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The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In the End, You Need Nothing But Love

I was able to spend several hours with my grandma while she made her journey out of this life. She was at times coherent and at others, she slept and was unresponsive. During those times, my mind wandered. I remember caring for my dad during the night before he died. I thought about the similarities of dad's and grandma's journeys.

Dad mentioned seeing his mother. Grandma mentioned seeing her first husband. Both did what I call air picking. Both possibly symptoms of the death of the brain, but, I'd rather think that they are working towards and meeting with those that have passed before them. I know, deep in my heart, that our souls are powerful and that they must continue on past the life our bodies can hold. This mysterious transition from life into what's next is fascinating and frightening at the same time.

As Grandma slept, I looked around her small room. In my lifetime, I'd seen Grandma move from a house, to a condo, to a small apartment, and finally to one small room barely big enough for a twin bed, chair, and television. Every move meant that she needed less stuff. Bit by bit it was sent away, given away, donated, sold, or tossed. Her life had become smaller and only the valuable parts remained. Family. Memories. Pictures.

It had come down to the end of her life and what mattered most was not what she owned, but who she knew and who she loved. The precious trappings of life that she had left were so dear. Pictures of her family, her boys, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the most prized. She commented to my mom at one point how her family was smiling down on her, surrounding her.

Every time I've been with someone who is dying, I am reminded of what we take with us and what we leave behind. I suppose it's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of stuff and more stuff and more stuff and greater and more expensive things. But, if you have a moment, think about what you'd like to be surrounded by when you die.

Love is really all there is. To cultivate that and the experiences of life, forming memories is really all we have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti, Not Hatey to Quote My Son

Please help to combat this hatred, share your abundance and love. If this isn't evidence of that these men are truly evil, I don't know what is.

Slash and Trash

Not news to me, but it may be news to you. Check out the Thrifty Chicks article about how retailers are trashing and destroying items that could be donated to charity.

Perhaps a solution would be to offer to pick up such items and transport to charitable organizations similar to the way that Second Harvest picks up perishable restaurant supplies. Something to think about.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

You are Surrounded by Love

My 98 year old Grandmother is dying. I spent yesterday afternoon into the early hours of the morning spending time with her and family. We laughed, we cried, we said some goodbyes.

One of the nurses was heard saying to Grandma, "You are surrounded by love. You are surrounded by your family and by love."

Such a beautiful thing to say while Grandma's on her journey. Hospice nurses are heaven sent, angels on earth.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold Fronts, Warm Reads

One of my not so much a New Year's Resolution, but something I've been meaning to make more time for and not put the label resolution on, is reading. Not just my usual hour or more before bed (or the many nights when it's two sentences before I pass out!), but actually taking time to take a break wherever I am and read.

So, I've been carrying around my copy of My Life in France by Julia Child and every so often, I've made time to read. Ten minutes in the car waiting for the library to open. Ten minutes before Sam gets off the bus. Fifteen minutes with my morning coffee.

It's something that I've felt guilty about in the past. Reading, when I should be doing something productive, measurable. D's out working, I should be too. Always. Incessantly. Constantly.

And then I had a talk with my wise, mentor neighbor and she said, "Oh, if you think those guys work all day long then you're in for a big surprise. They chat and goof around. Why shouldn't you? Sometimes when N____ comes home I tell him I did a big fat NOTHING all day." Oh L, you inspire me so much! Thank God for friends at all places in their lives, older, younger, wiser, they're all so precious to me.

So, it got me thinking, when do I get my coffee break? Every once in a while with a friend isn't enough. What can I do to recharge? Because honestly, in a lot of ways, my job has longer (and sometimes shittier) hours. What do I do on the weekend that I don't do every day during the week? And when do I get to clock out? Can you say NEVER?

It was me late last night that was flipping the laundry from the washer to the dryer while simultaneously filling out a rebate form and having a conversation with Young One about the latest video games. It was me that worked the midnight and the daytime shifts for three nights while Young One was sick. It's me that sometimes does the same job over and over and over again until I want to smash something.

Stereotypically, stay at home moms are seen as sweat pants wearing, bon-bon eating, kept women. I used to think that, before I had kids. Then I got some pretty quick on the job training enlightenment. All that time that we used to fill with selfish pursuits suddenly is taken up by caring for another human. All that time that we used to have to focus on ME ME ME is gone. Even now, twelve years after becoming "Mom" I can't imagine what it would be like to just have to think about me and D. I suppose I would fill it with something.

D has NEVER made me feel like I've had to justify my time because he knows I'll either feed him Ex lax brownies (kidding) or stuff his pillow full of his dirty socks (long, but true story). Not really. He knows it would cost him a great deal of his salary to pay a cook, maid, laundress, nanny, accountant, errand runner, mess cleaner upper, yard worker, personal assistant, homework Nazi, pet groomer, insurance advocate, scheduler, seamstress.... you get the picture. One of the nicest thank yous I ever received was from him. "Thank you for working so hard so I can work so hard without worrying about what's going on at home."

That about sums it up, I guess.

All this about reading? I do go on, don't I? Very simply put, my point is that it's OK to recharge. And, sometimes it's an occupational hazard of stay at home moms not to. Nope, scratch that, I think it's a hazard that we ALL are prone to. We get so busy I think we sometimes forget to say yes to ourselves.

Reading more this year is simply saying yes to me.

I'm on Goodreads.com where I've found a community of other book lovers. Come find me. My reviews will all be there from now on. My latest reviews: Year of the Flood, World War Z, and The Hunger Games are all there.

Seventeen Minutes Well Spent

My feelings exactly. Take the time to listen to the whole thing. War is not the answer.

Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!