Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Older people live here...

Liv and I were talking a few days ago and she brought up the fact that she has always been the girl with the oldest parents in all of her classes.

"It's not necessarily a bad thing," she commented. "It's just what it is."

Well, considering the fact that I was 41 when she was born, yep...at all those school things, Bing (who is a year younger than me) and I are usually the oldest there. Sometimes confused with the grandparents who are also there.

Well, you know me, Ms. Vain. THAT bugs me.

But, this morning as I went outside to water the plants in our back veranda, it occurred to me, that there are many signs of aging around here. Beginning with this:

Our handy, dandy pocket hose. I ADORE this thing. It is lightweight and best of all, NO KINKS. Ever. And I don't lug it around like I did with our other hose. I daintily carry it. After all, I am getting up there and with RA, every load off is the better.

And then, there is the cane. I have one cane. I refuse to buy more. That vanity is rearing again. I have one plain black cane and every so often, when my RA threatens my knees or ankles, I use it. In between times, it sits behind our coat rack, with the bat. The bat is Bing's weapon in case a burglar or stray squirrel drops in. And yes, it has happened. The squirrel, not the burglar. And no, she didn't kill the squirrel. She just terrorized it while I further traumatized it forever by running around screaming.

We will never never leave that back door open again.

I have a handicapped hang tag for our car and we use it. Constantly.

If anyone were to check out my facial cleansers and moisturizers, one would see that virtually all of them promise to reduce wrinkles.

Above our kitchen sink, is a spice cabinet. It doesn't contain one spice. It contains my medications. I take pills for RA, pills for Meniere's Syndrome, pills for leg cramps, for migraines, for joint pain, for muscle relaxing. The rest of the cabinet is filled with Bing's homeopathic remedies that she makes me take because she doesn't much care for Western medicine. Celery root. Devil's Claw. CoQ10, Tumeric, Bromelain.

I still have a closet full of high heels. I can't bear to let them go and on my really good days, I confess to still wearing them. But, more and more, there are shoes that are good for my feet. Flats. Shoes with good arch support.

There is a large bottle of Imodium in our medicine cabinet. Also, a stool softener. Irregularity is a way of life in our house.

On Bing's chair in the dining room? A doughnut. Her butt hurts sometimes in the evenings.

There is an afghan over the top of our sofa. In the Winter, Spring and Autumn, I am usually wrapped up in it if I'm reading or watching television.

Bing has reading glasses that she is always losing. She often can't read texts that she gets on her phone because she can't locate her reading glasses. So, Liv or I have to read them to her.

We have shampoo made especially for gray hair in our shower right next to Liv's shampoo that is specially formulated for blonde hair. Sometimes, since I don't wear my glasses in the shower, I am not sure which one I'm using. Oh well. My hair is clean. Enough said.

I hear myself saying catch phrases like enough said often.

The early bird gets the worm.
Think before you speak.
Don't give me that look. (Sometimes I add the word missy at the end of this and am horrified because I sound exactly like my Mother.)
All's well that ends well.
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. (What the FUCK does that mean, really?)

I find myself getting sleepy at 9 o'clock at night. We often have to watch television shows on our ON DEMAND feature because neither Bing nor I can stay awake for them if they start after 9.

I talk like a senior citizen:

"Is it chilly in here or is it just me?"
"Don't forget to buy cold cuts at the store."
"That anchor woman needs to stop with the cleavage shots."
"It's never too early to start saving. I wish that I had started saving at 25 instead of 32."

Today, I went in for a hair trim. I wear my hair just long enough to pull back in a chignon. Or to pull back in a scrunchy. My hair stylist asked me if I was feeling daring. Did I want to get rid of that gray and go red today? No, I told her, basically at my age, I was just happy to look clean.

I call everything the wrong word.

I call my flip flops thongs. This makes Liv cringe each and every time.

I say tennis shoes instead of sneakers.

Malted instead of a malt.

Liv tells me that even our flowers in the front yard are old ladyish.

They're petunias for god sakes. How bad can petunias be? Wait. There are a few marigolds too, I suppose. I like the golden of the marigolds against the dark purples of the petunias. Sue me.

I asked Liv if she ever wished that she had younger parents.

She says no, that in many ways, Bing and I are hipper than her friend's parents. That made me feel better.

"You used to be kind of hipster, Mama," she reminds me.

I did, didn't I. Where did she go and why did I let her leave. And does she have my hot little black dress and fishnets and fuck-me stilettos? 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Run Like A Girl

A big thank you to Steph Lovelady for introducing me to this.

Passing it on to you...


For all of our daughters, nieces, granddaughters, friends, students...yes?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

O Captain. My Captain!

I cried over Robin Williams and his passing. I think a lot of us did. He was one of those gifts to us from the gods.

I never watched "Mork and Mindy." And there were times when I watched him being interviewed when I felt a little uncomfortable with how manic he seemed to be. More than once, the psych expert in me took over and I felt a diagnosis coming on.

Yet, he made me laugh. Sometimes very, very hard. And sometimes there was this window into his spirit that told me that he must be a gentle, tender soul.

When Bing saw me sitting in front of the computer, tears running, she came rushing in to see.

She looked at the page and then frowned, puzzled.

"Why would someone who had so much kill themselves?" she asked.

I turned around to look at her.

"Please don't be obtuse," I said, giving her a withering look. She retreated. We haven't discussed it again because I don't think she gets it. I don't think many do.

Depression is a deep well. I suffer from it. Not just the garden variety of days when I have the blues, but  real "black dogs" as Winston Churchill described his depression. But, I am one of the lucky ones. My depression is fairly minor. It wanders into my life about every four or so months and takes over for a few weeks and then dissipates on its own. My Da had it before me and his Father before him. I'm sure the line runs down and further down yet. When I was little, I knew that there were days when my Da didn't feel quite right. He referred to those times merely as those ole blues. In my family, we just accepted it. It was a time when we treated him extra gently. My Da was never mean spirited, never went too deep. He was just very quiet and a little unreachable for a while. He would stand outside and look up at the sky a lot. Once I asked him when his blues started. He looked at me for a long time, probably measuring as a parent how much was prudent to tell me. Finally, he answered.

"I think I was about 14 or 15," he said. That was all we spoke of it.

My bouts with depression began when I was in my early teens. Like my Da, I was not officially diagnosed. Well, not until I was in my 20's and began my psych internship. Then, as part of our program, it was mandatory that we see our own psychiatrist once a month. It was then that I described my own black dogs to my doctor. I told him that the best way to describe it was like in the movie, The Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to technicolor. That my depression days were like those black and white scenes. Like life suddenly went from colorful, rich, and full to bleary, dull, and flat. Worse, I often could feel or sense when the depression would be coming, but I could never sidestep it, no matter what I did. We tried different variations of medications. Some seemed to work, but the price was too high for me. Not financially, but mentally. In order to keep the depression at bay, I had to agree to feel shaky and buzzy inside, as if there were a small nest of bees just under my skin. I didn't like the feeling and frankly preferred the depression. At least it felt more honest, like I was living in my own skin. My doctor reluctantly agreed that I could stop all medications as long as I alerted him if I ever felt suicidal.

I've never been that far gone. Like I said, I am one of the very, very, very lucky ones. I suffer from very minor depression just a few times a year.  I can only imagine what it is like for those who suffer deeply and relentlessly from it.  And I never will treat it lightly, will never be one of those naysayers who insist that those who suffer from depression just need to go take long walks or stop thinking solely of themselves.

It isn't a choice. No one would choose to feel depressed. It's a condition.

I remember showing some of Robin Williams' movies to Liv. She's seen Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook, and Back to Neverland. And loved them.

I loved The Birdcage, Awakenings, One Hour Photo, Good Morning, Vietnam, and my two personal favorites: Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting.

In fact, one of Robin's lines from Good Will Hunting is written on a piece of paper that I carry in my purse.

"Maybe you're perfect right now. Maybe you don't wanna ruin that. I think that's a super philosophy, Will, that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody."

It was a line that stuck in my head and I took it to heart. I still do.

So, yeah, I cried when Robin Williams killed himself. I think that there are those among us who feel the world around them so deeply, so acutely, that it gnaws away at them little by little until they feel cornered and helpless. Many, like Williams and yes, like me too, drink too much or take too many drugs to try to find a way to cope, to sidestep, to manage.

I loved drinking. I still do. I loved drugs. Still do. I just don't take them anymore. I have a daughter and made a promise to myself and to her the day that she was born that I would lead an honest life and would do my best to be honest with her as well. That I would not take drugs because they were illegal and that I would not drink excessively because I never wanted her to see me inebriated.

I have been pretty good at keeping that promise. I admit to smoking weed occasionally when I know that she will never know. And I have never been drunk in front of her. Ever. I've also been honest with her about my drinking and drug use in the past. She knows that while I've never had to go to re-hab, that I was two steps away from it.

She also knows about my black dogs, my depression. She knows, as I did with my Da, that there are a few times in the year when I have to kind of step back into myself for a while to deal with a world that is just too close to me sometimes. That I will never shut her out, though, and that I will always come back in a few weeks. I think this is much better than having her live with me on medication, a false replica of myself.

But, if I ever got to the point where I feared that I would hurt myself or anyone else, I would get on those meds. Lickety split.

Drugs and depression seem to go hand in hand. And what a vicious circle. You take the drugs to escape the depression, but the drugs cause addiction and then you have an additional dilemma to deal with. It can cause a sorrowful life.

I don't know if I've passed on this genetic disposition to depression and/or addiction to Liv. So far, she doesn't seem to be suffering from any form of those black dogs. And I have been vigilant about nonchalantly checking her pupils and smelling her breath when she comes home from being out with her friends. Not even a whiff of cigarette smoke yet.

But, I'm not naive. I'm fairly certain she's tried a few things. Few of us grow up without taking that dare. I just want to nip it in the bud. Hopefully, my honest sharing of my life has given her some perspective. Maybe I'll get lucky and she'll slide through. Maybe.


As I said, I'm no fool. Well, actually I am a bit of a fool, but I like to think that I am one of the brighter fools.

So, I cried when Robin Williams died. Did you?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Liv and her Father

They are quite the pair.

A far cry from whence they started...she, a wise-beyond-her-years toddler and he, a fumbling 25 year old guy who didn't have a clue how to talk to a three year old.

Now, as I pick them up from the airport, they are walking towards me, laughing together about something. Liv sees me and breaks into a run, flying into my arms as if she hasn't seen me in a year.

"Lemme see," she demands, reaching for my right hand. I show her my stump and her eyes crinkle and then fill with tears. I hug her.

"Honey, it's just a finger. I'm fine," I tell her.

Tinton has caught up to us by then and reaches for my hand, examining it closely as I hold Liv with my left arm. He frowns, takes my hand and kisses it gently.

"Are you in pain?" Liv asks, her face anxious.

I hesitate. Decide to be honest.

"A bit," I say. "It's manageable."

I look over her head at Tinton and mouth the words good drugs!  He nods, smiles.

We walk to the baggage claim and wait until the bags begin to spiral out. Liv is talking a mile a minute, finger already old news. Whew. She is eager to get to the DMV to take the test so that she can get her learner's permit. Can we do this on Monday? She's been studying the driver's manual for a week and feels certain that she can pass. I tell her that I have an important meeting on Monday morning that I can't miss but will take Tuesday off so that we can go to the DMV and go back to school shopping since she starts school on Thursday.

I'm suddenly tired. The past month has been very, very painful but also very low key. I have gone to work and come home. The biggest outing for me, besides the Foster The People concert we went to, has been grocery shopping. Now, well...Liv has softball tryouts on Monday and Wednesday afternoon. Bing starts school on Monday, so I will have to try to figure out a way to get her to tryouts. I make a mental note to see if she can catch a ride with one of her friend's parents. And then...if she makes the softball team, all those games. Twice, three times a week.

Back into the saddle. Time to put my chauffeur's hat on again. Maybe it won't be such a bad thing when she can drive herself places.....

It's been nice, though, to have my daughter back home again. The house has seemed too quiet without her thundering feet running up and down the steps (how can a 109 pound girl make such a racket going up and down steps?) and I've missed the smell of her. The lemony, grassy natural smell of her as she walks by or plops down on the sofa beside me.

When we get home from the airport, Bing is waiting on the porch, arms akimbo. She breaks into a smile when we turn into the driveway, comes loping up to us. Liv climbs out of the car and into Bing's arms for a long, sweet hug. Bing holds her back from her and proclaims that she is still skin and bones. She frowns jokingly at Tinton.

"Did you starve her up in those mountains?"

He grins at her, tells her that Liv must have the metabolism of a hummingbird, that she eats like a horse. He can't figure out where she puts it. Liv holds up her arm, tells Bing to feel her muscle and then lifts up her shirt and says, "Lookee here, Bing. I have a six pack!" Bing oohs and aahhhs over  Liv's muscles, which are indeed pronounced.

"I'm all muscle now," she brags.

She really is. Not ickily so, but she looks very, very fit. Her always tawny skin is now a deep tan and her always honey blonde hair has bright blonde streaks in it from being out in the sun. She looks like an ad for a fitness club.

We go in and the house smells deliciously of angel food cake, Liv's favorite. Bing spent the afternoon baking her week late birthday cake and while I was picking them up at the airport, she frosted it with a strawberry glaze. Liv and Tinton set their bags down and we decide to dig into the cake and have some strawberry gelato to go with it. As we eat, they share their adventures with us. How that one time, Liv almost fell when they were traversing across a rangy bunch of rocks. I am the only one not hooting over these stories. I pretty much want to throw up thinking about my daughter hanging from a rope as she zigzags from rock to rock.

Then, we move on to presents. Bing and mine to her are simple. A pair of black Darin ankle boots and a Fallon felt fedora. Liv puts on the fedora and we all snap out our phones to take photos. She poses prettily, the hat tipped engagingly. Liv opens her card from Vince and Thuan, our Chicago friends. In it, is a 250 dollar gift card to Anthropologie. I shake my head. They spoil her rotten! Harriet has given her a book: Conversion by Katherine Howe. Later, Liv will go to her friend, Kat's house and they will have a late birthday party for her there. She will come home with all kinds of girly girl gifts, way too many filmy bras and undie sets. A few new books. Lots of hair accessories.

Socks, our dog, gives both Tinton and especially, Liv, the cold shoulder. He always feels betrayed when any of us leave for longer than a day and lets us know his opinion regarding that. Later that night, he sits on the my bed with me as I read. Liv comes in, wearing her sheep pjs and cuddles up next to me to tell me about her friend's party for her. During our talk, every time that she reaches down to pet Socks, he turns his head away from her snippily and once, when she pulls him into her lap, he promptly gets up and returns to lay at my feet, head averted. He won't even look at her. I smile. He is such an actor. When Liv gets up to go to bed, she pats her side and says, "You comin' boy?" He gives her a long, disdainful look and lays his head on my ankle. Liv, hurt, walks away.

After I hear her feet in the hall, I look down at Socks.

"Give it up, Richard Burton," I tell him. "You know you want to go be with her. Life is too short to act like a bad ass. C'mon, now."

Socks says to me in his Ernest Borgnine voice, "She needs to learn a lesson. I am schooling her. Don't interfere."

I shrug, go back to my book. "Well, when Bing comes in, you know she's going to kick you off the bed...." Bing is not a believer of dogs on the bed. It is an iron clad rule in our house. Socks can be on the bed if it's just me, but once Bing joins us, she wins. He needs to go elsewhere.

Socks sits sulking for a few more minutes and then very, very slowly and carefully casual, he jumps off the bed. I pretend that I don't notice. He deserves his dignity. Later, in the middle of the night, I will get up to check on Liv and find him in his usual spot, spread out next to her, both of them, sleeping deeply. Happy to be together again.

The next day, Tinton and I have time to talk alone as we walk Socks. I am almost back to normal, but my gait is still slow. Tinton politely slows his pace to mine, his long legs moving in sweet slow motion. He tells me that he and Liv had a good Summer, that the gig wasn't overly taxing, that they had lots of off time too and used it to hike, camp, fish and explore. I tell him that she must get this outdoorsy gene from him. She certainly doesn't get it from me. I don't hike anywhere unless the car breaks down and camping is not my idea of a fun time.

Tinton laughs. Agrees. "She reminds me a little of my sister," he tells me. The one who died a few years ago. "Liv has this way about her, kind of relaxed and good at hunting down herbs. Reminds me some of her. But, you know, Liv is so much like you that it is uncanny. She would say or do things that were so....just Maria...it would make me stop and stare at her for a moment. She is her Mother's daughter."

I respond that she sure doesn't look like me. She is him all over. Except for that blonde hair, that is a stray gene that strikes my family once in every generation. My sister, Celia, got it in my generation. My Aunt Dodie in my Mother's. No one in the younger generation has it now but Liv. She is the one exception in my family full of redheads and brunettes. Liv has the blonde hair, but her eyebrows are dark like Tintons and she has his dark brown eyes. His tawny colored skin. His wiry build. She even walks like he does and her word cadences are his.

"She has your laugh, though," he says. "And your wit. I think she got the best of both of our brains. I swear she's smarter than I am, maybe even smarter than you....and you may worry that she's growing away from you, but Maria? She loves you so much. She talks about you a lot and you know the day of your surgery? She asked me to take her to this little church she's spotted in a nearby town and she spent the morning sitting in a pew praying for you. Our daughter has become rather religious. I didn't see THAT coming. I mean, we're both agnostic..."

"Well," I retorted, "She does go to a Catholic high school. I'm sure that some of that doctrine is spinning around in her brain. As long as she doesn't convert, I'm okay. Prayer. Believing in God. Fine with me. Joining the Catholic Church? No way."

"And what would you do if she told you she WAS joining?" Tinton asks. "You'd be the first to let her. You are very into following your arrow wherever it goes. If her arrow went there, you'd find a way to deal with it."

I'm quiet for a little while, chewing on this. And then admit that he is right. I would. It's her life. Her journey. Sometimes the hardest part of parenting for me is allowing her to follow her heart.

Tinton and I agree on one thing: we have an exceptional child. We are lucky, lucky ducks. And we have the grace to know that.

I love watching Liv with Tinton. I once had a friend of mine who was divorced and she told me that seeing her ex husband with her children having fun was like getting a knife in her chest. That surprised me. Tinton isn't exactly my ex, we never really had much of a relationship to begin with, but I am delighted that they get on so well. One more person to love and protect her if I am gone. That's how I think these days.

And they are good together. Their relationship is not a classic Father/daughter one really. It is close and yes, paternal, but it is more of a very deep friendship. She trusts him, depends on him in a very intense way. He is her Dad, but he is not always around to see her day to day life (although I am pretty good at texting and sending pics) and although they skype weekly and text daily, their time spent together has a winsome, fleetingness to it. They know that soon they will have to let go of the other for a while, possibly several months. So, they take every bite that they can.

They laugh a lot. They are affectionate. Liv, especially, is very cuddly with him. Liv is not much of a cuddler. I always worry that she got this from me since I am not one either. In my family, we are patters, not huggers. It was the way that I was raised. But,  I didn't hold back with her. I couldn't have if I wanted to. The second I saw her face, I was so fiercely devoted to her that I wanted to be a kangaroo and have a pocket to put her inside. Liv and I used to be more cuddly, but as she has grown, she has stepped away. More often than not, I am the one hugging the hardest and the longest. She is the one who breaks away first. With Tinton, she is easier. She will plop into his lap or sling her arm around him if she is next to him. Kiss his cheek. He glows under her touch, is so sloppily crazy about her that his dopey smile says it all. He is powerless around her daughterly wiles. In short, she can play him like a fiddle and he knows it.

Once he told me, "I just look at her and melt. I am amazed that a dork like me had a part in producing someone like her. She is just so freaking PERFECT, Maria. How did we pull THAT off?"

I dunno. I dunno.

I'm just glad that she's home. We take Tinton to the airport tomorrow where he will fly back home to Colorado to teach for the year at a university and live with his girlfriend, a dog breeder. I have already promised Liv that she may spend Christmas vacation with them. Bing and I are tentatively planning a trip to New Orleans over Christmas and this will work out. She and Tinton are already discussing trees. He wants to go cut down their own tree. Liv is not much into killing trees for sport. I suspect that she will win. She usually does with him. Of course, the girlfriend will come into play too now. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

So, my girl is back home with her Father. Socks is back to following Liv around with sheer puppylove and me? I'm feeling a little like I am being pulled along by my bonnet strings. But, I am smiling, dudes.

I am smiling.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

First outing with Stumpy

We decided that it was time to stop playing old ladies and do something fun.

Ankle supports are finally off. No more CANE!

Finger makes me a little squeamish, but my hand OT made a little helmet for me to put on it when I go to work or on outings.

I have been keeping food down. FINALLY.

So, we decided to go out with a boom.

We went to a concert. Our first in a long time. Took several selfies to send to Liv, just so she'd be jealous....

We saw Foster The People...

And yes...me and Bing...and Stumpy danced.

To this:

Boom chakka lakka.

This is the part where some of you will go all judgey on me about the song lyrics. Sorry. Not listening. Not today. I just closed my eyes and let go of myself and fell into that beat. Those pumped up kicks....

Now, if I can just stay healthy.....

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Who I am

Well, that last post was more dreaming than anything. Bing and I have pretty much decided that we will stay put until Liv graduates. And I dunno, I'm a prairie girl born and bred. Although, truthfully? The older I get, the harder those Winters hit me.

This is where I live. And if you look closely for a half second, you will see my home. No clues, though. I love our area of the city. It is a very old neighborhood. Anyone wanna venture a guess?

Am starting to get excited for Liv to come home. Thursday! Thursday! And my girl comes home. Tinton, her Father, will stay until Sunday and then he goes off for a year of teaching in Colorado at a University. He and his girlfriend will actually be living on the same turf for an entire year, the first time in their history. I think they're both a little nervous. But, he is tiring of the spelunking gigs and is wanting to ease into teaching. It's a good start. Plus, I've tentatively agreed to let Liv spend her Christmas vacation there while Bing and I spend ours in New Orleans.

Liv just turned 15 last week. I have not spent any of the past three birthdays with her. She's always been on digs with her Father. This was no different. Tinton baked her a cake and sent photos of her blowing out her candles, making her wishes. And then they celebrated the day by skipping work and spending the day fishing together. He sent us a video that made Bing and me smile. Our girl has lost her squeamishness around bait. She was baiting those hooks with ease. And then actually caught a fair sized blue catfish. I watched in amazement as, later in the video, she cleaned, scaled, and de-boned the fish and then Tinton fileted it and they cooked it over their campfire and ate it with some freshly found greens and....small containers of red jello!

We were impressed. Tinton also tells us that he is teaching her to rappel and that she is becoming extraordinarily adept at something called a double figure 8 fisherman's knot.

He also informs us that she now knows how to do a Tyrolean traverse. I thought this sounded okay until I looked it up online. And then, I broke out into a cold sweat.

Probably best that I don't know too much more. Except that my daughter is quite the outdoor survivalist. I will be very glad of these skills if the zombie apocalypse comes anytime soon.

I love watching the contours of her face. She looks happy and content. She says that she has already read all her required books this year for English.A Separate Peace, My Antonia, The Chosen, Mango Street, The Things They Carried and Silent Spring. She's already read the Richard ll and Henry plays of Shakespeare thanks to me, who has read Shakespeare to her since she was in kindergarten. So, she's all set. She says that she's grown to love the quiet, soft evening nights with her Father while they sit in adjacent chairs, reading together.

But, I know my daughter, she is keeping her fingers dipped in with her friends. Tinton tells me that her phone is never too far from her and that she texts much more often than he likes. She plans to go to the softball tryouts at her school just 4 days after she gets back. Tinton tells me that, too, that they play catch a lot and that her pitcher skills are coming along well, and that her arms and shoulders are well muscled from all that rappelling and traversing. Hopefully, she will make the team. She is hoping for varsity, but since she will only be a sophomore, we'll see.

And boy howdy, she will go in and take her test and then have her learner's permit to drive. She is rarin' to go. Me, not so much. My baby driving? Are you fucking kidding me? Tinton has already broached the subject that maybe he, Bing and I could all go in and buy her a car for her 16th birthday, something used but safe. My friends from Chicago sent me a text not too long ago of a Cooper, asking me if I would object if they bought her one for Christmas this year! NOOOO, sirree bob, they WILL NOT be spoiling my daughter rotten with a brand spanking new car.

I have come to terms with the fact that my garden is not going to produce much this year. It is so overrun with weeds. Bing has tried (half heartedly, in my opinion) to keep up with it, but she is no gardener. I am the gardener of the family and there is little that I can do with just one hand. I do my best, and even though I still have my dominate hand to use, my energy flags easily. When I get home from work, more often than not, I am tired and content to sit around watching stupid television and reading books. I have actually watched some show called America's Got Talent more than once. And Property Brothers. Bing and I also like this show about a smokin hot petite blonde woman who rehabs broken down houses. We are sort of couch potatoes and I am worse because I am nearly always tucked up in bed with a book by 8:30, the dog settled in beside me, his paw across my foot, protectively.

This has been the Summer of my discontent. I miss my finger. It is still all bandaged, so I haven't had to really look at the cold hard truth of it yet. I go to the hand surgeon on Monday to have it unbandaged and if it is healing, the stitches removed. If it is not healing well, I will most likely have to go on some sort of antibiotic and the bandages will go back on. I would MUCH prefer this to happen with me ALONE, but Bing is insisting on accompanying me, so I have agreed. She believes that I have not successfully accepted the loss of my finger yet. She often kisses my stump, murmurs to me how beautiful I am. I admit that I can barely look at it. It still aches a lot and sometimes stings. By the end of the day, my hand often feels cramped and achy. I look down at it when I am alone sometimes and sigh. It is unsightly and I have always been way too vain of my appearance. Perhaps this will keep me humble.

Bing brought home a poster with the schedule of Husker games on it. That cheered me up. We have tickets to every home game. The air will be crispy in a month or so. We will slide into our red sweatshirts and head into that sea of red to cheer on our football boys. By that time, I hope that my garden will be a thing of the past, not a failure that I have to peer at every time I look into the yard. Hopefully, my finger will be healed or healing better. There will be crock pots full of chili and chicken noodle soup. Fallen leaves in the back yard.

At work, we are in the process of hiring a new office manager and translator. I sorely miss Betsy. She was a one-of-a-kind employee. I doubt if we will see her caliber again. Or maybe someone is out there. I don't know. I feel so old when we interview. The candidates for both jobs all seem hopelessly young and well....kind of vapid to me. One woman came in to interview for the translator position and admitted that well, no...she was not fluent in Spanish, but that she had grown up in a Hispanic neighborhood and shouldn't that count for something? Well, um...unless you learned Spanish? No. Another candidate was a boy man who had just graduated college. He had only worked as a barista at a Starbucks. I wondered about taking a chance on him, I mean everyone has to start somewhere and his degree was in business. But...he looked all of 13. It threw me for a loop. And it amazes me how many of our interviewing candidates dress these days. WEAR BUSINESS ATTIRE, DUDES! I am amazed at all the revealing sundresses and jeans with a shirt and tie that I am seeing. Maybe I am just old.....what do you think?

I am ready to say goodbye to this very difficult Summer. I feel as if I have been playing at Sisyphus or Job and I am tired of keeping my chin up.

Books have gotten me through the ruts, though. Thank you, Stephen King for writing books that mesmerize me. I am not a horror fan, in general...but I think Stephen King is from another realm and was sent back as a gift to us.

I hope your Summer is better. It's August now. The month when Liv and Bing return to school. When we harvest the garden (paltry, but oh well....) and when the Huskers play their first football game and my daughter plays her first softball game ("Play ball!")

Life back to normal. I am so ready.

And maybe I'll see a movie with Harriet this weekend. She tells me that my male counterpart, Zach Braff is in another movie...

Life goes on and pulls us along behind....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


We're looking at real estate in New Orleans.

What do you think?

As soon as I'm able to travel, we will be going back to New Orleans to look at houses again. I need to see my Lake Ponchartrain. The bayous. Some lagniappe. Beignets. Cafe au lait. French Quarter juju.

All the family on Bing's side. I want to wear my sundresses and go barefoot. Lay in a hammock and look up at Spanish moss.

I want, I want, I want......

The more I look at houses for sale, the more I wonder what we're waiting for.....