Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Pastiche

Fewer and fewer gardenias now --- they're getting scorched in the heat.

Speaking of which --- over  100 degrees here the next several days, and Briton has no air conditioning in his apartment, and the upstairs unit here has stopped blowing cold air.  Doubt there's any chance of getting a technician out here tomorrow --- I would imagine they're slammed right now.  Hannah may have to move herself downstairs for a while.

Last Friday, she and I went to The Mall of Georgia, and I bought myself something I've been wanting for years --- cowboy rainboots.  Found them on deep clearance at Charming Charlie.  So blasted happy with them!

The picture of me knitting in public was taken at MoG, as I rested while Hannah shopped and shopped. I've finished the Wingspan since:

Love, love this pattern!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wings That Work*

I have fallen in love with Wingspan the way everyone else fell in love with Clapotis a few years back. I never made a Clapotis, but am now on my second Wingspan.  It's such a great knit for me --- not tons of details to keep up with, but enough shaping to keep it interesting.

While I was away last week, and spent some time on the computer, I found a couple of websites that list Sociology instructor vacancies across the country.  Four were good for me, distance-wise, so I put together four application packets and sent them away.  Maybe something will come from one of them.

If not, I just make more Wingspans!

*Title a slight bastardization of the brilliant Berkeley Breathed's A Wish for Wings That Work.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What's Done Is Done

All the for sale items have been left for the estate folks to deal with.  All the not for sale items have either been clearly marked or placed in rooms/closets where no one will be allowed to go.

Easiest room to do --- Daddy's.  All the furniture is staying, his closet has been mostly cleaned out for a while.

Hardest room to do --- Mama's.   Too many items, too many difficult decisions, too many memories.

Funnest room --- Briton's.  It's where all the toys have always been kept.  I had the best time going through every single thing and remembering how attached he and Hannah were to a lot of them.

Weirdest lack of feeling --- Closing the door as I left, knowing I was looking at all those things for the last time, and not being weepy about it.  Things I've had around me all my life, and I was able to leave without doubting myself.  Quite shocked that that happened.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Business.  That's how I have to think of this trip to Tennessee.  Get things rolling for the estate sale, and get out of town.  Quickly and efficiently.

Except we all know that anything having to do with our parents, our hometown, our family's "stuff" defies being dealt with non-emotionally.  The voice I hear screaming in my ear's is my mother's.  She was intensely, actually, pathologically, private.  When her health began to decline, I begged her to get someone to come in once a week and run the vacuum, dust a little, wash the dishes.  She flatly, righteously refused because she didn't "want people nosing around where they don't belong --- looking in my drawers and opening my cabinets."  And now, here I am, having an estate sale, where a team of people is going to be going through almost every corner of the house.  It's like killing her twice.  And I just can't get out from under that.

My therapist asked me to try something: instead of hearing what Mama would say, imagine Daddy's voice.  Which would have been something like, "Baby Doll, you can only do so much.  Do the best that you can, and let the rest take care of itself.  It'll all work out in the end.  All you can do is the best you can do.  Even your Mother would know that."  And then he'd tell me to "kiss the babies" and say how much he loved me.

So that's the voice I'm trying to hear as I wait for the estate dealer to get here.  Not out of any disrespect for my mother's wishes, but because this house, and what to do with it, and how to maintain it, have been shattering weights around me for all these months.  There is pain when I'm in Georgia about not being here, there is pain when I am here because it's all so emotional and overwhelming.  Some of this weight has got to come off, or I'm going to be hobbled permanently.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


When your children are small, birthdays are easy.  There's a TV show or a movie that they're hooked into, so decorations and gifts are simple.  There are a handful of friends that they like to play with, so you invite them, and --- WHAM --- happiness abounds.

As they get older, it gets a little trickier, because character decorations are NOT cool, and the 2 or 3 friends that they seem incapable of living without are easy company, because they spend the entire time they're together as far away from you as possible.

Now, I have adult children.  And one of them has a birthday today.  I've spent the last week, week and a half pleading with her to tell me what she wanted as gifts, if she wanted a cake, what she wanted to do.    She didn't know, she didn't know, she didn't know.  Maybe get some of her Atlanta friends together and go to Six Flags.  But I never saw or heard her trying to get in touch with anyone.

Finally, she said that all she wanted was money.  She told her friends via Facebook that she wanted cash.  I knew this was going to be a bit of an issue with her brother, who never has any disposable cash, but I figured he'd somehow manage a card or something.

This morning, when I got up, I went to Starbucks and got her favorite coffee.  I gave it to her when I got back, along with a check for a good chunk of change.  We called her brother, told him to come on over, and we'd get the day started.

He came over grumpy and empty-handed.  The discussion about where to eat went on FORever.  People were out of sorts before we even got there, and, once seated, he said something (I didn't hear it) that had her threatening to go wait in the car.  It was a quiet, tense meal.

Afterward, she decided she wanted a cake from Baskin Robbins, and on the drive over there, she started sobbing.  "I only got one thing for my birthday.  One thing.  And it wasn't what I really wanted."  What did she really want?

A kitten.

A kitten.

Barely able to breathe, she went through how empty she has felt since last October, when we lost Esmeralda.  That she's tried to fill the hole with all sorts of things, and they didn't work.  She just wanted a kitten.

My mother's cat, Riley, spends every waking moment following Hannah around, waiting for her to come back when she goes downstairs.  I reminded her of that, but to no avail.  We were at Baskin Robbins now, and she wouldn't even get out of the car.  I just pulled a cake out of the freezer, paid for it, and we came home.

Where she started crying again.  And Briton had heard enough, and got violently angry about how dirty the house is with the animals we have already, and that she'd better not bring another one in.  She reminded him, forcefully, that he no longer lived here.  He said he knew that, that he really wasn't even part of the family anymore.

I had to physically stop her from pouring a drink on his head, at one point she stood up on the coffee table to shout her position. . .  It was just about as ugly as it's ever gotten around here.  Now he has left, she has escaped to her room, and I'm left, as always, wondering where in the world I went wrong, what I can do to help either of them, or maybe if, since they are both now in their 20s, it's time for me to step off and let them hurt, trusting that the pain won't be permanent and that they have the tools to manage it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Course of Action

The dog bite is still an extremely painful nuisance.  I'm draining pus out of it regularly, but it feels feverish and hurts to bend.  Still, reading The Gun Seller and watching "The West Wing" are helping out a lot.

A blogging friend whom I did not know long enough, Paula Kilgallon, died a few days ago, after battling Multiple Myeloma for, I think, three years.  She was remarkably good-humored and positive about her situation, and I have been so very saddened at her loss.  Dear God, let someone somewhere see the light and stop focusing on how to give men erections and turn their efforts to killing this monster cancer.

I'll be going to Nashville next week, to meet with an estate sale dealer.  It would destroy Mama, as intensely, almost pathologically, private as she was, to know that strangers were roaming through her house, but I simply cannot do it by myself.  An estate sale clears the house out of all but the necessities, and prepares it for someone (it's looking more and more like Hannah at this point) to move in and make it their own.

I've realized I couldn't live in that house.  The times I've been up there since she died have been sheer disasters.  And it isn't the house I grew up in;  there aren't really the stock of memories that Briton and Hannah have.  So I'll go up for a few days and set things in motion, and then take the next step when it's time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Playing Hurt

Periodically, our dogs will get into snarling tussles over a treat or a piece of food.  Pulling them apart is only a matter of grabbing a collar or two.

But the other afternoon, a fight broke out over, as far as I could tell, nothing.  So, I had to get in there and separate them.  In the melee, I got a serious bite.  From Rupert, I think.  And it hurts like a mother.

It's swollen and interestingly colored and makes knitting very uncomfortably and short-lived.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Back to the Plan

After starting with what, to my mind at least, was great success, my Alphabetical Authors Reading Project sort of fell off a cliff.  

When last we spoke of this, "K" was the letter, and Mike Kim's Escaping North Korea was on the nightstand.  It was a difficult, harrowing read --- well written, but so tough.  The kind of book that you put down not wanting to pick up again, but knowing that you will.  Because, while you can't believe that human beings can be that cruel and vile to one another, you also can't believe that human beings can withstand so much and never lose an ounce of dignity or hope.

So, "L" has come up.  And I'm going to sort of cheat this time, by reading a book I've read before.  (Which, with the exceptions of Charlotte's Web and To Kill A Mockingbird, I never do.)  It will be

Yeah, I know.  It's been a while since we've seen him, talked about him. . .  But good crushes die hard.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It Really Happened

The knitting group I started met for the first time last night, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  There were 7 of us in all, and the time just flew by.

We are "Heart Nest Knits" --- an anagram of "Athens Knitters."  We meet again in two weeks.  I'm looking forward to it already.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Circle in a Spiral

Like any disease, once you are diagnosed with severe chronic depression, you learn the warning signs.  Those clues that your body gives you that say, "There's a storm a-comin'."  Mine, for all these years, was simply wanting to sleep all the time.  Or, at the very least, stay in bed all the time.  When I would get to that point, I knew it was time for a medication change or a dosage tweak.

In the past month or so, however, my depression has become genuinely physical.  I feel it crushing me from all sides.  My body aches from it, and the only relief I can find is lying down.  Not sleeping, necessarily, but getting off my feet.  Horizontal has been my only comfort.

All that to say that depression is insidious.  It drains you of joy.  It steals your energy.  It wreaks havoc on your will.  It is easiest to stay inside your house because you don't have to make an effort to shower, or get dressed, or have a conversation.  And so you stay home for more and more days, and your interest in going out ebbs away, which fuels the depression, which forces you back into yourself. . .  You can see where this is going.

A couple of months back, my therapist gave me the assignment of getting out of my house every day.  Every day, do something that would get me up and headed somewhere.  I did okay for a while.  Until I ran slap out of ideas of places to go.

So, my therapist suggested finding a volunteer opportunity, or a group or club that I could get involved with.  She even suggested a website where I might find areas of interest:  Dutifully, I checked out the site, found nothing that grabbed me, and then did something that, even now, shocks me.

I decided to start a group of my own.  A knitting group, naturally.  And we have our first meeting next week.  Eight people have "signed up," which is about seven more than I had expected.  And I'm looking forward to it.   

Skip If You Follow Me on Facebook

Yesterday, I did a bit of driving around in the country, and at one point, came across a funeral procession.  It was pulling out of the fun...