Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I get that I am a freak. Please stop making me say it.

Tonight I decided to treat myself to getting my eyebrows threaded and a pedicure. Really I have a to attend a wedding in a few days, and I don't want to look like Joan Crawford a la later years. I avoid threading as long as possible (because I was hate pain), but I was starting to look like my eyebrows had eyebrows. I even put numbing cream on my eyebrows to make it hurt less (which I don't think works, or I am just really a wimp). So when I went in tonight and shamefully said, "It's been a couple of months, please be gentle." She was as gentle as possible, but she kept going on and on about how my eyebrows were uneven and I needed to stop plucking the left one. Over and over I said, this is natural. Finally I said, "Sorry my eyebrows are freakish, but this is as good as it gets." Once she finished she asked me one last time to stop plucking the left one. I told her I would.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Good news, your mother died of a heart attack."

I had a bad feeling when I answered the phone, and I should have listened to my inner voice. The caller was my mother's doctor called me and that is what the receptionist told me.

Just so we're clear, this is not good news. I get that you are excited this means your shady medical practices with my mom won't be called into question. But to call me happy is just gross.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Of course you need a crowbar to open the urns. Makes total sense to me.

I had all these thoughts for how the scattering would go. I found prayers from all over the world, I cut flowers, and I even brought a small cup of Pepsi and coffee (my mom and grandma's favorite drinks). I hoped for something that was respectful and maybe even classy. Stanley went with me to pick up the bodies. They handed Stanley the urns and me the permits to scatter ashes. And away we went.

Lesson #1 ask the funeral people how to open the damn box.

Jump to me, Carl and Stanley freezing at 930 at night on the end of a pier trying to pry open the urns. Those things were closed like a Japanese puzzle box. Pulling, pushing, and a Swiss army knife did not work. Finally Carl remembered he had a crowbar in his car we used that to open them up. Lesson #2 buy a crow bar to keep in my car.

At one point this lovely couple came over to the end of the pier, no doubt to have a romantic moment. They glanced over at us trying to pry the box apart (Carl handling the crowbar and Stanley and I prying the lid back). The operation became klassy.

An hour after we arrived we finally opened all the urns. Due to wind factors we had to kneel on the end of the pier to let them go. In the first go around Stanley dumped grandma, and I took one of the dogs. I tried not to freak about the thought of kneeling in bird poop, as I poured out the dog. I was not good at pouring and some of the ash ended up on the edge of the pier. Without thinking I tried to sweep the ash off the edge with my shoe. Now my shoe has dead dog on it. Lesson #3 bring a broom the next time ashes need to be dumped.

At this point I am freaking out at the ash on my shoe, and make Carl finish scattering dog ashes. As Stanley begins to lower my mom I remember the flowers and the drinks and pour them off the pier. The cup I brought poured out in a way that looked like I was peeing off the edge of the pier. Which is how the night should have ended.

Towards the end of the whole blessed affair Carl asked me if I wanted to say a prayer or poem. I told him no, I didn't need to. At that point I just wanted to clean my shoe (which I did with both water and hand sanitizer), a drink (which Stanley thoughtfully brought), and to warm up. The next day we went out to the pier in the light of day. I wondered how far the ashes traveled, and then I looked down at a chalk like mark at the end of the pier and said hi to the dog.

I don't know how I was supposed to feel after this. Websites said I would feel all sorts of different things. They showed pictures of people looking happy to scatter their loved ones. I am grateful that I wasn't covered in ash, and I hope they are okay with the choice I made. And above all, I wished I did not have to do it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move dead bodies.

I have been thinking of this quote all week as I think of two of my best friends, Carl and Stanley. Not only were they an amazing resource for me with all the craziness of funeral and reception planning, but they are the most helpful people I know. On the day my mom died my uncle told me that when my mom's ashes were ready to be picked up I could just pick up my grandmother's ashes too. Awe. Some.

From the beginning they have said that they will help me figure out how to scatter 4 sets of ashes (mom, grandma and two dogs). And let me tell you, yesterday I looked online for suggestions in making the scattering more respectful, and I came away more disturbed then ever. Through this whole process I have been overwhelmed, stressed, angry at unhelpful people, and absolutely blessed with all the good people in my life.

It's funny the things I have learned about myself through this process. One is that I am terrified that when I try to scatter their ashes I will then be covered in dead people/animals. And the second is that I am really freaked out about the thought of looking at my mom or grandma's ashes. When the time comes to scatter them I know I can count of Carl and Stanley to help me do whatever I need to. Even if that means making them dump them while I stand far far away.

Okay I really learned three things about myself. The third being I am very disrespectful of this entire process. When ever I talk about scattering the ashes I use the words "dump the bodies." I guess a career as a funeral director is not in my cards.

This week has been a whirwind of emotions, but I am always comforted by the support of my friends and family.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I feel fine enough I guess. Considering every thing's a mess.

And here comes the crap. I knew everything was running too smoothly for my family. And I knew better than to trust my aunt's offer to help when her M.O. is to avoid stress. So I have entered the fuck it (aka anger) part of grief and I find that it is not in the loss of my mother but in the actions of her siblings. Today my uncle called me to tell me that the truck I thought belonged to my mother is legally his, and he doesn't want to ask for money, he just wants the rest of what ever amount my mother owed him. Which is asking for money in my book. I told him I needed to talk to my dad, and then he basically implied my father (who has until this point paid for most of my mother's funeral arrangements) could pay him what he thinks is fair. To mis-quote Mr. Heston, "over my cold dead body." My father has paid enough and if my uncle wants money he can sell the damn truck.

Tonight I went to see the Bare Naked Ladies Perform and when they sang "Pinch Me" I thought my mom. It's funny that things that now make me think of her.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The art of loss...

About 14 days after my grandmother passed away my mother died. She died suddenly and at this time the cause is unknown. In a moment I went from stressed out at the thought of my mom living with me to numb at the thought of planning her funeral and packing away her life.

I have noticed a couple of things with this loss. One is that some people suck at offering condolences. My mother's doctor told me that my mother's spirit would come back to haunt me. My landlord told me to remove every picture from the walls for one year. The day her body was found the police chaplain told me not to feel guilt, because she was dead and there was nothing I could do about it. Not. Helpful.

The second thing I have noticed are the blessings that come from loss. I have gotten an outpouring of support from my family and friends, and this process has help me to learn how to ask and receive help. I will forever be grateful to those who have helped me. I am very blessed.

My mother and I were very different in many ways, but she loved me to the best of her ability and l loved her to the best of mine. I wish her life could have been easier and happier, but I find solace in knowing that she is in a better place. My mother will live on in all the acts of kindness she showed to those she loved. My mother was always so afraid of being insignificant, and this week has showed me, and hopefully her, how very much she was loved.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer." -Albert Camus

On Wednesday evening my grandmother died. Some highlights of the last several days have been writing my grandmother's obituary. In her hospital room. While she was still alive. A few hours later I was once again in the hospital room trying not to look at her dead body (which I did see and now can't get out of my head), trying to comfort my family (while keeping my head out of the room so I wouldn't look again), and trying not to think about the future. When my mother held my hand in the hospital she commented that I was colder than my grandmother was. Today I felt chilled and wondered if I was still colder than dead.

At the funeral and the reception I felt numb. I sat near my mother because my job was to comfort her, but I seemed to forget how. I couldn't hug her with out feeling stiff, so I patted her leg quite ineffectively while she mourned her mother. At the luncheon to honor my grandmother I felt out of place, maybe because I have not yet mourned her. Towards the end of it I sat near my aunt as she explained to a group of women that my mother was going to move in with me. The table of women all turned to me and commented on how great that will be. One women said my mother must love the idea. "Yes." I said, "she loves it." That was the safest answer I could give.

In case this isn't stressful enough I have one week until my first licensure exam. And I woke up this morning with the beginnings of a sore throat. I am calling this week the trifecta o'crap.

My grandmother was an amazing cook, a giving woman, and I loved her tremendously. I am so grateful for the time we had and I am happy she is now at peace. Once I have taken my test I hope to be able to sit with my memories of her, and rejoice in the life she had.

Though it was 100 degrees where I live, the last few weeks have felt like the darkest nights of winter. As I was driving tonight I knew it was time to find my sun again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Breathe In. Breathe Out

I am pretty sure my grandmother is dying. Sorry about the blunt opening. Her heart is failing, she is now on oxygen and she doesn't seem to remember things so well. I will miss her when she goes, but my real anxiety comes with my mother. After visiting my grandma today, I realized how little time I have left before I am the caretaker of a 54 year old woman. Before I will ever be ready that's for sure. I thought I would have years. I thought i would own a house with a detached apt. I thought I would be ready for this. I am so anxious for myself and what my life will become. My mother expects me to save her somehow. Most days I am barely keeping myself a float, and I realized today how selfish I have become. I am not the more thoughtful daughter, and I love my independence. In the end what ever happens, happens. All I can do is be the best in the situation, and not let it get me too down. A song from Mat Kearney popped into my head and it has been my mantra tonight. A big part of me wants to wallow tonight, so instead I am going to work out, go out to dinner, and to the movies. I am going to live positively as much as I can. This is a bleak post I know, and I am imagining worst case scenarios with my future roommate. God knows, living my mom will definitely give me more to blog about.
Here are my favorite lyrics:
Look left
Look right
To the moon and the night
And everything under the stars is in your arms.

May your night be full of positive things. Or at least lots to blog about.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Random Thoughts

Why is it that every time I work out I instantly want to bake afterwards? Damn self sabotage.

I don't watch American Idol, but today when I saw Yahoo news and the gay guy came out -My first thought was, "really, this is a surprise?" I guess it's good that he is honest from the start (coughClaycough)

Again with yahoo news (which has become my news source) there is a post about a dress that Megan Fox wore to the Seoul premiere of Transformers that is supposed to be really risque. It did not look that amazingly racy to me. Am I missing something?

Saturday I am getting cable for the first time in almost a decade. But I am only doing it because on Friday I am losing my television signal. Damn government. But so happy for hgtv. I anticipate Sunday will involve a lot of sitting on the couch.

Speaking of outdated, I am currently using a cell phone that is about 6 years old. It was my second cell phone and for some reason I held on to it (aka pack rat). My trendy flip phone broke a while ago and AT&T was less than helpful. So I pulled out old faithful. Saturday I was in Whole Foods and dropped it on the floor. It completely came apart, but when I reassembled it there was no problem. Say what you will about the croaking ring tone or the lack of blue tooth, this baby's a keeper.

That's all I got.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Who Attended the Rally on Saturday...

A Rabbi who quoted the Torah

A Priest who offered hope and acceptance and the reminder that God loves all of his children.

A Baptist Minister who walked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr from Selma to Montgomery, and who argued that this civil rights issue is as important as the issues of the 1960's were for African Americans.

An academy award winning screen writer who made me cry with his words of hope to the GLBT youth who are feeling abandoned by their families and communities. He cited the statistics of suicide in adolescent and young adults who are gay and it made my heart hurt.

An Emmy winning actor who spoke out to the people who voted yes on prop 8. The quote that stands out is "How does this issue hurt you?"

An academy award winning actress (okay so I missed her talk because I was trying to get water and my camera).

Activists from all over the country.

A singer who sang a chilling version of "Midnight Train to Fresno." You tube it if you can.

Grandmas holding the hands of their grand kids.

Grandpas holding signs of love.

Men and Women holding on to their partners.

Children listening, playing, and being accepted for who they were.

Gay people standing together.

Straight people standing with them offering support.

I felt such hope being at that rally. I know that was a major point of the rally-keeping hope alive. All the speakers spoke about telling your story. It is important to be heard and maybe one day understood. My story is simple. I am a straight girl from a small community who agrees with the quote that, "injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere." I am a passionate person, but this issue has made me stand up for my beliefs in ways I would have never predicted. After the rally I called my dad and told him where I was and what I heard. I was glad he heard me.

I have also been trying to come to terms with my feelings about people who "celebrate" the ban on same-sex marriage. There are two men in particular who are referenced a lot in my community for "celebrating" the ban. I feel a lot of anger towards them. I also feel sad for them knowing how bigoted it makes them look, and this is how history will see them. At the rally I thought of them and I thought of the governor of some southern state decades ago standing in front of a school to prevent African American children from attending. That is how the men in my community will be remembered by my children. Standing in the way of justice. I thought about writing them a letter to let them know my anger that a "man of God" could be so cruel. But then I fell back on my clinical training. If I had a mean child as a client I would not give him any attention, so I will do the same with them. When they are on the TV I will turn it off, when they are on the radio I will change stations.

At church Sunday morning I was still lost in my own thoughts of this issue, and the injustice of it all, when I found a prayer that I had forgotten about. It pretty much summed up the rally and the upcoming fight in both the state and federal arena.

Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meet in the Middle 4 Equality

Saturday people from all over California will be meeting in at City Hall in Fresno to rally in support for same sex marriage. It starts at 1 pm.

Years from now I will talk to my kids about believing that everyone should have basic civil rights, and I will remember how I stood up for those beliefs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ruling Today.

The California Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the ban on same sex marriage. For all of you who voted to "keep marriage safe," I am sure this ruling brings you comfort. Now the "scary" gays will no longer make your marriage unsafe.

I am in shock. I do not understand how a state that speaks so much about rights for people can uphold a law that discriminates. And I don't care what your moral belief is-the ruling to uphold the ban on same sex marriage discriminates.

I am ashamed to live in California.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I may be mad but my kitchen is sure clean...

My upside to angry feelings is cleaning. Aside from cleaning the kitchen with a vengeance last night, I have also been working out longer at the gym. I have even tried to jog it out. Which is dangerous because I just end up tripping over my feet. As thrilled as I am for this week to be over, I have an 8 a.m. class on statistics to look forward to on Saturday morning. Yeah, this week's a peach. Tomorrow's going to be so much fun I am already anticipating cleaning my bedrooms when I get home from the gym.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Some Days I Am Not Paid Enough

I was walking in the hallway right now and someone stopped me and asked me to look at something that was found on the ground. Note to future self, don't touch random things given to you. As I looked at it and tried to figure what it was the people walked away, leaving me with the device. It was small, required a battery, and had an instruction not to put on inflamed skin, or skin that had erupted, or if this device causes pain to stop using. Given it's shape and the previous description I am pretty sure I was holding part of a pocket vibrator, and had a freak out moment in my head. I went straight to the industrial size hand sanitizer and threw the piece out. I then went to the people who handed it to me in the first place, and made them use the sanitizer too. This was after having a child tantrum so hard I thought he was going to puke on my shoes. I heart Wednesdays.

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter."Martin Luther King Jr.

My alternate title to this post was going to be, "Shame on You State Legislature!"

If you live in California then you know we have a major budget crisis. The legislatures have decided to help their budget deficit they would de-fund current programs. Programs like the lottery money given to education; First 5 money that goes straight to local counties to support programs for children 0-5; and the newest prop, the Mental Health Service Act, which is a 1% tax on anyone who makes one million or more a year. This program goes for mental health programs, and it is currently what I work under in my local county.

Legislatures and the government have decided to put a large percentage of these funds into the general fund, so they can fund programs they are obligated to in their own budget. Because all these programs were voted in by the people, to change them a special election is needed. Politicians being who they are have made the wording on the different amendments very tricky, and it sounds like you are helping children. Really it is just taking money from programs already in existence, and it may close programs that are desperately needed.

I said all that to say this, VOTE NO ON Props 1A through 1F on May 19th. If we think California is in bad shape now, then de-funding programs is not the answer.

I would also encourage you to write to your legislatures and even your governor and tell them how wrong it is to do this.

But if letter writing is not your style, then at least make sure you vote no in the special election!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy S.A.D.!

It's another Singles Awareness Day and I here I sit, hoping this will be a good one. So far I have no complaints. I have new living room furniture, enjoyed a nice breakfast with my dad, and am actually cleaning. I even saw Supermommy and was able give her kids some candy (thus insuring their love and devotion). Tonight the plan is to see Coraline and bowl. I am trying to knock on wood as I type, but so far it looks like the curse of the weapon wielding toddler will pass me by this year.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"I don't know, maybe it's a girl thing, but after we did it and he gave me the steak coupon I just felt good about myself."- Meredith, The Office

I just love this episode of The Office.

I made a big girl purchase yesterday and bought a living room set. It will be my first time as an adult not owning a sofa that came from a yard sale or friends getting rid of furniture. I am also looking at buying a house. It took me 5 years to buy a new sofa, so I don't think it will be a quick purchase. To be honest, excited and like I want to throw-up whenever I look at the current listing of for-sale homes in my area. I guess I'll know the house is right when excitement beats vomit.

I am so glad tomorrow is Friday. And I am glad that I don't have to whore myself out for steak coupons and product discounts.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Like I needed another reason to become a functional alcoholic

This has not been my best week. Mostly because I feel overwhelmed with my mom; trying to take care of her and still be sane. I have had two mini breakdowns in which I called friends panicky that these years might be the highlight of my life. So far I have two people on guard to monitor my downward spiral into despair (some mothers give pearls, the women in my family should give badges for bitterness). I know one day i will become a full-fledged Bitter-Betty Scout, but right now I hope I am still a junior bitter brownie. Maybe I should make a sash to hold all my badges.

To try and find some hope, I looked at my Chinese Horoscope for 2009. According to the website, the year of the Ox will only be 32% positive for me. I will have 8 (count 'em 8) bad months. It says my work will feel stagnant and trying to find a significant other will be mission impossible. Oh and I should not think about myself so much and take care of my family and friends more. I clicked off the site, took another drink of vodka and went back to watching the Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie. Here's hoping January is going to count as a bad month.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Happy Inauguration Day!! I am so excited for President Obama, and yet I am sad that I had to work today and I missed all the inaguration stuff. Here's hoping the next 4 years suck a little less than the previous 8.

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I got sick before Thanksgiving and it has only been in the last week that I have felt better.

Here's to Obama and strong antibiotics.