Saturday, September 29, 2007


sleep makes certain things feel better.
at least you have some hours of not being inside your head.
house is still messy, still being buried under the stuff i need to do, mom's still dead, but i'm not sleepy anymore, so that's something.
i woke up this morning from the middle of a dream about getting busy, in a three way, with barack obama. umm....whoa.
where'd that come from?
ran errands today with tab, working on the party.
seems like it'll be fine.
it's hard getting out of the mindset of this being a party of the traditional kind.
i keep getting scared no one will come, or they'll come and won't think it's "fun."
fun? as if that's the point.
usually i'd stay here and blog my face off, then poke around on the internet, then do some myspace snooping, but instead i'm going to go deal with some stuff in my life that needs dealing with.
step 1) unload car
step 2) unpack refrigerator-sized suitcase from new york
step 3) (which i might not get to tonight) unpack boxes from mom's
step 4) (on-going) work on unpacking from the move
step 5) (on-going) take breaks when i feel i must
right before i got out of the car, my book-on-cd of 'the prisoner from azkaban' got to a point where harry and professor dumbledore are talking about harry's dad.
professor dumbledore tells harry that the people that we really love are never really dead to us, because they live forever, inside of us - more strongly during times of trouble.
i cried a little bit.
i hope that's true.
i hope that my skepticism about spirituality isn't blocking mom from coming to talk to me, or visit.

Friday, September 28, 2007


shannon's gone on his birch bark canoenion, and i am alone at our new house, with the dog, for the first time.

like usual, it was awesome for a little bit, and then now it's pretty lonely.

i am eating reheated pizza for dinner and i'm going to watch 'the west wing.'

i have really a lot of things that need to get done, but i'm having a hard time getting anything done. my room is a disgrace, and i haven't been home enough to work on unpacking and stuff. it's just getting worse. i should've worked on it tonight, but i didn't. feeling sad.

one great accomplishment for today: i got the invitation to mom's memorial party out. it took me forever to do it, through a mixture of sadness, resistance, and technical problems, but it's done. so, there's that. spoke to mom's mortgage company about some business stuff and was blessed to get the world's most helpful phone operator. she was amazing. i feel like sending her flowers.

i think i could use some help getting business taken care of.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

things that are hard.

writing the invitation to mom's party is proving as difficult as i had imagined it would be.

i started at around 11am, and i have been working on it, off and on, for hours. i keep having to take breaks, though.

now i am going through mom's aol address book and getting all her email addresses, so i can send the mail out to as many people as possible.

i have some other stuff to talk about, particularly my trip to new york to see lu, but i am not in a place to go into it right now. i have to leave soon to go to tab's house for pizza and cake, for tab's birthday, which is today. we're having red boy pizza for dinner, which was my mom's favorite. it's my favorite, too.

i'll have plenty to talk about next time, though. among the highlights will be...
1) how amazing lucy's apartment is.
2) how great her roommate is.
3) how great her nabe is.
4) how much more i like brooklyn that manhattan.
5) the way i am in love with lu's friendfam already.
6) things i purchased while there.
7) places i went while there.
8) famous people i met/TALKED TO while there!!!
9) mosquito bites, the acquiring of.
10) tippicanoe, our maybe new dog, and the meeting of her
11) various and sundry other tidbits of interest

i cry a lot when i am home, and stop when i am away, which makes being away very tempting, but that's an urge i am not planning on succumbing to. i have really a lot of business to attend to, so i need to just shove some wads of kleenex up my nose (to manage the sniffles) and get to work anyway. and, while being away from the immediacy of my sadness is nice and necessary, coming home to the familiarity of our new house is also nice and necessary.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


little things keep popping up that are tough to figure out. do i change my 'mom' entry in my phone to 'allen,' since it's not mom who's calling anymore? i get a double jolt every time he calls now - once because i think it's mom for a second, and again when i realize it's him and i'm scared it's something bad. how do i decide what to keep of hers and what not to? i don't want to be over precious with her junk, keeping things only because they were hers (her unopened packages of post-its, her needle-nose pliers, her unused jar of hand cream), but the idea of chucking something, even a small thing, is hard to get comfortable with. i miss her very much. i hate these new decisions and the new weight of her being gone. i hate having to decide what of hers to keep, because i don't want it, because i just want her back. the missing her is insidious - it'll feel totally manageable, and then suddenly engulf me, so i can barely breathe from it. i'll see a picture of her, from a few years ago, and it seems so fresh, like the last year of her never happened - the scar from her brain surgeries, the hair missing from radiation, the extra weight from her recuperation, the fuzziness. i still haven't said 'goodbye' to THAT mom. i think i'm complete with the mom from last year, but the mom from before that, from before the sickness, who was sharp and protective and sassy and dynamic...she's the one i am mourning.

was terribly, terribly nervous about going up to RV today, but it was mostly painless. i spent the whole drive up feeling ill from anxiousness and also writhing around from my cramps. my woman time couldn't possibly have worse timing.

allen was mellow and not a weirdo, we signed some semi-stressful money docs without incident.

i packed up almost all of my personal stuff from the yoga studio (or the hidey-hole, as i liked to call it).

shannon and i almost had to fight with knives after bickering while we lugged his god-cursed truck topper into the barn. i didn't appreciate the tone he was taking. we made up.

i impulsively decided to bring down all of mom's orchids and african violets. allen's been watering them too much, and then letting them sit in water, and i was getting anxious for them. so, we packed them in boxes and drove them down to our new house, which increased my plant family from, say, 7, to, say, 20. it's a little much, but it'll take some time to see where they like the light best. they seem to respond best to bright, indirect light, which we don't have that much of. i'd love for us to put in a window thingie that i could put them in. (what are those called? not window boxes...that's something different. you know, when the window bulges out? i can't place it. jane, you have one. what's it called? also, i'm going to need to ask you some questions about african violets, since you're so good at them. i'll call you soon.)

i grabbed some books of mom's to check for quotes for her service. i couldn't find the one i really wanted, which came close to breaking me. i can't imagine where it could be. allen seems like he doesn't even know what i'm talking about, but it was a very, very, VERY special book to mom, like the equivalent of her bible, full of highlighting and notes in the margin. i am deeply troubled to have it missing, but i'm hoping it turns up. anyway, there was another version of the same book there, so i grabbed that, but it was still a deep disappointment. i snagged: my favorite picture of mom; a green stone bear that mom took when my grandma died (dad's mom), which my grandfather had brought back for my grandma from yosemite, i think; and the crystal that mom bought my grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary.

i spent a few minutes in mom's closet, with my face buried in her clothes, breathing in her scent. it won't last forever, so i'll try to enjoy it while i can.

we're home now, unpacking all the crap from up there, getting plants situated. i'm packing for my little holiday in new york, visiting lu. i could easily work myself into a lather trying to pack perfectly and efficiently, but i am giving myself permission to bring my big suitcase. whatever. who the fuck cares, right?

i had a dream night before last. after all those very sad, upsetting mom dreams, it was nice to have a not-emotionally-scarring dream. in my dream, i was dating zac efron. he was really cute and fun to date, and SUPER stoked on me. i kept telling him, 'you know, if you're gay, and i'm totally not saying that you ARE, but if you WERE, that would be fine, and i wouldn't be mad at you or anything.' and he was really laid back about it, totally not offended, polite, but politely insisting that he wasn't gay and was really into me. it was so fun. usually, when i have making out dreams, it'll be awesome and then i'll remember that i am going out with shannon, and i'll feel terrible, and wonder how i'll ever be able to explain it to him, that i had really forgotten that we were dating. so, this one wasn't freighted with any baggage, just me getting frisky with a gayish 20 year old.

back to packing. i have cramps and am wondering what is the most comfortable, least homeless person-looking outfit i can manage for a long flight?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


i have been having mom dreams.

while i was in la we watched 'volver.' i hadn't really thought about the plot of the movie, and hadn't even really felt strongly about it when i knew what the plot was (dead mom comes back from the dead to hang with her daughters), but i did get a little weepy at points.

then, that night, i had a dream that *my* mom came back from the dead, to see me, and i hugged her and smelled her neck, and even though i knew it was a dream as it was happening, it was wonderful. of course then i woke up and felt like crap.

the other night, not last night but the night before, i had a long mom dream that i can divide into three troubling mom vignettes. one was this pushy haitian girl, who was a nurse of some kind, telling me i was doing a bad job caring for my mom, who was bedridden. the second involved mom getting out of bed and getting dressed (in men's clothes, for some reason) and telling me she felt a lot better and thought she might have kicked whatever it was that was laying her up. i hugged her and i had to tell her that she didn't have the kind of thing that one 'kicked.' she was confused and scared. the third episode involved me realizing that i was supposed to have been feeding mom and i couldn't remember the last time i had fed her. this was accompanied by shame and panic. (i have similar dreams about other things semi-regularly. i have a performance and i forgot and don't know my lines or even what show it is. i have a pet/baby that i forgot i had and i don't know how long i've had it.)

these are not pleasant dreams. they're all anxious and scary and sad.

then i wake up, feeling terrible, because not only is my mom dead, but my subconscious is spinning out scenarios where it's somehow my fault.

i felt very sad yesterday. i barely got out of bed. i stayed in bed all day, pretty much, reading. i meant to do work on the house (which we moved into on saturday) but i couldn't do it.

allen called me the other day to ask me what i was doing with mom's clothes. he said that his chiropractor is about the same size as mom, and she helped mom 'a lot' and he thought maybe he'd give her some. his chiropractor gave mom a couple of massages, which i am sure was lovely, but would hardly constitute 'a lot' of help. also, when she was over the last time, she was bitching loudly about how poorly she was treated when she was pulled over and arrested for a DUI the night before. the police had the nerve to treat her like a criminal. which she is, because she was caught breaking a law. but whatever. so, i told allen, no, he couldn't give her any clothes. that i wanted mom's FRIENDS to have first dibs on her stuff, and then, if things were left over, then the other lady could take a look. he also asked about mom's car and if there would be a reading of the will. i answered him, but the whole thing really upset me.

i made up this entire story in my head, which still seems pretty plausible to me, in which allen and his chiropractor, lucinda, begin dating. they seem like they'd make sense as a couple. in my story in my head, they move into mom's house, which i am allowing allen to live in, rent free, for a year, and i end up basically paying for allen to have a new girlfriend in my mom's house. he gives lucinda all mom's clothes and shoes, and they just hang out smoking pot and being drunk.

again, i admit that this is based on very little evidence.

but the whole thing freaked me out.

i wish i could ask mom what to do about allen. she's the only one who understands him.

he's so upsetting to me. i feel like i'll never be free of him, and he'll forever be a little infected splinter in my head, coloring my memories of my last year with mom, and the time afterwards. i am still so angry with the universe for giving me allen to deal with, on top of everything else. he shit on my birthday, he screamed at me in the hospital, he thinks he should be able to live in that house forever, rent-free, or that i should build him another house to live in, on the property. he makes me feel so helpless and just trapped. stuck.

i have so much other stuff to wade through. i resent having to worry about allen.

anyway, i'll give him the year. i will not allow him to cohabit with a lady on my dime. i'll re-evaluate our tenant/landlord relationship in a year from now, to see how i'm feeling.

did i mention i have a lot to wade through? i need to send out the email about mom's memorial party. i need to do more planning on the party. i need to make a flier, to put up at the hospital, about the party. i need to unpack. i need to go to redwood valley to bring down my stuff and drop some stuff off. i need to pack for nyc. i need to go to the chiropractor. i need to get my hairs did. i need to do my juice fast.

but i'm so sad that all i can do is read in my pajamas.

i know it's only been a couple of weeks, but those weeks are made up of days, and each day is filled with hours and minutes that need to be passed, and those hours and minutes are tough to face. even though it's only been a couple of weeks, those minutes have weighed heavily on me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

checking in.

here is a list, in no particular order, of various things i'd like to mention.

1) i spent 4 days with brett and gina, in la. while la is not usually a vacation destination, in the sense that one isn't really getting away from it all by going there, this trip was absolutely a vacation. they took total care of me, made me feel welcome and loved, and offered me a break from the minute-to-minute difficulty of just figuring out how to be in my post-mom life. we ate amazing food, lounged by the pool, got a truly life-changing spa treatment at the olympic spa, shopped at h&m, saw a teenage emo band play in anaheim... pretty much everything that i needed. the trip absolutely goes in the 'the best' column of my 'the best/worst year ever' list. it was so good that i almost immediately wanted to turn around and fly back, rather than face the realities of my life. mom's death, her house to manage, what to do about allen, packing my house, paying my bills... i felt like i wasn't ready to stop laying in the sun, by the pool, yet.

2) last night was rosh hashanah, at the pleasant hill fishers' house. i successfully fought down a wave of panic at arriving to a house filled with mostly unfamiliar faces, and made myself proud by consciously attempting to be approachable and friendly, though i felt scared and shy and sad. a candle was lit (passive voice, i know) for the people who weren't with us, my mom and the wife of a precious old man, whom i hadn't met before, but whose wife had passed within the past two weeks, also, just like mom. i cried a little bit. the vibe was typically boisterous and friendly, plenty of wine (though i was feeling headachey and didn't drink more than an inch) and i stuffed myself on kugel. my uncle, ron, stopped by to say 'hi' and informed me matter-of-factly that he reads my blog all the time. (hi, ron!) i continue to be surprised by how many people read my blog. i always imagine it being, like, 12 people. ron tried his darnedest to embarrass me by telling shannon and tab about me singing at family events when i was little, but it came as no surprise to them. i think i was largely successful in chatting normally with people, though i still feel pretty hollowed out. it felt like family, though, which means more and more to me as i get older.

3) tab and i drove lu to the airport yesterday morning, so she could fly to nyc and begin the next chapter of her life there. a mr. bean-esque episode ensued, where the three of us wrestled with lu's phenomenally large bags (seriously body bag sized), tugging, dragging, pulling, pushing them to the ticket counter for checking and weighing, only to see the luggage porter pile the just-checked behemoths neatly on a little smart carte and wheel them away tidily. we all ate a deeply mediocre breakfast at emporio rulli, and bid mostly tear-free adieu to lu, who'll be returning for mom's memorial party in a couple of weeks anyway. lu called in the evening, after her arrival, to say her neighborhood is amazing, and to tell me to come visit. so, i am. i'm flying out for 4 days next week. the nice thing about right now is being able to just do that, just go somewhere if i feel like i want to. the tricky thing is figuring out whether or not i want to.

4) speaking of mom's memorial party, we picked a location and set a date. the date is sunday, 0ctober 7. i'll be sending out a mass email, to let people know when it is, and give more details. just wanted to let you know ahead of time.

5) we're moving tomorrow, to our new place, in petaluma. tonight is our last night as renters. if anyone would like to help us move, feel free to join us at 11am at our soon-to-be-ex house, in fairfax, for loading of the truck.

6) i continue to be awed and humbled by how much space everyone has for me to be really needy and raw. i keep expecting people to tell me i should be done with my neediness, or tell me to do it myself (whatever it is), and it keeps not happening. hopefully my nervousness about being greedy or selfish with act as a natural deterrent for me, keeping me from getting overly dependent on other people helping me so frequently. i really am finding managing my life difficult, from packing for the move to planning mom's party, paying bills, making business calls, eating enough, sleeping enough. everything. it's weird how i can be so fine and not fine, at the same time. i cry a little bit, most days, but i pretty much just drift through the day, doing what i feel like i can handle. it's anxious-making to be so ungrounded, or maybe unfocused is the right word, but i keep telling myself to just be wherever i am. so, if i'm unfocused and confused and sad and mad and tired and shy, that's okay. i can't help it, anyway, so i might as well get off my own back and let myself do my thing.

7) i drank some amazing juice yesterday. cucumber, apple, lemon, ginger root. really tasty.

8) i'm okay. you guys don't need to worry about me. i know you probably understand that i have a lot going on in my head, and i feel like i am buffeted through my life by a steady, warm breeze of good wishes and positive thoughts, sent by my loved ones all over the place. i just don't want anyone to worry that i am not writing because i am melting down, or something. it's like my mom's death, and my new post-death life, are a block of cheese the size of a house. all of it needs to be eaten and digested eventually. probably, i will grow to appreciate the taste by the end, and might even look back fondly on that time i had to eat that huge block of strong cheese, but right now, i can only handle it in teeny nibbles. so, i am nibbling, and i am fine, and i am thankful to have you all in my life, in whatever capacity you are in it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


i am feeling a little bit stopped up, emotionally.
i keep getting on the verge of crying, and then it just dries up.
i don't know if i am subconsciously backing myself away from it, for fear that if i start i'll never stop, or if i'm just not there right now.
i was looking at the pictures of my mom, that i posted in the blog from the day she died, (a blog which came out looking lame from a formatting perspective, but which is too intense to re-do) and then reading the entry from the day before, about her skin looking waxy and her breathing sounding terrible.
again, it hit me that i was writing about my mom.
i wonder if it'll get less surprising over time.
i still get surprised by recalling that my grandmother died, and that was 3 years ago. i'll think to myself, 'holy crap! i haven't called grandma in a million years! i can't even remember the last time i talked to her. i'm such an asshole. i need to call her.'
and then i'll remember that she's dead.
my dad says he does the same thing, too.
i wonder how long it takes for the surprise to wear off.


a whole new avenue of intellectual discourse is opened up to us.
it's like i knew of this theory, somewhere in my bones, but was unable to fully articulate it.

where now?

understandably, i haven't felt too bloggy the last few days.
everyone has a constant chorus going - take it easy, take it easy.
so, i guess i've been taking it easy.
the ladies decided to go to the last couple of days of burning man, which i think was a great idea. a nice cathartic release of emotion sounds like it might be just the ticket.
i might have given up my life-long refusal to attend were it not for the amount of preparation involved. they left saturday, the day after mom died, and even thinking about the packing/buying involved made me feel a little panicked. so i decided to sit it out.
i don't really know what to do with myself, on a minute to minute basis.
i'm not tired enough to sleep all the time.
my book is good, but not so good that i'm feeling like disappearing into it.
no food sounds good.
no location sounds appealing.
before they left for burning man, me and the ladies had decided to have mom's memorial party this weekend (sept. 8th or 9th). i felt nervous about it, and just thinking about all the calls and preparation made me feel exhausted, but for a few good reasons, we decided that that would be the weekend. then, our move to petaluma, which has previously been scheduled for that weekend, would get pushed back a week, to the 15th. fine. scary, but possibly doable.
but this weekend was labor day, so no one was in the office all weekend, so no movement could happen on the party until today (tuesday) which was scary. i only had 2 ideas for where to have it, and if they were booked, i'd have to start over. i don't really know how to do this, and rushing it felt like a necessary evil.
however, upon consultation with my dad and step-mom, i'm rethinking the date.
they were a bit aghast at how soon the party was going to be.
why so soon, they asked?
it's not like she's jewish, so there's a time limit or something, they said.
and, upon further consideration, i'm forced to concede that rushing it felt terrible. already there were all sorts of people who couldn't come, because they had plans that couldn't be changed. i want the turnout to fully represent the impact that my mom's life had on people, and that can't really happen if we're throwing the whole thing together.
so, let's wait on the party.
daddy and linda reminded me that mom only died a few days ago.
they're right.
i just don't know how to do this. (not that anyone really does.)
in other news, my iphone is completely amazing.
see? life goes on.
mom's die, but iphones keep being awesome, dogs keep rolling in things that smell, dark roots in blonde hair need to be touched up, hummingbirds flit around like little nectar-sipping jewels, tides go in and out.
my grief and loss is just a tiny piece of the whole world's activity. not that it's not vast for me, because it is, but nothing lasts forever, even the urgency of my grief. time wears it all down.
that's reassuring to me.