Dear Ma, Thanks for the air conditioner!

a rose for Ma

a rose for Ma

We’re enduring a very humid heat wave.  Ugh.  I left Arizona eons ago and hate heat!  The humidity is an unwelcome bonus.

But Mom gave me a fabulous air conditioner for my 50th birthday some years ago.  The a/c saved my sanity then and now.  Probably saved Big Mister’s sanity because it saved mine.  If you get my drift.

Thanks, Ma!

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set faze on stun **

The scene

8:30 pm on a Tuesday at home.  The house is quiet; Big is sleeping since he gets up at 4.

The Players

87 y.o Ma recovering from pneumonia

55 y.o. Kid recovering from sepsis

The phone rings.

55:  [Reeling into the other room to get the phone, but the vertigo is making me hit the walls.  Croaky voice] Hello?

87:  Laurie, I’m desperate.

55:  [oh no, there’s nothing I can do to help in my state!]  What’s up, Ma?

87:  Please put minutes on my phone.  The lady loaned me some so I could call you.

55:  [???!!  I don’t even ask.]  OK.  I’ll do that and call you back.  It should take only a few minutes.

55 spends 1/2 hour battling with the “easy” top-up on the computer, interjecting the same muffled, teeth-clenched Anglo-Saxonism as needed.

Big calls in to ask if it’s working and 55 whines that it’s not, panicking internally because I can’t understand all the words on the screen, and hoping he’ll do it for me even tho’ he really needs to be asleep.  Ah!  I hear him get up and come to the room–I apologize for the noise, and he closes the door!

9:00 p.m.  The phone rings.

55:  [tense voice, but trying to hide it]  Hello?!

87:  I thought I’d better check…

55:  [how is she calling me since she has no minutes on her phone, which I can plainly see on-screen?!!!]  Yes, I’m having trouble, so give me a few more minutes.

55 is starting to get a headache.  Called customer good-luck-finding-service and got it straightened away.

55 phones 87 and hellos are exchanged.

55:  Ma, you’re all set.  The phone people said you have to turn off your phone, wait a few seconds, then turn it back on.  Like rebooting your computer.  [Having vision of kicking any phone across the room.]

87:  Red phone.

55:  I’m sorry?

87:  Red phone.

55:  Red phone?  [The Armageddon Red Phone on the President’s desk?!  What?!]

87:  Yes, red phone.

55:  I don’t understand, Mom.  [Brain is pulsing with need to understand and desire to run away.]   Um, Ma what phone are you using right now?  [oh crap, of course she’s using the cell phone because I just called it.  This is hurting my head.]

87:  Little one.

55:  Oh, the cell phone!

87:  Yes!

55:  [Begin to repeat instructions from phone people and am interrupted.]

87:  I close the phone….

55:  No, you have to turn it off…  Oh!  The red phone on the phone!  To turn it off!

87:  Yes!!!

55:  [Trying hard to stay focused on instructions.]  Oh!  Hahaahahahhahhahaahha.  The red phone!  I couldn’t figure out why you were talking about the red phone on the President’s desk!   Hahhahahaaha!  [Completely unable to concentrate.]  Hahahahhaahahaha!

87:  Yes!  Hahahahahahahahah!

55:  Hahahahahahahahahahah!

87:  Hahahhahaaahaha!  Let me catch my breath!  [Pneumonia, remember?]

55:  Hahahhahahahhaa.  OK, all set now?  Haahhahahahhaha.  [Just can’t help it.  I have lost the ability to concentrate on a task.]

87:  Yes, all set.   Hahahhahaha!  Sleep well.

55:  Thank hahahhaaha you.  Haahhaha you hahahahahh too!

Moving the handset toward the cradle, still laughing and can hear Mom laughing still.  Oh how grand to laugh like that with her.  It has been months!

Definitely had a headache, but got through it.   Turns out I was right to conclude that I can barely manage my own life.  Took me 45 minutes to settle down after that.  Agggggghhh!

_______________

**  PS.  In case you’re from outta town, the title is a play on an oft-repeated line from the 1960s TV series, Star Trek.

can’t sleep; heart is overflowing

This has been a difficult time and not just for me.  But it’s still about me because I’m sad about my Mom.

She had her 87th birthday in the rehab center last week where she is recuperating from pneumonia.  I think she went into hospital around the 1st of April, but I can’t quite recall.   Tonight when I talked to her I was filled with the feeling that it was the last time I’d talk to her, that she will die from this bout of pneumonia.

Since I need to stay away from care centers and hospitals because my immune system is shot (Big says a visit to one of those places would be me courting a death sentence), I have not seen her since early February, a week before my own hellish roller coaster ride began.

The overflowing sadness is maybe I won’t get to see Mom again before she dies.  How crap is that?  It’s not supposed to be this way.  Of course, she nearly didn’t get to see me again, if you follow.

Big Mister has visited her in hospital and even on her birthday in the care center.  He took her little pastries as birthday goodies.  Will my last visits with Mom be by proxy?  I’m reminded of when Big’s mother was in hospital and dying two Februarys ago–I’d had extensive oral surgery and was on major drugs, so I said goodbye to her by proxy.

I can’t afford to have too many feelings about anything–I have way too much going on just getting through a day.   Can’t help anyone else until I’m whole again.  Can’t be much of a friend.  But I’m sad.  Partial brokenheartedness that is at a distance, the way so much still is for me.

And then, just because Life is full of lifeness as minlit says, BuddyBoop the cat, who adopted us through the kitty door, just came in the house, talking all through the rooms, in his monosyllable questions — Meowr?  Rowr?—  looking for someone, anyone and me responding to each syllable with a quiet BuddyBoop so he’d know where to find a monkey who is awake.  Cat and monkey call and response.

He jumped up here right onto my chest and scooched forward until his 15 fuzzball pounds were sitting almost under my chin (never mind that there was a computer on my lap).   He pressed his forehead against mine for several seconds–a very new thing for him–then turned around and stood on my belly so I was graced with a full view-and-sniff of cat-butt.  Thank you BuddyBoop.

fraility and pink mohawks

Ah, a long, sometimes sad few days.  How wrenching it is to see my elderly injured Mom coping with the long life she has been granted and the indignities that follow one on another.  She gallops toward 87 and assures me that despite these moments she wants to live.

Returning from the hospital on Sunday with me, the Big Mister heard that a friend had died.  This serious motorcyclist had a helmet with a pink mohawk glued to it!

We’re a little subdued and a lot tired, but oozing along anyway.  I am thankful for all this time I’ve had with my Mom–she’s a kick in the pantalones (to quote my sister!) and a fine addition to the Universe!

Thank you, Universe, for bringing me what and whom I need.

Here’s a post that poked me to remember my power and my happiness despite the challenges:    What if you only have 365 days left?

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Optimists…

The lovely pair over at the blog, Dear Optimists, asked folks to send in happy/optimistic stories.  I sent them a story about Mom and me.   I am delighted to say they published it and Nadia illustrated it!    Complete with my purple hair!

Please cruise around their blog and More

BEST part about being unemployed!

It is spending lots more time with my Mom.  Wouldn’t you want to find out what’s behind that smile??!!

My Mom!

For Mom…

The Hat Man on Interstate-5

Near our first night’s destination, we stopped to fill the propane tank just in case it was low–coffee to make and a furnace to run in case the temps actually drop below 75 deg F and 92% humidity!   This has been weird and unseasonable weather for us, not to speak of extremely uncomfortable.   Turns out we needed 4.7 gallons for our 5-gallon tank and would have risked not having coffee in the morning!  Yikes!

The high humidity enmeshed in the strands of heat reminds me of one summer in Toronto when a nasty inversion trapped pollution along with the stifling, thick air.

Mom made an executive decision to remove the three kids from that muck, leaving Dad to go to work as usual.    She gathered us and tons of gear into our almost-new 1970 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon and headed way, way outta Dodge to Algonquin Park where the four of us would sleep in a tent and paddle a canoe on the lake.

Did older Bruddah catch a fish?  Did little Sistah abhor the messiness of camping?  Bruddah and I took a canoe and paddled and paddled in that brilliant sun blinking off the lake, sure we could get to the other side, wherever that was.  We didn’t get there and had to turn back, perhaps a little worn out by the excited intensity of the outward-bound trip.

In those years, Mom was still only a mother, assumed as the parental presence without personality, without intricacies, without feelings and thoughts, so I didn’t know very much about what she wanted out of that trip or if she got relief herself from that suffocating weather.  Now that I am older than she was then, I can muse empathetically about Mom’s own need to get out of Dodge.  Did her claustrophobia get battered by that choking air, fueling the drive to flee to cooler air?

We all relaxed into the lake-fed cooler air, along with many other families on their summer vacations or who also were escaping the confined heat of the big city.

Back to the road trip here in present day.

Now, moving off with propane fueled and the tank stored again in its cubby in the side of the camper and Calpurrnia stored inside the camper instead of under the front seat.  It was only 10 miles to the state park within sight of Mt. St. Helens, the volcanic peak that erupted enthusiastically in 1980, blowing off part of its top and sending mudflow and ash every which way.  I was finishing college in Tucson then, but it was big news that we followed with alarm.

As we pulled onto Interstate-5 with the roar of 8 cylinders powering a workhorse engine, we heard a car horn tootling, but couldn’t figure out what we could have done wrong on our entry to the highway.  As we accelerated to highway speed, the Big Mister saw something startling in his side view mirror:  A car behind us stopped on the onramp and a passenger leaned out and picked something up.  I actually wondered aloud if it could be a gun.  He didn’t refute my outrageous, paranoid thought.

Big Mister kept watching the driver’s side rearview mirror and suddenly there was a car in the left lane keeping pace with us.   In the passenger seat, a young man was grinning crazily at us, his hat tipped over one eye, the highway speeds blowing the apparent wind in his face, and the southwest cant of the sun lighting up the dense tattoos along his arms.   The driver was grinning at us, too.

Then I said it–they’re going to shoot us, aren’t they?

There are cultural etiquette and personal space expectations for the freeway, so his crazy grin and the neck-and-neck travel at 60 mph was assaulting those expectations and suggesting strongly the ire of road rage piqued by some slight back at the onramp when we’d heard that horn.

Still moving along fast, neck-and-neck, door-and-door, that grinning fool out the window.  Only 10 or 15 seconds have elapsed, and then that car accelerated easily and fast to move into the lane in front of us.    Realization slammed the Big Mister and me both simultaneously as we took in that last look backward of the man with the crazy grin and the hat tipped over one eye:  he was wearing the Big Mister’s hat!

That sleek gold Audi pulled to the shoulder and we followed.  That crazy-eyed passenger, ink up the length of his arms, grinning still, ran back to us and handed the hat to me.   No words, just shared grins of acknowledgement.

We hope he gets a hat like that–he looked great!

 

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cartooning and coloring

I’m slow, but steady:  finished the mosaic cartoon, then made myself a cheat-sheet of the colors to order:

I’m planning to take a 5-day mosaics class in Ravenna, Italy when I take my month-long trip next February.  Since I’ve been booted out of the job market, because of my age (age-ism!!!!%$@), I’ve been casting around for other money-making ways.  Our culture is set up for 9-5ers, but I have always chafed at being squoze into that pigeonhole.  Even in my 20s a friend remarked, “But you’ve never wanted to work full time.”

Good thing, that, because with my weird proclivity for getting tired easily, I cannot work full time on someone else’s schedule.

Mosaics could be It.  I remember now how I got into concrete sculpture–I wanted to do outdoor mosaics!  So, got distracted by learning how to create my own dang substrates upon which to embed said mosaics.

(Aside:  getting distracted like this is something the Big Mister and I call a “moose muffin.”  It’s not what you think, partly because they produce tootsie rolls and not muffins.  There is a lovely children’s book called If You Give a Moose a Muffin, that splains what happens if you start with one thing with a moose….  And of course, having lived around mooses for many years in Alaska, I am particularly fond of the vision of giving a moose a muffin and other stuff!)

Ahem.  Mosaics.   Yes, there I was.  (There’s a dance that goes with that trying to remember where I was.  I’ve been told that I resemble Eddie Izzard the fabulous comedian/commentator when he dances around trying to remember where he was!)  Any-way, mosaics have been an art form for at least a kajillion years and probably served as wayfinders before that.

I like rocks.  Stones.  Tiles.

Thanks, Mom, for believing in me yet again!

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Copyright discussion, redux

I’ve been thinking about this copyright/thievery issue and WordPress is helpful.  I do wish placing a copyright were an automatic setting, a widget, so we could set it and forget it.  (Oh gee, just before the cursor was hovering over the publish button, it occurs to me that a custom/text widget would do the trick.  I’ll check later.  Yep.)

One further protective mechanism caught my eye and it’s a good one to consider–how the RSS feeds display our posts: here , the 3rd item in the list.

I keep meaning to do the Creative Commons licensing the way Hyperactive Inefficiency did — look in the lower right corner.  My eyes have glazed over every time I read the Creative Commons page and I don’t know what to do next.  It took me 3 months to choose the fabric for my sofa, and this is really important!  Yikes!

Help, anyone?  A place to start?

And good morning out there.  It’s gonna be a scorcher here (for me!)–about 82 deg F, about 27 deg C.  My Mom gave me a portable air conditioner for my 50th birthday and I am quite happy to use it!  I know when to tough things out, and sweating in my own house ain’t it!  I’m just sayin’.

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Color Pencils

Right after I put away my drawing tools, of which there are many, I needed them again!  Just not for garden design.

In one of my first posts, I showed a picture of the stones I’m making to serve as the patio for our pergola. 

Peony leaves and fish gravel!

Right now, the first 3 are in place by the fountain so that one of them gets splashed on one side, changing the effect of the embedded leaf patterns.  The last 5 stones are still curing, and they will all be able to come out and play by the end of the month.  The consistent theme is the embedded peony leaves; to each stone, I added different bits of glass, marbles, cut-marble, and even a string of tiny blue beads.   (The Big Mister asked me if that string was from Mardi Gras, and if so, how did I end up with them?!  Harumph.  The answer is no, they didn’t and I didn’t.)  All of those bits came from my long-collected-at-garage-sales supply of mosaic pieces and parts.

Which brings us back to the drawing tools.  I decided 8 stones were enough for now and that I needed to move on to something else.  I cast a shallow 15-inch-diameter bowl in white concrete and sand with the intention of mosaicing the inside.   I pored over my mosaic books and found a design that seemed to fit the idea of a shallow bowl that will live outside, gathering rainwater, and probably turn out to be yet another water bowl for the cats. 

Buddy Cosmo Scooter: he gets called many things! He adopted us through Calpurrnia's kitty door.

Not because I deemed it so, but because, well, they’re cats and they choose what they choose and we have little control. 

Calpurrnia

I digress. 


Out came the color pencils and oil pastels, along with the circle template. 

Didn’t need the drawing scale because I knew I’d be eyeballing pencil to paper.

architect scale

Modified the design as I sketched.  The colors were harder to decide upon, but once I parsed the artist’s intent I knew what to do next.  My usual jewel tones are missing from this outing; instead there are unusual pastels, the darker shades rather than the ubiquitous pinks and blues.

The colors remind me of the Tuscan landscapes I will soon experience in person:  sandy white, even celadon green (my favorite color), a burst of deep sky blue, and burnt Siena.  All those years ago with my box of crayons, I’d marvel at that name, burnt Siena, and wonder where that name came from.   I figured it was some kid who had charred a town!(Blaming a kid was logical because with my brother, my partner-in-crime, as kids we were playing with matches in the woods and, um, accidentally set those remote woods on fire.  Fire trucks.  Hoses.  Mom looking at us and knowing, which means the firefighters knew it was us.  I’ve never been the same after torching Mother Nature.)

You must see a photo of the town of Siena in Italy to understand perfectly.

Siena, Italy

See the "burnt" Siena?

So, it’s off to the mosaic tile store to choose and price (I am unemployed still, after all!) the colors I talked over with my Mom.  (Oh, my Mom!  How many posts could I make about my fabulous Mom?  She is a huge part of the inspiration of the post called Fan-Fare.)

Ah, the creativity and inspiration that arise when the tired recedes.


© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creative Commons License

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