Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The MX 5 Miata it is...

Well, I finally decided upon driving the V6 Mustang and the MX 5 Miata back to back at a number of dealers.
The MX 5 it is!
I know it's not a practical car. I know it's small and only seats two...
But it's so damn much fun to drive.
Besides driving it makes me smile and it's been a long time since a car made me laugh out loud.

I got the Power Retractable Hard Top Grand Touring MX 5 Miata in Stormy Blue Mica with a manual tranny of course!!!
I agonized a bit over the extra expense of the hard top when the soft would be perfectly fine but I will be using the car pretty much all year round except in snow (we don't get that much) and no garage for now. So the hard top looks like the better choice. Gives it that true coupe look I have to say.

I pick it up tomorrow around noon.
Can't wait to take it away and kick it out a bit.


I haven't been keeping my thoughts up here the way I was before my mom passed away the end of May.
I've been completely out of sorts. Aside from my husband and kids I only have my brother left from my immediate family (we were a very small clan indeed). Very sad still. Very off center.
There hasn't been a day that I don't go to the phone to call my mom. Hate being in the house without her there.
I don't like going through her things and we have no idea what we're going to do with the house.
Certainly not a good time to sell a house and it's in disrepair. My brother is living there for now. Sigh.
I want my mother back, I miss her every day. I want to talk to her, make her laugh, hear her voice.

Can't seem to pull my thoughts together at all and just don't have much to say it seems.
But I'm going to try to write more here again. Get back to politics and things on my mind.

Maybe the MX 5 will help clear a little fog away from my mind at least while I'm driving anyway.

I'll have someone here take a picture or two of me in the car to post.
Windy, bendy, curvy road here I come.




Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Somebody help me figure out this car thing…

Okay ideally in some alternative universe I would actually own a Porsche 911 GT2 in Aqua Blue Metallic but that alas is out of my lifetime budget in this dimension.

But man oh man would I love to drive one of those puppies.
I’d never get out of the damn thing I assure you, because I absolutely love to drive.
Did I mention I only drive manual? Auto trannys are for babies.
Anyone can put a car in drive…
Stick is the only way to go. And getting harder to routinely find.
531 hp, 0 to 60 in 3.6, 0 to 100 in 7.4 seconds.
Oh, Oh, Oh, My God, Oh my God.
But hey it only starts at around $194,000. Sigh.
Know any wealthy folk that don’t want their sports cars anymore?

Anyway, I married well, but not that well, and for love which these days is saying something.
Four kids and 35 years later we’re still together and my youngest son graduated High School yesterday.
YAY! Hallelujah and Happy Days.
Don’t have to be driving everyone around anymore.

So here’s my dilemma and for me it’s a huge one:

I’m going to buy a new car this coming month…

I’ve always bought a conservative car with good gas mileage and all that stuff.
I’ve owned one Plymouth Duster, one Chevy Nova, a Rambler (yup push button with tail fins and all) which were followed by an assortment of eight various Toyotas of different size and shape that I commuted to college and transported kids in.
My current Toyota Corolla Sport has around 165,000 miles on it.

But now everyone’s all growed up and getting around in their own cars for the most part.
And we do have a van if everyone absolutely had to go somewhere at once (hasn’t happened in quite a long time now).
Now mommy gets to buy something FUN to drive around. FINALLY.
While I’m still relatively sane too!

This is the bottom line:

I can afford either a Mustang V-6 (don’t need the power of the GT V-8 though it is pretty awesome) I’ve driven four different Mustangs now. By the way women that drive only manual really confuse car salesmen. It either seems to surprise them, amuse them or annoy them.

The Premium V-6 is sweet, powerful and fun to shift… but gas mileage is a bit sucky (17/26).
Nice body, smoother, has far more space, really can move when you kick it in.

or my second choice:

The Mazda MX 5, yea, that would be the Miata. (I always loved the little MG’s when they ran that is) The MX 5 is fairly dependable and incredibly fun to drive in a totally different way from the Mustang.

Feels like I’m part of the car not just a driver.
Drove a Hardtop MX 5 Grand Touring model and they handed me the keys and said drive it.
This surprised jaded, cynical me. They didn’t question that I really did know how to drive manual.
Top down, sunny day, absolutely delightful. Not as powerful as the Mustang but sticks to the road and the clutch is a beauty. The Miata is a gorgeous car but perfectly impractical.
Two seater, not much storage space, blah… blah… blah… Sigh.

The power of the Mustang and gorgeousness of the exterior/interior is inspiring. Nice ride.
The drivability of the MX 5 in tight turns makes me laugh out loud.

How the hell do you make that kind of decision?

I could just go buy yet another Toyota, or for that matter a Civic, G 3, or something comparable and conservative… and responsible… and… and… yes… Boring.

It’s been a very long time.


Friday, June 19, 2009

A house full of memories and even more stuff...

I've been helping my brother go through my mother's things at the house.
There is a lot of cleaning to do and she kept old bills and other papers from the past 20 years it seems.
Then there's clothing, canned goods and a lifetime of mismatched items in the house.
Which is oddly very much like my house where after 4 kids, my husband and I the house is full of choice items
acquired through thrift shops, yardsales, friends and family's discards and purchased from exclusive stores like Ikea, Sears and Target. Mostly scratched, dented, chipped, nicked, glued or missing some part...

At any rate I still can't seem to come to terms with this whole thing.
I'd rather not do anything at all in a way but it's not possible.
I don't like going through all her stuff. Honestly I hate it.
Yes, there's sentimental value to some of it but the rest were the things she collected over a lifetime.

Someday my life will be put into boxes and sifted through, boxed donated and yardsaled. Sigh.
And perhaps some well worn item of mine will be bought by someone else and end up another day in another box.
Circle of life my friend.

All this rain in NY isn't helping my dark mood today.
When exactly is summer coming? Windy, pouring, damp and unpleasant all day AGAIN.
Need some sun, need a lot of sun.

Picking out a picture of a Lotus Flower (Water or Pond Lily) from the images and drawings I have collected to place in the empty space between my mother and father's names on the stone we picked out. It will take around five or six weeks for the stone to come at least that's what I think they said. Then I guess they carve the names and dates on it.

I'm kinda forgetful, scattered in thought, discouraged and tired of everyone right about now.
I feel very unsettled about this whole thing still.
Still just numb...
I miss my mother very, very much.

Going to bed to hopefully catch some of that elusive sleep thing.
Doubtful on a normal night... tonight wind is whipping around house and still raining.




Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last mention of the Letterman-Palin Feud (unless they actually fire him which would be ridiculous)

I find it hard to believe that a joke clearly about Bristol Palin by David Letterman has gotten so much media attention.
The joke wouldn't have made any sense if it was about anyone other than Bristol Palin but then it's not as sensational a story.

Today there's pressure to fire Letterman... seriously?
I would not be happy if someone made such a joke about one of my children and I would likely have complained about it...
BUT this is totally blown out of proportion.
Sarah Palin parades her children out when it suits her and then attacks when people comment on it.
I feel sorry for the younger Palin girls who now have been made a spectacle of again.
Someone asked if the joke was made about one of the Obama's kids if all hell wouldn't have broken loose.
Yea, sure- especially since they're both under 18 and neither one is a single parent.

Grow up. Bad taste. Unfunny joke. Not the cause of all that is ill in the country.
Could we go back to REAL news now...?
You know the stuff that REALLY matters!

Apparently freedom of speech only applies to "some" people. Interesting.
I remember McCain making quite a few off color in very bad taste jokes over the years-
(the Chelsea Clinton joke "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." was from 1998.)
Talk about insensitivity to young women's self esteem. Yet Sarah had no problem running with him as VP.

I have no idea where this country is. This is what masquerades as news these days?

Important stuff out there in case the media has forgotten:
Home grown terrorism waiting in the wings (anti-government pro-gun: always a great combination) like James von Brunn.
Iran's election results and aftermath.
The economy. Bank Bailouts. Automotive industry. Mortgage and foreclosure disasters.
War in Iraq/Afghanistan.
Health care reform.
Gas prices going up yet again even though...

Well you get the idea.

There must have been a collective cringe amongst all comedians and talk show hosts this past week.
Though not many of them stepped forward to defend David though they have all done equally awful jokes.
David did apologize. He seemed to mean it.
We've all heard far worse on the air but I guess it wasn't about the Palins.

This is not news. Stop all ready.

Interesting CBS fired Don Imus (who I'm no fan of) for his rude and in bad taste comments about a women's basketball team but who was truly surprised by them? I thought he was known for being offensive almost every day of the year. Ooops.
Letterman's track record stands up. Been watching him for what seems like forever. Sorry Sarah your complaint has been heard, it's gotten more air time than it deserved and you need to back AWAY from the video feeds now.

We get it: Tasteless joke/Bad David/Sarah Angry/Dave sorry/World goes on bleeding...




Sunday, June 14, 2009

Espada Jr., Monserrate, Palin, Letterman... back to the news and this is it?

Finally starting to watch the news again and am very upset with NY State Legislators:

Most notably: Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens.
The control of the state senate has moved over to the republicans for all intents and purposes right now.

Now of course as with what seems like all our politicians these days both men have legal troubles as the NY Times reported. "Highlighting the often elastic nature of ethical stands and alliances in Albany, Republicans who earlier this year were calling on Mr. Monserrate to resign after his indictment on felony charges that he stabbed his companion with a broken glass are now welcoming him as part of their power-sharing coalition.
While Mr. Espada has been fined tens of thousands of dollars over several years for flouting state law by not disclosing political contributions."

"Democrats were pushing bills to give tenants more rights, strengthen abortion rights and legalize same-sex marriage this session. And the move underscores the continuing tumult of New York politics, where there have been three governors in less than three years and four Senate presidents since last summer."

Gov. David A. Paterson, at a news conference Monday evening, called the move “an outrage” and said Albany had become a “dysfunctional wreck."
Well, I don't know about a dysfunctional wreck but maybe a complete joke. Oh yea surely.

All right NY State get your act together. I'm so sick of the infighting.
Sick of the corruption on both sides of the fence.
Sick of pretending that we are progressive leaders in the USA anymore.

Sick of believing that our government is really on our side when so often it's only in the interest of money brokers, wealthy special interest lobbyists and big business.

While we all exist on the crumbs you throw our way and why the hell can't we behave and be thankful anyway?
Greedy corrupt bastards all around.

I've been proud to be from NY all my life but recently I can honestly say I'm not happy at all.
I seriously don't know if I even want to be here anymore.
And if you knew me at all you'd know that says a lot.

Good luck Barack Obama seems like you might need a lot of it.


Sarah Palin: Please shut up about David Letterman.

Enough. You had our sympathy the first thousand times you mentioned it. Everywhere.
You're sounding shrill and just as offensive at this point as he was.
But you can't see it can you?
It's too bad he made the joke. He's a comedian with a talk show...
How about you play fair dearest damsel in distress (or was it a lipstick smeared pit bull I forget) and take Limbaugh or O'Reilly to task for the hateful ugly things they say about people:
Oh wait I know why you won't: I forgot.
YOU agree with them so that makes it different. Oh you betcha.
Won't 2012 be fun guys and gals?

The candle of freedom of speech burns hot and fast from both ends.
Just wondering sometimes what the hell we're gonna be left with.

On June 3rd I wrote this about the recent loss of my mother on May 30:
"I don’t know exactly what I feel right now.
Just incredibly weird.
Like something’s horribly wrong but I can’t wrap my mind around it.
I’m not numb at least not yet. I’m not angry either.
But I know myself well enough to know both are coming.
I hope I’ll be ready."

Nothing has changed. I still reach for the phone to call her every day. I still feel basically the same.
My world is way off kilter but not enough for me to come to terms with where I am in time and place.
I can't go back to where I was before.
I can't realistically stay where I am now and I can't move towards where I've never been before.
Not yet anyway.

I realize this makes no sense except maybe to me.
I completely get where I am now, I've known this day would come.
It's just that I'm not sure what to do with myself. Don't want to upset anyone unduly but...
And I have a lifetime worth of anger I couldn't express because I would never hurt my mother...
Not that we never disagreed but I felt my mother had enough to deal with without my adding to it.
Do I need grief counseling? Maybe.
Oddly enough right now I have little to nothing to say.
Don't have the words.




Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Losing My Mom...


On a few of the many nights I was staying with my mom this past month I brought my computer along.
I found for the most part this wrote itself over the course of a few very quiet periods in the wee hours of the night.
I'm still trying to get used to sleeping at night again. I keep picking up the phone to call my mom and talk then realize I can't.

Writing is the one way I express myself, though mostly unpublished someday I hope I will finish one of the books I've got on my computer. I tried to upload a word document but gave up after a while. So this is a very long post as it is the word document.

If you want to read my feelings and thoughts they follow this here.
It is personal and I hope it brings her to life for just a moment in your mind.
I doubt I'll ever stop missing my mother.


On Losing My Mom

I have the night shift with my mom because she can’t be left alone anymore.
Her cancer has spread. I stay awake all night.
Set up in the kitchen at the end of the table where as a family we laughed, fought, cried and ate. Where my grade school projects were planned and finished.
Where I did endless homework and set up the typewriter for countless papers.
Almost everything was done at our only table large enough to work at.
Where my friends sat and played board games and ate dinner over. I learned to cook and sew at this scarred wooden table. I listened to words of wisdom right here in this chair that I didn’t always take.

Later each of four grandchildren played and finger-painted at this old table. But it’s so very quiet here now. I can’t even imagine this table without my mother sitting across from me and I don’t want to.

It’s hard to listen to her coughing and see her getting frail from losing so much weight.
A woman that worked five days a week to raise 3 children when most other women stayed at home. A “get it done, do what you have to” original tough cookie with a heart the size of Texas. It is her heart that will give out before the cancer claims her. I guess it’ll be a small consolation but it seems so unfair to see this process happening.

Long before there was a term “super-mom” and all those people saying how stressful it is to be one, my mother already was doing it. However she didn’t complain: she just did. She did what was necessary at the time and what she had to do. She didn’t whine and complain about her lot in life because she was too busy living it.

It seems to me that my mother has always been a caregiver. Maybe not when she was a child, somewhat of a tomboy, carefree, curious and wild but certainly after she got married. She took care of her family all those years and then when the time came she took care of her own mother and husband.

I set up my computer in the kitchen so she can have some privacy and not feel that I’m hovering or interfering. She spent a lifetime being independent and gets angry when she feels she is being told what she can or can’t do. I don’t blame her at all for feeling that way. Sometimes her stubborn streak is hard to work with. She doesn’t like being a patient at all with people “fussing around her or at her.”

The hospital bed that hospice sent when she was unable even with our help to get up any longer helped. She could breathe better with the bed upraised. Even so she still coughs and really can’t swallow anything much. It’s a diet of mostly liquids: broth soup, Italian ices and thin puddings. Along with the tons of ice chips, which she loves because they make her throat feel better. Suddenly the icemaker in our new refrigerator that I thought at the time was an unnecessary luxury seemed a wonderful Godsend.

As she rests her breathing creates sounds that almost sound like she is singing to herself. A rhythmic and light melody. Recently when she’s asleep now she softly talks to herself or to others that share her dreams.

There are good nights where she reminisces and bad nights when she is exhausted and you can see the pain and the inevitableness of her fight. This one might be the only one she will lose.

I lightly rub her back when she coughs and gasps to gain her breath. When it passes and she lays back I place my hand on her forehead and talk to her. I massage her feet every night. I talk about my favorite memory from when I was little and she would read to me. I can picture the book and clearly hear her voice if I close my eyes. She sat on the edge of my bed and read from a well-worn copy of “Alice in Wonderland” to me. I was very young maybe all of five or six but I remember it well. I ask if she remembers how I endlessly, relentlessly asked her to read that book over and over again. She looks in my eyes for a moment and smiles at me. “Yes” she whispers “the tiny little book” and I answer, “Yes, with the tiny pictures.” She smiles again. “I loved the Jabberwocky poem and…” but she’s turned her mind elsewhere and is far away from me again.

Other times she’s just restless and angry with me no matter what I do. Swatting at me and fearful that we’re putting medicine in her ice chips. We’re not, but at that time she doesn’t believe me at all. The next day she smiles when I tell her I’ll try to freeze vodka in her chips if she wants me too and promise I wouldn’t tell anyone. “No,” she says quietly “white wine” smiling with just a hint of the humorous light in her eyes.

Sometimes she’s thankful and alert but not as much anymore. She talks to herself late in the night and dreams of trains, horses, people and places that only she understands or sees. Mostly she’s exhausted.

Very slowly the dawn comes. The sun rising in perpetual cycle while I sit alone and wonder what today will bring. Soon the birds are chirping and raising a clatter of different sounds that mix in with the gentle harmonic sounds of my mother’s labored breathing.

It’s very hard to see her like this. I already miss my mother, her former self. The one that cooked, cleaned and bustled about after losing her husband of 50 years. The proud grandmother that enjoyed her grandchildren’s visits and laughed along with them. She had a stubborn quality to her when she made up her mind and an incredible ability to make entire dinners out of nothing. She was thrifty and saved money. She didn’t have a credit card and never lived above her means. She could sew up a storm and often did. She made my prom dress and her office clothing. I learned a lot from her and owe so much of myself to her.

They don’t make them like my mom anymore. She took care of others without the narcissistic malaise that has seemed to wrap around later generations. She rarely complained though very often she would have had the complete right to.

As it gets lighter I sit wrapped in a blanket, with just the light of my computer in front of me. Another day beginning that I won’t really see. I’ll be sleeping until it’s time to get up and figure out what I absolutely have to do versus everything else that I won’t get to. For the most part people are opening a lot of canned soups in my home for dinner. The kitchen counter is scattered with the cans. It seems like ages ago that I was rearranging the upstairs. Now it looks like a scene from Pompei where I left everything exactly where it was when I simply vanished weeks ago. It strikes me that this is what would be left of me if I were to die tomorrow. Piles of disorganized boxes around the chair I’d been sitting in. A sobering thought and one that I decide to put out of my mind as best I can.

It’s important to me that my mother is comfortable. Later on I’ll take care of the tremor I’ve acquired from coffee, tea, stress, poor diet and lack of adequate sleep. I tell myself I’ll take care of myself, when I get the chance and put off self-caregiving for another day another time. My mother will come first. Of course someone else always comes first it seems that’s one of the few things I wish I didn’t learn so well from my mother’s example. Though I’ll never quite make as efficient a martyr as she could sometimes be.

My father died a tidy death. He got up one morning had breakfast then said he didn’t feel great and was going to rest for a little while longer. He had a massive heart attack and passed in his sleep. My mother found him. They had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a small group of friends and family. My father was no piece of cake to live with by far and I have no idea how she did it. She should be nominated for sainthood for the day-to-day miracles she created from a sometimes very hard life. It’s so very unfair that she has to endure this illness. Unjust as life often seems to be that she must fail and give up so much of herself as she struggles each day and into the night.

I listen throughout the night to the many sounds this old house has. There’s a mouse that like clockwork every night around 3am rattles things around in the wall behind me. I find it strangely comforting. I caught sight of him once running towards the pantry. There’s a raccoon that makes odd noises just beyond the back porch. I hear the last few cars pass by around 2am and after that it stays quiet on the road until 4:30 when a very few early bird drivers make their way by the house. I know my husband is one of those that pass by Monday to Friday while it’s still night to most people. By 6am the traffic moves from a trickle to a more steady commute.

Mom’s refrigerator clicks when it runs and vibrates and hums until it finally stops. I never noticed it before. There’s a drip drip drip from the kitchen faucet no matter how forcefully I turn it off. The oil burner sounds like a hammer dropped into a metal barrel when it kicks on and then makes it’s hurricane like noise when the blower sends the heat out into the rooms before it clanks to a stop again.

Even with all the extraneous sounds I’m tuned into my mothers breathing and sounds of movement. I get up from the chair to check on her, every time I hear her moving. I tip toe quietly to make sure she’s all right. Sometimes she’ll rouse a bit and be aware I’m standing in the room and attempt to send me “off on my way” again with a wave of her hand and other times she gestures me over to talk, ask for tea, ice chips or to tell me she can’t seem to sleep.

The world is as oblivious to me and my troubles as I am to them right now. My mother always said no one is irreplaceable in life except in someone else’s heart. She is of course right. People come and go, the faces change and the world barely notices.

My mother was the glue that held our family together. It wasn’t a perfect life, but it was a life to be proud of and I know that she is satisfied now at the end from listening to the stories she’s been telling about her past to her children and grandchildren. She is tired now and mostly sleeps, the stories got further apart as she got weaker until they disappeared all together. That mischievous light in her eyes and any sign of laughter has all but vanished now into the night.

I know dying is a natural process of life. My mind realizes we all face our own deaths sooner or later and that my mother has had a full life in her 89 years, Amazingly she accomplished it all mostly on her own. But emotionally it’s a different story; my heart still feels like it’s being torn out through my nose piece by piece. I celebrate her life while facing her passing. I fear her leaving with every fiber in my body though I realize that’s a selfish thought. Even though our relationship wasn’t perfect I can’t imagine not having her around. My world will seem the same to everyone for all intent and purpose but for me it will have drastically and permanently altered.
I look over at my mom as she stirs. She’s wakened from a bout of pain and I realize I’m holding my breath once again. I help her turn onto her side and she settles back into the covers. She looks so small and helpless to me.

My brother comes up the sidewalk promptly at 8:30am carrying a hot pot of brewed coffee and his mug. My nightly shift is now over. I stay until the nurse visits at 9:30 and then I tuck my mom in and say goodbye with a kiss on the forehead. My brother and I talk quietly for a few moments in passing. The changing of the guard. I’ll be back again in the evening.

I step out into the day’s blinding light and all I can really think of is crawling into bed to try and sleep for a few hours. But even sleep seems elusive these days.

My mother passed away quietly early one morning. I was there with her at the time. The time afterwards is a complete blur to me as I pushed myself through a wake, friends and family gathering and a small graveside service. Somewhere in the middle of all that was going on there was a Senior Class trip and a prom. I have no idea how I got through this past month but somehow I did. Maybe I’m far more like my mother than I realize.

There is still a lot to do and I dread going through her things. Today my son was home sick with a fever and I picked up the phone at least four or five times to call my mom to talk. I miss her so very much and know I always will.

Mostly I’m very glad we were able to keep my mother at home where she was comfortable. Where the last fifty-two years of her life unfolded around her. The around the clock attention and care we were able to give her along with the daily check in by the hospice nurse was better than any hospital or nursing home could have provided. I know that wherever my mother is now she is at peace. I am very proud to be her daughter.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Missing my mom...

My mom passed away this Saturday morning.
We did the wake and a brief graveside tribute.

My brother and I have been taking shifts for about a month (his daytime, mine the over night hours since I'm a night owl anyway)
It took me a bit to get used to being awake all night but I got used to it.
Now I'm trying to get back to my normal sleep patterns.

Mom had terminal cancer and up until this past month could get around on her own with only a little help.
The month of May was different, she got very weak and unable to do the things she always could before.
It was very hard to watch her fail so quickly.
A Hospice nurse came in once a day for a few hours to check on her and we did everything else.
We were determined to keep her in her own home in peace with constant care instead of in a hospital or nursing home.
I feel very proud that we were able to do that for her and give her the attention and complete care that she deserved.
She was 89 years old and I miss her very much all ready.

I was there when she passed quietly in the early morning.
Now her house feels so odd to me. I want her to be there in her chair.
I don't want to go through her things.

I rarely got more than 2-3 hours a day sleep which creates interesting havoc on your state of mind but I sort of got used to it.
I have a family and a son graduating high school this June.
All this in the middle of proms and class trips just for the one son.
I have one other son at home (he's 20) and a daughter who for now is staying here too.
Our oldest son came in from Washington DC where he lives and just went back today.
Ours is a very small clan.
I realized this week that my husband who lost both his parents by twenty was very upset by my mom's passing too.
He's known her for over 40 years now.

I'm tired. Worn out, weary and just want to hide out for a while, but it never works out that way around here.
I don't know exactly what I feel right now.
Just incredibly weird.
Like something's horribly wrong but I can't wrap my mind around it.
I'm not numb at least not yet. I'm not angry either.
But I know myself well enough to know both are coming.
I hope I'll be ready.

I have some thoughts I wrote on my laptop very late one night that I want to share.
I will post them tomorrow night.
For now I could really use some sleep.