Achilles and Angels

I recently thought about how each of us probably has an Achilles heel. A place we are vulnerable and a spot that gets us every time. Granted, we don’t get killed from this place of weakness (I hope!), but it exists and generally isn’t good. Then, today, while waiting for a friend, I started a short story in an erotic anthology. (this is a fairly good anthology series. I enjoy a short that is fairly well written and makes one think. There are some typos, a few bobbles here and there, and the editing isn’t as good as I’d like. I think those come within the territory of ebooks in this age) This story, it made me think. And so, you are getting a post about Achilles and Angels.

The story is titled ‘Bringing Angels to Life’ by Chloe Thurlow. A little bit like ‘My Fair Lady’, but not exactly. (oddly, until typing those words, I had not even noticed how similar it was in genre to that classic musical or even the story of ‘Pygmalion!) The story is about a man who sees a woman and awakens her, the author litters the short with pithy sentences that I ended up highlighting (I wonder if that is why my iPad went from full to 14% in just a few hours???).  Thinking about my own Achilles heel of being responsible, of doing for those around me and not as often myself, these phrases showed me places I need awakened. This will be a long post. Bear with me!!!!

This first quoted started my words winnowing, ‘What is life for, but to be lived?’  Mum made me aware of this and in the last months, I’ve forgotten it a bit. She always planned or said she would do something and it never was done. I have wanted to do things this year, they generally are pushed off because of responsible.

Was I living life? Or was I like the hands on the clock, just going through the motions?’ ME in Oregon or taking care of mom. I didn’t want to come back to the house today, because I am doing the same things over and over. (granted, as I work by myself or with others, I am making a bit of progress) ‘I wasn’t sure if chances came or chances were something you made happen yourself.’ Exactly true. In my Achilles heel, do I wait for chances or do I reach out and grasp them? ‘You only fail when you stop trying, stop believing. I was waiting for something to happen without realizing I was waiting. It was like I was dreaming of winning the lottery, but neither had the ticket or the intention of buying one.’ OUCH!!! I look at where I am with The Craftsman, dream of where my life could be, and do not do a thing besides what I’m expected to do. (I have had affairs. They have taught me more about myself than 30 years of marriage. Odd!)  One of my friends is changing his life, I’m so proud of him. I need to not just follow his example, but strike out onto my own path of change.

I laughed at this next quote I found. It was so me. Except I don’t look for new shoes, I look for books. The main character is wondering what she wants to do and glances down. ‘Some new shoes, I thought, that’s what I need.’ I highlighted it because it is so easy to find important things one needs that are useful for our daily life, but not what our soul needs.

The tired working woman character meets the Angel Maker after work and he says, ‘Come.’ She ‘realised I had been waiting as if on a cliff edge and just needed a push.’ When we are bent on one pattern, it takes something major to move you out of that rut. I have many places that trip me up. I don’t have a very good self-image. Mom didn’t encourage me much, my spouse doesn’t, and I absolutely crave being told I look nice or am pretty (I know, women are supposed to be beyond that. We are supposed to be lauded for our brains or achievements. I figure I can start with pretty and go from there!). The Angel maker tells the female character, ‘you are more interesting than you think you are.’ When I’m told this, I am flabbergasted. I often excuse the person saying it because they don’t know me in ‘real every day life.’ He then tells the woman, ‘You are here because you want to be.’ She’s not so sure. ‘You are crossing a bridge that is burning behind you as you go, he said. You don’t want to go back into the flames, the what’s the word, the ashes. And you are afraid to go forward. Is true?’ I nodded, ‘Yes.’ ‘I learn in this life, we do not regret the things we do, only what we wanted to do and never did.’   Powerful thought provoking words, those.

The secret of life is to discover what you are good at, then do it, whatever it is.’ I’m not sure what I’m good at. I do like to make others happy. I should not do it at the expense of myself. I need to be the chocolate chip cookie maker and not the doormat. (I was sad last fall when I went back to Oregon and learned the guys sort of weaned themselves off of sweet baked goods. Now what do I do?) ‘I had been waiting for something to happen. I had grown used to waiting, and you grow tired of waiting.’ Actually, that isn’t exactly true for me. Sometimes I get tired of waiting (most of my blog posts the last couple of years! Or getting the pipes dug up—there is a tractor in the drive as I type!), generally I carry books to help me during waits. Escape into another world is a good way to make time vanish.

In her transformation, he begins by sexually loving her. I liked how these scenes were written. It wasn’t graphic, it was beautiful. He accepted her for what she was, saw her desirability in her work environment and her clothes, removed her from the former and removed the latter—not because they were offensive, but as a part of who she was– dressed her in those same things the next day, then took her to buy new clothing and be guided into the woman she should have been.  He accepted her and guided her. (I’d probably do anything for a person who accepted me for myself.) ‘He made me feel wanted, beautiful, special.’ ‘I looked sexy but, more than sexy, I looked in the warm yellow light almost beautiful, and more than that, I looked happy, and thought those things go together like a matching handbag, shoes, and gloves.’ He pretends to be startled by the transformation and she laughs. He notes, ‘There is nothing sexier than a beautiful girl laughing.’ (NOTE: I had no idea sexual intimacy could be fun until I experienced it! I am a great flirt and giggle often while doing that, but laughing and giggling during sex? Blasphemy!) This last quote, I have experienced. KK told this to me years ago and it is a card I pull out every now and then. ‘If you think you’re beautiful, and special, if you lift your chin and hold your back straight, you are a desirable woman.’ ‘Remember at all times, and never forget it: you are a lady, not a tart.’ Then, the Angel Maker reminds her to ‘Never complain, never explain, and never apologise. Some famous lady said that, it’s good advice.’

As in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ ‘When you wear beautiful things, you do feel beautiful.’ I wore black sparkly tights today and my split jean skirt with a favorite flannel top that has a black velvety collar.  Warm and I felt it was pretty. (It was pouring rain today. When I texted The Craftsman that it was raining cats and dogs and I thought a St. Bernard landed in the lake, he responded with ‘A St Bernard?’ I should have just stuck to basic raining! Lol) Since I was meeting one friend for lunch and hoping to see another and shopping, I wanted to feel good and I did. This story I started, it helped me realise I need to wake up and shake off the clinging arrow in my foot.

I don’t need to keep waiting for something, I need to do. Whether I go back to school or move to Alaska or what, staying inside the house cooking and cleaning isn’t all I was created for. Taking care of mom won’t last forever. (I hope!)  I’m good at being responsible, somewhere there must be a different shoe for this Achilles heel of mine.

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Harvest Moon?

This Friday was a bit frustrating. I was supposed to have the drive dug up and Digman didn’t arrive. He did call at 11 am to say he was waiting for his tractor to be moved. I’m not entirely sure, I take people for as I see them. (He’s nice in many ways, but sometimes I’m just not sure! Oh, I said that….) Because I was a tad disgruntled, I ate some not food that was delicious. Alas, it mucked up my glucose and I ended up taking a nap. When I woke, I knew I’d wasted most of the day just waiting and decided to get a few things done.

The night before I had finally emptied mom’s closet completely into two large garbage bags I’ll donate next week. (I was a bit sad, I think I must have gotten rid of most of the nice scarves and ties which were used during one lovely intimate memory this summer. Although, I might also have moved them. Which means I’ll never manage to find them! Lol) Anyway, since the closet was empty, I moved mom’s fur and fancy under sized winter coats upstairs. Most of them. The sad part? Now the closet is full again and a couple of the coats are downstairs hanging up in a small area of the store room. She had just too many and a bunch are from her aunts who are all dead. (I really need to get rid of those things and will most likely need to try Craig’s List or something like that.)

It had stopped raining and there was a chance the moon might be seen. (I did get glimpses early in the morning on the 13th, but I ignored it because I was hoping a dig would happen on Friday and I wanted some rest!) I did a few more things and kept checking the sky. It was eventually dark, but so very cloudy. Annoyed, I went downstairs and did more sorting and clearing so we can get to the AMI jukebox at the end of the week. (hopefully, that person will be here to get those!) The sky never did clear up, you could see it was light, but you could not see the moon. I went outside to verify and discovered something amazing. It was WARM! (Ok, probably not warm, but it wasn’t cold.) I knew the neighbors were gone and realized this was one of the only times I could go out in the kayak naked again. It was an incredibly freeing experience the last time and I wanted to do it again.

I decided this time I’d really be bare. I did take a zip up hoodie, mostly cuz of the pockets for my flashlight. (do you know when you are naked, you don’t have pockets! Kangaroos have it very good!) I also had on my boots and socks (muck is NOT fun on bare feet!) and my gloves I always wear when gripping the yak paddle. (I did take off the hoodie once on the waterI) didn’t paddle very long, a brisk wind slipped past and it grew chilly. But, oh. How much fun!!!

The ground was wet and slick as I hiked down to the lake. I was hoping I’d not see any moose, I’m sure I’d have fallen and lost the paddle and the flash and injured myself in more than one locale since 98% of me was uncovered! I reached the kayak without incident and got it in the water (another not so easy thing to do in the dark. Flip and launch a boat). I had thoughtfully brought a towel out for me to sit on and positioned it carefully on the cold plastic seat. I got in, pushed off, and magic happened.

It was as quiet as a church full of old people on a summer night (no snoring, though!). My bare skin was tingly with the rising mist and the cool air. Owls hooted back and forth, a few of the later loon called, and, when I lifted the paddle to just listen, the water played a nocturnal sonata. I couldn’t exactly see where I was going. I knew the lighter parts of the area were open lake surrounded by the dark jagged silhouettes of trees. I tried to keep my craft in the treetops, I didn’t have on my life jacket and I knew that water was cold. (If I tipped in, I’d prefer to be knee deep rather than neck or further!) I discovered another beautiful sound as I hovered near the shore. Along the edge of the lake many kinds of grasses thrive. Most of the ones further out are hollow. The tunes they played as I skimmed through were haunting!  I heard a few frogs, leaves or something falling from the trees (it was a liquid sliding sound), and once I thought I heard something moving. When I picked up the flash to shine it in the woods, I don’t think it was anything. Or if it was, it was gone.

This is about when the wind swirled around me and I decided to head back to the house. I had also heard a vehicle and was seriously hoping the people next door weren’t coming home late! (They have had lights on inside and outside for more than 24 hours.) I got back to where I ‘park’ and realized the little light that used to be my spotlight is out. (or it fell over) I’ll check it in daylight when I go and fix the kayak. Launching it was not easy, getting it back on land and turning it over was more difficult! I had to use the flash a LOT and that caught the attention of the dogs next door. (who have not stopped barking for the last 45 min or more!) Hiking back to the house wasn’t fun on the slippery hill and my hair kept getting in my mouth!!! I was huffing it out from my face, sounding a lot like a moose in browse! Thankfully, a real one still didn’t show.

I was glad to have this beautiful chance to do something almost in touch with nature (almost cuz I did have on some cloth and did not touch water or earth with flesh). It was truly one of those golden bead moments, even if I didn’t see a bright harvest moon.

UPDATE: I woke before 7 and saw not a cloud in the sky and the sun starting to rise, it is halfway down the trees across the way as I type! (photos from earlier this week)

Ongoing Care

As I was cleaning today, I ran across an envelope that I was about to toss. I opened it up (it was addressed to me) and the first page was The Caregiver Bill of Rights. Rights that I was supposed to hold to as best I could while caring for mom. While reading it over, I realized my caregiving isn’t over. I alluded to this in The Long Goodbye, but damn it! I am still taking care of mom at the cost of my own life. I leave Alaska in a bit over a month and, in a small way, I’m glad. I have a ton of crap to go thru once I get to the states, but at least it is crap I’ve already sorted once. Stuff I can decide to sell or keep or recycle into something else (like the sweatshirts made for mom and dad with handprints from the grandkids. Jake doesn’t want them and suggested garbage.). As much as I love and need to be here, I’m so sick of waiting for things to happen or opening up a closet and discovering I hadn’t emptied it yet. I am going to do that next week. Just empty closets and take stuff somewhere. I’ve been doing it slowly cuz there is such a clothing glut in the few stores we have. I have cookbooks I’m taking in and the most frustrating part is storing it to haul off! (I do not like clutter and piles for this and piles for that makes me want to just walk away! Note: That is an ELO song from ‘Xanadu’. Fun musical! Gene Kelly, ONJ, and some random dude that apparently roller skated in from somewhere.) I need to make some more cash before I leave in October. I am sure it will show up from somewhere. It is obviously NOT going to be made this fall from selling these things.

The lake is gorgeous this month. In between raindrops, it is frequently calm and often glassy. I haven’t seen the bulls lately. But, it is still moose season for a few more days. I wish the guys would just bed down in my yard and hide out! Others are scared of the critters, but if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. (Generally!) I had to laugh last week. The neighbor’s dogs ran to the lake edge barking like crazy. I figured there was a moose around and walked down with my camera. A cow was on my side, not very close, but I got her photo. The dogs continued barking and two of them were wagging their tails. I think they wanted to play! There are still loon, I hear them often and I just looked up to see a flotilla of mallards paddling past. Last night, I was out on the water and spied three golden eye. (Oh, I just noticed there is a single out there on the water! Poor baby. He doesn’t fit with the others, but there is probably safety in numbers. Picture is of golden eye diving-) 

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Bloop!

Speaking of mom and this incredible place, when her ashes were put in the lake after the sale, no one took photos and the single picture I thought I took, didn’t take. It is sunny at the moment, Jake isn’t due to be here til after one … I saw her briefly at a party we were both at, but otherwise I have not seen her since the sale. She called to say she needed her folding tables. Tables that when she left were covered in things that needed put away. Which I did. There is still a lot to tidy, but I’ll do it when the drive is getting dug up. (yes, it might really happen the end of this week!!!) BUT, the lake has been beautiful, so I am going to wait for someone to visit, do ashes again, and have the person take photos of the experience. (Hoping the whomever will visit when it is daylight, not raining, and the lake is calm!) I won’t do it when Jake is here, she’s too busy. (she has arrived and gone again. She’ll see me probably around the 24th when we take the rest of mum’s ashes down the inlet) I’d do the photos myself, but the swirl of ashes will look better from up high. Or at least, I was told it looked interesting when it was done the first time.

I keep wandering off into bunny trails in this post! And I completely forgot to mention my busy Sunday or that I made the scrumptious halibut! (I am sure you are all waiting on tenterhooks to find out what I did.—Tenterhooks sound extremely uncomfortable!) Sunday I did sell some rolling carts that were stashed in the rig. (They take up a lot of room, I needed to move the carts and so, and I put them in the vehicle!) After church, I dashed off to the store, met a gal and then TnT in the parking lot and chatted, high tailed it to my next engagement, realizing I was not going to have time to put gas in the Pacifica, and got to the church anniversary in time to miss most of the service. (yup, after church, another church had an anniversary party at 2pm.) I sat with some stellar older folks and the majority of us left around the same time to attend a retirement party at 5pm. Where I sat with some of the same people (Jake was at this one, she sat elsewhere)! I love the people in this area! I learned ‘Poor man’s lobster’ is a delicious old fashioned way to cook halibut (since I didn’t have any clean forks, I used chopsticks to dip it in a butter that definitely needed flavoring), the icing on the cake I sampled (I like tasting how different people bake!) was ridiculous, and the donuts had WAY too sweet toppings on heavy rings. The desserts were very pretty, though!

These last two pictures are ones The Craftsman took. He went to a car show this weekend with over 600 cars and found a 56 T Bird to match the 56 Mercury. How cool is that? A turquoise T Bird!!!!

I have been thankful to thread many golden pearls on my string of memories the last couple of days. I’m going to need them to roll in my fingers when things are less bright.

Annoyed By Debris

You would think after getting stuff ready for a sale, most of the debris would be tossed or sorted and only the cream would be left. Not. Jake said she was going to go through and ready the shed for use for the sale. She had the shed and her bedroom to do (granted, the shed was a HUGE task!). The room was pretty much full of lightly organized boxes, except where I had officially organized things. The shed looked ok, but when I went in it to clean it up, I was startled. (I have to constantly remind myself. My sister gave me as much time as she could, it must be enough. She came over the other day while I was gone to take down the old tent she used for books. I am glad I had her move the books to her bedroom, the tent was wet inside. I’ve not seen her since last Saturday.) Anyway, I was consolidating boxes and sorted an entire large garbage bag full of junk. I also found stuff I’d made mom that I wanted to keep. (One was a tiny wooden nativity set I seem to have made for EVERYONE except myself or my boys!) I hope most of the jingle bells are gone, I did find a few more. A rather disturbing Santa candle was gently placed in the garbage (gently, so it might not haunt me!! I have read way too many stories in the Deathlehem anthologies to treat even a candle badly!). Some horrible, mostly stuffed, snowmen were sent to the garbage bag. One adorable small one I kept because it matches a larger one I decorate with every year. I put all the winter/Christmas dolls in one tote. Gathered up more light houses of different kinds (she has a large one, NiB, identical to one in her bay window!) to bring inside and hope I can do the other holiday stuff this next week.

I’m also throwing away kitchen things. Ages ago, I shared a post about spiders in a toaster. Mom’s toaster stopped working, so Jake gave us theirs. It was filthy, but usable after being cleaned. Mom had a blender in the cupboard. Way back in the cupboard, covered, and it looked ok. I took it apart to move it, since it had not sold, and was appalled! It was very dirty and gross. I’m not even going to try to clean it. (Why on EARTH can’t people clean things before putting them away? Although, there is a cute coffee pot I am sure I cleaned after its last use that doesn’t look like it has been cleaned….)

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I was thankful mum’s car didn’t look like this one I parked near when I had to stop at the Sr Center. This one made me cry. There was barely room for a driver. From the scissors among the papers on the dash to the empty drink containers stashed everywhere, it shouted negligence. The Craftsman said he has had to work on cars like it. It makes me wonder. Do those people have no children to keep an eye on parents? Do the adults need housing? Mum’s rig is bad now, mostly cuz it is full of things I hope to sell on Sunday after church. (that sounds blasphemous!)

I have trash outside in bags getting rained on (hooray for rain!!). I made the decadent canned cinnamon roll pull apart cake today and have eaten about half of it (BAD) because it was cold in the house and there is just something comforting about warm cinnamon bread. I am going to make halibut for dinner tonight. A friend texted me a recipe that sounds easy and scrumptious. She called it poor man’s lobster. You boil halibut cubes in water with a smidge of sugar and then serve it by dipping it in melted butter. I’ve never cared much for lobster, but I absolutely love halibut! I’ll see if it needs garlic and lemon. Now, my phone has lost signal. I can’t text my neighbor across the lake! (definitely a modern problem! lol) I reckon that means I should probably go and move some more stuff. I need to do a paper chase and see exactly how much cash I have. (I also just discovered today, I don’t have a receipt for the digging work done last fall.) BUT, first I really want my dining and living room somewhat tidy looking. Then, I can move the stuff that got stashed in mum’s room (where I’ve been sleeping) because it was the catch all for important stuff. (did I mention I’ve been hiding the estate cash not deposited in a drawer, under my ‘toys’?) I’m sure my bear (I end up sleeping on him!) is helping keep an eye on things. Even if I did dream last night about burglars. I think I woke up after I hid in a pile of stuffed animals—very ET! (although, I AM home!! If you look close in the lake picture, you can see a small garden light reflecting in the water, not a heart light. A garden one. I was in the kayak around 9, just as it was deciding to get dark.)

The Long Goodbye–a long post

The Long Goodbye is a ‘neo-noir‘ movie and is EXACTLY  what I’ve been doing since May 2014. I didn’t know it then, but those weeks were the opening scenes. Mom was the main character, I was a strong supporting actress and changed the most. My neighbor said this is what I’ve been doing, saying goodbye for a while. She is right.

I came to Alaska that spring because of a comment a friend made. I’d mentioned I rarely came home since dad died and he asked me why. I could not answer! Completely dumbfounded, I made my first foray north since February 2006. I didn’t stay very long that summer. Mum seemed to have most of her oars in the water, usually! We did a few excursions and I wish I’d pushed her to do more. I do remember the septic was being horrible and was dug up and replaced by something like a crib. The next year I arrived after Memorial Day and stayed til October. That was the year of the sewer flood. When the kid reversed the flow, pumping 22 hundred gallons of raw sewage INTO mum’s basement instead of sucking it out of the holding area. That was truly a memorable summer. (Shudder!) My whole family came north to help sort and work for a week. They took back so much stuff, including several jukeboxes and the Mercury (which is going to a car show this first full weekend in September.). I ended up leaving in October. It took that long to get mom’s stuff from the containers in the yard back into the house. I think that was the summer she finally changed her will to have me be the executor (I had no idea what that would mean, but I am so glad it was my job and not Gigman’s-my BiL!).

I didn’t go north in 2016 til mid-July. I waited til The Craftsman’s birthday was over and then flew home. Mum had started chemo that May and wasn’t doing quite as well as she thought she might. (in all her years of colon cancer and breast cancer, she’d never gone through chemotherapy. She had radiation for those, but not chemotherapy). We also had a brand spanking new septic system. That summer was ridiculous hard. I finally was able to get her to sign papers for me to become her Power of Attorney, they were dated wrong, but gods…the darn things had been sitting waiting for her signature for MONTHS! I knew mom was sick, she kept having delusions of what she wanted instead of what she could have. (She did that til the day she died.) Doctors seemed to ignore her and my frustrations. Everyone insisted mom was ‘fine’. (I HATE that word)

I left for Oregon in mid-October again. I flew back home November 3, 2016. I stayed with mom in the hospital for weeks. This was when we realized the POA papers were wrong. This is when I got a tiny inkling that my goodbye was going to be full of responsibility. I have to admit, I am thankful mom hung on as long as she did. I grew up a great deal, but I also got tons done that may not have been as easy if she’d not been alive.

This is also when my blogging worlds came to my rescue. My followers (I had no idea I’d get any, I was so stressed and upset and tied up in things I didn’t understand. I just wrote!) became friends, some of you very good friends. My live friendships touched on me now and then, you sustained me. For more than two years you have encouraged and lifted me up in every facet of my new normal. A normal I’d no idea was even possible. Each day I was certain mom was going to go, each day brought experiences that showed me how ridiculous mom’s life had been before I stepped in, and each day mom resented her loss of complete independence.

On September 3 of 2018, (photo in jacket is August of ’18) I brought mom home from the hospital. Again. I know she went back on the 8th, but for some strange reason I have little in the way of photographs or even notes during the month of September 2018 about mom. I’ve looked in all my blogs, my photographs, my journal entries….I didn’t look at any of the emails and texts I sent and haven’t deleted yet!! It appears she was only home for 5 days. That was the week she burned up her microwave and I had to buy a new one she absolutely hated, partly cuz she had not chosen it! (I admit, I’m not fond of it either. It cooks too hot!!!)

After her death, I had to plan her memorial service, Jake was too busy to help much. That was when the septic went out again and it needed dug up. That was when I discovered what a freaking money pit this house was. I’m so thankful I had gotten it paid off and that she died after the taxes were due on it! I’m also glad she put it in my name, I’d hate to try to juggle repairs and bills with someone else. I started going through her things then..

Which leads me to this year. I put some of mom’s ashes in the lake on Saturday. The last of the ashes I have here will go on the Homer Spit in a few weeks. My sister wants to shoot her from a potato cannon. I just want to spread her. It will be a very fast trip up and back. Jake can’t take much time off for that since she took her entire week off to help me with getting mum’s sale ready and doing the sale (not exactly true. She was here on Tuesday afternoon for 2 hours, Wednesday about 3 hours, Thursday about 3 hours, Friday she was here from 830-3, and on Saturday about 2 hours. I guess it was a lot. She had to take care of her family, animals, and had a spouse date on Thursday night at a super fancy place, as well!)

Anyway, it has been a long goodbye. I’m the not so bouncy core in ball of tired wrapped up in thankful with a dinged up coating of WTF? (that coating is purple by the way) This was a long post—but it does sum up 5 plus years of a past leading into an uncertain present. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I’ve no idea how to pay for this house over the winter, but not rushing to get it ready to leave by mid-October was a restful decision. I’m so damn tired of making decisions, not being able to eat our cuz I’m tired of rice cakes and eggs, not being able to do errands cuz it is too expensive to go anywhere, and being surrounded by clutter that does NOT seem to vanish!!!

 

I am making progress of a sort. Donating is looking better and better, although I sincerely need the money. I think I have enough to do exactly what needs done, for now, so why want more? As Mary Poppins said, ‘Enough is as good as a feast.’ Even if I’d love more jam with my bread/rice cakes and tea. (Laughing, same actress, different nanny!) I’m more than thankful for the hope and encouragement of all of you and knowledge that somewhere there will be an end to this particular journey. Someday….

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Photo from a few weeks back. taken  by a friend who boat fishes for a living-

September’s Arrival

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It is now September 2. The official sale of mum’s household SABLE is done. (I now need only $500 to get the pipes dug up!) I’m actually sitting in the dining room surrounded by items and waiting for someone who had contacted me on FB about something she wanted. I’m also sad because a few items I’d set aside or marked sold for people are now available again. Seriously. When you live in AK and can find something at a sale for a quarter of the online retail price, why quibble that it is $12 dollars? The lake is super calm today and I’m watching a lone golden eye duck ‘bloop’ around on the skin of our tiny water. It swims a bit, dives, pops back up, swims, dives, and repeats the process. Each time I try to take a photo, he ‘bloops’. (that is the sound the water makes as they dive) OH! There are two ducks! Twice as difficult to photograph. (Insert eye roll as I’m on my laptop and not the iPad!)

I had one person, if I had known how rude they’d been to my sister and a couple of others outside, I’d have charged them a bit more when I met them inside! They wanted lighthouses. The main woman was angry cuz we’d not answered her as to where the sale was (I had posted it, but not in a photo and it wasn’t an ‘event’) and my signage wasn’t as good as it should have been and she hoped there were some lighthouses left because she really wanted them. She did take quite a few. I was thankful, however, a friend of a friend took some of the really neat things (that friend was nicer all around!). After the grumpy woman left, I put out several more, plus a game that had been in a cabinet. There was another woman, who runs a shop in town. She was so respectful! She took much more than she paid, but it was ok. She went through the bell cabinet and set aside things with the words: ‘you need to look at this or keep this’. Much of the fancies in the cabinet we’d never really looked at. It was a stuffed locked glass cabinet full of glass! There are a great many good people in this world, I’m glad they help balance the dingbats. UPDATE on dingbats: In an estate sale, people look at things. They open boxes and remove the contents. But I wish they also could put them back the way they found them!! So rude. Leave no trace isn’t something most people have been taught. In the woods, in a house, or a store this is a good rule of thumb. (Thieves could leave fingerprints!!)

Since I’m just waiting today, I was hoping to get caught up on blogging. My blogging email address has over 100 unread email notifications! I know GH is out of the hospital (or was last I really read.).  Dewy is getting things more sorted in her new abode. Gary cooked something incredibly delicious looking awhile back-as usual! Jack is continuing to share profound thoughts. Rhapsody is always enlightening and generally writes what I need exactly as I need it. Ms. Monster texted she’ll take out someone for me, of needed—gigglesnorting still! Podman and Chirp are always a joy to hear from—they have a herd of grands staying with them! And I noticed a few others are back from a break. (I also discovered advertisements on WP are annoying!! I’m glad followers are able to skip around those to see my own pictures and words!!!!!)

This is an odd month for me. It is also another busy one. Many people use the next weeks to drive out of the state before snow settles. Migration and change is evident all around. (Very cool! Now there are three teen mallards swimming around! I captured them lifting off the other day.) Most of these pictures were from the last week or so-before mum’s stuff was partially sold.

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Earlier last week I spied a snipe and photographed it bathing. (yes, I’m a voyeur and they are a real creature!)

Haven’t seen the bigger moose lately, I do know the young one has a dangling antler piece from an encounter of some kind. (I bet it hurts!) I did get to see a youngling and its mom.

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This was RIGHT next to the house (see corner in photo). I was standing in the open doorway. 

It is a bittersweet time of year, yet…fall is a promise of a time of rest before starting new all over again. Good season. (makes sense to find a heart apple fritter this time of year!!)

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This is hard

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I’ve written a million times about mum and her last months. This summer I’ve dragged myself through generations of debris and lives. I’m supposed to be getting my own finds ready for boxing up to someday mail, but I tripped. I landed hard. I have fallen and I can’t get up. So, I’m talking to the only people I know who are awake and for some reason, listen.

This evening I started to attempt to sort the paperwork I acquired while caring for mum. The sympathy cards. The hospital records.  The notes from her cancer counselor on August 8 of last year that said mom was chatting about the local senior housing and was in great spirits and apparently feeling well, but that she and her daughter didn’t see eye to eye.

I have been crying off and on the last hour. I don’t know what to throw away. Gods, it’s like I gave her my last few years and nothing matters. I have to keep moving forward and I am not going anywhere. Like a treadmill with a virtual map. In the end, I’m tired and sweaty and back where I started. I don’t want to be strong anymore. I want held and cuddled and reminded it will be ok. Thank god for WordPress and my teddy bear!

When I return to Oregon, it’s exactly like that treadmill. I’ll have been changed, yet when I step back onto the floor, no one around me will notice anything other than that mostly quiet person is around again. I’ll be expected to be who I was 3 years ago.

In 10 hours, I need to be that strong person. I had hoped to ship boxes and totes in a container. Now, I need to adjust to moving them all by post. So, not only do I need to tear off bandages, exposing wounds, I need to discard what I had hoped to keep for what I might actually need to keep. Which is not really anything, except mom’s things I can better sell from the lower 48.

But, it really hurts.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Debris or not debris???

I started a handwritten post a while ago, but didn’t manage to get it typed up. I’m constantly tired and find myself mindlessly playing games on my ipad (note, I play til I lose lives or win one level completely on word games). Sometimes I read, I often sit outside in the sunshine, every so often do a spot of yard work… I am not really as brown as the second picture (photos were taken a day apart), but I am enjoying the sunshine! When I return to the states (Oregon), I’ll not have this sort of tan again. Here in Alaska I am out the boonies by myself. Naked is pretty safe! (I do keep an oversized shirt close, just in case, but I’ve never needed it!) Safe isn’t what I need….

 

What I need is more time. (and money!)

As you can see, I am surrounded by debris. Piles for donation, my sister, myself, to sell, or whatever. Most of the closets and cupboards are almost empty. Or at least they have been gone through! I’m still living here, so I need to keep some things. I do NOT want to go and live with my sister for a month or so and drive out here to work each day as has been suggested. (I’d go batty at her house!!)  Her spouse hates I’m sending stuff back with her and there is shouting and noise. I like it here.

In fact, that is the hardest part. I do not want to leave. I want to keep so many things. But, I cannot. There are four things a person can do with stuff. Keep it, sell it, donate it, or toss it out. I’m astounded by how much I’ve tossed. In fact, the other day I hit a low because I got all guilty about getting rid of pictures. I blamed myself for not realizing others were a part of mom’s life. As I was sorting photos I put them in three sections. Me, Jake, and WTF is this? (who, not what). Thankfully, my sister has a memory like mom’s. She knows and recalls every single thing that ever happened to her from diapers on. Me? I have difficulty remembering if I’ve taken my meds! So, Jake can usually figure out who is in a picture and if it should be saved. Anyway, I laughingly mentioned on FB how mum had pictures of everyone from birth. One relation asked me if I could save the ones of her family and mail them. (I had JUST thrown them away!) I went through a bag I’d not tossed and found a few, but gods, I felt so horrible!!!

On Wednesday, a friend will visit who will help me pack up things for posting to Oregon. It is going to be so freaking expensive! And I still need to pay a few big bills that are mine and not my sister’s. (house insurance and what not, I’m using more electricity with darkness falling earlier…) Then, selling bits of lives isn’t as easy as I’d hoped. The jukeboxes are worth much less than we thought. (Specialty items generally are!) People often say they ‘want’ something if they see it on FB, but they don’t come through. Frustrating. The Craftsman still thinks I should sell mom’s beautiful watch if I need to. (I really really don’t want to. I’ve never gotten mad at him before, but this is starting to frustrate me more than anything else I’ve managed to adjust to!) I think of ABBA’s song and just cry inside. If I had a little money…but, if wishes were horses, we’d all know how to ride. And shovel manure!

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Thankfully, I keep finding interesting or good things. This black and white is wonderful. Mum has a large framed colorized version of it, lots of singles of people in the photo, and there are no names or dates anywhere to be found on any of them. It was driving us crazy!  This one, however, has all of that information on the back! I was so thankful. Another thing I’d forgotten was my real dad had a nickname. It shows up on many pictures. The first time I read it, I was so confused. In fancy cursive, Sonny looks a smidge like Harry and I knew the man was Harry, but some of the other photos had a definite ‘S’. That is another funny thing. My sister suggested to me last week she wants to have her DNA tested. Because she believes she’s my half-sister!!! (She looks like my mom’s side, not much like our birth fathers. I look like both, but more like his side.)

I have also found little special moments bringing a pause in my stampeding passage of time. A group of ducks wisely staying away from a lone loon, white fireweed fluff (seed) separating from the stalk to create more flowers next year, a mama moose with twins stopping for a drink at the far end of the lake (those were too far away to photograph properly), and a piece of petrified wood I placed on a beach log for perspective. It really is a beautiful world!!

Climbing from the Pit of Despair

Isn’t it odd how after a run of great moments, you can find yourself in the Pit of Despair?

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The sewing machine is delivered and working (I think I didn’t pay attention to writing down what I was going to sell it for, but it doesn’t matter. It’s gone and being used.), my laundry was washed and eventually dried (I brought it to the house instead of doing it at the laundromat.), and I had a splendid time from top to toe on Tuesday (OK, the doctor visit was annoying. It appears I need to just wait out my sore ear, weeping eyes, and treat OTC as I have been! Lol)

Tuesday I was supposed to meet a friend at 10 in the morning to pick fireweed blossoms. Another high school friend who lives on the East Coast wanted blossoms to make honey with. So, we offered to pick them and C was going to send them off. We ended up picking for an hour cuz we didn’t meet til after 11 and I had that doctor appointment and needed a shower (fireweed blossoms are sticky and full of little bugs!) and to get back to the house. Which was a good thing, Jake wanted to take some of the art we’d not wanted to a dealer and see if it was worth anything. After discombobulating rooms getting her the artwork, I got showered and left.

After the doctor, I was going to wash laundry and it was busy, so I opted to hang out in the cemetery for a bit. Those places are absolutely fascinating! The history buried there, literally, and the way people who are left honor those who are gone are as varied as buns in a cake display! Here are a couple of shots I took. The first one was for a young teen sort of girl who had died in the last couple of years. Her plot reminded me of the floor in mom’s room before we cleaned it up. (yikes!) There was one I didn’t photograph and should have. It was FANCY. She had also died recently and had a giant stone (about 3×4, maybe) with a plot full of that white gravel and a bench inside the plot on the gravel with an inscription on that, too. Others were neglected, other older ones were covered with a cement ‘blanket’ (a few of those had been cracked because of winter and quake damage).  I wandered around with my shirt open cuz it was so warm and quiet.

TnT joined me later on and we got a chance to talk. I’d talked to C about a plan I had thought and even TnT thought it was doable. Then, my sister called. I was glad to not be alone because I was very mature in my responses. Jake asked if I was sitting cuz she wanted to tell me something. I just told her to speak. Well, it turns out the pictures she took in are pretty much worthless, maybe a hundred dollars total. Except for hers. She also decided to have appraised two pictures an aging local artist did. They were hers, their worth means nothing to me financially. She had taken one from the house. But, they are worth several thousand. She seemed surprised I wasn’t as thrilled as she was.

Then, I slept badly. Tossed and turned and had a low glucose at 3 AM. I had to wake early to get the pictures from my sister. She wanted to make sure they weren’t in her possession for some reason (I think she just wanted to get them out of her house). When I got back, I cried. I did some math and realized that I do not have the 5 grand to get me through October that was a part of the plan I’d made (including a plane ticket back to Oregon) and then I need about 700 a month to keep the house til spring when I can be sure to empty and sell it. But, with all the cash I’ve made selling stuff, after splitting it with my sister, I have just enough to pay a couple of estate bills and the property taxes. A little over 2,000$. I wanted to do a sale this month, except the weekend I was shooting for, Jake will be gone to take her daughter to the airport so she can visit her sister in the PNW and go to a YMCA camp. (it is a homeschool write off and they are sending her first class cuz she’s 14 and traveling alone is scary.)

It was then I realized my sister didn’t bring me one of the pictures she took and asked her about it. It seems it was checked over carefully. It was dubiously determined the canvas might be by unknown painter instead of someone famous. Since it is also slightly damaged, Jake decided she’d keep the lovely little Indian girl on black canvas.

Doing a sale any other time will be difficult. State fairs the next couple of weeks are a huge draw for people, school is starting in 20 days, and people are gearing down for winter. June and early July are the best times for sales here.  I don’t want to donate everything. I have quite a bit I want to take back. I’ve gone over some of it more than once to determine if I really need it and I don’t. Most of it are wants. As an advisor told me, you didn’t know it existed, you did quite well without it, why keep it? I’m putting some on thumb drives, it isn’t enough. How can you put a fabric apron worn by your mom as a baby on a drive? Or a pair of embroidered kid gloves? Or slides you haven’t even seen yet?

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Today is not a glowing pearl of a day. But, in spite of everything, glittering huge dragonflies are darting in front of the window, there are golden leaves falling fast, and fall colors are starting to appear on the seasonal fashion runway. I’ll leave you with a picture of the young bull from the other day (he wanders past now and again!) and a sunset from the same day.

 

It Will Be Done

As many of you might know, this last week has been difficult. Yet, there is light. Eventually. I’m pretty sure it isn’t a train or a car with one headlamp, it is dim, but I know it is there.

Friday was going to be super busy. It was looking like one of those days where I had a million errands. I wasn’t happy, one of the things I needed to do was see if I could get my phone fixed. Somehow, I managed to lose all my contact information. NOT the texts and phone numbers, just who sent them and anyone in contacts, alarms, ect. (So many were people who I only talk to on the phone, not a good thing. I now have 32 when I had over 80! I guess that is one way to clear up your phone!)

So, I was lounging in bed when I got a text. I wasn’t wanting to open it, there are some texts I’m less thrilled to get than others! (I could block that person, but they aren’t bad mean texts, they just make me uncomfortable to get!) Anyway, it was from Patience, the author who purchased mum’s sewing machine. The embroidery part wasn’t working properly. It was making ghost images on her fabric and she was wondering if I could start proceedings with the post office, since I’d insured it. This was an interesting errand, so I added it to my list. (I was glad I’d used a very long piece of paper).

 

At the post, I learned it would be better for her to pursue them. We were advised to have her take it in to a repair person for an estimate and she’d keep me posted (I know, pun.). While in the parking lot, I was texted by a lady who had taken one of mom’s unfinished projects. She wanted to meet me and give them to me. (it was aprons mum had not finished for the two cancer clinics she was a patient at.) I told them I’d meet them at noon in town. (another stop, but I’d already checked off two, so I was good!)

I got all the errands done near the house, dropped off stuff for the historical society (mom said she’d turned everything in, but I seriously don’t know what she turned it. I shredded bank statements and tossed newspapers and what not that went back to the late 70s!), and realized I didn’t quite have enough time before noon to drop something else off. Town isn’t really that large, unless you look on a map. (One of the mayors spread the city limits out to places that no one really calls the city! It is disconcerting when you are on the road and see signs saying the town is a mile away, but it is really much more than that!) Anyway, I stopped in a parking lot and texted the apron lady that I had arrived. She said to look for a St. Bernard looking out a window. I got out of my rig and heard the dog, but I didn’t see it at first. He was a super friendly pup when I reached them. He’s still a puppy, he was chewing on empty water bottles and what not in the car! I almost cried when she gave me the aprons. She’d completed 4, two different styles and 4 different colors. Mum had used things called D rings on them, but this lady left the strings long. Which made more sense because they were easier for anyone to wear. (the rings made the aprons shorter for tall people)

It was late and I was so emotional with thanks, I opted to get lunch instead of eat my Luna bar. I did several more errands (stopped to make an appointment, by left eye might be infected…) and received another text. This one almost seemed ominous. The woman had been at the craft sale and wanted to meet me at JoAnne’s. A bit later, she sent me a text rerouting us to the library. One of my stops wasn’t complete, I had forgotten the office was closed. However, I did stop there on my way to the library!

At the library, I met one of the kindest women in the world. (she is also a person with type one diabetes, so that makes her doubly precious to me) She had a pillow with her. Actually, it was a filled pillow case, but it looked like a pillow. She got a key and we went into a conference room. She then told me a story about mom’s sale when we were unpacking things. A bag of odd looking scraps was found. When she got it home, she realized it was a bag of hand quilted blocks from what she thinks was 30 years ago. So, she and some others changed a few things, finished the  quilt, and gave it to me. (I’m still in awe and teary when I look at this) Inside the pillowcase was the quilt. (apparently, storing quilts in plastic is BAD. A pillow case helps the fibers breathe.)

As I got done with the rest of my errands for Friday (I couldn’t recover the contact information. It needs redone manually), I was struck by something (no, the traffic was HORRIBLE, but thankfully, I managed to not be hit by any tourists!). When I spoke with a friend who might come out to help on Sunday with another friend, I realized as much as mom left undone, someone sometime will finish it. Me, a total stranger, friends, family, and more. I may feel completely alone sometimes, but I’m not really. There are threads of mom everywhere being tied off and completed. It is incredibly humbling. Time consuming and humbling.

Oh, and I heard from Patience.  She said the repair man knew exactly what was wrong and fixed it for under 55$. (more threads of mom being used across the United States!)