lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
Last night, still dealing with the creeping crud (it's turned into chest crud now, so my coughs sound impressive and cringe-worthy), I passed on my sleeping pill in favor of Nyquil.

I dropped off to sleep with no problem, probably because I've been up till 2 and 3 AM the last few nights and I needed the rest.

I dreamed, unsurprisingly, about my mom. We were going through clothes, maybe shopping somewhere. There were blouses she wanted me to try on, and blouses that she didn't like. She was very free and colorful in her opinions of the ones she didn't like. She was always very borderline-personality that way; things were either good or bad, and if she didn't like something, she couldn't entertain the possibility that anyone else could.

It was a year ago Thursday (so, a year and two days) that I spoke to her for the last time. I miss her like crazy. It helped, having some time with her in my dream, even though it was over too soon. I haven't forgotten her voice, or the way her skin felt, or even the shape of her fingernails, or her little mannerisms...but I think part of me quietly fears that someday I will.

It's worth it to dream once in a while, I think, if it helps me keep her accurately in my head. We didn't get to talk about anything important - we never do, when I dream about her - but we didn't need to. It had all been said for real, before a-year-ago-Thursday.

I fell back asleep and found myself going out to breakfast with her parents, my grandparents. They're both long gone, my relations with them were not good while they were alive, and I don't dream about them very often. But there they were. They used to go out for breakfast every morning because that was when Grandma felt the best and could be the most active. She would order a well-toasted bagel and it would never come out to her satisfaction, yet she always insisted on eating out instead of toasting her own bagel the way she liked it.

So, I was out at an eerily realistic breakfast with my grandparents. Grandma made her typical "something smells bad" displeased face at me because I asked for a menu.

(Though she went to the same places and always knew what she wanted, I'd never been there before and I wanted to see the options. This would happen regularly, and would frustrate her. She felt it slowed down her morning.)

She started telling me what to order, before I had a chance to look for myself. "You want a hamburger and a danish," she said.

(This part wasn't entirely realistic, but the tone and the power struggle were spot on. She liked very much to tell me what I liked, and what I wanted, instead of asking me. If she did by chance seize on something I actually liked, she would find ways to twist it against me. I got good, early on, at not expressing preferences about anything in front of my grandmother. Preferences were ammunition.)

"I don't want that," I answered, and looked at my watch. "I can't eat a hamburger at nine in the morning."

"It's noon where you are," she countered. They lived on the east coast, so this part made sense. However:

"That makes it *six* in the morning where I am," I answered, and she made her face at me again. Grandma didn't like to be wrong.

(Grandma liked to watch the way her cream poured into her coffee. If it swirled a certain way when she poured it, it meant the coffee was fresh, and she would nod sharply like it had passed her inspection. If the cream spread differently, the coffee was stale. She would make her scrunchy face, sigh longsufferingly, and drink it anyway. She hated, more than anything, when a waitress would mix old coffee with new coffee, either in the carafe or in her cup. She would yell at them if they tried to top off her coffee with more coffee -- the new coffee undoubtedly had been sitting too long, was the result of pouring together multiple brews into a single diner carafe, and wasn't fresh. She was convinced it would somehow ruin the freshness of the coffee that had gone cold in her cup. She wanted them to wait until her coffee was all gone, and then magically be there with a fresh, unmingled pot. And yet, she insisted on having her coffee out, when at home she could have made her coffee anyway she liked it, and would have known that it was untainted by the pot that had been made five minutes before.

I stopped speaking to grandma in 1998, when she told my mother that she knew grandpa had molested mom, and then me, but that she let him do it. Because? "At least," she said, "he was leaving me alone."

I announced that I was never speaking to her again. And, I didn't.)

Dream-grandma was as accurate as life.

In the dream, the power struggle over breakfast was interrupted. I felt pressure on my thigh, touching me, and then touching me higher. Dream-grandpa, on my other side, who'd been silent this whole time. I turned to him and said, "Get the hell off me, you bastard."

I woke up and opened my eyes, and the touch had been Toey climbing up my body to curl up on my chest.

Matt and I went out for breakfast. I poured new coffee on top of my old coffee. With glee.

travel

Nov. 30th, 2010 11:22 pm
lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
Air travel this past weekend was surprisingly painless. We got to the airport three hours early for our departure, only to discover that the check-in counter and the security line weren't open yet. So, the joke was on us, but at least we were in the front of the queue. I've been at the same airport on days when I was three hours early and still barely made it onto my flight.

I got picked for the scanner line, but they weren't patting or scanning everyone who went through. It was like it always has been -- most people go straight through the metal detector and aren't bothered unless they beep, a few people are 'randomly' singled out. I seem to get singled out a lot. I used to think I was suspicious-looking because I was a woman traveling alone a lot of the time, but I got sent through the scanner this time even though I was obviously with a partner. I don't know, maybe I'm just suspicious-looking. They do say that it's the quiet ones you've got to watch...

I got scanned, Matt didn't beep, and we went on our way. Flying back yesterday, the airport was quiet and neither of us got a second glance. We walked through the metal detector and were waved on, as always.

The trip itself was really nice. I got lots of quality time with my dad, I got to hang out with my brother and meet his girlfriend, and I got to meet Matt's new niece. I guess I'm an aunt now, which is strange. When you're an only child till you're 14, you think of yourself as an only child, and it wasn't until Matt's whole family were calling us aunt and uncle that it really clicked that she's effectively my niece as well as his. I mean, obviously, but it was the first time I'd ever been "Aunt Lapis." I kind of liked the way it sounded.

Going back to the area where I lived my formative years definitely feels like coming home. That's a little strange, too. But, again, I kind of liked it.

We got to see a few good friends. Different friends than I'd seen last time I was back, which is probably a good thing, taking turns and all that, but it really wasn't planned that way. It was a function of who was around and free, and where, and when, and just some happy accidents of timing. Still, very good, even though there were a few who were definitely missed. On sunday, we went to a meetup of my colleagues/clients and their extended local circle. About 25 people showed up, many there to meet me. That was kind of a neat feeling. Like when people show up to your birthday party and you know they're there to hang out with each other and eat cake, but you also know they're all there for you. I haven't felt that in a very long time, and I thought it would make me uncomfortable -- I usually try to deflect attention I can't control, rather than attract it -- but it was fun. It was a good time. It was extremely flattering.

Most of the trip belonged to family, though. I was marveling to myself that we hadn't really had a spare moment for anything -- not sightseeing, or driving around without a distinct purpose, or even hanging out around the house and doing leisurely things -- the entire trip. But the lack of downtime was probably good for me. I felt less stressed and anxious than I've been in a long time. Maybe that was due to the schedule, or maybe it was just good to be around friends and family for a while.

drained

Jun. 28th, 2010 03:53 am
lapis_lazuli022: (rain)
We're home from sorting out my mom's affairs. I'm completely drained and don't have much to say. Or, I have a lot to say and I'm not sure I have the energy to say it. Still here, though. And I guess that's something.
lapis_lazuli022: (boots)
Thanksgiving with [livejournal.com profile] hbergeron's family went well. Everyone survived with their sanity more or less intact. Everyone pulled their normal Family Gathering™ routines. The brother-in-law made his attempt at entreating us all (Catholics and Jews alike) to accept Jesus as our Savior, mom tried her usual passive-aggressive ploy to get us to stay longer, Matt was Super Helpful Guy who never seemed to lose his patience, and I did my customary retreat-to-privacy-after-the-first-day thing.

Sure, they drive me nuts, but family is supposed to. At least they do it in a well-meaning kind of way. They're neurotic, maybe, but you know they care.

We took off from the parents' house a day early, to do the decompressing-from-seeing-family thing. We had lunch, checked into our hotel, showered and rested up a bit, and then met [livejournal.com profile] genesis_w and friend for an afternoon/evening of roaming, chatting, shopping, and dining. The best way to experience an overly cheesy, overly touristy place is with other people who can have fun with it and laugh at its cheesiness with you. We had a great time hanging out with Gen, and I didn't want the evening to end. (I'm glad we got to meet up -- let's do this again sometime!)

Back at the hotel now. We were considering going out and experiencing the nightlife, but it's been a long day, and a long weekend, and it'll be nice to just relax. We've been helping Mom out with her computer, but haven't had a chance to check our own accounts, so [livejournal.com profile] hbergeron has just caught up on his journal, and now I'm briefly catching up with mine.

And now, I'm getting offline.

Really.

Here I go...

I'm disconnecting now...

Well... maybe in just a minute.
lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
day 2: the funeral

Now I know where I get it from. In the face of big things, mom obssesses about the little things, too.

Mom wanted grandma to be buried in the white and gold dress grandma bought for my wedding (it's not as tacky as it sounds). But, she recently moved all of grandma's stuff from the condo (it sold!) into her own house, and she couldn't find grandma's matching gold shoes. She went nuts looking for the shoes. Tore the house apart, put it back together again. Had nightmares of grandma coming back to haunt her because she was buried in the wrong shoes. Finally, Mom gave up. On Friday, she went out and bought a new pair of gold shoes, in grandma's size. For her corpse. Apparently, the salespeople didn't even blink an eye. Well, it's Florida. Not to be insensitive, but I guess they're used to that down here. She delivered the shoes to the funeral home Friday before 5pm.

Then she started obssessing because she gave them pantyhose with opaque toes for her, and the new shoes were open-toed. I told her that for all the shit grandma put her through all her life, she should get some satisfaction out of the fact that grandma's off to the Great Beyond in tacky stockings. I told her to think of it as justice. That didn't work. So then I said, "Besides, she'd be miserable in heaven with nothing to complain about. Now she can talk about her wonderful daughter who bought her new shoes, and then show all the other yentas her pantyhose. They can all commisserate. She'll be happier that way." That made her feel better. Go figure.

So, anyway... fast forward two days from the shoe adventure to the funeral itself, and this is what I wrote that afternoon, when the company left. This was hard to write and it might be hard to read -- fair warning.

Read more... )
lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
I have just talked my mother out of hiring a string quartet to play "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" at the funeral.

You think I'm joking.
lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
I got 8 hours of dreamless sleep last night. Bliss.

I have airline reservations.

I will rent a car when I get down there. Not for the whole length of the trip, but so that I can help by running errands and picking up relatives who don't drive. And because I'm not sure I want to be seen in Mom's purple PT Cruiser. ;)

I'm waiting to hear back from Todd (pretty much the only friend from high school that I still keep up with). I mailed him at work... I hope that's ok. And it looks like I'm meeting Tina & Ray (a kinda-sorta-ex and her husband) for dinner on Monday. They've said I can stay with them if things at Mom's are too weird.

I'm not crazy about doing this solo, but I know I can, and maybe it's best. I think I'll be stronger for Mom if I have to be strong for myself. That's the way I am: if I have someone to lean on, then I do, and I allow myself to be a mess. Whereas if I know I have to be self-sufficient, I am.

About my net access while I'm there: Mom has always been a mac person. She's also always been a stubborn person. So, when she bought herself a computer for home, she not only decided she had to get a PC because she'd never used one before, but she decided she had to build her own, too.

So she did. Kinda.

She has broadband, which works, but the computer itself is pretty oddly kluged together, so it behaves unpredictably and it doesn't always recognize all its own bits. I know I'll be roped into trying to fix it, but I have no idea how much she's tinkered with it. I'd say, expect my access to be "sporadic". At best.

This should be interesting.

I'm trying to figure out how long it's been since I was there last. It's been at least 2-3 years. On my last trip down, Todd and I saw Pi at the movie theatre, and that came out in 1998, so maybe it's been longer than I thought. I said I wouldn't come back until Grandma was gone, and I guess I've kept my word.
lapis_lazuli022: (flower)
my grandmother just died.

the one i was officially not speaking to.

i think i might feel conflicted

if i wasn't so numb.

but mostly right now

i'm just relieved.

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