Friday, May 23, 2008

My Grandma and Memorial Weekend

This time of night (long past Midnight) I'm fast asleep, though it is often aided with a Melatonin tab (to keep me asleep once I drift off).

Tomorrow morning (that is, later today) we're going to a wedding on the Perry side of the family, everyone is expected to be there. For the last 20 years since Scott and I have been a couple, we've driven to see my family in Indiana over Memorial weekend. Heck, we even got married in my grandparent's home town of Connersville on May 27 in 1989. This weekend has always been a Big Deal in my life.

Before that, I went with my family, and recall one year that I drove with my sister when we both lived in Connecticut. I was 25 and she was 19. We almost got a speeding ticket we were in such a hurry to get back home, but we lucked out when the nice officer gave us a reprimand and a warning instead. That was a lifetime ago.

It feels strange to not already be in Indiana. Stranger still when I think of how it keeps evolving, so many dear relatives have passed on over the years. Nothing stays the same.

This past Monday my sister called at 10 p.m., I had just turned out the light. I missed her call but called back and left a message that we'd talk in the morning. I went back to bed and was almost asleep a half-hour later when the phone made me bolt upright in bed. I missed it again but this time I got her on the phone. Now fully awake, I heard my sister tell me that our Grandma, who turned 90 just a few days before, fell and broke her hip in the hospital where she was taken last week for tests related to Alzheimers.

As we spoke, I recalled that three years ago this month my Grandma fell at home in her basement Beauty Shop and broke her hip (I still don't know which hip she broke this time). She went to the hospital then and never returned home. This was not just due to the hip fracture, but because she was also diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. As she recovered, she moved to a nursing home where she has since outlived the national statistics of a two-year stay.

Scott's parents and brother will follow us home from the wedding, so we've been 'cleaning for company' the last few days (they haven't been to our house in four years). When I put away jewelry in my bedroom, I was reminded again of my Grandma. One of her silver necklaces usually hangs from my dresser drawer knob, she got it when she went on a trip to Egypt years ago. Now it belongs to me though it feels odd to have her jewelry when she is still alive.

People usually divide another person's possessions after they die. When my Grandma's house was sold two years ago (you can't own a house if you want Medicare to pay for your stay in the nursing home), her belongings were divided, given away, and sold in a yard sale. I was aghast at the things I found in the yard sale that my family did not want. Old purses, decorative plates, spoons, lamps, candlestick holders and so much more. My sister and I kept finding interesting objects and felt guilty if we wanted to take them or if we left them for a stranger to buy for a fraction of its sentimental value. My Grandma's life was on display.

I kept my Grandma's black and chrome hydraulic chair used in her Beauty Shop. This was the chair customers sat in when their hair was washed and cut or permed and tinted a lovely shade of lavender. I also coveted the salmon-colored, sparkly hair dryer chair with the silver turn-on knob and the Jetson's style egg-shaped dryer hood. I loved that chair. As a kid I sat in it, pulled down the hood and my long hair went straight up. I debated and debated. Of course no one else wanted it, imagine having that 'thing' sitting in your family room? In the end, I did not take it and I have regretted it ever since.

This evening the live-in guy that we care for (our foster care provider job) reminded me of this weekend's car races. When he mentioned the Indy 500, it was my turn to remind him that I have family that attends every year. I told him last year, too, but he didn't remember. This year, when Jim Nabors sings Back Home Again (in Indiana), my heart will be there more than it usually is.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spencer's Ride

In the span of two short weeks this March, our oldest son, Spencer, celebrated his 18th birthday (which implies that he is now an adult); he passed the GED test, he attended the License Presentation Ceremony at the Floyd County Courthouse and received his permanent plastic driver's license--and last, but not least, he bought his first car.

It was a moment in time when every day was a Big Deal.

When Spencer sailed through the GED, it was no ordinary feat. This kid enjoyed 1 year of private school, 2 years of public school and 9 years of home schooling through 11th grade. We were all invested in his education. I mean blood, sweat and tears invested (okay, no blood), from both parents. We joke that he'll need counseling when he's 40 to recover from his hybrid education, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Or rather, he will.
As the story goes, he didn't return to Floyd County High School for his senior year. He opted out (oh, the scandal!). He went to the Prom in his Jr. year and was a member of Marching and Concert Bands (he was the tall, thin guy on baritone). He felt like he had his high school 'experience' and was ready to move on. In January he enrolled part-time at Virginia Western Community College and he finished his first semester two weeks ago. He's working this summer at the Harvest Moon.

I'm not gonna lie, we parents have days when we understand why parents in general are overjoyed when their older teen moves out, but we're mostly glad he's still living at home.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The growing peaches need to be thinned, they are the size of almonds or olives. After having zero fruit last year due to the five-day killing frost that occurred near Easter, I look forward to becoming a fruit-processing-fool this summer. Thanks to the bees, this will be possible. And this year, I swear, I am going to learn to make fruit wine from my own fruit! Whoo-hoo!

This photo was taken April 14 though the peach tree was in full bloom on April 9 (but I didn't post in April). It's the only fruit tree on our farm that has pink blossoms and we have lots of fruit trees, in fact, we are 'fruit rich.'

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

WaMu has trademarked "Whoo hoo"

I had to give it a second look. It was a banner on top of Calculated Risk, a website I read about economics and finance.

An ad from WaMu, short for Washington Mutual Bank, advertised their WaMu Free Checking (trademarked). As I glanced at the ad I thought I saw a trademark symbol after the word "Whoo hoo!" but wasn't sure. I clicked on the ad which became large enough for this reader to see while wearing glasses with an outdated prescription.

Sure enough, at the far right of the ad (the green area) it appears they have trademarked the word "Whoo hoo!"

This can not be. It's not right.

Trademark or no, I'm going to keep saying my own style of "Whoo hoo!" whenever it feels appropriate to me.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Writing Alone...

I'm reading Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider. I'm on page 33 but it is the best book I've read thus far on the subject. The first chapter, "Feeling and Facing Fear," contains three exercises, one of which I did today during a long soak in our claw foot bathtub.

I ran into a friend at Emerson's soccer game this past Saturday. He mentioned that he read my blog and, while I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit a tiny thrill, I immediately felt like I had to apologize--and did--for not posting in two months. He "noticed" and asked if I "lacked initiative." Ouch.

I explained that I need a chunk of uninterrupted time to clear my head and 'process', it's a struggle for me. I lamented that the 'Floyd bloggers' are people that regularly post (as bloggers tend to do). Shoot, most are published authors and/or former professional journalists. If the 'club' doesn't intimidate me, then posting daily certainly does.

The thing is, I just want to do my own thing. I struggle to keep my teeter-totter balanced, but don't we all? Some days are better than others. Like today.

Getting back to the writing exercise, it was fruitful and will be posted soon. I have two more exercises to go before I'll allow myself to start the next chapter--which I'm dying to read. Ms. Schneider understands my dual fears of success and failure pertaining to writing.