excited when she has normal functions that the rest of us take for granted. And now we're hoping new stents in her kidneys work and she can go home very soon. Day after day in the hospital is a special kind of hell.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gather 'Round

Oh, my heart is heavy. I have many close friends I consider my family, but I have one particular adopted family who are REALLY my family, meaning I feel close with all the branches, the kids, grandkids, cousins, etc. One of the matriarchs of this family is ailing, as I mentioned in previous posts. I don't necessarily understand exactly what is happening in her body, but I think most others in the family don't really either. Her birthday was Saturday. We gathered at her house, cooking, talking, eating, laughing, singing. D. showed up later and played his guitar and sang for us. Patt loved it, staying up much later than usual.

Sunday morning, however, she went to the hospital. Her kidneys weren't working. We didn't know if it was failure - if This Was It, or what. Everyone started showing up at the hospital. She had surgery to put tubes in her kidneys. The tubes are working. This is good. At one point there were 17 of us gathered around her bed, singing songs as she slipped into morphine sleep. She smiled and sang along. There were tears and laughter - all that raw, real human stuff. Being together just felt right. This is one of those times where we crave a collective experience.

Today is more wait and see. I'm trying to work. But I'm distracted. If I were at the hospital I'd feel frustrated, just sitting and waiting. I don't think I'd feel comfortable anywhere today.

We had seven people staying at our house last night. I feel bad that we don't have beds proper for everyone, just a sea of pallets and couches and airbeds, etc. But it feels good to have everyone around.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LALALALALALALALALALALALALA

That's me with my fingers in my ears. I am avoiding reality today. It is too painful and sad and heavy. Just take my word for it.

Hey whatever happened to the "mosque at Ground Zero?" Now that the election's over, no one seems to care.

What about that Russian spy ring? Who bought the rights to that movie soon to be starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel (he seems to play all sorts of nationalities), and Chris Cooper (oh wait...he was already in the Bourne movies. Scratch that and add Tim Robbins)?

Is there another organization as ridiculously REactive (as opposed to proactive) as our Transportation Security Administration?

I have been devouring the WTF Podcasts with Marc Maron like a starving (that word can almost be a portmanteau of "stark raving," an overly used descriptive term I still like) maniac.

Oh, life. Why must you be so intensely up and down and sometimes flatline boring?

Oh, Alannah. Why must you be so predictably polar?

Oh, Internet. Why must you be so wonderfully distracting exactly when I need it, but don't need it?

I'll stop now.

I went back to coffee today and it's apparent. Warm, dark, comforting caffeine bosom.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Direction, Possibly?

I'm kind of excited about this blog for the first time in...a year or more? I started this here blog over four years ago due to a horrifically boring job, feeling stagnant and frustrated in my life, and ready to take my personal writings public. In the beginning I was probably much funnier, much more topical, more musing. As my life changed dramatically and I got busier - busier with work, with a new relationship, a teenage daughter, it became more challenging to write the way I wanted to. I like to fiddle with my posts, editing and editing until I think I've got it exactly the way I want it. I like to make each post a small essay. I like to have a thesis, a point to what I'm writing.

I still carry a small notebook with me so I can jot down blog post ideas but they just look like funny, strange sentences to me: "Saxophone use in time-span montages in 80s films," or "The hold-the-pencil-straight-while-going-around-Ozark-curves car game," or "How to cook like a hippy Southerner." But instead of these posts, I lazily rely on photos or videos or quick links. You get the abbreviated, unthought-through version of my views. And that's not really fair to you, or to me.

I have been in a fog this week due to a LOT going on my personal sphere. I'm okay, myself...but am feeling the weight of serious happenings in my friends' lives. So I turned to my favorite opiate of the masses, television, last night. I caught up on a ton of Charlie Rose episodes on the DVR. During the day I've kept my headphones on constantly at work, listening to podcasts as I diligently answer emails, enter data, and plod along. I love the back and forth of these interviews. HELLO, DIALOGUE! You are wonderful! You make this human experience more meaningful. I want to do that. I want to ask questions. The best interviewers are those who are prepared (have done all the necessary background work to be familiar with the interviewee) but also engaged and interested enough to play it loose, to go in a different direction. Especially if the interviewee reveals something unexpected.

I posted kind of a flippant similar sentiment on Facebook and got a surprisingly large and serious response. Some people had some great ideas but my favorite one was to start interviewing people I know. So, from time to time I will post interviews I conduct with people in my life who I find interesting. The common adage says that "everyone has a story." I believe this.

Are you open to being interviewed? Email me if so.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Meant To Take Up Space

I had to write SOMEthing to get that last post off the top of this page. I don't want to think about cancer or surgeries or treatments or disease. But you know how this goes....of course that's all I can think about.

I wish I'd taken photos of everything I cooked last weekend. If you're within driving distance and you need healthy, home-cooked food - please just let me know. I love doing this. I wish I could quit my job and become a personal chef, as long as I'm cooking for people I love and not rich, demanding, a-holes. This weekend I made chicken, vegetable, and brown rice soup, eggs migas with pico de gallo & avocados, oatmeal cookies with dried cherries, dates, and prunes (surprisingly addictive), pureed butternut squash soup with ginger & mildly curried, banana/apple bread & muffins, summer rolls filled with avocado, seasoned tofu, shrimp, basil, mint, carrots, green onions, and sliced jicama, a loaf of bread that turned out so nasty that I threw it outside for the critters, and my healthy version of shepherd's pie with ground turkey, tons of fresh veggies, and mashed cauliflower on top.

It's been beautiful and warm this fall. So...there's that.

And, thanks for reminding me, Stacy: Fuck You, Cancer.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

I Just Want To Feed You

I can't even think of a catchy or punny title for this post. I am here at a dear friend's house. I thought I was coming over to cook for her as she recovers from having her gall bladder removed. When I got here last night I found out that the doctors discovered that the fibrous mass that's been causing her all sorts of pain is malignant. The big C.

Everything changed in that instant.

I'm still cooking healthy, love-filled meals to fill her freezer and fridge. Trying to figure out where/what happens next.

I don't have many skills, especially in these kinds of cases. But I know I can cook healthy food. I know I can infuse the food with all my love. I can organize and dust and clean.

So that is what I will do.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

What?



There seem to be three distinct "what"s:
  • "wha..?" where he drops off the "t" and says it a little under his breath, as though he's asking himself.
  • "what?" where the word is enunciated fully, but he's clearly annoyed and just wants to get the answer over with so he can move on with his life.
  • "WHATTT?" with a strongly emphasized and sharply pronounced "T." This is his pissed off question, incredulous, as though he can't believe what he just heard.
Yes, we have to invent new ways to think about Mad Men during the long 9 months or so between seasons.

Just To Kind Of Put Things In Perspective...

President Obama says he has some Lil Wayne on his iPod, and former President Clinton says he likes his music and wishes him well.

And former President George W. Bush says that Kanye West's criticism of his handling of Hurricane Katrina (remember that press conference in Jackson Square? Or flying over New Orleans? Or his mother saying that the horrific situation of the refugees was "working pretty well for them?") was the lowest point in his presidency. "Disgusting," even. Now, I do not think that GWB "hated" black people. But I do think he probably nary gave them a thought....they simply do not exist in his privileged, brush-hauling, ranch-dwelling, Rangers-cheering, white Texas world.

I'm really upset that more voters of my generation and younger did not turn out this election. This reveals to me that we've got to get the disenfranchised, the younger generations, and minorities (many of whom will not be minorities in the next 20 years) into the voting booths. It also shows that while Barack Obama has this demographic on his radar, most politicians do not. It's just as well, really. We cleaned out a bunch of Blue Dog Democrats (DINOs "Democrats In Name Only). I'm hoping in these next two years we get some younger, minority politicians ready to step up and work to bring in these voters.

I'm not saying, "Oh, we just need leaders who listen to hip hop." But it's further evidence of how out of touch the older, white leaders (exception: Bill Clinton, the "first black president") are.

I also happen to think Lil Wayne is off the radar of many older (including my Gen X generation), whiter Americans. He's a prolific genius, in my opinion. Check him out. He's insane. Enjoy your freedom, Mr. Carter - we need you on the outside, so don't mess up again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

All Flosculation, All The Time

Okay, I haven't written anything about the mid-term elections or politics lately. Frankly, I'm saddened and disgusted by the fear-mongering, horrific marketing campaigns by the candidates and PACs. Don't get me started on the TEA party nonsense. Every time I've asked myself, "Are Americans REALLY this ill-informed and willfully ignorant?" I've had to sadly answer, "Yup. Guess so..." I know we're all busy and exhausted...but come ON, people - take a minute to research things. Read an article or two. Don't rely on what's spoonfed to you by biased television shows. I know FOX News is an easy target, but I'm just as disgusted by MSNBC. It's like a playground war. "You're a bully." "You said it first!" "Don't boss me!" AAAAAAHHHHH!!!! Everyone just shut UP!!!!

I liked this article very much. Please read it and tell me what you think. It seems to sum up what I believe to be true. I do not regret for one minute voting for Barack Obama. I think he may be out of touch with the anger and willful ignorance of most Americans. I can't tell you how many discussions I've had with coworkers or grocery store checkout clerks or random people wherein they bitch about "the economy" or "Obamacare" but IN THE SAME BREATH also complain about medical costs and taxes....when, if they just did a little reading, would realize that our government is actively working to improve these issues!

* deep breath *

Soooo, on to what I really wanted to share with you today. This whimsical-but-valid project from The Oxford Dictionary folks is great! The web site is great. I urge you to save a word or two! As for me, who knew I was already a slave to flosculation? This word is so endangered that my spellcheck doesn't even recognize it!

In honor of endangered words, I thought I'd feature a few more of my favorite words:

  • autumnal - I'm thinking of this word nearly every day during this beautiful, extended, unnaturally warm Fall. Everything is autumnal!
  • peripatetic - so much fun to say. Also, my goal in life.
  • flummoxed - yup. This is me. Almost every day.