Speaking of which, I had no idea Herve sang.
Speaking of which, I had no idea Herve sang.
I've been enjoying the Women's History Month coverage on BlogHer. Maria handled the list of formidable women in politics, while Sarah talked about the greatest female athletes. While they were at it, Leslie covered education, and KPerfetto wrote about the women in music who are - and should be - in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.
(If I missed anyone, apologies - half the month hanging out in Vietnam will cause a girl to lose track of her posts.)
Anyway, yes, true, true, women rule in many quarters, all of them arguably bloggable. But when it comes to any woman's history, it really doesn't get off the dime without a woman to (as she may or may not frequently remind you) bring you into this world. No matter how the relationship turns out, we all begin at - and move on from - that beginning
You've heard about Mommy Bloggers, right? Just a little bit? For my last-day contribution here at March's power-woman central, I thought I'd flip that script just a bit and look for some women who are writing about their moms. DaughterBloggers, if you will, with a little bit of gender-bending thrown in for good measure.
The first question is, do you? Write about your mom, that is. A quick scan of my blog shows that I don't, not a whole lot, anyway. I do take a lot of pictures of my mother and those inevitably end up on Flickr, in spite of her concern that "all those people on the internet can see me." And it's not just me, either. There are currently 1,782,529 photos tagged with "mom" on the site.
I don't know why mom stories don't end up on the blog so much. It's not like they're not often quite humorous or even poignant. Maybe I'm just self-involved or too obsessed with writing about caucuses, who knows. When I do mention her, it's often in relating our conversations, which are often entertaining in a "you maybe had to be there" kind of way. I enjoyed a recent chat we had about her thinly veiled attempts at sending me out there into the horrifying singles scene in my town.
Me: Um, did you pretend to be me while you were out last night?
Me: Are you sure? Because some lady sent me an e-mail - at WORK - telling me how great it was to meet me and sending me a detailed list of singles events in the area.
Mom: Oh, yes. I met her in the bathroom at PGA Tour.
Me: And you gave her my e-mail address why? And pretended to be me why?
Mom: I did NOT pretend to be you. I just TOLD her about you.
Me: Oh wow. Again, why?
Mom: I don't know. She was nice.
Me: And because I so love group activities like apple picking and paintball with people I don't know?
Mom: Well, haha, just delete it. But you never know, it could be fun.
Me: Mom, I've attended two specifically "singles" events when coerced. One was populated by Catholic Star Trek fans, and at the other, my two hot prospects were the George Costanza guy and the old man dressed like a railroad conductor. Pass.
(Please note, if such
events have worked for you or your partner is a railroad conductor,
this is not a hateful missive. It is simply my view and does not
reflect those of the management, including any who may blame the
Here's another favorite recent conversation.
Mom: I just miss it.
Me: Like Faith Evans misses Biggie.
Me: Do you know who that is?
stuff. The thing is, that as deep and as profound as the relationship
can be and inherently is, humor is a big part of it, and conversation
even bigger, so that's usually what ends up here. Plus I love the use
of dialogue to really crystallize moments, and voila.
I loved this post at the Life and Times of Organic Mama about gifts from her mother.
I don’t know if it’s because she lives far way or because she loves how easily point and click sends things wending their way from Amazon’s vast stores to my driveway, but this has lately become a much more obvious trend, certainly during the six months when my father’s precarious health prevented their crossing the US border. By far, the largest components of this kind of giving from my 70 year-old mother are books; if she just read it and liked it, she’ll more often than not buy a copy for my sisters and me. I don’t mind that she does this; it’s endearing, but the best part is that she’ll usually ASK before typing in her credit card numbers. And she’ll listen if what she decides will make my life that much better isn’t something I would use.
Will I do this when my kids are older?
PS: While I speak here of the material gifts, I should also credit my mother with my love of words, science fiction, fantasy, interesting patterns in textiles (like socks and scarves), Dutch and other European chocolate, the knowledge of how not murder defenseless growing things in pots, snarkiness in general, how to get straight to the point, and how to be a reasonably good person. And MANY other things.
But she also buys me jackets.
Because, you know, they may come in handy.
Bethany Actually is sorry her mom's leaving after a month-long visit. Nice photos go with this post.
In a few minutes, we’re leaving to take my mom to the airport in D.C. She’s been here visiting for a month, which would be about three and a half weeks too long for many people to have their mom stay. But not for us! My mom is one of those people who is very easy to be around. We love having her here....When my mom is here visiting, Troy and I try go out on a date at least once a week. Sometimes we go out more often than that, when Annalie asks hopefully, “Mama, are you and Daddy going on a date tonight, so I can have a date with Gramaw? Please?"
Eden Kennedy is back in Colorado visiting and helping to take care of her mother. Her posts about her family's experience - specifically her mother's decilne and need for more care after the death of her husband - are just one of the reasons why this is one of the blogs I've checked in on daily since I knew what a blog was. The photography and Eden's words on the matter are remarkably straightforward and would be helpful for anyone who has walked the walk of adult child caregiving plus adjustment to a parent's aging.
Anyway, I'm out in suburban Denver because my brother, Chris, who lives with my mom and does a large part of her care, sneezed and threw out his back last week -- I can't laugh, I did the same thing once picking up a sock -- so my other brother, Tim, arranged to put Mom in a respite care facility for several days. After some comical delays that involved being pinned between two passive-aggressive frat boys, I arrived late Saturday night, and Sunday I drove over to the old folks' home with Chris to sign Mom out and oversee her transfer into an ambulance for the ride back home.
The ambulance-transfer people were awesome, just real calm and no problem! about everything. It takes a kind of decency I barely knew existed outside of Zen monasteries to deal with cranky, scared, dwindling old people every day. For the record, my mother is not often cranky or scared, she's Just Old, what's known in the gerontology business as being in a "functional decline."
Christy just started a blog in February about meeting her birth mother, and has already been contacted by her. Her Easter post talked about their plans to meet.
I am sorry I’ve not updated this blog in while. It’s been busy at work and I’ve been in another world to be honest. All is well though.
Donna and I are becoming great friends! It’s been such a trip getting to know her and not to mention - pure joy. How lovely and beautiful to have her in my life.
Donna and I will be meeting next month. We have decided to meet at the beach and just zone out for a few days. It will be so fun to relax and just get to know each other. In May she will be coming here for my birthday and to meet my family.
I feel a little guilty this Easter about not praising God and honoring Lent. My life lately has been all about me and adjusting to knowing Donna. I usually try to give up something. Pray. Reflect. However, lately I’ve just been in a such a good place I have forgotten to be a good Catholic girl. God has given me such an awesome present. I am so thankful.
I wonder if you got to see him and hold him before you gave him away.
It makes me sad thinking that you might not have.
I've held him in my arms, listened to his breathing and comforted him during bad dreams...he hasn't been alone.
I don't know if you're alive, don't know if you have other children, other sons but if you are...I hope that these words reach you somehow.
I want you to know that your son grew up to be a wonderful man. If you're wondering...he is polite, a gentleman, a kind caring guy. Oh don't get me wrong...he's not perfect, far from it at times but I love him and he makes me very happy.
I know that I might not have him today if you had made a different decision that day. I'm not sure if our paths would ever have crossed although I'd like to think they would have, that we're soul mates meant to be together.
I spoke to my adoptive mother today, from Kibbutz Degania. She’s quite different from me, personality-wise: The epitome of a bleeding heart liberal, she is a firm believer in the power of love to fight terrorists, reiki as the best way to promote physical and spiritual well-being, and similar concepts not frequently espoused in my household. She herself is a numerologist.
New-age shenanigans notwithstanding, she’s very good about giving emotional advice, so during the course of our conversation, I consulted with her on how to address a friend whose boyfriend, I’m fairly certain based on the evidence, intends to break up with her instead of proposing...
Carol O'Dell wrote a book I'd like to read about caregiving, in this case specifically for her adoptive mother, who she writes beautifully about in this post.
Life expands and contracts just like your lungs. Caregiving made my world small in many ways, but it also expanded my thoughts. Caregiving taught me so many things: the resiliency of family, the tenacity of love, how forgiveness is the strongest bond of love, how much more you can endure than you think you can, your ability to juggle, stay on top, reconfigure, mix it up, and fight it out–and how much I want to live and love before I leave this earth.
Another desire is about family–witnessing that part of you goes on, and it’s in part, seeing what I can do, what I’m capable of–it’s creating and recreating in a zillion different ways–biologically, spiritually, artistically, intellectually.
I plan to teach more children how to read and write, hold grandbabies, see the Parthenon and the aurora boralis. I plan to build more schools and hospitals, send a single mother to college–leave a legacy.
Are you half way through? What drives you? What legacy will you leave?
You may think it’s not, but I promise you, it will. You can’t face death and it not transform you.
Liking Lauren's post at Lost In Texas, "My Mom Can Beat Up Your Mom."
Not only does she have a tattoo, but she's also currently tied for number one in her NCAA pool--a pool that actually has a $2000 pot! Unfortunately, she made a fatal mistake, calling the tie break at 116. Now some of you might know that I also severely underestimated the tie break (at 108. I know I know, but last year I grossly overestimated it and well jeeze, I'm bad at math), but at least I don't have money riding on it.
BlogHim Bill wrote on the Blog Sheroes Network about his mom's need for a bone marrow transplant and a recent drive the family participated in in their area.
So hopefully tomorrow will be a glorious day where hundreds of people register and my Mom's perfect match will be found. But even if not, the word is getting out a little more and there will be a few more people on the registry.
There are thousands of people looking for the perfect match so they can receive a bone marrow transplant to live. My Mom is just one of those people, as is Emru Townsend. But there are thousands out there, and your bone marrow may be what they need to live.
So please, wherever you are, join the bone marrow donor registry. You may give someone the gift of life. And pass the word along. Thanks.
Finally, some moms want the world to know about their blogging daughters, and vice versa. Are they writing about each other? Check them out and see.
Kathleen Bell points out her daughter Mercy Bell's blog. I like.
Merideth Dodd is a photographer who wants everyone to check out her mom, Debbie Lincoln's, contemporary Western art blog. Really nice.
So that's the deal about some of the bloggers writing about moms right now. Thoughts? Blogs? Please share.
Still grateful for the potty-training (I hear it's kind of a big deal...) Laurie White spares her mother by not blogging about most embarrassing moments at LaurieWrites.
*Here are the ground rules for the newbies:
You're Feeling: sad
To Your Left: table
On Your Mind: story
Last Meal Included: moussaka
You Sometimes Find it Hard To: release
The Weather: sketchy
Something You Have a Collection of: Buddha
A Smell that Cheers You Up: coffee
A Smell that Can Ruin Your Mood: cigar
How Long Since You Last Shaved: day
The Current State of Your Hair: bedtime
The Largest Item On Your Desk/Workspace Right Now (besides computer): lamp
Your Skill with Chopsticks: eat!
Which Section You Head to First In the Bookstore: new
...and After That?: music
Something You're Craving: ocean
Your General Thoughts On the Presidential Race: chatty
How Many Times You've Been Hospitalized this Year: zero
A Favorite Place to Go for Quiet Time: bathtub
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd Be a Good: mom
Something that Freaks You Out a Little: rats
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately: nothing
You Have Never:stopped
You Never Want To: fail
Welcome to Typepad's refusal to unbold and unitalicize once the deed is done. It makes my head hurt so.
I still don't feel normal yet. I think it's a combination of a very difficult loss and jet lag, which is a one-two that I strongly do not recommend. Add to this a completely full hard drive on the computer and an external drive that I bought yesterday that just completely stopped working an hour ago, and it's just all kinds of awesome around here.
This means that I've downloaded my photos in one strategic location where I can retrieve them so they're not lost, but this is not a convenient place at all for me to work with or share them. I really want and need to dig in, I have so much to do with this stuff, but I can't, really. I realize that these are all completely first world problems, nothing earth-shattering and if I wanted real trouble at this point I'd have to go dig a hole in the backyard instead of moseying down the hall to my cushy bathroom, but I'm just getting so sick and tired of logistical complications. It makes me want to stay in bed and eat jelly beans, which is not exactly lending my life the ass-kicking it needs.
I lack energy still, in spite of my best efforts, and I still have remnants of dizziness. Turns out two 24-hour journeys in 12 days, sandwiching ten days of really concentrated physical and mental work, will take a little bit out of a girl. I've gone to work twice and I've made it to school when I need to, which is pretty good. Last night I was awake until a ridiculous hour, because my brain got confused and I was all, "I HAVE TO STAY UP. So what if I'm completely and embarrassingly ineffective both now and tomorrow! I'll be awake! Go me!" Watching Craig Ferguson doesn't count as an accomplishment, btw.
What I did do yesterday because I thought I deserved it (lolhahaha) was buy some music. I crawled to the Girlyman show, which I cried a good bit of the way through because apparently control over my emotions departs when the lights go down and sweet people start singing songs about grandmas dying and people going away and everybody basically angsting all over the place (not a slam, love them, it's just a lot of it kind of deep music. It's not My Humps, put it that way.) Before that I went to Best Buy and bought the ill-fated hard drive (I KNEW not to buy Western Digital over the SeaGate. KNEW it. Suck it, Western Digital.) and got the new Raconteurs and Counting Crows records, plus the Juno soundtrack. Juno was one of three movies that I watched on the plane on the way to Seoul, because Korean Air has these great but totally OCD-inducing screens in the seat back in front of you, so you have access to not only about forty movies, but also full channels of music, a flight tracker with about ten different views of the world as it throttles beneath you and a number of computer games. They have remote controls (seriously!) that double as controllers, so I played Magma Melt for more hours there and back than I care to count, totally afraid the whole time I was risking a seizure. Big smooches to Korean Air and their authentic food with real utensils (Hi, I have the big spoon. Sorry.) and their in-flight entertainment. Tan samida, friends.
I had not seen Juno before and it was fantastic. It had me at "Honest to blog." I loved it, even though it made me hate Jason Bateman who I loved when country wasn't cool. Him as a stupid skeeze who digs pregnant 16 year olds and not just an oddly attractive smartass was just too much to bear. Oh, and also, make him a commitmentphobic cliche who plays the guitar while you're at it. Muchas gracias. That's so original. Airsickness. But the rest of the movie was awesome and I love the soundtrack in the same way I love Garden State's.
And I have absolutely no idea why I'm writing about this other than to write myself to sleep, which wasn't going so well before, but now that it's 3:30 it seems to be kicking in. But first I'll say thank you for the notes and comments and e-mails. I know I should be actively responding but I can't. First of all I don't have much to say, which is an unusual condition for me that's usually reserved for situations that affect me most deeply and hit me the hardest. I've been pleasantly surprised by the kindness people have shown, because losing a pet isn't something that affects everyone the same way. And I've learned good things and bad about people through this process, but until I get more used to not looking for his little face everywhere and the need to care for him throughout the day gets less close to the surface, there's not so much to say. It's just the process, it's the way it goes. I do not like it, not any bit of a thing about it, but I find that just sitting with it is helping me, and I'm sure it will continue to do that.
This is the last picture I took with him. I made him sit in front of the iSight before he left for the vet because that was when I didn't think he'd come back. And you know, I do take pictures of things.
We both look kind of tired and he didn't want shit to do with the computer, but I'm glad I did it. He was nothing if not well-documented. And also now I know why I waited on the tattoo. It'll be something along these lines, for sure. Smaller than most of them, of course.
These are actually better shots from a couple of days before. We both look happier, I think. And had he known he'd only be around for a couple more days, I swear he wouldn't have been trying QUITE so hard to look aloof. Poor little monkey.
Also, and changing the subject while I'm going through PhotoBooth, bangs. Still getting acclimated to them. I think I had this same look in high school, and looking at these pictures makes me want to talk like a one-eyed pirate, which isn't good for anyone, trust me.
Life goes on, ahoy.
I've always liked that one. Lay-a-bed. Anyway, I hate headlines that make me work. And in this case, the fact that I didn't automatically know they meant "liberal" either makes me completely stupid, burnt out on all things Obama, or...something.
And yes, this does mean I'm back, deconstructing American mainstream media so you don't have to, and now you'll have more time to peruse People.com. Relieved? I know, me too. 15 hours of sleep since 4 p.m. yesterday and I think I'm pretty much ready to rock and roll, until sometime tonight when I pass out again.
But first, tonight, a welcome home Girlyman show! I can't think of a better way to come back home than two days of sleep and one of my favorite bands playing live. It takes away an infinitesimal (which is to say almost nonexistent) bit of the sting of walking in the door completely wired and exhausted to a dogless house and a beautiful package from Heavenly Days that includes what remains of my little guy. My feelings about this are the size of the world, shrunk down to the reentry lunch with my mother when we talked about it so I'd understand exactly what happened, and the half hour I spent sitting at the dining room table with him as soon as I got home. I have lots of tears for him, it turns out, 13 years of memories worth, I guess, which makes them the most essential kind.
As much as I knew it was true, I still can't believe it. I can't believe that's him in there, topped off with a sympathy note and a guardian angel pin of a dog with a halo and wings. My mother made all of his stuff go away because my parents couldn't stand it (I can't imagine what it was like, being here) and didn't want me to have to either, but it's still terrible, either way. I came downstairs when I finally woke up to the sun shining through the screen door and call me crazy, but because it's early spring and the perfect slice of light was hitting the entry way, I was genuinely surprised not to see him stretched out all Punkin-yoga style in it. It's really quiet around here.
Happy Easter to all my peeps (get it?) on the West Si-eed.
Jesus completely approves this message, by the way.
I always loved Easter. As a child enamored of all things edible, I loved the dinner part and the basket part because the basket part always meant CANDY OH MY GOD SO MUCH CANDY. Simply put, of the candy, I am a fan. This remains so. I found a mini-pack of Spree (blah, such low-rent solid sugar, man - bring on the SweeTarts, please.) in the bottom of my battered backpack yesterday in a bus somewhere on a ridiculous Vietnamese highway, and I was all happy all of a sudden. Candy.
The best part of Easter - you know, besides the GOSPEL, because duh, that's why we were there, right? Uhhuhuhhuhuhhuh - was Fannie Mae eggs. These buttercream eggs of love were the nexus of many happy, totally sugar crash-laden holidays, until the place pretty much went out of business regionally.
Now I've moved on. I eat the Cadbury mini eggs with the hard shell, and get much joy from either eating them straight though or hacking off the shell with my teeth and eating the chocolate bit by little bit. The coolest thing about this Easter may not have been the fact that I went two hours south to the most ancient villages in Vietnam and spent almost two hours in a boat being rowed through some of the most gorgeous rock and water landscape I've ever seen in my life. And that I also got some pretty enjoyable photos at the temples nearby. It also may not have been that we had a wacko "holiday" dinner at a chaca fish place, which is a local specialty more or less. These were pretty cool things, agreed, but the way things stand, I think it's pretty cool that I may well make it home in time to get some of those eggs on sale.
Finally and for great big grins, here's a BNL Easter song, if you're into that sort of thing. (Just check their tracks on the top right.)
I haven't been writing because I really haven't had time or energy, although I hoped to. My brain is too full though, today, so I had to get some of it out. Hence, a Hanoi update.
I guess it makes sense since I'm the pet editor. And with that, I will put my sweetie pie dog to rest.
My dog died today, on the other side of the world.
My post ís correcting itself based on the Vietnamese alphabet, which underscores the whole distance thing. It's a little frustrating. It in fact may show up with Vietnamese accents, because I'm seeing several of those so far that it's hard to do anything about.
He died at home, with my parents. My mom wrote me, because I don't have a phone here, and I just learned it tonight, after getting in from a place called Saloon 17, where someone requested Juice Newton's "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone", and the (very young) band nailed it.
That's one of those colorful details, you know.
It sounds dumb to say that my heart is broken in a new place, but it is. I know he made it to 13, and he had so many wonderful years with all of us. But whenever anyone dies - person or animal, holy shit, even a dream if you want to get technical - that's been important to our lives, it really dóesn't so much matter how old they were. I don't want to die. Do you? And I wanted him to live forever, plain and simple. I can't imagine my life anymore without him. It's going to be really hard. He was the best.
Mom said he had several stroke-like episodes, and finally just went to sleep. She said she and my father were actually quite relieved for him, because he was struggling so bad at that point (And that, Mr. Euthanasia below, is when it all starts to make sense.)
I'm glad that they didn't have to choose that for him, especially with me gone, and that they were with him, because they took such amazing care òf him over the past several years since I've been back in Maryland. They helped me care for him and do things that I couldn't have afforded. They opened up the house to the three of us - me and Punkin and Sunshine. She lived there until she died in 2001, and when I moved out to a place that couldn't take animals easily (so many steps, and he was used to his yard by then) he stayed with thẹm. I often joked that I was jealous that he loved them more than he loved me anymore, but it didn't matter. They were champs about it all and I really think he brought them as much ỏr even more than he brought to me.
I'm glad that, as she wrote me, they could set him on his pink poodle blanket (with his ears up, Mom said) and sit with him until the place opened up in the morning where he'll become something entirely different altogether.
And speaking of what he brought me, it was so many things, but in breaking it down tonight, I think it's a sense of home and belonging, plus a healthy dose of responsibility. I had to get home for him, and I had to make sure he was fed and healthy. He sat with me when I watched tv, when I wrote, when I yapped on the phone, and especially when I ate. He had a cookie every time I left the house and was waiting for me so many times when I came home, looking out my parents' screen door. I often picked him up and carried him around, because it was comforting for both of us.
When I got him I lived in Ohio. I was dating an alcoholic who nonetheless was very sweet and loved dogs. He went with me to pick him out and pick him up. Punkin was so small when I brought him home that he could stand in his plate - a dinner plate, which was all I had to feed him on the first day. I also had no couch, but I had a dog. I paid about $300 of my student loan money for him. It was without question the best money ever spent.
I had neither the time nor the money that it took to "train" him, so we made do. He never slept in the several beds I tried to get him to use over the years. It was either with me or my parents. He hated the outdoors, for the most part. He liked eating and he liked to play. He did both with great and powerful energy until two days ago. There would be no languishing here. Come to think of it, there wasn't for either of my dogs. This is something that I am grateful for.
I bonded with this dog to a ridiculous degree. Bostons don't like other dogs as much as they do their people. They want to be with you, and that was him times 1,001. He wanted to know what was going on at all times, and most of the time he wanted to be involved in it. We are similar in that regard.
I really wish I had my own room here. I can't stop crying and I'm in kind of a dicey roommate situation, so I asked but they don't have any more space. What I need is my own space to feel how I feel. Sad. I just feel somewhere past sad. Some of the girls opened up their room to me and spent some time with me and gave me hugs, which was very nice of them because I know it's no fun to deal with someone else's pain on the fly. It's a hard pain to explain to people who haven't had pets, and none of them had, but they were sweet nonetheless.
I will miss him for my lifetime.
My mother's e-mail told me to do the work I came here to do, and to focus, and I really believe that I can do that. It's mostly because I don't have a choice but also because it makes sense and it's the right thing. I just wanted to write about it here now both to get it out and mostly to thank everyone who's read along with me about him over the past few years. Some people have been inexpressibly sweet and very helpful in response, and I really appreciate it. As I told him every day about himself, you all are super nice. And if I could kiss you on the head long-distance, as went the rest of that routine, I surely would.