Tag Archives: Grass Oil By Molly Field

Letter to Thing 3

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Dear Thing 3,

It never fails. On the days we walk to school and I wish I had my camera, I never do.

Today was such a treat to be with you. Do you remember? The sun, in its autumnal slant, so surgical and bright, like a laser, but weaker than in summer was still strong as there were no clouds. Frost had cured on the grass blades and the top cover of the fallen leaves we encountered on our walk out to school today and you asked me, “Where does the frost come from? It’s so sparkly.”

“It’s like a billion diamonds on the ground.” I said.

“Just for us,” you said.

“It’s from the moisture in the air; the dew. It freezes on the leaves and in the morning, we get diamonds.”

“They don’t last long, these diamonds. There are so many of them! It’s like a field of them!” you said and then fell silent. We stopped to look at a few. We moved our heads around to see more sparkles.

You will be 10 tomorrow.

It seems like every milestone is a new milestone in your life. That doesn’t make sense. I guess I just mean that it’s all so much. You’re the last one.

10.

Ten.

Two complete hands. The end of the two hands.

Before we left, I considered my camera / phone. I decided to leave it at home, amidst the breakfast smells of pancake and coffee. I prefer to be present, free of it. As much as you see me tinkering with it, T3, I really am better off without it.

“How many days are in a year? 365? I thought that there were only 364 days,” you asked as I helped you with your pilled black knit gloves today, the ones I bought in bulk at the Amish auction all those years ago with our friend, “RICK!”

“Well, the going rate these days, is 365. I believe leap year makes it 366, but I will admit my facts on that are loose, so I’m not entirely sure although I do believe 365 is the predominant number. Ready?” I asked, holding open the door, but thinking to myself back at my own childhood and remembering the 364/365 proposition more than 365/366.

“Can I have lemon cake and chocolate frosting?” you asked.

“Why? And WHAT?! Who eats that?! Only goofballs…” I said.

“This goofball wants that,” you said.

I looked at you funny, pretending to be offended by the mention and I could see your smile fade. You were a little crestfallen. The joke had gone too far. You asked me, “Mom… can’t I have a lemon cake with chocolate frosting?”

“Absolutely you can.” I said and your smile returned.

On the way down the street you asked me, “What’s attachment? What did they mean about ‘not getting attached’ to that otter in the video?”

You were talking about “Otter 501,” the story about a stray newborn otter in Monterey, California.

“It means no eye contact between the trainers and the otter; that’s why they wore those welder’s masks and ponchos, so the otter couldn’t see their eyes. Did you notice they didn’t talk to her either? She could learn their voices and prefer one trainer over another trainer. In animals, it’s called ‘imprinting’ but in humans, because we believe we’re so different than animals, we call it ‘attachment.’ It’s basically falling in love with the otter, which could get in the way with her ability to go back to the ocean.”

“I would be attached anyway to that otter,” you said. “Helmet or not. I love her from my tv.”

Speaking of attachment, we didn’t take your dog with us today. He wasn’t ready to go. When I returned, he seemed fine with the temporary abandonment.

10.

It all goes too fast. Way too fast. I want it to slow down.

I was so compelled by the frost on the leaves, and my urge to remember this moment, that when I came home I picked up my camera and went back out to try to capture some of the sparkle but suspecting all the time that it would be the inverse of what we hear about supernatural phenomena: that it’s not viewable to the naked eye, or in this instance the iPhone. I suspect that I will need my big, actual camera to take proper pictures of the sparkly leaves. But here are a few unsparkly leaves…

there is no sparkle, but there is beauty in it; look at those crystals! "They're free! They don't cost anything!" you said when you saw them.

there is no sparkle, but there is beauty in it; look at those crystals! “They’re free! They don’t cost anything!” you said when you saw them.

Here’s another cool frosty leaf:

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I want you to live life beautifully, T3. I want you to ask questions, always.

Do you remember overhearing me and Dad talking about “the silent treatment” this morning? You asked me, “What is the silent treatment?” and I told you. Then you asked me why I was talking about it and I told you. You asked me, “Why would anyone do that? Why not just talk about your feelings? We don’t all have to agree…” and we talked about that. Then you came to a conclusion all by yourself when you said, “Well, giving the silent treatment is cruel.”? My heart swelled when you said that. “It’s easier said than done, to not give the silent treatment, bud…” and you didn’t agree.

Life has miracles and wondrous moments happening right in front of us every day, all the time! There is no reason to think it is boring, we just have to be willing to open our eyes. You’re pretty good at that already; it’s just that as we age, we tend to forget those things. I hope you never do.

As I ascended the hill on my second walk back home this morning:

This is a very nice way to start your day...

This is a very nice way to start your day…

I saw this. I was so glad I went back out to try to take some sparkle pics.

the leaf blowing…

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it all seems so ordinary… no big deal…

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but it’s like a dance to me. the leaves fly up and then they waft down. they fly up and roll and curl and flip. sure, it’s a man working a leaf blower, but the LEAVES, T3… watching them. that.

Watching the leaves billow and plume … it could do it all day. It seems weird, I guess, to be so enraptured by such an everyday thing, leaf blowing… your mom’s eccentric views, but to me it’s like a ballet between the gardener and the leaves. It’s poetry in motion.

The leaf-blowing man must’ve thought I was with the NSA or something. I hope I didn’t worry him.

When I came back home, the house was warm and expectant. It still smelled of maple syrup, coffee and pancakes. The dishwasher was still running and the lights were on under the cabinets. Laundry, as usual, was waiting to be folded or put away. I came to the conclusion yesterday, T3, that smells tell me how busy I’ve been. If I smell laundry in the dryer, pumpkin bread in the oven and tea in my mug, I’ve had a busy day. These are the smells of progress.

I didn’t want to waste a moment, I had these thoughts fresh on my mind. I find that it’s hard for me to concentrate these days; I’m still so sad about Mimi. So I wanted to get these words off to you as soon as I walked in.

After I took off my hat and gloves and put my coat away, I turned my way into my office / guest room and Gandalf, that massive gray barn cat of ours leapt off the bed and scurried out the door; I could hear his back claws grab whatever they could of the carpeting to ensure a speedy getaway as he careened and serpentined out of the room. It was like he was saying, “Oh crap! Busted!” (Because I can’t stand them when they’re on our beds.) He and his sister are irritated with me: they are both as big as watermelons and I’ve cut back their kibble rations to half of what they’re used to. Lean times ahead for the kitties, I’m afraid. I know they’re not ballooning up from us; it’s all the chipmunks they’ve hunted.

Well, even though tomorrow is your 10th birthday, I’ll tell you a secret that your auntie T told me one day when I turned 45: it’s not really your 10th birthday. It’s the first day of your 11th year. When you were born, that was the first day of your first year. The last day of your first year was the day before your first birthday. You’d been “1” all along. When you turned 1, it was the first day of your second year… and so it goes. So today… is the last day of your tenth year.

I love you, Thing 3. Happy birthday.

Mom

When Real Life and eLife Intersect #Relationships

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I had the pleasure Sunday of meeting a real-life, organic follower of my blog.

She was so kind and earnestly interested in meeting me. We met after a church service where my brother deftly delivered a sermon on faith / love and trust / leadership wherein he managed to beautifully tie in the story in Exodus about Moses and the Burning Bush.

I am not a burning bush. I try to blend in; be a part of the scene because I dislike standing out.

Just before he spoke though, he said to the congregation, “I’m going to do something that will either give joy or embarrassment to these people, but I want to give a quick shout-out to my father, and to my sister, my brother-in-law and their three sons. They drove here today from more than an hour away just to hear me speak, so … say ‘hi’…” and in response I lifted my pearled tulle veil with my white kid gloves, and waved like the queen (elbow-wrist, elbow-wrist) from the balcony my throne chair.

I couldn’t see the boys because they were seated behind me with a cinderblock column dividing us, but according to my new friend, our sons “raised the roof,” flexed their biceps, and waved wildly, so to speak, upon their mention. In church. How nice.

Waking at 7am on a Sunday is a chore hideous, I’ll be honest. After shoveling a banana pancake and scalding my throat with coffee, we left our house at 8:45 to get to church by 10. At 11:30, when the service ended, my kids were hungry enough to take hostages. Thankfully, there was a small fellowship reception with chips, salsa and hummus set aside for the congregants to enjoy.

I made a bee-line for the chips. I unhinged my jaw, my sons swarmed me and we all ate like Mr. Fox:

While dumping an aluminum tray (large enough for, yet regrettably not filled with, lasagna) of round tortilla chips and salsa into my mouth, a kind woman floated over to us and asked me if I was my brother’s sister.

“I! AM! NOT! HIS! KEEPER!” I roared violently as I hoisted the tray over my head.

Coming to in my cell, I noticed that she wasn’t there.

The end.

No. Joshin’. I owned up to it and said I was. We look a lot alike, there is no wondering. She introduced herself and she told me, “I’m so glad to meet you! I’ve been following your blog. What you’ve been writing about your mother has been … just … so …”

“Oh! Wow! >chew< Fanks! Hau nife foo meet fou. Yef! >swallow< Weawwy, I apprefiate fhat fo much. >stuff face< And Fank you! Yef, it’f been hawrd. I — I fon’t pull many funches… Nefer have. Mom and I >chew< fere fomplifated…” I faid said as I wiped my hand of my flesh-eating saliva to shake hers.

“I just knew when I started to read you that you and I … we could be good friends… You say things and I can relate to them…” she said.

I nodded and was truly humbled and very happy. I will admit that it was the first time I’ve ever met a blog follower whom I didn’t know previously, so there was a moment of wee-oo wee-oo weirdness for me — when my cyber world intersects with my real world. I always assume that no one reads this stuff. I guess there are three readers now: my dad (sometimes), this person and my dog. I have exchanged emails with her and it will be so cool to have a reader friend!

What’s kewl about this whole scene, man, is that just last week I was scratching my head over the confluence of real and cyber life.

I was chatting with a flesh friend a few days ago and she told me this story about a strange contrived conversation she had with someone I used to know a few years ago. Things did not end well between me and this person I used to know. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the fiction which was shared with me about the demise of the relationship. According to the mutual friend, apparently I “didn’t get the hint…” that things were ending.

It must’ve been her invitation to me for lunch that I misunderstood. It’s me, right? Usually people do invite people they don’t like anymore to lunch.

Didn’t get the hint…‘ I love that. It’s so … mature and authentic.

Mew…Rawr. I wasn’t exactly hot-to-trot with this relationship anymore; things had cooled and we were heading in different directions, but … I‘m sorry. I was 44 at the time and had grown to expect, based on our five-years and personal history, to have a discussion and conversation about any … issues that needed attention because we both used to shake our heads about people who couldn’t have difficult conversations. Was it irrational and crazy of me to expect to talk about things, especially when all signals and so-called ‘hints‘ were … um … completely contradictory to any sort of attempt at disengagement?!

It’s always entertaining when my reality clashes with someone else’s. But I grew up with chaos and a highly irrational woman as my go-to, so while my penchant for finding more of them and adhering to them was something I had eventually grown out of, the people (legacy friendships) were still there.

So the question arises: “How to shed the tone of the union, but keep the people?”

And the answer is: I have no freakin’ clue. Apparently talking about any problems is bad.

Lol: ‘Didn’t get the hint…’ It’s so comical and IRONIC.

Moving on.

I don’t think there is a way, honestly, to endure a relationship when one person has sought a different direction than the other with all intentions of not bringing that person along or that the other person doesn’t want to pursue. I have met people through toxic mutuals (interests) and when the toxic mutual fades away, and then the toxic mutual becomes the linchpin of discussion and healing… it’s not good. The mutuals have got to find something else in common or it all goes pear-shaped. It’s the same for alcoholics or addicts: in order to stay sober, they must find new ways of entertaining themselves.

Speaking of addiction: through my eventual growth out of several unhealthy legacy friendships, even the one more recently which I will detail below, I apparently have a hard time letting go of chaos and drama even though I know it’s wrong. It’s the only reason these women were in my life. They facilitated the lessons I needed to learn.

Y’see, for me, it’s a woman thing.

I have learned that Mean Girls become Mean Women and I simply don’t have the patience for that garbage, especially since my mother’s death. As such, another legacy relationship with a schemer started to go pear-shaped because I stood up for an unknown eFriend. In retrospect, it really had nothing to do with the eFriend, but absolutely everything to do with the legacy friend’s numerous toxic intractable behavior patterns and their reprise.

In the midst of the friendship’s default, my legacy friend played her favorite hand from way back: the silent treatment for more than three weeks. Back in the day, when I was 14 and knee-deep in familial dysfunction and maternal dipsomania, I’dve groveled and appealed endlessly for acknowledgement (sheepishly, I did a bit this time too, but mostly because I felt bad that there even was a misunderstanding) and it used to give her power; it used to work.

Fast forward a couple decades, and the three silent-treatment weeks (I still have to laugh at that). When communication was resumed, the disagreement for which I apologized and appealed for resolution was termed “whatever” (nice!) with no apology or wisp of an olive branch or hint at resolution by this legacy friend; she’d been busy. Right. It’s cool.

Keep in mind my mother is also recently deceased and this so-called friend had no problem cutting me off; I’m a little blown away. Some things never change. I don’t think I’ve changed either, I am still a nice person, but I’m just not codependent anymore.

What’s funny, is that I realized today that this old friend reminded me of the smug, sanctimonious and scheming Nellie Oleson from “Little House on the Prairie.”

Does it matter why I got the silent treatment?

Ok. “Nellie” was privately horrid to me about the eFriend and her METHOD OF PRAYER! on my phone, then via FB and then on my phone and then I think (I honestly can’t remember anymore, it was all so petty) again via FB. Remember: I am grieving; I don’t talk much about it here anymore because I am trying to be happy and funny, but I was not a little horrified actually, by the lengths Nellie went to be so odious and I expressed my confusion of the entire thing vis a vis, “Why are you telling me this?!” Really…. why??? Why could you possibly think I would be the slightest bit interested in your smug and patent nastiness toward a complete stranger?! WHY?!

In return: Nellie dug in her heels, said she was hurt by my accusations of calling her judgmental and then gave me the silent treatment.

Right. I know. You’re probably exhausted from just putting that all together. Here’s a pillow and some chips. Nellie drained me.

I chose the eFriend for two reasons: 1) because Nellie never changed: she still gossiped and I had no will around her, I engaged in it and I really hated that about myself; and 2) because the eFriend has always been kind to me and has always been supportive. Her depths, outreach and kindnesses have been a huge blessing to me in the scant 10 weeks since Mom died. Not so much Nellie.

I have found my eFriends to be very kind to me; we seem to share a depth and an understanding of one another’s journeys. They have sent me gifts, cards, emails and private notes. They are lovely.

I can’t help but share this:

Seeing this video and remembering those episodes makes me feel that I was quite like Laura and well, “Nellie” was like Nellie.

We just don’t fit anymore. We never really did. I just didn’t like being alone or talked about. I was afraid.

It goes without saying, but I will anyway: for a relationship to be healthy it needs trust and love and humility. Sometimes taking a few steps back, getting some perspective, allowing some truths (vulnerabilities) about ourselves to come to light and being honest with ourselves and others is what it takes to keep them going.

I say this more for myself than for anyone: I saw the signs of decay in both the relationships. I should have gently bowed out when I realized it. With the first one, I dialed waaaaay back. I was surprised by the lunch invitation, actually, but I had no hard feelings so I agreed; we even picked a date and time. Then she cancelled, but said we’d reschedule.

What’s my heroin? A dominant female personality who is angry.

Part of me has a real reluctance to let these legacies die because I don’t want yet another failed relationship on my shoulders; I interpret that “failure” as a mark against my soul, a blemish on my record. But the truth is: not everyone is right for everyone. The alchemy of the relationship is what is needed At That Time and no other time ever, for whatever reason, to teach a lesson.

My yoga would tell me to let it go, to be equanimous, to see the lesson, and to hear the message. However, my ego in both of these instances was in full effect. I did not let it go, I did not practice equanimity, and any insight I’d have into my own behavior, at the time, was scorched. I reacted and lashed out. While that was immature of me, I maintain that I have always been a person willing to go the distance as long as things make sense. On reflection, I know that for the more recent experience I was swept up in old patterns with a legacy experience. It was not unlike how we act when with siblings. The trappings are the same too, my ‘heroin’ was right there.

My ego was bruised. In light of all this I ask myself (in front of you): what’s better? To give CPR and be pathetic party to a false and withered relationship or to just let it be and die off? I could go superficial “heyhowareya?” but that’s not my speed with this one; I have too much anger for the Nellieness.

I once had a chat with my brother about this very thing. I said, “But we’ve been friends for so long; like all my life…” and he said, “That’s no reason to stay friends. Sometimes, Mol, these things just need to fade away.” Or as another friend said, “Sometimes a loss is really a blessing.”

But I hate the drama. Or I say I do.

Maybe I don’t.

Yikes.

No. I hate the drama. It’s just familiar, that’s all.

Now I’m babbling. Quick… put me in a box.

Thank you.

When WASPs Celebrate Holidays

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been on the Frontgate mailing list.

Frontgate fancies itself the purveyor of exclusivity and panache, “Outfitting America’s Finest Homes Since 1991.”

This is how I cope with laundry in my America's Finest Home.

This is how I cope with laundry in my America’s Finest Home.

I don’t know how I got on their list to begin with. I can only assume my address was sold from my subscription to the myriad unread New Yorker magazines that decorate woefully obscure my side tables, coffee tables, car door pockets, guest room, and bathrooms water closets.

I opted-out of many mailing lists years ago. The simple daily routine to fetch the mail morphed into strength training thanks to the deluge of phone book -sized holiday catalogs boasting cornucopian savings purchasing opportunities.

Today? What ho! I was “invited back!” to “Experience legendary Frontgate quality and SAVE 20% on almost everything” in the Frontgate catalog. I was thrilled! My pulse quickened.

Frontgate Wanted Me Back!!!

My eyes narrowed. I looked over my shoulders for “Punk’d!” cameras thinking that surely it was a ruse. Didn’t Fontgate know I’m Catholic?

My mother was very good at was recognizing the elitism (“We’ll take anyone’s money, so long as you don’t tell anyone about it,”) in catalogs and magazines. She was a satire savant and I have no doubt she would enjoy my upcoming critique of Frontgate’s early pages.

The first thing I am always willing to notice I immediately go after in any catalog or media is the gaping absence of multicultural and ethnic representation. In Frontgate, apparently only thin, wealthy, coiffed, dressed, repressed, and clean white people celebrate Christmas and they don’t mention Jesus and eventually dwindle things down to “the holidays” because well, let’s be honest: it’s tacky to mention the reason for a holiday… right?

I didn’t notice anything at first other than just the obvious exclusion of anything other than white people … at all … in the entire 54-page publication. (Just sweep it under one of the several expensive, plush rugs they offer.) In all fairness, I look for those omissions because I think it’s just plain assholic to not include all races and ethnicities in a catalog of purveyors to America’s Finest Homes; apparently they haven’t noticed that the Obamas live in the White House.

But it was one visual exchange conflict between two models in the photo that sucked me in and made me think of Mom, because she really loved this stuff.

Upon further examination, I began my descent into the murky world of fabricated mirth or … depending on the caption writing, just another dysfunctional family moment. It all looks fairly benign and sort of boring… until …

Well, here’s the image, you can look it over and I’ll let you know what did it in for me. You might even want to zoom in…

There are just so many opportunities to mock but so little time.

There are just so many opportunities to mock but so little time. (image: (c) Frontgate November 2013 catalog)

Besides the pensive and wan expression on the mature sylvan-locked dame (with the empty plate) at the table on the right in her Hermés scarf, I thought “staged … staged … staged…” and then my eye glanced over

Did you guess it?

Everyone’s having a great time at the Wentworth-Fitch house this year…. or is everyone?

What’s up with that exchange in the background between I’m guessing a drunk uncle and his grabby nephew? I saw that and I was all, like, “WOAH! What the what’s goin’ on back there?!”

That little scene is whacked. Druncle’s body language is saying, “Tryit, twerb. JuzGo ferit an’wellsee whadhappnznext. Yew might accidentally bumpintozat rackofribs on zhe table…. Youwoodntwanna go an’ mess up AundCecily’s nize spread now wouldja? It’d sure a beshame if somethin’ t’happen tuh it…”

His shoulders are leaning toward the kid but his hips are turned to the other direction. The torquing waistline in his sweater shows he’s turning AWAY from the kid. The whole thing reminds me of a Henry Hill flashback in “Goodfellas”; in fact I’m convinced that Druncle is an import, if you know what I mean. (WASPs don’t do facial hair, or apparently collarless shirts tucked beneath crew neck sweaters.)

Druncle’s hand is all, “I don’tzhink zo, zport.” or… “You wannago atthis?”

My money’s on the kid. Ten to one he sacks Druncle, makes a blitz for the gift and dashes up the service backstairs to tear into the prop.

So then my eyes started bouncing around the image. Like Gollum, I was possessed, Find more flaws, find more flaws… more weirdness…

The little boy at the table in the far left margin of the image is curious. The little girl, also an import because she’s just not blonde enough, is trying hard to make eye contact with him, but he is drawn to the woman who loves the baby more than she loves him.

I wasn’t convinced entirely that this was an Oedipal moment. It was something more… His expression reminds me of something… I got out a ruler and tracked his eyes gaze and they seem to end right at the woman’s right elbow or perhaps the sugared plums … but no. Upon even further examination (see, if Mom were here we’dve figured it all out sooner, but I’m doing this in the moment with you, so you have to bear with me), with a clear ruler and the adroit eye of my eldest, the sarcastic teenager Thing 1, we look again, and that kid’s honing in on the cake stand. It’s all about the cake, not Jesus, this Christmas.

Sadly, that kid and the cake just doesn’t keep me.

It’s that image of the kid and the d-bag uncle in the background. Even the chunky-thighed stiff baby and the impossibly slim model (mother of the sixth-month-old) doesn’t hold me for long. When I was nine months postpartum with Thing 1 at a Christmas celebration, I did NOT look like that. I was wearing a nursing dress or fat pants and a nursing top (much to the chagrin of my mother-in-law, she didn’t really get why I chose to breastfeed my kids; it irked her that she couldn’t give them a bottle to feed them, but the last time I checked, these were my kids — wait, have I gone in an unintended direction? Ahem, back to the catalog) and I can tell you with utmost certainty, my hair was not brushed. Nor most likely, were my teeth. I can recall this however, that my brother said to me that my boobs were huge … still.

But I definitely would’ve been wearing a cardigan. Or a zip-up hoodie. Or a bathrobe. Or completely absent from the photo.

The chairs in the image are foldable and are nicer than any dining chair I possess. At the ‘exceptional’ sale price of $100 each, they better be.

Later pages of the catalog show more white people enjoying things together. It looks like Blair needs a healthy G&T to get through a game of fancy Scrabble with step-daughter Chutney during compulsory Big Girl Time while Daddy is fox hunting with Skip.

EPSON scanner image

Always a good sport, Blair can’t help but mimic Tiger Woods’ famous fist pump, “Is THIS how you do it?” at the Masters all those years ago, in the dawn of pro golf’s integration. (c) Frontgate 2013

Don’t worry, that satchel isn’t Blair’s handbag, but a prim little faux leather accessory of the fancy Scrabble set, sure to be an heirloom that you’ll want to keep on display all throughout the year (or at least when company comes over), according to the editors at Frontgate. At my house, we keep our Scrabble letters in the plastic silver bag that game with our set (which we don’t leave out throughout the year):

This score was from a game I played with my husband in 1995. He kicked my ass.  My sentiment regarding the match is recorded succinctly.

This score was from a game I played with my husband in 1995. He kicked my ass. My sentiment regarding the match is recorded succinctly.

And from the Thanking God for Little Surprises department, I found this memento in the same box:

Further proof that I had NO strategic skills when it came to that game and that my mother was a triple-word viper.

Further proof that I had NO strategic skills when it came to that game and that my mother was a triple-word viper. I am happy to say that Words with Friends has helped. … somewhat. Seeing this scoresheet reminded me that Mom and I did play games, that it wasn’t all drama all the time.

Turn the page, and we find Biff showing young Kip a map where his diamond mine is located.

"Right, Biff! That's where cook's family came from..."

“Super, Kip! That’s exactly where cook’s family came from…” (c) Frontgate 2013

I like to see all the places where Biff and Kip have traveled. It looks like Vanavara, Russia and lots of hops about Europe, and America’s east coast, and of course Costa Rica (never Panama). Then there was that time they skied in Sweden and froze their asses off in Greenland (what?). Or … oddly, Moosonee, Ontario. No place is better to thaw than Esquel, Argentina, where they checked on their oil refineries.

What a random collection of travel destinations. They were smart though, and avoided all areas of open conflict (and poverty) in the Middle East.

Frontgate does see the irony, I hope.

Here we have The Help (because certainly Blair doesn’t wear jeans and flats on purpose) cleaning the crown moulding:

Looks like someone needs to do their roots.

Looks like someone needs to do their roots. (c) Frontgate 2013

I just hate it when I can’t reach the dentil friezes and soffit mouldings on my 20′ ceilings. It’s such a drag.

Here we have an image of when my “help” cleaned my kitchen:

Because I have no room to store things, we use the oven.

Because I have no room to store things, we use the oven.

Well, that’s it from the Snark Department here at Grass Oil. My dinner is here. From take-out. 🙂

Thank you.

The Post In Which I Fancied Myself an NPR Reporter

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It’s embarrassing, really.

The day was unlike others; unless you’re someone who gets a mammogram daily. I’m not. I was between procedures (I’m clear, it was all routine) and I had some time to kill.

The weather was clear and sunny and warm.

I was in my monster mobile and parked outside a local “Gas N Shop,” or “Petro N Go,” or “Fill N Leave,”… you know, the kind of place that sells gas, offers a car wash, bathrooms, rolling papers and Snickers bars.

I was determined to not to go in and sit in the warm, stuffy waiting room for what could be upwards of 15 minutes. The waiting rooms at mammography centers are high intensity; no one wants to go in there to prepare to stand on their tippy toes as they look away as Miriam did in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” during the scene when she and Indy are strapped to the pole while the foolish Nazis dare open the Ark of the Covenant after performing an ad hoc Hebrew ceremony (am I digressing?)… anyway, as Miriam (who listened to Indy because if she didn’t she would’ve melted as the Nazis did), you don’t want to look at your girl when it’s in this device which compresses her from a shape resembling a balloon to a pancake.

During said compression, we are reminded to hold our breath (which is already gasped) as the sing-songy operator who looks like “Pat” from Saturday Night Live (I’m dating myself) scurries to hide behind a glass wall while a half-million-dollar machine hums and clicks and releases. If you don’t get it right that time, you get to do it again. Never mind the fact that this would be considered a misdemeanor in several states were it not a medical procedure…

So instead of waiting with the other potential smashees, I chose to hide. I’m glad I did for I witnessed joy instead of anxiety; expression rather than suppression; and elation instead of deflation. Going in for a mammogram requires a certain suspension of disbelief anyway, because no sane person would want this to happen to her. So, following this thread of make believe, I pretended I was an NPR reporter. That’s totally normal, right?

I haven’t listened to my recording since that day because I think I hate my voice and also because I’m not used to recording myself. My mother, however, would have LOVED to have done this, so in my own little subconscious way, I’m loosening up a little to let more of her in. Please click on the link immediately below:

Paradise and Fiji Water

I made this recording about two weeks after Mom died and I was in a place where I needed to see the silver linings of life and to remember that life not only goes on, but that it can and does quite beautifully, thank you, with or without us in attendance.

I was talking to my friend about this experience the other day and she told me that there is no such thing as fresh drinking water on Fiji… that they get bottled water too. I wonder if it’s $3.85 a bottle there. Probably more because they need to ship it from … uh … Michigan or somewhere.

I am a firm believer that it’s up to us to see the beauty in an every day existence. I have yet to be like Wayne Dyer and say “Thank you!” before I get out of bed, but I come pretty close. I say it on the walk to school, or as I pour my coffee or as I’m having my breast compressed or as I’m watching an adorable family vacuum its car.

The little boy was “totes adorbs” to quote a friend from Buffalo, NY. His shiny black hair was cropped close, with bangs that hugged his face and curled up about an inch above his eyebrows. The dad was wearing a Reál Madrid soccer jersey and had close-cropped hair and a ready smile for his son while he was doing what dads do: playing while Mom was working. He laughed and did his best to look busy, but that little kid was just too much fun. The mom was fierce-looking; she had a classic South American face with high cheek bones and full lips. Her skin was a gorgeous bronze that set this pasty white Irish girl’s jealousy in gear. But I didn’t envy her the age of her son (been there, done that) nor the “compliance” of her husband while she’s just trying to clean out her car. Sometimes these chores are better performed alone.

Their dark teal Toyota Corolla sedan was in good condition. It looked to be the same vintage of one that belonged to a gal I met at the yoga retreat this summer. She said hers was 17 years old with close to 380,000 miles on it. To my friend, it was her ride to a Springsteen concert or to class or to the Jersey Shore and to work as an educator. But to this Mom, who looked to be no more than 21, that car was her chariot, her way to work, her son’s way to school or day care and her husband’s privilege: it had pink and lavender stickers on the back, like little wings, on either side of the trunk’s keyhole. This was a woman’s car.

I remember hearing the music before I saw the family and thought that surely it was playing for the benefit of a silver-haired couple from Mexico or Latin America. To me, there was no way that a young person would enjoy that music; there was no subwoofer bleeding or swearing pouring out the windows. How nice it was to be so completely incorrect.

I felt lucky and, oddly, not a hint of self-consciousness recording that “report”; I suppose it’s not weird these days to see someone sitting alone in a car holding a phone up to her face with her window cracked open. People do it all the time… Beats trying to do it while driving.

I enjoyed pretending I was an NPR reporter; I am glad to be sharing it with you.

Thank you.

p.s.  i feel this post was rusty. i have to say that it’s weird for me to be writing about something happy again that doesn’t focus on my sadness about my Mom. it was nice. “The show must go on!” she’d say.