Monday, March 30, 2015

Microblog Monday--Without you

This week it will be a year since mom died.

This is the song Without You from Rent. Lyrics are below. I don't really have much else to say.

Without you
The ground thaws
The rain falls
The grass grows

Without you
The seeds root
The flowers bloom
The children play

The stars gleam
The poets dream
The eagles fly

Without you
The earth turns
The sun burns
But I die without you

Without you
The breeze warms
The girl smiles
The cloud moves

Without you
The tides change
The boys run
The oceans crash

The crowds roar
The days soar
The babies cry

Without you
The moon glows
The river flows
But I die without you

The world revives
(Colors renew)
But I know blue, only blue
Lonely blue
(Within me blue)
Without you

Without you
The hand gropes
The ear hears
The pulse beats

Without you
The eyes gaze
The legs walks
The lungs breathe

The mind churns
(The mind churns)
The heart yearns
(The heart yearns)

The tears dry without you
Life goes on but I'm gone
'Cause I die without you

Without you
Without you
Without you

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My person

If you've watched Grey's Anatomy--before this year--you know that Christina and Meredith are each other's "person".  The person they would call to hide a body.

I'm very blessed because I can say my husband is my person.

I'm even more blessed because I have another person. I have two people. My heart sister. Lotus' godmother.

When she was in the hospital having my goddaughter and only family was allowed in her room she said without a second thought, "that's my sister."  And I am. And she's mine.

The day before yesterday I started shopping for the seder. The one that will be on the anniversary of mom's death. I called my person and we talked on the phone about what I would make and what extras to have. I didn't have to tell her that I always did this with mom. You don't need to tell your person stuff like that.

Someday I'll write a post about how we met.  It's kinda cool.

But I just wanted to write and say how damned lucky I am to have her in my life.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TV watch: Izombie Ep2: Brother Can You Spare A Brain

I've gotten into zombie so I will be writing recaps of it.

Spoiler Alert--if you haven't watched it well, you'll get spoiled.
Here's my recap.

Brother Can You Spare A Brain
Teleplay by Diane Ruggerio-Wright
Directed by John Kretchmer

Unless the show is Empire or—well I’m not sure what but I’m certain that there are others where the second one is better than the pilot—I was prepared for a little bit of a letdown.  It came, but not as low as I thought it would be. The reason for that would be the introduction of Blane—the other zombie.

First the crime storyline, the brain of the week was an artist who was given a paintbrush through his eye socket. Clive says it is always the wife, but is disappointed when Ravi says that the murderer had to be far taller than the wife.

Live is looking for the zombie who turned her into a zombie. She’s been dreaming of him and with the newfound talent from the artist’s brain does a very good sketch. Enter Blane.

Blane seems like a nice guy—he’s happy to be a guinea pig for Ravi and seems to have fun bonding with Liv over all they have lost. He seems genuinely distressed that he made her a zombie. He asks if she can get him some brains as he has cut all the bad people out of his life.  When Liv makes her special brain delivery she sees him doing what seems to be a drug deal and goes away.

What Blane was really doing was stopping the drug dealers—and getting dinner at the same time. He also got lucky and made another lady zombie—Jackie. I believe she’s going to be big. 

At first I believed Blane. I was sad that there were two out there who were infected with the zombie virus. As the episode progressed he became more chaotic good.  Now I’d say he’s chaotic neutral and all the more interesting for it.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s really nice to look at too.

He is easier to watch than Major. While Major is sweet and perfect boyfriend material and I can see how much she cared for him. It begs the question why on earth she didn’t confide in him about her desire to eat brains. Major brings back Liv’s box of stuff. Then, later, after the mystery is solved Olivia goes over to Major’s house and tries to do him. Major is having none of it—she’s been icing him out for six months and he needs more.

Regarding storyline one—at a party, they realized that if the murerer was on the steps, the woman could have done it.  I did enjoy the fact that it was always the spouse.

Line of the week runner up:
Olivia: She mostly talked about God.

Look of the week runner up: Liv starting to paint for the first time

Look of the week: The look on Blane’s face before he goes all zombie on the guys in the car.

Line of the week:
Olvia: I think he’s a liar and he’s just using me for my brains—Their brains.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What we leave behind

I had a very nice birthday.

I spent some time alone with D while Lotus was at daycare.

I read a good book.

We had dinner at Benihana with a coupon and while it took us a while to get the check (seriously over 20 minutes!) we had a great time.

The cake Lotus and D made for me was amazing. Seriously delicious and I have been eating way too much of it.

And while I felt mom's absence--I felt her presence too.

I felt it when Lotus sang me a magnificently off-key happy birthday song.
I felt it when I ate my birthday cake--as this is her recipe.
I felt it when I allowed myself to be happy--and when I allowed myself to grieve a little bit.

Mom and I seldom talked about what would happen if the treatments didn't work--except one time.
That day I went with her to chemo and we talked about a lot. I said how I remembered when a family member lost her mother and how the grief took over. Mom gave me that look and her tone was severe--harsh even. I remember her next words as if she branded them on my brain.

"Don't you dare mourn me like that. Don't. You. Dare. You are not honoring me. You are not honoring my memory. Mourn--okay. Say Kaddish. Cry. That's fine. Then you dry your eyes and you hug that little girl that you waited so long to hold. You tell her about me. You tell her what you learned from me. You show her. You don't come to the grave with me, you turn around and let me go."

She might have said more but the doctor came in with the chemo and then we talked about other things.

Yesterday I ate mom's birthday cake. The one she taught me how to make--and I taught D. He baked it with Lotus.

Yesterday I went to the mirror and I smiled--and I saw my mom's lousy teeth in my head--and my smile is a mix of her smile and dad's.

Yesterday I mourned, I cried.  I laughed too. I sang. I smiled. I ate.

I think mom would have been proud.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Microblog Monday--My birthday

Today is my birthday.

Today is the first time that my birthday won't be "sung" by my mom.

My brother and sister told me the first one was hard and I imagine that it will be--it's early yet.

Though last year was harder. I went out to see mom who couldn't get out of bed. She floated in and out of consciousness. She floated in and out of lucidity, but I took her the cake that I had made and she ate it--like she always ate cake. Frosting first, then cake. She didn't like to waste the calories if the cake wasn't as good as the frosting. It was so hard--and I offered to help her eat, but she didn't want to.

The thing is mom was diagnosed in October and we lost her in April.  My sister and brother were born in June and August respectively. On their last birthday with her they had no idea, no inkling, that it would be the last one. My birthday, I knew. I had no doubts that this birthday would be without her.

I don't know if the foreknowledge was good or bad. It was hell seeing her that way. It is hard knowing I won't hear her on the phone mangling the happy birthday song. I miss her. But I'm not seeing her in such pain and so altered. I can remember the other birthdays with her and smile. I miss her though. So much.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mom's teeth

I'm having teeth problems.

I have lousy teeth. I have had more root canals than most people and well, lousy teeth.

I found out that one of my crowned teeth needs to come out. I'm not happy about it.

The dentist recommends an implant after the tooth is removed. Basically if I try to put something else in, I will have to root canal and crown two teeth that aren't that way already.

And it stinks.

I find though, what I miss most is calling my mom after dentist appointments. I'd always fuss at her that of all the things she gave me she had to throw in her lousy teeth.

So I cried about that.

Now I'm thinking of things I specifically got from my mom.

Fearlessness about recipes.
I will always try a new recipe. Most of the time they come out okay. Sometimes they come out great. Sometimes they suck but we tried lots of new recipes from mom.

Love of entertaining.
I LOVE cooking for people. I love hosting the big dinners. I'm having 16 people for passover in a few weeks and I love it. In spite of the drama I liked hosting Thanksgiving. Mom loved to have my friends over for parties. I hope when Lotus gets older that ours is the home where the kids hang out.

Love of reading
I have no memory of not knowing how to read. I was around Lotus' age when I learned. I do remember reading Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing and getting lost in the book. I remember thinking --oh, that's why why mom is always reading.

In a few weeks it will be a year that we lost her. It doesn't hurt like it did. But there are days I just want to rest my head on mom's shoulder and be with her.  And today to complain about my teeth.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Best Friend

Lotus is getting away from naps.

Allow me to rephrase.

We are trying to get lotus to keep taking naps. Lotus is having none of this and does not want to nap.

What we have started to do is bring her in bed and nap and make her be quiet for a bit. Sometimes that turns into a nap, sometimes that doesn't.

What often happens is that Lotus will kiss me and play with me and I will play with her.

Some of my most wonderful time with my daughter is when she is trying to get out of napping.

Today she looked at me and said, "Mommy, you're my best friend." I hugged her really tight and said a little prayer that in 30 years, she'd still feel the same way.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Microblog Monday--A Different Anniversary

Since mom passed we have been cleaning out my parents house. I was given all of my teenage angst journals. I have been looking through them, wanting to hug my 16 year old self.

I didn't date many entries but I dated one. It was a simple entry.

Was supposed to go out with D. He stood me up. Dad took me to Milleridge. It was sweet.

D=my high school crush. I kept waiting for him to realize I adored him, dump his girlfriend and go out with me. He is now married to the girlfriend and we are all still close friends.

On this day he was supposed to take me out--just as friends. I was dressed in the height of 80's fashion and had spend I don't know how long on my hair.  His car broke down far away and long before cell phones. I remember waiting and waiting and waiting. He was supposed to be there at 6:00. At 8:00 his mom called to let me know about his car. I thanked her and prepared to go to my room to sulk. My father stopped me as I walked up the stairs.

"Get your coat. We're going out for dinner."
"What about Mom?" I asked.
"She ate."

I whined. I rolled my eyes. I said thanks but no thanks.

If you were a teenager--ever--you know that tone. The one that says that the parent is not kidding around and you better do what they say if you want to live. Dad repeated, "Get your coat, we're going to dinner." I got my coat. Stormed to the car. Slammed the door in a real teenage snit.

I figured we were going to Burger King or McDonalds. We passed them. I was stunned when we pulled into the parking lot of Milleridge Inn. This was a birthday place. This was not a "just go to dinner" place.

I don't remember much about the dinner. I remember Dad holding my chair. I remember us eating all the popovers we could hold. I remember going to bed smiling after a really lousy day.

According to my journal, this took place nearly 30 years ago today.  So much has happened in between, but the sterling example of my father--that's still there.




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Naptime

Lotus does not like taking naps.

She fights them with all her strength--and often wins.

But today. She's asleep. Cuddled next to her daddy who is also taking a nap.

It is beyond sweet how they are cuddled together.

All the time I waited. All the tests, the procedures, the tears. I wanted to see this, a little girl cuddled in the arms of the man I adore.

It was worth it.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Five--Five things I know about my daughter's time in the SWI

Most of Chinese adoption, prior to "gotcha day" is shrouded in mystery. By going to visit Lotus' SWI (Orphanage) we were able to clear up some questions. We still have far more questions than answers but I do have some answers and I am grateful for them.

5) We know she seldom slept by herself.

One of the places they showed us was the crib where Lotus used to sleep. We saw her crib. One of the nannies suggested we put her into it and because I felt like they knew better than I did, I did so.  Lotus shrieked and lifted her arms to me. I snatched her up before she took a second breath and she quieted instantly. We left the room and I noticed one crib outside the room. I asked the guide what that was and she explained that the crib was for when a child was "naughty or sick". I understand why you would do that--especially if the child was sick, but it kept us from trying to get her into "her own" room when we came home. We didn't want her to feel like she had been bad.

4) We know she was premature.

They showed us the incubator in a corner of the infant room. They told us when she was first found they put her in there for nearly a month until she was strong enough to be okay in the cribs.

3) We know that she had a great doctor.

Lotus spiked a fever the day after we met her. I was a new parent and terrified and our guide suggested that we have her see the doctor at the orphanage. By then we noticed that Lotus never grabbed for our glasses. It didn't phase us, really, because we thought that there must have been a nanny with glasses who taught her not to. When we saw the nannies--none of them had glasses and we started to wonder. Then we met her doctor who had thick coke bottle glasses. The doctor picked Lotus up with gentle hands but payed no mind at all when she cried. She had the biggest DNFW (Do Not F** With) attitude I have ever seen. If I were Lotus, you couldn't pay me to try to take off this woman's glasses. The doctor gave her medicine. Then she asked for her back and kissed her on the forehead saying her Chinese Name. She handed Lotus back to us and smiled.

2) We know she could stand

Lotus could sit up from the moment we met her. She sat on the bed and played with Sophie The Giraffe giving us some amazing smiles. She didn't stand though and we thought she couldn't. When we said that to her second favorite nanny, she plucked Lotus out of our arms and put her on the little barre and she stood up. She was crying, but she was standing. I said, "She's crying." She replied through our guide, "Yes, but she's standing."

1) We know she was nursed and loved

Okay, technically I found out she was nursed away from the SWI.  I was changing to get into a bathing suit and she saw my breasts. Quicker than I thought possible she grabbed one and tried to latch on. We were able to deflect her because we had a bottle ready and fed her quickly. The next time  she saw me bare chested she was quicker and more determined. She latched on and I was thankful for all the times I had seen my non-bio sister break a latch so I knew what to do.

I talk about this because of the woman we didn't see. I knew her picture. I knew her face and I looked for it, Lotus was looking for her too. I had a picture on my smartphone and asked my guide. She asked and we were told she was sick today. It was on the way home when our guide said that since they knew we were coming, the other nanny couldn't say goodbye again. I understand that, I only hope that she knows how grateful we are for the love she showed her. So very grateful.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Funny you don't look fluish

I feel like crap.

I have the flu. It came on in a matter of hours.

Poor Lotus walks over to me and says, "Feeling well?" I have to say, "no honey, I don't feel well."

She's such a wonderful baby.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Microblog Monday: Musings About My Daughter's Mother

Dear China Mommy, 

That's what we call you. I speak of you to our daughter as she realizes that she grew in your tummy not mine. I speak of you with affection, gentleness, and a debt that I will never be able to repay. 

Our daughter is nearing her third birthday. She is speaking English, but we plan to teach her Mandarin. Maybe we'll teach her enough so she can read the note you left her in Mandarin--not English. 

Thank you for that note. Thank you for telling us her birthday and the time she was born. She will grow up knowing that it is the correct date. 

Thank you for the great care you took in making certain she was found. 

She is getting more beautiful every day. You must be so beautiful--and our daughter looks like you. 

She is intelligent and quick. She has some agility and athletic ability--that's definitely your genes--not our environment! She loves to dance. Her voice is starting to be able to find and stay on pitch--I'm assured that it is early for that. Can you sing? Did you sing to her when she was inside you? Did you sing to her those five days between when she was born and when you made sure she would be found?

She doesn't ask many questions about you--yet. We will try--I promise we will try--to answer them to the best of our abilities. 

I know this. If you hadn't wanted her to be born--she wouldn't have been. We love you for her. We do. I think of you as I rock her to sleep, her head cuddled on my breast. It is my heart that she hears now-and you will always be in our hearts. So, in her own way, she is listening to the heartbeats of her mothers. 

May Gd bless you and keep you. 
Your daughter's mother. 



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Grandma and Margaret Sanger

After my grandmother passed away we were going through her pictures.  One really stuck out to me.

It was my grandmother and several other women in a living room. I noticed that one of the women looked familiar and I went to my mom. Mom said, "I believe that is Margaret Sanger."  An open encyclopedia later confirmed it. Grandma knew the pioneer of birth control.

I wonder if my grandmother was an activist--and I know she probably was.

I wonder how much of planned parenthood was discussed in that parlor.

I wonder and then I feel an immense bit of pride in my grandmother.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Five: Five things to do when a friend's parent dies

"Was it sudden?"
"No. And yes. It's always sudden."
--Buffy the Vampire Slayer--The Body

When mom died I was prepared. I knew it would happen.

Yet the suddenness of it ripped my world apart like nothing I could have imagined.

I was astonished at how well some of my friends responded and helped me out.
I was astonished at how others of my friends disappeared and made no effort to contact me. One contacted me months later and talked to me as if nothing happened. I asked her "You know, my mom died right?" She had. She half-heartedly apologized for not saying anything, but she said she had no idea what to do or say.

I've heard this before so I thought for Friday Five I would write things you can do. Things you can do.

5) Food

Send it. Bring it. Maybe not in the immediate days following the death, but wait a few weeks when people have started to get back to their own lives and send a meal, send fruit, bring food over. It is so appreciated.

4) Come

If you can come for the funeral--do that. If you can't, come for the wake/viewing/shiva. If you can't make an effort to come soon. We need your hugs. We need to cry on the shoulders.

3) Listen
Let us talk about our grief. Let us cry.

3a) Talk.
If you knew our loved ones--share memories with us. Some of the most meaningful time was when my high school friends talked about things that I never knew mom did.

2) Write.
No, I don't mean text. I don't mean comment on Facebook, I mean get a card. get a letter, sit down and type it but write to us. Tell us you are thinking and missing our loved one.

1) Call.
Don't worry you don't know what to say. No one else does either. Call us. I will remember for the rest of my life how my husband's best friend called to talk to me. How he listened when I broke down and cried.  I will remember for the rest of my life how a few women who I considered close friends never called, or wrote, or made any notice of my grief.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Exhausted

My arms hurt. My hands hurt.

We were shoveling about 9 inches of snow.

Lotus came out and "helped" us get the snow off the car.

I am so ready for spring.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The 43 Years I had her

11 months ago today I lost my mom.

While it doesn't hurt as much as it did--it hurts and I know it will be a hole for the rest of my life.

Today, I'm going to talk about the way that I had her.

Mom was 43 when she had me. My grandmother (her mom) alluded to the suggestion that she might not want to have the baby. That she was too old. My mom ignored her.

Mom had tiny hands. The wedding band she wore for nearly 65 years could barely go over the first knuckle of my pinky. Mom's tiny hands were strong though. She could dice an onion in the palm of her hands--and did even when I handed her cutting boards.

Mom believed that there wasn't anything wrong with the world--or your life--that couldn't be fixed by more education. At age 82 she got frustrated with her peers who wouldn't learn how to use a computer. She thought the internet was a waste of time and didn't do email because she'd rather hear a  voice at the other end of the phone--but she learned.

Mom was the second woman in the history of her university to graduate with a degree in World Trade. (Now called International Finance) The first woman graduated a semester before her.

She quit a job at a fortune 500 company to stay home with my sister and brother. When I came along she had gone back to school to get her CPA and help my dad. For the only time in their marriage dad patronized mom--thinking it was cute that she got her degree. She met another woman in school whose husband was patronizing her too.  Together they formed a partnership, hung out their own shingle, and in their third year of business out earned my father.

I was born the year after--I was due on April 16--perfect for an accountant. I was born in March--not so perfect but still okay. I knew mom worked and I was fine with it.

Mom had no ear for music--in fact she had the worst singing voice I ever heard--but she loved broadway and encouraged that love in me.

I'm crying now--but I'll be writing more about how I had her and how I mean to go on remembering the good.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Microblog Monday--So Effing Sick of Winter

I should note that I don't live in Boston.

So people who live in and around Boston--I have lots more to show you on the blog--go look now.  Because I realize I have no complaints compared to you. 

All that remain?

I am so incredibly sick of winter. I am sick of shoveling. I am sick of rock salting the driveway. I am sick of ice and snow. 

I want spring. 

Shit. It's snowing again. 

Repeat.