Sunday, August 16, 2015

Growing Up

If there was ever a season that life began to make complete sense, it is now. It really shouldn't though. This year has been cruel to my family, the waves keep crashing into each of us, yet I have found a version of peace. "It is easy to be heavy, it is hard to be light" is how I described my old friend to a room of mourning strangers. I think I knew half of what that truly meant back then. Only recently does her memory flood over me and I can really feel the depth of that phrase.

It is easy to wallow in pain felt, the past can become the well in which we draw, judgement we disburse and even the lack of empathy we possess. It is easier to fall apart than not. It is easier to see what is wrong, to feel the offense, regret, jealousy, anger and resentment . It can be easier to blame and hold a grudge, than to forgive.

I stayed in this sense of endless sadness when my dad got sick this year. By getting sick I mean having an out of the blue major stroke that caused him extensive brain damage and loss of all that parts that made him my dad. I was so angry during that time. We took him off of life support and waited, but he didn't die right away. So we had to leave him and go back to our lives. I remember wondering through an airport in Dallas and staring at all the girls that were my age and all the men that were his age and being so jealous that they got to still have a father and be a man. But we were left with nothing. Never another phone call, never another word of wisdom or laughter or a shared joke. My father is a shell and no matter how hard I tried to fix him, I just couldn't .
I got lost in that. In my misery. I looked for blame and answers and in the midst of it found anger.

Life is not a balance of good and bad. It is a giant mess of why me, why them, why us and why now? I am certain that those whys find us. They sneak into our lives in the most unexpected ways and send waves of pain crashing over and around us for years to come. It is not how we live in these moments that make them easier, it was how we lived in the ones proceeding it that keep us together.

I will always know what my dads laugh sounds like, because we laughed so often together. I still have the  pair of earings he gave me the Christmas I saw him and hold in my memories the dance at my wedding, the first car ride, the road trips and soccer games and how home made whipping cream in my coffee will always remind me of the summer we spent in Argentina. Those are the things that fill my heart and remind me of him.

I know that life is bigger than the pain we endure. It is as big as the memories we craft. They are made on uneventful Tuesday's, on the drive home, over Sunday brunch, through a cell phone or a long walk. It is the small moments we spend being light that opens our minds and hearts to really be alive. It gives us hope, empathy, compassion and kindness and those are the tools for true joy. I think we have to stop complaining about our lives and soak up each stage and each chapter, cause only when you seek the silver lining do you ever find it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dealing with waiting

This was a hard week. My brain feels foggy and my body feels exhausted. I go through these waves of sadness where all I want is to be in San Diego with my dad. The problem with all this chaos and trauma, is you have to keep living an alternate life of being someones mom, wife, friend and employee. I feel like taking a really long nap and staying under the covers and not doing life.
But that can't be. I have responsibilities and task lists and commitments. I feel like there was this massive thing that went on and maybe it wasn't real because all the people and places that were part of it are absent from my regular life. I don't like to talk about it, it's so big and crazy and words can take me back to those moments. But I need to let it out of my head cause holding all of those pieces in is making me mad.

The phone call came at 3:30 am on Saturday .
I was on a direct flight to San Diego by noon. I rode in the rental car shuttle with a med student and couldn't summon the courage to ask her what she knew about stroke. I focused, something I do well in crisis. Rental car to the border. A 2 hour drive that I finished in 1 1/2. I met my brother and sister at  Denny's in a crappy border town I had never been to. They had been there since the 3:30 phone call, opting to drive from LA in the middle of the night instead of fighting with sleep that wouldn't come.

We drove to the hospital from there. Arriving in a Mexican town that was reminiscent of a cartel kidnapping movie. It was dirty and poor and I reminded myself to be on alert. My sister and I are both blond with blue eyes. I am always afraid for her since understanding human trafficking.
We parked at the hospital lot and paid an old man in pesos so out car wouldn't get stolen. There was no waiting room, just this outdoor courtyard where people were camped out. We made our way to the new wife, the one he had moved here for. They remarried after the divorce and I had never met her. We made introductions in Spanish and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was scared. I tried to gather information and was met with "no se", the Spanish equivalent of I don't know anything.

I wanted so see my dad. My brain needed to register what was wrong so I could fix it. It doesn't work that way in Mexico though. 2 visitors once a day. She went first and stayed 45 minutes. My sister and I waited to see him only to be informed that only 1 of us could go up. I asked her what she wanted to do and she said she wanted to see him. She is barely 18, still in high school. I waited outside and formulated a plan with this new family of his.

I sat for hours the next day waiting to speak with a doctor I was eventually told would only speak to her. I frantically wrote down questions about his condition and translated them on google. I handed her the paper and tried to be both direct and calm, but I needed to know how bad this was and she was the only messenger.

The answers were broken pieces that survived 3 rounds of languages. The just of it being that this was bad. The stroke was left brain and massive. He was paralyzed and his brain was swelling. He had a 10% chance of ever walking or talking again. The plan, wait.

I am not a good wait and see type person. I act fast and think of 3 various options at the same time. My mind was already spinning, but I couldn't take her words as reality, cause this still wasn't real. I needed to see him.

Careful what you ask for. He had been moved from ICU, already. He was laying in a hospital bed that could of been a prop in movie about the wars in Eastern Europe. He was wearing a diaper and had a catheter dangling off the floor. There was no pillows or blankets or IV or machines or nothing. But there 5 other people in the room, all in severe condition. I touched his head and sweat was dripping down his face. His face, same but distorted. The line in his forehead. His lips were swollen together from his saliva being trapped there. There was a Styrofoam cup with brown liquid resting on the table near his bed.

"do you speak English" I asked the 20-ish intern looking nurse.
"No" he replied.
I used my broken Spanish to ask why he was so hot, was he running a fever, did he have an infection?
"no se"
I asked to see the doctor. He was not there. He was about to leave. He had already left.
I do what I usually do and do something, anything. I walked in to the staff restroom without asking if I could and grabbed wadded up paper towels to wet and cool him off. I rubbed his head with the towels and forced his lips open and used my Victoria's Secret Chapstick.

I held his hand and he squeezed my hand really tight. I told him where he was, what had happened and that I would take care of everything. I told him to fight. I told him I loved him and I left before it was time to go cause I felt like throwing up.

We crossed back in to the states. I needed a working phone, a computer and time to mobilize a plan. I told my mother to come, quickly. She is the ex wife, but I needed her fearless ability to move mountains now.

I didn't sleep and I didn't cry. I listened to my 23 year old brother weep in the dark and all I could think to do was hold him. I was 10 when he was born, so holding and comforting him was natural. But this was big. This was dad. This could be death.

Mom would make her way through the border and hospital chaos and when we finally saw her she was being ushered in from the back door up to see dad. Even in a third world hospital the runs didn't apply to her. I could see it in her eyes when she returned 20 minutes later. This was bad.

We kept mobilizing that day. Asking questions, meeting people from his new life, understanding the rules of this game. We went to his house. I cried in his office. I couldn't let my self miss him yet. So I didn't allow myself to cry much. On to the next, the next border crossing, the next hotel, the next decision.

Somewhere in there Chance, Bianca and I went to eat in a Chinese restaurant. We all ended up crying and it got so bad that I went to the bathroom and threw up.
What about my graduation?
My wedding?
The World Cup?
Do you think Dad knows we are here?
Do you think he's going to die?

That last question would echo in mind during another sleepless night. I found rehab centers and hope stories and forced blind optimism to guide me.

I woke up renewed to fight this. To do anything to fix dad. To fix Che and B. Our first stop was the one hospital in this shitty town that people directed you to when you posed the question "Where do people with money go when they get sick"?
The honed travertine floors and granite counter tops gave me a sense of comfort. Stupid, I know. But if some doctor in a nice hospital with a high priced education could tell me the same news as the dilapidated one was, then maybe I could accept it. I waited outside while mom and Chance started asking questions, The biggest one being how much of course. That's the screwed up part about life, that in the depths of true tragedy, money is usually the only answer.

I could tell by the way she said my name that something was really wrong. Her tone, the pitch, the way she drew out the word, it made me feel like I was 5 years old and about to cross the street without looking.

This good hospital had called that bad hospital and the news was somehow worse than it had been until that moment. His brain was swelling so much that his skull was not big enough to contain it. In a matter of hours the swollen brain would force its way down his neck and kill him. The only way to save him was cutting open his skull so the brain could swell outside of his head.

Brain surgery.

The cost to save his life was decided to be $10,000.00. Deposit. That was where we start from. He would need to be transported from the bad hospital to the good one and immediately have this surgery. The money was the way to make that happen. Leaving him at the bad hospital meant he would die, by dinner time.

I called Justin, my older brother. The only piece of this puzzle that couldn't be there. He was in his own hospital, welcoming his first child to the world. The irony of him loosing the only father we had ever known and becoming one at the same moment in time. Justin is direct, factual and quick. He could hear it in my voice. I needed to hear his at that moment. I needed strength that he some how manages to retain even in the worst moments of life.

$10,000.00? he asked
"to start" I replied
"and if not he dies"
"Send me your account number"

Finally, an ally.

I tried unsuccessfully to have Wells Fargo up my daily limit to $10,000.00 for a transaction in Mexico. They would not give. The ambulances were now waiting. The clock was ticking. I kept asking myself what would dad do?
Then it came to me. I had a business credit card in my wallet. I called my boss and asked to use the card to save his life. She agreed. And with one swipe of a piece of plastic, we were still in this fight.

The last thing I remember was something about him not being able to survive the ride over. The brain trauma and all, the Mexican pot holes, the actual logistics of moving him. Risk it, what else could we do.

The bad hospital needed their bill paid first. COD for his life that was now literally clicking away. More high speed car rides, ATM's, Conversions, Pesos, Hallways, Offices, Spanish, Forms, Signatures, Keys. I was on auto pilot. Do whatever they want, just do it fast.

Chance stayed at the bad hospital to see him off while we waited at the ambulance bay at the new hospital to see if he was still alive. Later, Chance would tell me that they brought a corpse out first in a body bag while he was waiting.

We stood outside and waited for the sound of a siren. Minutes felt like months. They finally whaled in the distance and I braced myself for what might be next. The ambulance pulled in slowly and carefully backed up in to their designated spot. People were still walking around, somehow the world was still going and that felt surreal. The doors opened and I saw dad. He was still there. There was this huge breathing tube covering his face.

The brain surgeon met with us and explained, in more eloquent terms, what we already knew. This was a last ditch effort to save his life. He probably won't ever be the way he was, but without it, he would die.

"If this was your father, what would you do"?
"Have the surgery".

OK then, lets go.

But there is a chance he won't survive the surgery. Great, this again.

Hours and hours go by. I find myself waiting outside the OR doors listening to U2 on my iphone. Praying. Crying.

He makes it out of the surgery. He is moved to ICU. He is stable. We wait now.

When I see him here, in this space, I feel relaxed. Here is has real nurses and tons of machines and tubes and fancy medical equipment. They shaved his face and half his head and even though there are these giant staples the length of his scull, he looks better. I like that he has a pillow and a warm blanket. His lips aren't chapped now.

This man that paid for my private school education, my first car and designer prom dresses. This man that took me on a limo ride through central park and had an ice sculpture at my 16th birthday, deserved at least his dignity back.

We wait around until the bill is due. A nightly occurrence at the nice hospital. You pay the balance each night. $3,600.00. Not bad for the first crucial 24 hours. But this can't last forever. Money does have it's limits.

I leave Mexico alone the next day and head towards the states. I eventually fine my way in to a large conference room with the head of this American hospitals Social Services Department. I tell her the highlights, the concerns and plead her for help. I get a crash course in American Health Care. I ask her finally what she would do. She turns over her badge and swears me to secrecy.

Drive him to the border and call 911. Get him to the states.

Another kind soul at the local ambulance dispatch center tells me not to pre pay for the transport, you can get back logged. Get to the border and call 911.

This seems crazy, all of this. But I am running out of options here. I decide not to tell the new wife. I prefer to deliver this plan in an urgent moment where she doesn't have time to think. She can't cross the border and seems to be more emotional that logical. It's a cultural thing. You wait and pray and hold a vigil. But that won't save him, and I can only operate from the point of view of saving him.

The decision is made the next day when the bill jumps to another $12,000.00. ICU, medication, bullshit. I think it's a shake down. How does $10K get you emergency brain surgery and $12K gets you nursing? Whatever. I puke again. My stomach has replaced my tears and instead of weeping I keep getting sick.

Now the conversation and her decision. She knows it right, but still hates it. I drive to his house and gather his passport, drivers license and anything else that I might need. I tell mom to ride in the ambulance. If anyone can get 2 countries to work together to save someones life, it is her.

More form and signatures about the possibility of him dying again. This concept is beginning to loose its punch. Goodbyes, cash to the wife, promises to the hospital staff and more waiting.

The border is 2 blocks away. My sister and my aunt ride with me. We see the ambulance the whole time as we wait in the line to cross the border. They bang on the trunk, check the passports and ask the questions. I can still see the lights blaring 20 feet away. There is nowhere to stop once you cross, so we pull over and wait at a gas station. We wait to hear the sirens and hear the lights. It is taking longer than an emergency should. I am getting nervous. 10 minutes, then 20. What the hell is going on?

Finally we see ambulance. My dad is now an American soil. A weight is lifted. This is when I cry. This moment of relief and deep sadness all tangled together. Bianca takes my hand and takes over for a minute. I can't be strong right now, I just need a moment.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Without Air

I am here, but I am really not. I am walking and talking and doing all the things my life is made of, but my mind is some where else. I find myself gasping for breath every time a flood of memories washes over me. I kept my sanity in Mexico by listening to songs, the songs I shared with him. It was all that I could do to feel his presence. But now those songs play and my heart physically hurts.

Now the tension and pressure and stress is gone and I am stuck here, in this life I am somehow suppose to go back to. My mind wonders to the hospital room where I last forced his arm around my neck so I could feel him hug me one last time. To the beaches of Coronado that we drifeted to that last night and how I knew every turn on that island because we spent so much time there together.

Now there's not a together and there's all this space where I just miss my dad. I know his physical body is somewhere in a hospital in San Diego, but I miss him. The pieces of him that cant be explained. The pitch of his voice, the way he would say my name, how he kicked a soccer ball with the back of his heel, how he yelled at the stupid Argentine National team, the way he held my hand when we danced.

I hate this part of life, the physical pain of loosing someone that you loved deeply. All those memories that play over and over and you just know that they are already fading. The moments when you need them and their words and are left with a void. I haven't wanted to talk to anyone or see anyone. I'm still trying to catch my breath.

I don't want to move on. Because moving on means its all real. That he will never be. That we will never have or never do and the finality of that reality still takes my breath away.

I know all the right answers here. To feel peace that we did all the right things, to honor him by the way I live, to trust in God that it will all work out. But my heart dismisses all common sense and I would give anything in this world to be driving in his car right now listening to U2 at full volume and see his smile just one more time.


from the band mana -  Vivir sin aire
(the english version) the spanish song is so much better.

How much I’d like to be able to live without air
how much I’d like to live without water
I’d love
to love you a bit less
how much I’d love to be able to live without you
But I can’t, I feel I’m dying
I’m drowning without your love
How much I’d like to be able to live without air
How much I’d like to calm my affliction
How much I’d like to be able to live without water
I’d love to steal your heart
How could a fish swim without water?
How could a bird fly without wings?
How could a flower blossom without soil?
How much I’d like to be able to live without you
But I can’t, I feel I’m dying
I’m drowning without your love
How much I’d like to be able to live without air
How much I’d like to calm my affliction
How much I’d like to be able to live without water
I’d love to steal your heart
How much I’d like to throw you into oblivion
How much I’d like to put you away in a drawer
How much I’d like to erase you by blowing
I’d love to kill off this song

Monday, March 4, 2013

Death comes in 2's this time

Death comes is three's. I have no idea why but it seems to be true. But this year it only came in two's.

The first was a father I never really knew. He died in August. I never really looked for him and when I did all that was left was an obituary. I waited too long, didn't look hard enough. It didn't matter, he was gone and all my unanswered questions remained.

Death number 2 came as a wave. I was standing in line at a one of those dive BBQ places that gets mentioned on cable TV. It was my 33rd birthday and we had planned on spending the night in Austin celebrating. As I made small talk with the other people in line I went to update my status on facebook and saw 1 sentence that will forever be burned in my mind.

Felissa died this morning, Call me. Meg

My hands started to shake. My stomach flipped. I kept staring at the phone trying to understand what was going on while attempting to memorize Meg's 9 digit phone number. I finally aligned all numbers and heard my friend on the other end sobbing as she told me something I didn't want to hear.

My eyes filled with water and I couldn't seem to catch my breath. I kept asking what happened, grilling her for details. Somehow I was trying to put the pieces together so I could understand how to solve this puzzle.

She had died in her sleep. Nobody knows why. Everyone's in shock. Nobody knows when the funeral will be.

Funeral. Felissa. Dead. Desmond. Her new baby. Her mom. Devon. Why.

My mind couldn't stop repeating those words over and over. Meg and I cried and promised to meet in Utah no matter what.

The next few days came and went. Meg would fill me in when she heard news. I cried alone driving. I cried during church when the pastor kept mentioning death. I cried when I held my son. I cried when I saw her facebook pictures. I cried at the airport. I cried on the plane. I cried in bed at night when nobody could hear.

Somehow I found my way to this funeral parlor in a small town that I had never been to. I knew when I opened the door that she was inside. I had this weird since of optimism that somehow it was all a mistake and there would be no casket. No death. Just my friend.

I saw her son first. Standing next to her casket. I couldn't breathe. He's only 13. I met him when he was 5. He shouldn't be here. Is he going to be OK. I hugged too hard and whispered in his ear that I was sorry. What do you say? I met her husband. She had married 2 years before and I had never met him.

Then I saw her baby. He was 6 weeks old. I couldn't hold him. I just kissed him on the forehead.
He still smelled new, like baby powder and lavender lotion.

I hugged her sister and mom and met people I don't remember.

She was laying in a casket. My sweet friend. It wasn't right. Her things were laid out on tables surrounded by pictures from her wedding, the hospital room where she delivered her son, her honeymoon, her life. All summarized in a display of photos and flowers. I was looking for her. I kept waiting to see her. To hear her voice. Even while I stared at her lying in a casket. Where was she? My mind couldn't process it. A viewing. A funeral parlor or hall or whatever. This was not real. It was all wrong.

We went to dinner with friends and I tried my best to be light. To laugh. To remember the girl I knew.  I think we all pretended we were just hanging out. It felt like those days before your wedding when all your friends are in town. I told her stories. I laughed and I tried to avoid eye contact with her husband. I didn't know what to say to him. I was just sick of saying sorry.

We finally said goodbye and I spent a sleepless night in a hotel room I can't remember.

Then the funeral started. We all gathered in a small viewing room so they could close the casket and move her to the main room for the service. He husband kissed her forhead and I had to shut my eyes. I clenched my friends hand as we walked the hallway to the chapel. Somehow we all got seperated and were sitting in different places when it started. Her dad gave the obituary and then a friend spoke and when she concluded she said that we should get up and speak cause that is what Felissa would want.

I knew she was right. I didn't want to talk. But I needed to. I walked to the front and waited in a small line for my turn.

When I got up there I don't really know what I said. But what I hope I said was that I loved her. She was one of those people that change you. She was easy to be with. No judgement and no approval. She was kind and generous and was the kind of friend that would walk through fire for you.

We were roommates for a few years, both raising kids without husbands. We had movie nights and cooked dinners together. We planned birthday parties and bought furniture. We cried when life was hard and laughed when it wasn't. Oh how we laughed. I laughed more with her than anyone else.

 She had a loud big great laugh. She was fun, so much fun. She made me feel alive. We shared ballet recitals and football games and glasses of wine and our faith, our regrets, our dreams, our pasts. We went through break ups and dealt with our families. We were both broke and alone but for that time in my life she was all I had. She gave great big hugs even when I didn't want one. She believed in me cause that was just who she was. She saw the good in everything. We started working together and most people assumed we were probably a couple. It was like a marriage.

Did you take out the trash. I was thinking chicken for dinner. We need to talk to the kids about emptying the litter box. I want to see that movie, how about Sunday after church.

This was our world. Everyday we woke up in the same house drove the same roads to the same office and had dinner in the same kitchen.

She was my best friend. She was all I had. She made me stop worrying and laugh. We got into trouble together, made mistakes together, felt lost and felt invincible. She always ended a phone call by saying
"love you" even when I didn't.

Now she was gone. Now it would never be ever again.

The funeral concluded after 2 hours of people that loved her told their stories. This one girl said she had been homeless and had a child with nowhere to go and Felissa took her in. That was my friend. I loved that piece of her, that selfless give all you have cause it's right part. I know now how rare that is. That is special.

We walked outside to the cemetary. As we waited for the hearse to make it's way over I was watching her sister in law with the baby. She was trying to console him. It was something his mom should of been doing. I kept reminding myself that his mom was gone. He would never hear her laugh.

Then this one moment happened that will forever be burned in my mind. The sister in law dropped the baby's blanket and didn't notice. Then they started unloading her casket. Her son was carrying it. And I will never forget the image of this bright blue baby blanket resting on the ground with her older son carrying her casket. None of them should of been there. There shouldn't be baby's blanket at a funeral. Their mom's should pick up their blankets when they fall. She should of been there. She can't be gone.

They released balloons and I touched her casket and said a prayer and then said my good byes and left my friend in Utah. I somehow made it home. I somehow kept going to work and talking to my kids and making dinner and listening to music and pretending that life goes on.

But it never really does. I will always think of her. I thought about her when I was drying the dishes. I bought orange tulips at the grocery store cause I was afraid I would die and look back and regret how many times I said "Not today".

I hope her memory reminds me that life is fast and fleeting and a great friend is worth it.
Cause life does get hard and empty. But she showed me to find the bright spots.

I don't know who said it but I love this quote.

"It is easy to be heavy. It is hard to be light."

That was Felis, she was light. She was light even in her own darkness.

She chose to see the good in everything and did her best to ignore the bad.

I hope I can learn to be more like her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My father died - literally and theoretically.

I started this blog 2 years ago when we moved to Pennsylvania. So much has changed since then that it would take far too much time to explain. In conclusion of the past 2 years all I know is life is never simple.
I am amazed at the shifts and turns that life takes and how simple decisions can take on a life of their own. Most recently this theory took on a whole new meaning.

I recently found out that my biological father is dead. The use of the word biological gives insight into our relationship. The last time I saw him I was 11. It was in a back room of an old country courthouse. Beneath a large conference table my older brother clasped my hands as we recounted all the reasons we had been told to never want to see him again. When he gave up his legal rights later that afternoon, our family celebrated and we were congratulated. I never really knew what happened or why. I just did what you have to do, move on.

Occasionally I would think of him. I always wondered if he knew it was my birthday. And when doctors would ask about my parents medical history I would lie and say he was dead. The questions never stopped.

Teachers, soccer coaches, In Law's. I got tired of answering it cause what are you really suppose to say when someone asks about a father you never knew.

I googled his name a few times. Wondered aimlessly though Internet searches to no avail. I paid one of those people finding sites a $20 renewable subscription to find him. All that led me to was a disconnected phone number. I stopped looking. I kept moving on.

Then a month ago my brother was in town. He said he had been looking for him for over a year.
I told him to try the half brother.
"What half brother?" he replied.

This was common in our family. We don't talk about things. After my mom left him and he gave up his rights we moved on. Nobody ever talked about him except to point out the negative traits my brother and I had somehow genetically inherited from him.

I promised my brother I would try and find him since somehow I knew more than he did. I started by googling his name. The result was a 2 paragraph obituary about an old man near Abilene. The name fit, age was way off but it did mention he was a pipe welder. The welder part was significant cause one of the stories my mom had told me was how he was such a meticulous welder that companies sought after him.

Maybe this was an uncle. A coincidence. But then I saw a sentence that will always stay with me.

He is preceded in death by one son, age 57.

I kept googling.
Then I found it.

A brief description of a man I would never know. He had died 51 days earlier less than a 5 hour car ride from my home. We were named in the obituary. This was what I told my brother. That is how we knew that he was dead and that all of our questions would never get answered.

I needed to know more. I was sick of nobody answering my questions and now the one person who could was gone. I tracked down distant cousins and long forgotten aunts and even the half brother. I didn't know why I needed to call these people or what I was trying to find out but somehow it helped hearing about him.

I wrote him a letter once. I had one question for him. Was it me? When a parent leaves and never looks back you always wonder if it was you. No, this is not logical but it's true. What was it about me that made me disposable. Cause maybe if I can figure that out then I can be OK. I will never know why he forgot about me. Maybe I never really wanted to know.

His kid brother told me he was haunted by something, always running from something. That was all that I could relate to. That gave me comfort. I know how it feels to run. To not look at things cause it hurts too much.

I was sad for a day or so. Not sad cause he died cause how can you miss someone you never knew. But I was sad that life is so small and so fast and on a normal Thursday afternoon somewhere he died and I never knew.

I was sad that life can be that insignificant and that the choices we make can take on a life of their own.
 I wonder now if in those last few moments of his life if he saw my face.

I will remember him though. He taught me how to spiral a football and use to buy me chocolate malts at a cafe with red bar stools. Some reason fresh cut grass reminds me of him. I think I saw him once in an airport. I think I have his hands. I have 3 photos of him. I sometimes think I can remember how he laughed but I'm not so sure.

And as much as I would like to move on from never feeling anything for him somehow I know I can't. Somewhere there is a piece of him wedged in my mind that I have never been able to let go of.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Things my mother taught me

It's nearly 8 am on mothers day & all way in Los Angeles my mom is still sleeping. Like most holidays, I miss her. She gives good advice & is always searching for something to make/get in to/dream up or laugh about. This picture says it all.
The best way to describe my mom is exciting. She loves being excited & finding ways to get others excited.
In honor of her, here are a few things she has passed onto me.

1. Always make sure your hair looks good. No pony tails!
2. Be sure & wear good panties in case you are in an accident & the paramedics end up seeing them. (God Forbid)
3. Say "God Forbid" after saying anything potentially bad.
4. Someone can always say yes, keep asking until you find them.
5. You can travel anywhere in the world with the contents of one well packed Louis Vuitton carry on.
6. Blue eye shadow makes my eyes look pretty.
7. Thanksgiving mornings should always begin with a parade. Forced viewing is mandatory.
8. Sugar cookie baking is an art form.
9. Laughter is the greatest remedy to lives ails.
10. Hard work trumps mostly everything.
11. If your going to do something, do it all the way.
12. Andy Warhol was a genius.
13. Good BBQ sauce requires a little beer.
14. Be kind to old ladies, you never know who's mother they are.
15. Don't procrastinate.
16. Texas 2 stepping is a well refined talent.
17. When twirling batons with fire, be sure your mom makes you a rhinestone cape.
18. Jackie O was the only great first lady.
19. Never break a child's spirit.
20. If you don't know how to do something, figure it out.
21. The best things in life are yours for the taking.
22. Coco Chanel is by far, the best designer.
23. Advice should be served like a good drink, straight up.
24. Never book a hotel without seeing photos.
25. Christmas is a big deal, make it one.
25. A good handbag can open more doors than a resume.
26. Fake it 'till you make it.
27. Try anything at least once.
28. Never stand down to a bully.
29. Fight for what you want.
30. Protect the ones you love.
31. Theres no crying in design. Even Marla.
32. Sparkly shoes can convert anyone to do anything.
33. Be kind to foreigners & always ask in an interesting tone, "where are you from"
34. Watermelons need to be thumped before purchased.
35. Good guacamole needs woorshtershire sauce.
36. Always ask, the worst you will get is a no.
37. Drive through's always forget the ketchup, ask for it.
38. Crushed ice makes anything taste better.
39. Act like you own the room.
40. Don't limit yourself.
41. God is love, not scary.
42. Vote republican, they care about small business.
43. Have no fear.
44. Never pass up a good sale.
45. Be generous with your time & money.
46. What goes around comes around.
47. Keeney Chesney is the greatest singer on the planet.
48. Marriage is tough, be kind.
49. Be your child's greatest fan, they will surely find their adversaries along the way.
50. Always remember Nanny, most of our common sense & seeds of joy started with her.

I could spend hours doing this. My mom has taught me more than I think I have the sense to do with. Above all, she has been my greatest fan. Her mother passed away 10 years ago & I can only imagine how much she misses her today. But they were both cut from the same cloth & that same spark that Nanny had, so does mom. My grandmother said to me once, "I believe in you". My mom says that to me all the time. Both of those crazy women knew that the greatest gift you can give a child is absolute certainty.
Happy mothers day mom. I love you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making applesauce from scratch

I recenty began feeding Hudson baby food. We started with bananas, then moved to peaches & now applesauce. Of course I can't just buy applesauce so I decided to learn to make my own. It was really simple. Here are the steps.

Fill a medium pot with water & bring to a boil. Using 4 large apples (this will make 6 jars of baby food) peel, rinse & remove core. Cut into 1" pieces. Boil apples in water until soft.

In a seperate large pot fill 3/4 full of water & bring to boil. Add the canning jars & lids to water for a few minutes to sterlilize them. Remove with tongs wearing an oven mit. Let dry.

Remove apples & place in a food procesor with a few tablespoons of the water used to boil the apples. Add a pinch of sugar & purée until smooth.

Add the applesauce to the glass jars & secure the lids, not closing them real tight yet. Place the full jars back in the boiling water and remain for 5 minutes. Remove & wait for the lids to pop & cool. Place in the fridge.
Feed to this guy asap.

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