Rock on!

I was able to snag a moment of magic this week. We had that full moon and the same night we were supposed to have active northerns. So, since rain was expected, I went out on the lake for almost an hour from 1130 pm to 1220 am. (I honestly thought it was longer than an hour, so much wonder made it seem longer!) It was so beautiful. The water was incredibly still, but above, the clouds were moving fast. They obscured the moon, so I didn’t see it. Yet, it shone through the clouds. Up here, and I thought I had a picture of some and don’t, we have a rock. I think it is a form of granite, but it is fairly fragile. It is full of shiny obsidian specks, sparkles, white, and what we call fool’s gold. When you break it, it can shatter and looks splendid all over the dark sand of the beach. That was what the sky looked like. In between the fluffy white clouds you could spy stars. I waited til Venus was obscured and turned to paddle back to the house, but my eyes caught a ripple. Like moving silk. Like the edge of a silk sheet under the coverlet of cloud. Yup, it was a glimpse of the northerns as they traveled under the clouds and on the horizon. I grinned the entire time I was out. I’d also gone out earlier, when it was daylight and then visited the inlet as well. I was pretty tired when I finally went to sleep!!!

I found some odd things in boxes. (I’m also sneezing a lot and my eyes are really runny, I might just toss most of the last box. So much must!) There was an envelope of coins from all over the world. I am going to assume some are from France and Denmark because the wording on them suggests it. The others, though, are beyond me. They date from the 50’s to the 60’s. I also found an extremely tarnished half dollar dated 1964 from my uncle when I was born in 65. He wasn’t very old when I was born, so it is pretty special.

I found some papers I’d been looking for, too. Although, I didn’t know I’d not typed them into the computer. It appears my uncle was going to marry Petula Clark. He’d also sit on the floor and cry while Ray Peterson’s song ‘Tell Laura I love Her’ was playing. (thank you YouTube!)

When I was born my parents had a Studebaker Hawk. It didn’t start and they had to walk several blocks in a snowstorm to get to the bus stop so they could reach the hospital. No wonder I love winter so much!!! The funniest story was of one of my ‘Aunts’. She’s my real dad’s step sister, I think. Anyway, she had a hairdo called a beehive and her younger brother got sick and threw up in it. Mom had to help wash Sandee’s hair!

Mom also learned to party when she was 18 or 19. She learned she couldn’t dance in heels, she danced so much she actually lost her shoes! It was a Polish Polka party that lasted two nights and she attended both. She said she ‘was drug around the floor at 98 ponds like a piece of popcorn.’ I also learned she and her college mates would sit on a ledge, I’m assuming over a road, and distract the driver’s with their legs. (And I thought I was a moderate rebel!!)

I’ve set online a sale date for Monday. The guys will be here and they can help me organize the heavy stuff in the garage this weekend. (The Craftsman’s Covid test came back negative, so that is good. Still haven’t heard from Little Bear.) I’m making little ‘You Rock’ thank you and gifts for people who have done so much for me and for fun. I’m hoping the hot glue stays together for at least a week! Lol The one I found in the basement that I’m keeping is absolutely my favorite dust catcher. It has painted eyes and a large group of similar sized rocks. Mine are more varied and some will have the googly eyes and the others will be painted. I should give every single one of my followers one!!! (the glue annoys me.)

Bullies

The last couple of days I’ve had a chance to talk to Strider. The first conversation was listening to a story he’d written. He calls me his editor. After that section was over, I was confused and it took a while, but  he finally got what confused me. And is going to fix it. It is a great story in a D&D world. I know a smidge about D&D and gaming, but the story is fascinating and I am loving the characters and their activities. The second conversation was more serious. He’s in a facility where he listens to world news constantly and, quite frankly, today’s surmises were terrifying. And made me sad.

It is not even August yet and I see this Princess Bride meme as a potent, laughable truth.

Covid-19 is not going away, the POTUS is finally deciding it exists. So, because he’s a bully, he’s going to find another pot (or several) to stir up. Strider sees this writing on the wall. There is political posturing going on between the US and China. When you have a bully around, you don’t ignore them, but you don’t give in. When Strider was in lower grades thru high school, he was bullied. He had to take classes to learn to understand and allow bullies their place. If he’d learned to stand up to a bully, then he’d have eventually been left alone. To give in was more acceptable. In a nutshell, the US has a bully in office right now. He likes to stir pots and backing him into a corner will make him break out with more stupid ass decisions (quote from The Avengers). Strider hopes China will not do more than poke the president, yet, if, at the end of October, the man sees he may not get re-elected, things could get very bad. He could easily send missiles over and blow up a single item. Like perhaps a dam. Killing billions, crippling China, and becoming a hero to the R-US voters for stopping a potential war in one stroke. Covid is being heralded as real and is making him look bad. The dictator actions to ‘take control’ with federal troops of American cities is making him look bad. At this moment, bills are being passed to help curb the powers of the president. Checks and balances seem fruitless. Yet, with Fox and social media, he has much of the US wrapped around his pinkie. Even his ability to fire off transcripts with no actual complete sentences or viable thoughts, doesn’t seem to bother anyone. (although, even some at Fox are starting to wonder. They will probably be replaced soon.) Strider called it ‘What about-ism’, where you deflect an issue with a similar one. ‘I’ may have done (a), but what about when that person did (b)? It is the same thing and you didn’t punish him, so I can do what I want. The only thing that matters is the person wanting to be proved right.

I don’t like being political. I was just thinking about some of the things we were discussing and wanted to share them. Perhaps my 31 year old is interpreting things poorly. Perhaps looking at the situation on the border between India and China isn’t that big a deal. Looking at the US and how The POTUS plays might be moot. I do know, when you focus on one spot, fires break out and grow in others. Yet, Trump loves being the main party in town and hates it when he’s not.

I’d prefer following A Rose is a Rose’s agenda politically, but I’m betting that isn’t going to happen for a while.

Crazy Wonder

While out and about this Tuesday, I was reminded of Brigadoon. Lots of rain and intermittent fog and stark landscape. No Gene Kelly, though. I was thankful it wasn’t freezing, was wishing for snow, and wanting to be somewhere else..like Alaska. I’ve had dreams about home and getting rid of the house. It was awful and I woke up sad. It needs to be done, though. I realised how much money I’ve dropped into that place and while money isn’t all that important, it does help smooth paths and I’d love to fix that particular leak in my finances. (I detest wasting money and it seems more and more like a waste.) Then, I think I’d like a Continuous Glucose Monitor,  I want to send my iPad to Apple, or buy more books. (although, those last two wants are not entirely important!)

Once online, I was introduced to this author and poem while reading one of my favorite blogs ‘Cauldrons and Cupcakes‘. Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese. (I hope you can read it!)

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I was thinking about wonderful things in my world (cue Louis Armstrong!) and decided to photograph some African violets in the kitchen. Technically, they were a birthday gift to me. Although, as Little Bear said when I received them, “Dad! Look, mom got a plantfor you to take care of!” Needless to say, he has and they are beautiful. I particularly like how the blooms glitter. Not being knowledgeable with this plant, I don’t know if they all have sparkling flowers, but I really appreciate them. I then discovered how different they looked, depending on where I put the flash to illuminate them. FUN FUN FUN!!

After reading Nicole’s notes,  I chanced upon another favorite author blogger of an entirely different sort. Kent Wayne and his latest musing struck me. ‘Problems are a…skill expanding puzzle.’ I love that idea. I’m not fond of problems, they keep me awake, make me cry, and frustrate me into kitchen frenzies (stress baking). However, I have learned from many of those problems. I have grown and left most of them more than half baked.

Glittery blooms and life lessons. Crazy wonder!

Wonder

There are moments when I think I need hammered upside the head. (often!) I run across thoughts and stories and comments that all say the same thing and they are generally in a theme I’m familiar with, but not realizing at the moment. This week is another one of those.

I have a favorite book (OK, I know, I say this all the time, but it is true!! Almost every book I’ve read has special bits in it and so I class them all together under favorite!)  Each book, experience, person, and interaction shapes a being in some way. This particular read was an important tool in who I am (as nebulous as that topic is!). It is called ‘A Touch of Wonder’ by Arthur Gordon. It isn’t a churchy book, it is an inspirational one. It isn’t a chapter book or a teaching book, although it does teach. It is full of stories of wonderment. One of the best ones is the last, the story where the book title comes from. (I’d take a photo of it and share that way, but the iPad did that best and well, as you know, it is toast!)

“  ‘There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle….’

This inscription was found on a small, new gravestone after a devastating air raid on Britain in WW2. Some thought it might be a famous quotation, but it wasn’t. The words were written by a lonely old lady whose pet had been killed by a Nazi bomb.

I have always remembered those words, no so much for their poetry and imagery as for the truth they contain. In moments of discouragement, defeat or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things, usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved.

No man is so poor as to not have many of these small candles. When they are lighted darkness goes away…and a touch of wonder remains.

I had a hard time the last day or so deleting mom from her kindle and taking it over. I’ve been absorbed into so much of mom’s world and have kicked every step of the way. I am so tired of spending money on mom that I will never ever see recouped and yet, when it came time to deregister this small electronic device, it took a few days (it might have been longer, but I really wanted to finish the book I’d started!). It seemed as if I was trying to erase her.

This Sunday, I was thinking about how much of her life has gone on to bring joy to others. People have sent me pictures of skirts, scarves, holiday décor, and told me stories of where mom’s SABLE has spread. Her cat lives in Oregon, I wear her gold nugget watch, and now I’m using her Kindle (for now, I really truly much prefer Apple over Amazon!). She’s not gone, she never will be. When I eventually finish up north with the stuff of Mum and I can finish down here with the SABLE brought back (I refuse to EVER do this to my boys and if I die before I get things sorted here and leave mom’s and my stuff, I’ll move to the far side of the Kingdom of Heaven for a few centuries til I’m not grumpy at mom anymore! I am going to have to unload stuff up there for pennies or donation. I’m not thankful for that, but it will have to be. I cannot keep lollygagging around with this job!). I am looking forward to the day when I can finally step away from hers to see where my own life is going.

In the meantime, I am going to remember to look for candles to keep lighted and the wonder in that magical light. Such as being able to actually walk today without much pain and while outside finding tiny itty bitty spears of daffodil and crocus barely clearing the dead grasses of last summer around the melting snow. (NOTE: this particular pic is from awhile back)

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All around me

The last weeks I was home, I found so many interesting things in the sky and the shine of sun and my world. Here is the sunset showing through birch bark and then sap frozen as it was dripping off a trimmed tree.

Stormy clouds behind (they never did turn to rain!) and a moon feather on the branch!

Later, on the lake I found a lesson. In front of me the Alaskan colors of fall were reflecting the height and breadth of their beauty.

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Then, I turned around in the kayak and spied a stunning sunset.

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I saw that focusing on just one view leaves out an array of beauty. I realised that in the brilliance of death, there is life. I noticed that a sunset and autumn is more than an ending. It is a promise. A promise of a new tomorrow, a spring after a rest, and peace. Change is a part of life. When we don’t move, we are stagnant and stale. A butterfly is a voracious caterpillar before it rests in a chrysalis, where it becomes goo. Goo that eventually becomes another butterfly that has to break from a self inflicted  imprisonment. Cycles or circles are important aspects of our being. We cannot stay in one spot, we must move on.

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TnT gave me (I actually brazenly asked if I could have it!) this incredible flat stone. In our modern ages, it is a spirit rock/stone. Yet, it is more than that. This was created from sediment or rocks falling from the bottom of an iceberg floating in a lake eons ago. Once it reached the lake bed, it solidified and the ‘new’ rock traveled down a waterway to where it might be found. (this is a brief history of concretions) I love it because it shows me even rocks can change, because it is so beautiful, and because it has so much to say to me in every aspect.

Always stop to search, discover, and share. (Old Scouting motto for Tiger Cubs, but I love it!)  One of the neatest parts of this thought is that what you learn might just help someone else in some form or another.

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.

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-

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!!

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!)

Raindrops are Falling on my Head

This is another favorite song from a while ago. If I remember the movie correctly, it was one of the first ones to romanticize bad guys. As a teen, I fell in love with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, carefully mentally editing those scenes where they shot people who bled graphically! (in the photo below, raindrops weren’t falling at that moment, but you can tell from the sparkles on the fireweed that they had been falling!)

Mum’s SABLE (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy) sale has been completed. There was a good sized crew of amazing women (and a few men) who helped this all come together. I woke Saturday night wondering if it was really done! I must admit, I’ve been second guessing some of the things I did (like NOT putting the expensive priced knitting kits with the regular yarn. I am certain they walked off in bags of ‘choose your own price’.). And with the rain, I was worried about the fabric and remnants of the stash, left under tarps in trucks til Monday morning. (The latter was done by the nice people who came to get it for a second hand store.) Yet, it isn’t my responsibility any longer and I have other things I need to do! As for the yarn, as a friend said, ‘People come to these sorts of events for steals.’ (So, I reckon a few got some, like the pick up full of bags of yarn!!!)

At 9 am, the doors opened and those queued outside came in and quietly packed up bags and bags and bags of crafting supplies. Some paid generously and others didn’t. I’m sure it all evened out (it was a donation sort of payment thing, except for those few things I knew had worth). It was odd the women with fancy nails, very nice clothing, and blinged out handbags were less open handed than others who dressed like ordinary folk. I’m glad it is done. Now, I can get to the real part of the house and it is so cool my bedroom echoes!!

When things were being unpacked before the sale, the ladies found some super awesome things and gave them to me. An Eskimo yo-yo (not made overseas!), some more of a ceramic chess set mum made that is in the shop of the garage (why it was in crafting stuff, one can only imagine!), and a million unfinished projects. I only cried a couple of times. Once when a nice lady offered to finish up a project and take the aprons to the Oncology centers (mum had been making them for the nurses, but didn’t count right. Now, the places have been partially restaffed, but it was a beautiful thing to choose to do). The first time was when a man came in with his wife and said to me, ‘I worked with your dad, he was a good man.’ I left the table and ran after him to talk about dad for a minute.

There were so many stories told to me about mum. (One lady I sincerely hope remembers to friend me on FB.) I’d mentioned I wanted to take mum to Homer and she was surprised mum had never been. I amended my comment and said, ‘Oh, we started there in the 70’s, but mum wanted to go back the last couple of years and we didn’t.’ The woman was very surprised cuz SHE lived in the same town at the same time we did and hadn’t known. I told her mum was pretty closemouthed about her early years in AK. We talked about where we’d lived and places we both remembered. Then, I mentioned we’d lived in an area of town that was pretty remote with my third dad. Her face was shocked. ‘Your mom was married to that B..….’ She paused. ‘Man? He was one of the scariest guys in out there! We were told to stay away from his place!’ I laughed and agreed, but she was floored.

One question that I realized the answer to Sunday morning in the shower was this. Q: ‘Why don’t you do any of these things.’ It dawned on me that I did not do the same sorts of crafts that mom did because she was so critical. Jake had trouble with that, I wasn’t going to even go there. So, I didn’t. She could guilt me for many things, but she couldn’t criticize me for my knitting or crocheting or sewing. Although, she did often say it wasn’t right I didn’t do it because if I did I could help her. (insert mega eye roll!)

These next weeks will be more difficult. I need to get the line dug up (or should I just keep having it cleaned out, expensive band aid?), talk to someone about buying it (gods, I do NOT want to do that…), and sort for the sale of more personal things. I also need to stop whining! If I get too horrible, please pull me up shorter than I already am. (thank you!)

I’ll close with a moose playing peekaboo last week! (I wasn’t THAT close–)

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