Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Extremely Playful


"Extremely Playful"
That was the sign I missed next to the cage at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago back in June of 2003 when I went to pick out a kitten as a playmate for another kitten I had found.  He was alert, active, and I put in for his adoption.  Several forms, a class on correctly "disciplining" your cat, and all the usual checks to make sure my landlord approved, I had the appropriate income, and confirming payment of the neutering and he was mine.  
That's when I noticed the sign... and he lived up to that warning.


I chose the name Winston Churchill after the cat in "Pet Semetary."  Although, unlike that cat, I called him Winston instead of Church.  He was more of a Winston.  And, I like to say his name suited him because he was a pistol.  At that time, he was 11 weeks old and I introduced him to Sofie who was the same age.  They became friends and have been life-long companions.


He was my source of joy and frustration during that intern year.  Mostly joy; although I didn't appreciate finding my figurines and picture frames being knocked over when I came home after a 24 shift at the hospital.  But, he was always there with a purr and a head butt.  His spot on the bed was right behind my knees.

My husband taught him to jump up on his shoulder.  He was also the one to introduce Winston to the first snowfall every year.  Winston did not appreciate the snow plunge but somehow always came back for more.

White Bear Lake, MN

Winston was well-travelled having made the move from Chicago to Boston to Minneapolis and the suburbs outside of St. Paul, to Buffalo and then finally here to California.  We almost lost him in a truck stop about 2 hours outside of Chicago.  I was transferring the cats to the car because they were starting to get agitated in the moving van.  Winston panicked during the transfer, escaped the cat carrier, and ran through the lot.  I found him under a semi hiding in the tire well.  Thirty minutes later, both of us covered in dirt and axel grease, I had my cat.  I wasn't going to leave without him.

Buffalo, NY

Ferndale, CA - now an outdoor kitty at last...

I called him my "big brute" because he was such a large cat...
and because he would push Sofie out of the way to get the cat food
whenever they were fed.




At 16, he was still the "greeter" and came out to see everyone when they arrived, but his age was showing and he wasn't doing well.  We knew it was time to say good-bye.


A couple of days ago, I went looking for a spot.  I picked out a place just off a grove of pine trees.  It's at the top of a hill leading up from our house.   I call the area "Nori's Grove" after a friend who died.  I have memories of her coming out of the trees carrying an armful of mushrooms.  So it's named after her.


Yesterday, I climbed onto the tractor and learned to use the back hoe.  There's something cathartic about digging a grave.  It gave me an outlet for my grief while creating the place for Winston.
I know even my husband got kinda misty while we dug.


This afternoon I wrapped Winston in one of Momma's soft blankets and together my husband and I carried him up the hill.  Despite his recent illness and weight loss, I couldn't believe how heavy his body still felt.  Even in death, he was still my big brute.


We set two log stumps on top after flattening out the dirt.  My husband is going to take one of the planed boards he has and is going to make a bench.  I'm going to make a marker with a cross with Winston Churchill's name on it.  We joked about using some of the cat food cans that he loved and making a sculpture or art piece of some kind.  We'll see what I end up doing, but 
I love that it can be a place for rest and quiet reflection.


Winston has crossed that Rainbow Bridge where 
I'm sure he was met by Lacey who died last year.
I can only hope 
I gave him a good kitty life.

Winston Churchill
March 2003 - August 2019


Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Four Monthiversary

They're still sitting there:  a rose from my mother's burial wreath and her handkerchief that I had in my purse on the day of her funeral.  The funeral planner made boutonnieres for the pall bearers from the white roses in her burial wreath.  This is the rose my husband wore.  After the funeral, as we were driving back to the house, we took the flower off and for a while it sat with the handkerchief in my center console.  Then I moved them to the door where they still sit. 

Four months.... can it really have been four months?  Some days it's fresh in my mind, like it just happened yesterday.  Other days I don't think about her at all as my mind is filled with the events of the day, but then something triggers a thought and it all comes rushing back to me.  

There's mornings where I wake up earlier than my alarm and my thoughts are filled with her, with the choices I made, with her final moments.  And, I find I can't go back to sleep.  There are nights when I am saying my prayers which always include a special prayer that Momma is in Heaven and that God continues to watch over her.  Then I can't sleep thinking about that last week, that last day, that last hour, that final moment when she breathed her last.

How can she be gone...?  And why do I feel like she's really gone, like there is no after life, like she just blinked out of existence... When my uncle died I could feel him around me... the same with my grandmother as if she was just out of sight watching over me... but now, I don't feel like I feel or sense her at all.  Is it because I can't visit her grave easily?  Is it because I don't have a sense of her presence?  

There's a part of me that wishes she had been cremated then at least I'd have something physical and tangible;  something to carry around and talk to.  Maybe that's why that rose and handkerchief are still sitting in the door of my car.... in a way it's a part of her that's still around... 

As for her room and clothes and things... that will still have to wait a while longer too... her smell is still there, at least I have that as well...


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 31

"Ay ay, ay ay" basically pronounced "eye eye, eye eye..."
Funny how I still hear it in those quiet moments
where it sneaks up on me unexpectedly.

My mother was having periods of delirium during those last days in the hospital.
Basically, "ay" in Spanish is like "ow" in English.
We would ask her if she was in pain.
We would ask her if she needed something.
We would ask and all she would respond is
"Ay ay ay" over and over.

On that last evening that she was in the hospital ICU,
I sat down next to her and tried to calm her as she seemed to be
getting more anxious and agitated.
It's one of those situations where you don't know what to do
or what to say and her continuous cries of "ay ay"
were starting to drive me a little crazy.

Finally, on another one of those "ay ay ay" spells,
I leaned over and softly sang back, "Ay ay ay ay, canta y no llores"
which literally translates to "sing and don't cry."
She stopped for a moment, and then started to say "ay ay" again,
but this time I joined in to start singing again,
and she started to sing along with me...

It's a song most Mexican kids learn at some point.
I've known this song since forever.
And, now, it's the song that reflects the last time I sang with my mother,
and the song she was buried to.

I had asked a school friend who sings beautifully to sing at her burial ceremony,
and I brought up this song.
She wasn't sure about the timing, and she sang the other two songs
I had chosen so beautifully, that I didn't even think we needed this song.
But then, as the lift with my mother's casket was raising up to the height
of her mausoleum space, my friend's beautiful voice started in with
"Ay ay ay ay"
and she sang the song as the casket was placed within the tomb 
and the workers settled and sealed the marble slab front.
Her timing was perfect.
Sing and don't cry.

The song technically is a love song,
but for me it's now a song of my childhood and my culture
and a final tender moment shared with my mother
during her last moments as I tried to calm her fears.
Maybe she knew then what I wasn't allowing myself to think...
that she would be dead within a few days.



The translation:
Ay ay ay ay
Sing and don't cry
Because by singing you make happy,
lovely Heaven, the hearts

From the sierra, dark
lovely Heaven, are coming down
a pair of dark eyes, lovely Heaven
smuggled in

That birthmark you have, lovely Heaven,
near your mouth
don't give it to anyone else
it belongs to me

Thank you, again, for joining me this month
as I celebrate another birthday month!
I promise to try to write more...



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 30

Like I've said in the past, I have a very eclectic taste in music.  I find music from soundtracks, TV shows, walking down the boardwalk in Wellington, NZ, etc.  One of the newer music genres in my iPod shuffle is K-Pop which is Korean Pop music.

While I don't have a lot of K-Pop on my iPod, today's song is the song that really started it all back in 2012 and introduced it to the world.  Now there are a lot of tunes out there, and maybe next year during the shuffle I will share some more while doing my birthday blog shuffle.

Enjoy!


Also, we live close enough to the Oregon border to have a lot of University of Oregon
ducks fans... here's a parody video they did which is pretty funny...


Monday, July 29, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 29

Back in another post, I mentioned that I had not gone to many concerts,
and that a-ha had actually been the first concert I went to.
It wasn't that I particularly liked the band, more that my friends did
and it was just a way to spend a fun evening with them.

I can't say I knew any of their songs except for this one...
still it was a great evening with friends.


I love this video because it is symbolic of when MTV was really
all about music videos, and they were still such a novel
idea that singers and bands held contests to create their music videos
and a lot of creative thought went into the video.

A lot of famous directors got their starts doing music videos
as well as choreographers got to show their talents.
This song is just one of many that came out in the 80's,
but I still think the video is iconic of that time...
great memories..!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 28

So today's song is "Beds are Burning" by Midnight Oil.  It first came out in 1987, and I remember loving the beat from the beginning.  It was only later that I learned the history of Western Australia and how the local aboriginals had been removed from their homelands so that the Australian military could test fire missiles.  From what I read, it seems like the aboriginal people have been able to move back to these native home but no apology or recompense has been given to them.

Enjoy!


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 27

I'm sure a lot of people have stories about the "one that got away..."  I often thought as a young adult that there were 2 or 3 that got away.  But, now that I've been with my husband for the last 20 years, and with the wisdom of age, I can see that all those other experiences led to my being with the man I was meant to be with...

Still, sometimes you wonder... what if...? I wonder if they think of me ever...?  and, again, what if...?
I sometimes think about those things when I hear this song... and a part of me would like to meet some of those 2 or 3 people if only to realize that maybe I found the right one after all...

Enjoy this live version of this song... I like that he mentions those that have gone before us... yeah...


Friday, July 26, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 26

This song is essentially a love song, but I think it is especially poignant given my mother's death now almost 4 months ago.  Can it really have been that long when it still seems like just yesterday?  I can't say that I have moments when I don't remember that she's dead, more like moments when I am reminded that she's dead.  Does that even make sense?  I don't know, it's been a crazy several months.

Regardless, this song is about love and lost and remembrance.. and those special people in our lives who make a difference and how they'll always be with us...


Well you showed me how it feels to feel the sky within my reach
And I always will remember all the strength you gave to me
Your love made me make it through Oh, I owe so much to you 
You're right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there will always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me and everywhere I am there you'll be



Thursday, July 25, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 25



Ah, college, Saturday night dance party...
raise those arms up as high as you can
and then how low can you go...

So much fun...!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 24

I have a lot of songs by Neil Diamond.  In fact, Neil Diamond has in some way been a part of my romantic lives in so many ways... from first boyfriend, to first adult relationship, to marriage, to finally seeing him in concert about 2 years ago with my hubby and having an amazing time.

The song today takes me back to a relationship where I broke up with a letter which included the lyrics to a song... this was the song... I was writing about breaking up and then included the lyrics:

"Here's to the songs we used to sing,
and here's to the times we used to know.
It's hard to hold them in our arms again
But hard to let them go."

I wanted to let him know that I was sad (sorta but not really) about breaking up and also thanking him (in my 20-something brain way) for the fun times we had.... I put it in a letter... at least it's not like today where you send a text... slightly more effort... anyway, here's the song... dare I say, enjoy!



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 23

I can still remember the smell of the ocean... the cooling breeze... the clink of beer bottles and the taste of tequila... dancing my legs off when it felt like I could dance forever...  and this sexy song... Rosarito Beach in the late 80's.

The original version was sung by Gloria Jones in the mid-1960's.  It's got a 60's feel.  I think the 80's version by Soft Cell is much more seductive, and that's the version I danced to... real close with my partner.  He was a good a friend, and we had a lot of fun that night in Rosarito with our crowd of college friends enjoying a Saturday night out... just over an hour's drive from the college to go get a langostino dinner with all the trimmings and a beer for just under $10.  And then the rest of the evening spent partying at Papa's and Beer... or the Rosarito Beach Hotel... or one of the other places we used to hit.

Sigh... so much fun... 

Here are both versions, and I warn you the soft cell version maybe just listen to the music because the video is weird!



Monday, July 22, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 22

What is the soundtrack to your travels..?  I have a number of songs which just make me feel like packing up the car and hitting the road.  And, it could be the road to anywhere.  Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" is one of those songs.

It's got a groovy bass spiritual beat.  You can imagine a tent revival, swaying people, hands clapping and shouts of "Hallelujah" and "Amen!"  Simple song, simple words, huge meaning...
"When I die and they lay me to rest, gonna go to the place that's the best. 
Go to the place that's the best..."


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 21


Anyone else excited that “So You Think You Can Dance” is back for the summer?  Any favorites so far?  I love watching the show because I love hearing new songs and adding to my already extensive musical collection.  Today’s song comes from the show.  “Salute” by Little Mix.

Again, it’s the underlying beat that I like.  A lot of times I’ll Shazam a song and then wait a while before adding it.  Sometimes it’ll take several weeks of listening to it, deciding, putting it on the back burner and then finally coming back to it again before I purchase it.  This was one of those.  I liked it when I heard it the first time, but I waited a while before adding it to the mix.  I wanted to make sure that it stood the test of time.  And, I’m glad it did... enjoy!

Here’s from the SYTYCD competition.  This was the kids’ year where the younger crowd competed with an all star.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 20


There used to be three residence halls here... Tarastec, Zapotec and Toltec. 

I often imagined if those walls could talk, oh, the stories they would tell.
Nothing tops a college experience.

Today’s song is reminiscent of the drama of being a young adult
Away from home for the first time
Falling in love in a disastrous way
Ah, memories.

is about someone going back to a place where 
their relationship played out...
What if it’s not there any more..?


Friday, July 19, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 19

All I can say is Friday Night Dance Party!!

Memories of college, frat parties, dance parties... 

And, “take me to bed or lose me forever...!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 18

What are the movies that you can watch over and over and never get tired of watching?  “50 First Dates” is one of those movies for me.  I don’t care if I come in at the beginning, the middle or almost the end, I’ll sit and watch it.  I still laugh at the steroid jokes.  I still laugh at how crazy Rob Schneider is as Ula.  I laugh and I laugh.

I recently added the soundtrack to my iPod and today “I Melt With You” cover by Jason Mraz is the song.  I’ll include it and the original.  I like Mraz’s version because of the tropical feel.  What do you think?


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 17

Isn't it amazing how some people come into your life and completely and utterly change it.  That's even double for someone young that you take under your wing for several weeks and hope that you've made some kind of impact in their life.  Then, at some point, you realize it's them that made the impact in your life.  And, when they're gone, it's like a part of you went with them.

This is dedicated to that special young lady who probably doesn't realize how special she really is, but I'm hoping that she'll realize it and all of her dreams... just don't grow up too fast...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 16

Exactly a year ago, I was standing at California Adventure in anticipation of the “Paint the Night” parade.  It was so worth the wait... and the cost of lunch to have front seat preferred viewing...
Although the different character floats had their songs, the underlying theme song was from “Wreck It Ralph” and Owl City.  I remember immediately Shazaming the music as the parade ended because I had never heard the song before.  Soon after, the song was added to my collection.

I’m still working off my iPad, so here are the links to both the parade and the official video.  This song makes me so happy every time I hear it, remembering how much fun those days at Disneyland had been and wondering “when can I see you again..?”

Enjoy!

Paint the Night Parade

Official Video

Monday, July 15, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 15

I’m a little late with this... hard to get to blogging sometimes even though I have a day off work.  Weird how when you have more time, it’s hard to find time to do things.  I don’t know how the day just gets away...

Anyway, on to the Shuffle....

I think I’ve mentioned before that I learned to play poker because I found it more enjoyable than playing the slots.  Mostly because I feel like I can play for longer.  It’s also kinda exciting when the table is hot and the chips are coming your way.

I have tried to play tournament poker, but I just don’t have a poker face.  I also can’t seem to read other players as well as I’d like to.  I have a good friend who is a champion in the World Series of Poker, and he admits to wearing a hat and glasses to help with his game.  I guess when you’re playing for $500k you use every advantage you can...

I first heard this song during an episode of “South Park.”  After hearing it several times, I finally looked up the original song, and now it’s a part of my iPod collection...  I’ve included both versions here for your listening pleasure...  as for poker, you gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run... but that’s a song for another day...

Cartman version

Lady Gaga version

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 14

Working off my iPad so not able to embed videos, but I fixed yesterday’s link... thanks Betty..!

I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother these last couple of days.  My cousin/brother insists that he’s being visited by a ghost; might be her, might not be.  I only sometimes see her in my dreams.  Guess because I’ve been thinking about traveling and summertime was always about planning the next big trip with Momma.  So today I thought I would share a post from November’s NaBloPoMo in which I shared videos I’ve made about some travels... and they’re songs from my iPod, so bonus!

Enjoy... https://caldreamsquirrel.blogspot.com/2018/11/nablopomo-2018-day-13.html


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 13


This song is just so much fun.  I love the tropical feel of it.
It makes me think of the Caribbean.  And cruises.
Warms sands and breezes.
Cool icy tropical drinks...

Sign me up!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Happy Birthday to Me

TYOFWM (the year of firsts without Momma)


There's a part of me that still can't understand why she's not here with me.
Especially today...
I really miss my Momma.


I had her for 51 birthdays.
Always a card, always a call, always a memory from a particular birthday.


Momma liked to tell me how I always was pictured with a band-aid
or a fresh bruise on my forehead because I couldn't wait to run under
the piñata and grab the candy.

For some reason, this morning I keep going back to the memory
of turning 16 and how she came in my room just before 6:30 a.m.
to give me my birthday card and gift before she left for work.
She playfully woke me up giving me 16 smacks on the butt
and presenting me with a card, some cash, and a gift of a small travel bag.

She came in early because I was going on a planned hike with
the church youth group I was a part of and wouldn't be back until
later in the afternoon.  She didn't want to miss saying
"Happy Birthday" to me that day.  My sweet 16th.

That small travel bag was for a trip to a church camp on Catalina
happening a little later in the summer.
Like I've said before, Momma and I had a tumultuous relationship
as I entered into my teens and started to try to become more independent.
And, as it was, we weren't a family that was particularly affectionate.
So, I often didn't know if my Mom even loved me or not.
It's just not something that was ever expressed.

Later that summer, at Campus by the Sea on Catalina, during a special
prayer ceremony near the end of camp, I was given a letter written by her.
All the parents had been asked to write a letter to their kids to be shared
with them at that time.
Even now, tears are streaming down my face remembering that letter.
For the first time, my Mom shared her hopes and dreams,
and, more importantly, her love for me.
All those things that I really needed to hear.
Suddenly, she wasn't quite the enemy I had thought her to be,
but the single mom that had unselfishly worked so hard to make
sure I realized all the dreams she had for me.

I can't say it was an emotional reunion at the end of that week when I got home.
Today it would be the equivalent of walking in the door
and just nodding and saying, "'sup?"
But something changed that year for the better in our relationship.
And, eventually, we could hug and say "I love you."

Which I wish more than anything I could do again today.
Thank you, Momma.
I know somewhere out there you're wishing me a
Happy Birthday.

This song is for her:

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 11

Early 1990's, Mexico City, another party with the Hash House Harriers, and a guy so lustfully delicious he dominated my young adult fantasies.  I first noticed him at an earlier party where I looked up and there he was.  Oh, wow.

I made the rounds, talked with friends, and toward the end of the evening there he was suddenly in front of me.  I think he was actually on his way out, saying his good-byes.  He caught my eye as I stood just to the side of the door leading out of the kitchen, came up to me, kissed me and told me to "behave yourself."  He casually walked out the door, and I think my knees almost buckled.

While I held no real aspirations of ever having anything serious with him (let's face it, I later learned he was a bit of a ?slut), he still provided fantasy fodder for most of my year in Mexico City.  A few parties later, I actually had a chance to sit and chat with him about his life and his work;  also his psycho girlfriend as he stated he'd actually climbed out a bathroom window to escape her and come to this party.  Eek!

Anyway, we danced that night to this song... And, I never hear it without thinking of him and that lustful year... wonder where he is now... back in England... wonder if he's still catlike sexy... grr, baby...

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 10

Is this what acceptance is like...?

I can't believe I forgot the Thirdaversary of my mom's death two days ago!

I've been very candid about my feelings and grief on this blog.
Sharing my depression and suicidality without shame or fear of judgement
because a lot of my friends are sharing similar loss as we age
and our parents begin to die.

Of course, we all are unique in our suffering because we all have different stories
to share about our relationships with our mothers.
But still... to have already forgotten a significant date!
I guess time and the world does move on...

So today I'll share this song from my iPod...
a song about going through challenges and making it to the other side...
dedicated to all the moms that have gone before us
and are waiting for us on the river's edge...


Monday, July 8, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition, Day 8



Whenever I hear this song, I can close my eyes and I am immediately transported
back to that first summer after I started college.
Coming back home for those 2 months.
Working my first real job which sucked, but luckily was just for the summer.
Going out with my friends and not really having a curfew as such,
but more of a "courtesy" come home time.
And hanging out for the first time with that friend 
who was your first love 
and where feelings might still be involved
but you're hanging out as just friends
along with other friends
but sometimes it's just the two of you
and it's complicated.

Movies, and ice cream, and beaches,
and driving around on Harbor and Beach Boulevards
in an orange VW that once stalled and we had to jump out to push start,
or another time we accidentally popped it out of gear while parked and
he had to jump into the car and hit the brake before it crashed into another car.

Young and stupid and carefree.
Where nothing was more complicated than
which 21 year old friend was going to get us some beer,
or wondering if the parents would miss one if we snagged it
and drank it on the beach or
wherever the hang out might be that night.

Years later, I still remember that crazy summer...
I wonder if FL does too...
maybe...?




Sunday, July 7, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 7

There’s nothing funner than singing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando and the Dawn.  Momma and I didn’t go to a lot of concerts, but there are some musical groups that I remember seeing with her, and Tony Orlando was one of them.  I’d never heard a lot of the songs, but Momma seemed to have.  She sang along and clapped.

Soon I was clapping too to songs like this and “Knock Three Times.”  As a kid, I didn’t know what they meant or referred to, but now as an adult, they’re just fun songs to have in my music library and to have to sing along to on long road trips.... or even the short ones...


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 6

I originally posted about this song in 2011...
It carries special meaning, especially this year...
She'll be there...


Over Mountains

Over Trees
Over Oceans
Over Seas
I'll be there
In a whisper on the wind

On the smile of a new friend
Just think of me
And I'll be there
Don't be afraid, oh my love

I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere
Just think of me,

And I'll be there
On the edge of a waking dream

Over Rivers
Over Streams
Through Wind and Rain
I'll be there
Across the wide and open sky

Thousands of miles I'd fly
To be with you
I'll be there
Don't be afraid, oh my love

I'll be watching you from above
And I'd give all the world tonight,
To be with you
Because I'm on your side,
And I still care
I may have died,
But I've gone nowhere
Just think of me,

And I'll be there

Friday, July 5, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 5

I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with God recently.  My mother was very religious.  She followed church doctrine down to the letter.  Me, not so much.

I believe in God.  I believe in a Heaven and a Hell.  I believe and worship the Virgin Mary and the saints.  I pray daily and try to make good choices in my daily life.  I used to go to church with my Momma, but since she died I've only been once... at her funeral.


Today the shuffle brought up U2's "Vertigo;" a song thought to be about temptation and telling God how They are the beacon out of temptation.  Freedom from sin and redemption and salvation.

I wish I had my mother's faith.  I wish I had her devotion.  She encourage me to always put God first.  And, I think in some ways I still do.  It's been difficult since she's died to see the plan that God has for me, but I know I have to.  A few other incidents professionally have made me question His plan, but I know there's a reason for everything.  I just have to be patient... and that's the hardest part.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 4


"I just wanna see you be brave..."

I have this on my cycling mix, and even though I
haven't cycled as much as I would like,
I still think of those challenging hills,
or final miles of a long ride
whenever this song comes on.

Happy 4th of July!!
Thank you to all those that were
BRAVE!
in defending our country...

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 3

In Spanish, "Duerme" is "you sleep" or "go to sleep."  Most Mexican kids know "go meemees" which is equivalent to "go sleepies" or whatever you tell your kids when it's time for bed.  My friends all know what "go meemees" means" as do, surprisingly, my dogs.  It's one of the first things you remember growing up... it's time to "go meemees..."  Well, that and "chonies."


This song is a kind of lullaby.  The singer is telling the young child that their mother has gone off to work and when she comes back she's going to bring candies and gifts and food.  So sleep now, and she'll be home soon.

About the time I entered my teens, my mother started traveling for work.  Although she was away from home during the week, she'd come home late on Friday nights and spend the weekend up until Sunday afternoons when she'd return to work in Calexico, CA.  I know she did it to earn the extra money she was paid so that I could go to private school and then to a private all-girls high school.

And, sometimes she would bring little gifts and treats that she would pick up.  Just a little something to let me know she was thinking of me during her trip.  I still remember a small purse that was like a mini Mexican mercado "shopping" bag.  It was perfect for me because I really didn't like (and still don't) purses.  Maybe that's why I now have a fascination with totes.  Hey, we were into being environmentalists before it became fashionable... and this little tote was just that...


Is it weird I haven't started going through my mom's things yet?  I was emptying out the bag I took to the funeral, and I found several things I had brought back from her house in SoCal... small things that I had brought for her during my trips... just to let her know I had been thinking about her... full circle.





Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 2


I don't know what it is about this song.  It's so depressing.  Sure, I knew I was no Homecoming Queen, but I don't think I ever felt as bad as the subject in this song.  But, something about its haunting lyrics has always reminded me of those pangs of growing up outside of the "in crowd."

I first heard it in my Mom's 1980's Oldsmobile Toronado; in the 8 Track(!) player it had.  She had a bunch she carried in a small suitcase, and I would get to pick which one we'd play next on our many road trips in that car.  This song was a mixed tape of "Easy Listening" favorites.

Man, that car... It was part car, part tuna boat.  And, I learned how to drive in that car with power everything.  So when I got my first car, what?!? I had to roll down my own windows?  And my rack in pinion steering was like trying to weight lift a keg when you'd gotten used to picking up light cans.  Don't know why I put in a beer analogy, but maybe because that big Toronado was just at the end of my high school life and leading into my college life.  

At seventeen, I snuck out of the house one time to go to a party which my mother didn't allow me to go to.  We had a single car garage, and my small car was in the garage and her hunking Oldsmobuick (10 pts if you get the reference) was parked in the driveway.  Climbing out the window was no problem.  We had an incline to our driveway so I just let the Toronado roll back and started it in the middle of the street then went off to the party.

No problem.  But, like most things done like that, I couldn't have a good time at the party because I was afraid that something would happen to her car: someone would run into it, I would have an accident, I'd get stopped by police, something (insert Ferris Bueller Cameron riff here.)  So I didn't stay long at the party, and when I got close to our house I sped up just a little and turned the car off just as I was rolling up the driveway.  I hadn't adjusted the seats, so all I had to do was quietly close the door so the dog wouldn't bark.  And, then I climbed back in the window.

I'm not sure if Momma ever knew I had done that.  Even as an adult, I was afraid to ask.  Even now I wonder...  

Anyway, about a year or so after I left for college, Momma sold that Toronado for a fun Dodge Ram jeep-like SUV.  We traveled a lot in that, but that's a story for another time...

Monday, July 1, 2019

Birthday Month Shuffle - 7th Edition Day 1

When I look back at my posts, I am amazed I haven't done this since 2016...!  OMG!  This was such an annual tradition.  Of course, life got kinda busy, and July especially so with Momma in the house, then DH's grand daughter coming to stay for the summer the last 2 years.  I never had time to write.  Now I do, so now I am...

For those of you that are new readers, traditionally I start off with a song of my choosing then spin the iPod shuffle and see what's in my music mix.  Given that this is the YOFWM, I will pick a song in her honor to start the shuffle off... and, who knows, I may just continue picking songs from my music list that remind me of her to continue... so let's begin:


I don't know why this song always reminded me of my mom, but it's a song about support and love and lifting someone up when they are feeling so down.  So many times in my life, my mother did this for me.  Through the struggles of getting into medical school, going through medical school, internship, residency, my many moves and trials; she was always there, supportive.

I can't remember a time when she would say, "Well, maybe you can't do this and should think about doing something else."  It was always, "You can do this.  Pray to God for support.  I'll pray for you, and you will get through this."  And, I did.  I achieved all the goals I set out for myself because I knew, no matter what, that she was there.  The song is "You Needed Me," but in reality, I needed her moreso than I ever could have imagined.  And, I still do.

Here's my original post from 2014... and the sentiments are still the same.  Hug your mom today.  Or send a prayer for our Mommas in Heaven.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

TYOFWM - Notifications

How many more people are there to tell..?


It’s been almost three months, and I was stopped by some co-workers the other day asking how my mom was doing.  I thought I would be able to say, “Oh, sorry you didn’t hear, but she died in April” and then just go on with my day, but then the inevitable questions come:  “What happened?  She looked so good...!  We thought she was getting better...”

So I politely stop to explain; yes, it was sudden.  Yes, she was getting better, then she wasn’t.  Yes, thank you for your condolences.  And suddenly all the pain and grief and doubt and anger and self-questioning come back.  Then come the tears, and I have to find a place to quietly get myself back together before trying to get back to work.  

But, my focus is gone for the moment.  In a job where lives matter on you being able to think clearly and rationally, you can’t be thinking about your dead mother and reliving the moment of her death.  You can’t be trying to rationalize your decisions during that last week over and over when there’s a full department and ambulances coming in.  You can’t stop to contemplate for the 100th time what might have been, what could have been, what should have been if you could have kept her from falling back in December.

But, you’re human, and it takes a few moments to get your emotions under control so that you can work.  There’ll be plenty of time for those thoughts that come out of nowhere and suddenly make the tears start to fall.  There’ll be lots of nights thinking about the what if’s...  There’ll be the rest of my life to grieve the sudden loss of someone who’d always been there my whole life.... and, right now, that seems like a very long time...

Friday, June 21, 2019

TYOFWM - Road Trip


Momma loved to travel.  She enjoyed road trips; new things to see.  New places to explore.  We’re on our first road trip without her, and I’m having so many memories.

Like bathroom stops. She needed them more as she got older and her medications made it so that she “had” to stop.  Driving the first part of our journey yesterday, I was mentally ticking off the distances to the next bathroom along the way... because I learned to know them all.  Once I was past the familiar part of our trip, I found myself mentally noting where stops would be for the way back.  Habits.

I got misty at breakfast, a usual stop along this route, thinking of how she always ordered the same thing: a pancake sandwich - essentially pancakes with eggs and a meat - over easy with bacon.  At the lunch stop, she’d somehow manage to find the best thing on the menu.  She’d surprise us with her choices sometimes, but she’d enjoy her meal, maybe trying something new.

So many memories, so many road trips, so many adventures on the road.  And, now we’re going someplace she’d never been, but I’m sure she’s along for the ride because she’s never far from my thoughts.  She would have loved it.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

TYOFWM - Two Monthaversary

Well, at least I am no longer suicidal....
But I still cry occasionally for no apparent reason.
And, I am often overcome by waves of melancholy...
How can she be gone...?

The world is so different.
And, I have changed too...
DH says it's like I suddenly don't know what to do with myself...

I've had the last two weeks off work.
I initially spent a lot of this off time on the internet...
and, I found this image:


I don't know why I've always equated hummingbirds with my Mom.
I can't say it's her favorite bird.
I don't even know if she had a favorite bird.
But, if I bought her jewelry, or a shirt, it would have a 
hummingbird on it.

As part of my self-imposed grief therapy during this time off,
 I made myself start
sketching and drawing again...
One day, I found myself sketching that second bird in the series...
then, I added a pretty basic background of just 
shapes.
Next thing I knew, I was filling in an ocean and fields
and hills and clouds in the sky...

And this happened:


I stopped for a moment and 
looked in shock at my sketch and realized I had drawn a hummingbird
flying over the area where I live.
And, I realized it felt like my mother's soul as it left this earth;
flying high about everything, free from confines,
light as a bird...
And, it brought me some measure of peace.

So much so, that in the last week, I've been spending
less time on the internet and more time doing creative things:
like painting again...

I took some art work from a painting class in acrylics
and re-painted over them in oils...

This is one of my favorites:
 I first painted it in 2014, and I loved the fall feel it had...

Here it is in oils:

I feel like I brightened it up and gave it some more depth...

It's been a good week.
And, I've even started a new larger painting.
But, we'll keep that one under wraps for a bit...
Right now, I'm just glad to have found a little bit of joy
in the dark and gloomy new world
I've suddenly found myself in...