Sunday, October 28, 2007


feeling sad for the last couple of days.
it's like there is a membrane that keeps us separate from the sorrow of our lives, and the sorrow of the world, and sometimes it thins and becomes too thin to keep out the emotion. like the normal weight you carry just suddenly seems unmanageable.
there's no new drama, just the same old 'wow, i really miss my mom' drama.
i'm already tired of being so sad, so regularly.
this last year, with all the tragedy and sadness, is totally an aberration. i am really not good at just being with sadness, mostly because i don't tend to be sad for very long.
i don't mean that in a snotty way, like i have everything figured out.
i just mean that i am fortunate in that i don't usually have to deal with that this lifetime.
i guess i have gone through minor depressive phases, but nothing severe enough to label with a capital D. just low phases that last for a few months.
so, long story overly long, i have a hard time being patient with my sadness.
i keep wanting to hurry up.
i spent a large portion of the day over at my dad and linda's, and linda reminded me that it hasn't really been very long since my mom died. it feels like it's been epochs and ages - like so much has passed that we've moved into a totally different class of tool making or something - but in actual human time, it's only been a very short period of time.
i guess especially for something so big.
if i had started a new job that length of time ago, i'd still be getting acclimated to being at the new job. it would still feel new and uncomfortable.
so, similarly, only times one gazillion, i am still uncomfortable with my grief.
and you know, i have probably already mentioned this before, but i am still pretty uncomfortable with everything that happened within the last year.
there are very few chunks of time from the last year that aren't shot through with veins of unpleasantness that i'd rather not look at right now.
i keep looking over my own shoulder, making sure i'm processing everything i need to process, and that i'm not avoiding anything or stuffing it, which is stupid since i tend to err on the side of masochistically OVER processing and OVER addressing painful areas inside myself. it's pretty unlikely that i would leave something untouched inside myself.
but still, i hover over my own shoulder, whispering suggestions to myself.
i am not helping, to be honest.
i spent all day in my pajamas yesterday.
i finished reading 'what is the what,' which was sublime and highly recommended. because i was feeling so raw, i cried for an especially long time over everything that he had to endure, and everything that africa has to endure. it is the understatement of a lifetime for me to say: things in africa are pretty fucked up. i'll save my thoughts on africa for another time. i have many of them.
today, in an effort to discourage more pajama-clad moping, i left the house earlyish. my goal was to make it to the little hippie church in fairfax, where we had mom's party, in time to make their sunday morning services. but i had the time wrong, so i was there pretty late, so i didn't go in. but i was already feeling raw, and not ready for the rest of the world, so i went and sat in the garden (where we ate after mom's service), and cried and talked to mom. i'm not very good at meditating or praying yet, and i always feel like, when praying, that i am just basically having a conversation with myself, and i am not sure that that's really praying because it seems to intellectual. so, for some reason talking to mom out loud felt more meaningful. it's counterintuitive, but there it is. i sat in the yard and talked out loud to mom.
i told her the obvious stuff - i miss her, i'm bummed she's gone, i am not done thinking it sucks, it's not getting easier yet, i am ready for it to get easier, i'm having a hard time, i feel far from her...
i also asked her to help me with the allen thing. i feel like i have done everything i know how to do, and have really done a job that i (overall) feel confident and proud of, and yet i still experience almost nothing but frustration in my emotions about him. i just asked her to soften him up some. she was good at getting him to calm down and open up. that's all i ask.
more crying, more talking out loud.
i was talking to her about feeling so far away from her. i feel so jealous of the people who've said that they feel like she's near by, because i absolutely don't feel that way. i really, really don't feel her near. i mean, i have internalized her voice somewhat, so i can draw on that when i need to, but that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking an external sense of her being near.
i was thinking, and saying to mom, how i suppose my dreams about her, and about her being alive, could have been interpreted by me as a message from her that she's still near me. now that i'm thinking about it that seems pretty obvious, but that's so NOT how i read them. i just felt so upset at the injustice of having to lose her all over again when i woke up. it's like, i'm not done being pissed off about her being gone from my life in the form that i know, and i'm not that interested in cultivating a new form of her being in my life because what i really want is her, back, the way that i want her back. i don't need her hovering near me being a guardian angel, i need her back as my flesh and blood mom, smelling like her and having her soft skin. fuck the disembodied presence.
not really.
but a little.
sara, the pastor of the church, came out and talked to me after the service.
it was nice to see her.
we talked about me, of course, an how i'm doing. (on many, many levels, i am tired in my soul of thinking about how i'm doing, and having pain i need to be managing. i am so sick of my pain.) she was nice and supportive. she told me that my mom being dead might not ever suck less than it does now. that wasn't encouraging. she didn't mean it in a discouraging way, more like in a 'you're doing fine where you are already' way.
she said the pain will just feel less fresh over time.
i feel like, in some ways, it getting less fresh feeling is upsetting to me, too, because that just drives the point home that mom won't be getting any less dead, and i'll just have to get used to it. like i'll get so tired of being surprised by it that i'll just become resigned to it. i don't like that idea very much.
the only pain i can associate this with is break up pain, where you are so torn up that it seems impossible to imagine it ever fading, but it does.
it really does.
and i know mom didn't stay up at night crying over her mom's death, 40 years after the fact. at some point you just accept it. it takes a lot of work to maintain that initial sense of surprise and injustice. i guess you just exhaust in at some point.
took i took myself to a mediocre lunch. i haven't been having a very good appetite lately, so i think that's why it was so nyeh. it was fine, but not what i'd hoped for.
bought myself books, and some presents.
what presents, you ask?
-a little gold-dipped heart on a chain, that is meant to commemorate someone's bat mitzvah. daddy told me that dealing with mom's illness was my bat mitzvah, and now i am a woman, so it seemed appropriate.
-a hard case for my ipod nano.
-an amazing fancy pen that writes like a dream.
-an unlined sketchbook, for writing about how i'm feeling. i have been blogging to help me process, but there are things that i think about or chew on that i don't want to blog about. (sorry, guys.)
i almost bought about a million other things. i love that store. (fig garden, in san anselmo. LOVE it.)
after that, i drove out to hang with daddy and linda, and it was exactly what i needed.
it's nice having adults (and by 'adults' i mean parental figures, recognizing that i am generally considered an adult) tell you that you're doing a good job. sometimes it's hard to tell yourself that in a way that sticks, or can cut through the self-doubt. they were really happy to have me over. they're always inviting me over to hang out, just to hang, and i haven't done it very many times, so they were stoked that i called. and it was exactly what i needed.
this week i have to go up to redwood valley, to take care of some business.
i'm a little nervous.
this will be the first time i see allen after i told him i wasn't giving him money from the sale of mom's car.
again, i'd like to stress how tired i am of thinking the same old stuff, and feeling the same old feelings (grief, discomfort, anger, reget, etc.) i'm really, really tired of myself and my load of crap.
and yet, it's here.
so, i just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


today i told allen that i wasn't going to give him a portion of the money from the sale of mom's car.
i woke up full of vim and vigor, and i hopped out of bed with shannon and got dressed, so i wouldn't be tempted to slink off to bed after he left for work.
after accomplishing three (3) things on my to do list, before 9:30am, i felt like a million bucks, and i thought, fuck it. i'm going for it.
so i did.
it was scary, but i have to say, i was terribly proud of both of us.
i did an excellent job of not backing down; being firm but kind; not crying or making a big deal out of him wanting me to give him the money.
he did an excellent job of not turning into a psychopath; he pressed the point, but in a totally tasteful normal person way; he suggested he call my uncle, our unofficial mediator, which was an excellent idea.
i felt really encouraged.
i spend SO much time worrying about the Allen Situation.
i spent hours, cumulatively, worrying about what to do about The Car Situation.
how do i tell him no?
he's going to go ape shit!
maybe i should just give it to him.
but really, why? is there any good reason why i should give it to him, aside from just wanting to keep him from going bonkers?
but still.
maybe i should.
but i don't want to get in the habit of just giving him whatever he asks for because i am afraid of him.
but i also don't want to say no, just because i can, and because i'm trying to assert my independence.
the big question: What Would Mom Do? W.W.M.D.?
well, mom would probably give him the money,
but she'd give him the money because she's in love with him and wants him to be happy.
i am not in love with him, and am letting him live in my house, rent-free, for a year, for which i haven't been thanked.
so, mom would probably give him the money, but she would support me doing what i think is best, because she trusts me, which is why she made me the executor of the will. (not the executioner. that's different.)
so, i just have to trust myself to make a decision that mom would understand, understanding that this is a deal between me and allen, who have had a VERY turbulent relationship, not between mom and allen, who had a largely peaceful relationship.

so, i'm not giving it to him.
i just couldn't think of a single good reason why i should, aside from that he wants it, which isn't a good enough reason. what claim does he have? what has he done to deserve it? none, nothing.
and i came up with a really good alternate use for the money, that made me feel really, really happy after i thought of it. i don't want to talk about it, because i am still working out the details, but i can tell you that mom would've been STOKED on it. i can imagine her clapping her hands, giggling over it. seriously.
so, it was resolved and it worked out fine.
i was a tigress, but a kind tigress.
allen was a grizzly bear, but an old, mellow grizzly bear.
i felt very sad saying 'no,' because it made me wish that i *wanted* to give it to him.
does that make sense?
he has done so little to make me feel inclined to go out of my way for him, and if he had, i might feel more like just biting the bullet and giving the money to him.
but dude.
a year of free rent is a sweet deal. AND 30% of the sale of the house.
so, he's doing fine.
but he's just not that appreciative of the whole 'free rent' thing because that's what he's used to from living with mom.
i can't wait until some other lady takes him off my hands.
in other news of my daring feats, i have have started cooking dinner for me and shannon for pretty much the first time ever.
i am very nervous about cooking, mostly because i am afraid of making mistakes, but i just decided to go for it, which is not at all like the old me, but *is* like the new me.
so, i made a marinade today, for a chicken dish i'll cook tomorrow.
and tonight, we had grilled buffalo steaks (with some oregano and rosemary on them), roasted broccoli with pecans, and black beans!!
not bad for someone who is afraid to make grilled cheese sandwiches.
i am continuing to impress myself.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Path.

something about me that will both surprise and probably mostly not surprise at all is this:
i LOVE recommending books to people. ask me and i will put together a long, long list of books, of all different types, that you just have to read.
also, i almost never read anything that anyone recommends to me. it's the very recommendation that almost always poisons it for me. i'll read books that are universally accepted to be worth reading (a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, love in the time of cholera, roots, etc.) but the thrill of discovery and my own personal yearning to read is what makes reading worthwhile to me, and there is something about someone else doing the discovering for me that kinda deflates me.
it's so typically me. do as i say. period. i am not interested in what you have to say. just do as i say.
so, as i have realized this trait about myself, and in my endless pursuit for refining myself into the best possible version of myself that i can be, i have starting reading books that are recommended to me. a little bit. not all the time, and often it is with reluctance, but i have done it before, and i will do it again.
and, or course, often it's totally wonderful, and i am grateful to have been offered the opportunity to share something so special and transformative with someone i care about.
books i have read at the recommendation of other people:
-the secret life of bees
-east of eden
-jonathan lethem, in general
-the wind-up bird chronicle
and now, the newest addition to the list...
-eat pray love.
lu recommended it to me, while i was going through my stuff with mom. she brought it up, gently but repeatedly, mentioning it in conversation, slipping me little bits of information about it.
with ill grace, i bought it from a little bookstore in ukiah, a week or so before mom died. i didn't particularly *want* to read it, but, because i am trying to not be the person who doesn't take suggestions, i bought it.
i brought it with me, from redwood valley to fairfax, and then from fairfax to petaluma.
i read about 15 books before-hand, but a few days ago i said, alright, kira, enough is enough. just read it.
so, i did.
you guys, it was just so lovely.
it gave me a glimpse of what reading my blog must be like to people who don't know me personally. following the journey of someone who you don't know but are rooting for whole-heartedly, as the struggle and strut their way through both happy and sad times. i only hope i am a smidgen as likeable as elizabeth gilbert (the author.)
i laughed many times, i cried many times, and i was just filled with a commitment and determination to make sure i always, always, always get back in the saddle, no matter how unceremoniously i am ejected from it, and how tired i am of it.
this book might not be for everyone, but ladies and gentlemen on the path, it is fucking wonderful.
as does anyone who will read the book, i felt such a kinship with the author. substitute her terrible divorce and ensuing messy romance for my own life from december 2006 and 2007, and we are like soul mates. bossy, friendly, funny, desperately trying to find peace and maybe even God in the midst of our darkest times.
i was terribly inspired by her book.
*i* want an indian guru.
*i* want to spend months in italy (or maybe france) eating amazing food and speaking a language i love.
*i* want to ride my bike around bali, hanging out with a wrinkly old medicine man.
she spends a large portion of the book (like, all of it) trying to get closer to God. talking to him, praying, meditating, journaling, eating, humping - everything is trying to closer to the core of who she is, and thus closer to God.
i am afraid i'll never feel close to God again, and it'll just be me and my skeptical, proud, bossy brain, trying to be Right all the time, forever.
on some level, i feel like maybe God knows what i'm going through and is just giving me space to do my thing, knowing i'll be back when i am ready.
but i just felt so abandoned by God, and my entire sense of spirit, when mom got sick, and in the state of emergency, i just chucked the whole thing and relied on myself, not something outside of myself, to handle everything.
i am afraid of being disappointed again.
as i am sure i will, because life is the way it is, full of disappointments for every surprising success.
i think i am sulking, is the honest truth.
i am mad at God and i am maybe not ready to talk to him again yet.
how could my God, the God that i thought i knew, let this happen to us? how could he take mom from me, the way he took her mom from her? how could he shower me with ease, cradle me so tenderly for 28 years, and then just drop me?
the only thing that made sense at the time was that there is no God, there's just me and my grief and my situation, and i need to save the questions for another time. at the time, answers didn't matter. what mattered was, in the eloquent words of larry the cable guy, getting 'er done.
so, in the eloquent words of a baby announcement shannon received, i 'got 'er done.'
but here i am now, the proverbial 'er has been gotten done, and i have nothing but time now to float around in my emotions - emotions i realize now i have only barely dealt with as i went through everything. i mean, duh, i cried my guts out, but i never got mad and anyone or anything except my poor mom, and i only allowed myself to really be broken for little bits of time, and then always grudgingly. and i always pull myself back together as soon as humanly possible.
i am afraid of all this emotion, and all my neediness for the past year, and all my confusion and not-knowingness. i am afraid of the future, and of letting go of missing mom and of letting go of hating allen, and of school and babies and homeownership and money and housekeeping. i am just full of fear over my situation right now. well, *right now* i am full of fear.
a couple of days ago i was pretty stoked about the vast horizons of my charred and blackened life, but today it just feels like it's too much for me.

this is a poem i have carried around with me for roughly 10 years. it's by david whyte. i think about it really a lot, especially lately.


Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life.

You are not leaving
you are arriving.

so, i am looking at the ashes of my life, and trying to see what's written for me.
and i am arriving at my new life, not leaving my old life.
but it's still a lot for one person, even a big-inside person like me, to manage alone.
and i don't mean alone, like without loved ones, because i positively buffeted and carried and in all ways supported by the loves of my life.
but i mean alone, like, without God or anything.
i have said quite a few times, to quite a few people, that there has been only so far that my mental coping mechanisms can take me, and then there is the vast chasm that i can't cross without something outside myself. i can't think myself through this. i can't talk my way over this chasm. it's the kind of chasm you have to just close your eyes and step into, and have faith that something unseen will catch you.
and thus far i haven't been ready to do that, for fear that nothing will catch me, and i'll disappear into this canyon of pain that i'm not prepared to really get out of alone.
but if the whole idea of God is that you're never alone, and that all you have to do is ask for help and it's yours, and that every kind of support and love in the universe is available to you when you're ready to have it, then the only thing stopping me is my unreadiness to have it. and my fear of finding out that i am alone.

so, this is what i am thinking about, home alone on monday afternoon, in my pajamas.
and still, i am on The Path, because The Path only asks that you keep asking your questions, keep turning over the moldy old rocks inside yourself and be open to what you find. so, i turn my rocks over and try to greet my discoveries with love, even when they are slimy and smelly.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

hit the ground and run.

one of my projects, on-going, is getting rid of magazines.
i have always subscribed to magazines, as far as i can remember.
when i was little i subscribed to electric company magazine, 321 contact and barbie magazine. barbie magazine only came a couple times a year and, to a little kid, it seems totally random. so, i'd think about it for months and then give up and forget about it and then it would suddenly show up.
anyway, i have always had magazines in my life. my mom's dad gave me subscriptions to magazines for presents, too. like reader's digest. i got that for years, when i was in, like, 5th grade through middle school. it's funny to think about that now, because it seems so inappropriate for the age range, but i liked it. i also got national geographic and smithsonian from him. then, i subscribed myself to sassy, ym, entertainment weekly, details, us (before it was a gossip magazine). then it was jane, w, harpers, us (when it became gossip), readymade, lucky...
mom always had subscriptions, too, so we'll add in more, real simple, elle...
our kitchen had this stack of magazines at the end of the counter that reached nearly hip-high.
we have some hoarding issues.
i kept YEARS of magazines, all perfectly in order, moved from house to house, up until i was...25ish, maybe.
did i ever look at them?
but i always felt like it was a research library, waiting to happen. each one had so many interesting articles, it seemed like a shame to chuck them.
or course, i would never have been able to find the articles i was looking for, without consulting a REAL reference library, which would have their own copies of the articles, which defeats the whole purpose of having my own copies.
i even daydreamed up my own dewey decimal style filing system, to find articles i was looking for. but i never put it into action. and it might have been pretty sad if i had, because i was 19, daydreaming about catagorization. it seems a shame that i wasted mental space on something so dry. i should have been dreaming about stilettos covered in mirrored glitter and making out with celebrities and whatever young adult girls dreams about.
anyway, clutter and hoarding is a serious problem for the fisher ladies. and by fisher ladies, i mean me and my mom. and since my mom is dead, now it's me. and, since i'm going to have to deal with her hoarding at some point in the very near future, excavating through layers of christmas lights and unopened post-its value packs, it is doubly my struggle alone.
so, in my quest for adulthood, i have been monitoring my hoarding. i notice that my own housekeeping style is almost identical to my mom's, which is untidiness that safely but narrowly skirts dirtiness. we don't live in squalor, but we create piles and heaps and stacks for future perusals, which never occur.
take my present location, for example.
to my right sit two stacks of cds, each a little under a foor tall. these are for deciding to either keep or sell. they are leftovers from similar stacks that lived on my desk in my first la apartment.
to my right is a low, menacing stack of papers that are all important. bills, reminders, important paperwork. many of them are waiting for my file cabinet to be moved into the office, but we haven't gotten that out of the future-guitar-cd-chill out nook, currently the unpacked-box-room.
on the floor, to my right, is a small, but disheveled pile of cards, papers, folders and binders. they are things related to mom that i haven't fully come to terms with.
stacks and piles, stacks and piles.
i worry about never having it all together.
i mean, i know it's not really possible to have everything entirely together, ever. and i guess that's what makes life interesting, the endless balancing and rebalancing.
but i'd like to think that my previous disinterested, disorganized, sudden bursts of tidying, followed by long barren periods of accumulation, are just a phase of my housekeeping style which i am currently learning to grow through.
i don't want to have an untidy house that looks like it's entirely decorated according to what ended up where by chance. i want things to look purposeful.
and tidy.
and clean.
and, i admit it, i am not positive how to make that transformation, since my model for housekeeping was pretty haphazard.
mom had a good excuse, being a working, largely single mom of a pretty spoiled, lazy kid. our house was a little cluttered, mostly because i didn't really help, and mom didn't really make me.
so, i'd like for, say, shannon's sections of the house to be less clearly delineated from my own. there is an almost surgically precise line dividing his things from mine and it's a little embarrassing to me.
all this is a long-ass preamble to me starting another long story.
i have been reading a lot of real simple, as i get rid of old magazines. i tear out whatever i wanted to keep and chuck the rest.
so, the readership of that magazine is basically moms. these are busy ladies. they're more affluent than, say, good housekeeping readers, but not so affluent that they can forget about cleaning and just focus on being rich, hot wives. again, they're busy, with careers and kids and husbands and stuff.
so, while i love the magazine, i sometimes i have a hard time relating to the demographic it's geared towards.
these are ladies who will have a cup of tea in silence, at 5 in the morning, to meditate and start the day in peace. finding calm, quiet moments is a constant struggle for them.
i have exactly the opposite problem.
my problem is getting started in the first place. well, part of it is that i have a lot of time on my hands right now, but this isn't a problem specific to this period of my life. when i have free time, i tend to just...loaf. that's the only word i can think of. i can spend a day off doing seriously nothing. i mean, maybe reading. but even then, i'll take breaks to just stare off into space.
is this normal?
if i'm not careful, i can waste weeks at a time, just drifting around the house, reading and snacking and laying on things. the house probably needs cleaning, laundry probably needs doing, there are piles of stuff to unpile, but i don't do it. it's inertia. once i am at rest i have a very hard time not staying at rest.
so, this morning, i woke up and got going.
i am trying a new method for making myself do things.
no staying in bed after i wake up.
just get up and do stuff.
so, i have been meaning to change the bed, to wash out any lingering mold spores, and today is the day.
i stripped the bed, put the wool comforter out in the sun to cook, with some unwashable pillows.
i am washing the washable pillows.
i am washing all the bedding.
i'll put on fresh bedding, including pieces of this amazing 5 piece quilt set that i bought yesterday. it's snowy white, quilted with white thread, with flowers and stuff, a comforter and 4 pillow cases. it'll be too shabby chic all together, but broken up, it'll be perfect. cozy.
i also bought some other stuff yesterday. this is unrelated to my chores, just to share:
-a long grey cardigan. it's kinda cheapo, but i've been craving something with that sillouette.
-this amazing pleather jacket. it's short (not cropped) with some big buttons, puffed sleeves, and a little hood lined in fake shearling. it's black. it's the perfect size for wearing a hoodie underneath. slim fitting, but not skin tight.
-a book about decorating with junk.
-my dream pea coat. talla, it's vaguely reminiscent of yours, which i have a crush on, but it's narrower through the ribs and maybe a skosh longer. it was $200 at off 5th! cashmere wool!!
(on a side note to this side note, off 5th is off the hizzy, people. they have amazing bags and coats and some sweet jeans. lucy, come home soon so we can shop at the petaluma outlets. there is a nine west outlet, too, and a bcbg outlet that was so delicious it made my head swim, but i had just burnt myself out at off 5th, so i had to leave. these outlets are the bomb diggity.)
so, i'm trying out various methods for getting more done.
i think i might be really lazy, combined with not knowing where to start. it's a heady cocktail.
i want to take this time to do some really brave, dramatic work on myself.
i want to be brave about cooking.
i want to practice guitar.
i want to writewritewrite.
i want to decorate my house in a way that i am insanely in love with.
i want to ease up from reading so much. i want to do things, not read about other people doing things.
i imagine myself getting swallowed by my life. i spend so much of it almost totally submerged in it, with days and weeks and months passing without me really ever grasping hold of them. they just slither away. and every once in a while i am able to remember how to rise out of it all and see it with some kind of perspective.
so, i'd like to get better at getting that perspective more regularly.
maybe a weekly check in.
maybe it means being more present at every second.
i'm not positive.
anyone else have any methods that really work for them?
this last year, from december 2006 to now, was like a fire. a fire raged through my life. it burnt everything. some things came out of the fire singed, but salvageable. somethings were miraculously spared. and somethings were destroyed. so, my life burnt down. now, looking at the ashes and the rubble, i am allowed to rebuild. but, rather than rebuilding it the same way, flaws and all, i'd like to use this time, when everything is already pretty much destroyed, to rebuild a dreamhome of a life. i want to add everything i have always wanted but was waiting for. and i want the new house to take out every impractical cupboard, dark corner, mildewed bathroom and stinky carpet. i want my life to feel brand new to me in the best way. highlight the things that made it through the fire. smoothly incorporate the new acquisitions. and make piece with the things i lost.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

how am i doing?

fine, i think.
i had more 'mom's not really dead' dreams this week. two in two nights.
i don't remember the first one.
in the second one, i caught mom watching me from my closet.
she tried to disappear before i saw her, but i caught her.
there was some discussion about what she was doing, why she was hiding.
in these dreams i am always aware that mom died, so i am really reluctant to just surrender to my joy at having her back. i am skeptical, waiting for her to go again, and it's hard for me to be excited about her being back. i usually have to have the same conversation with her everytime - aren't you dead? then what are you doing here? how long will you be here? will you be back?
so, after that conversation, i took her hand, to lead her around and show her off to the house full of people who were over.
i stopped on the way out of the room, and asked her if it was okay for me to show her off, and told her i didn't want to get her in trouble, if showing up to the living was violating a rule of some kind or something.
she patted my hand and said, 'you don't have to worry. i'm pretty high up.'
so, in my dream, mom is like a vp in heaven or something.
but then, of course, she's not really visiting from beyond the grave, and when i wake up i have to remember all over again that she's dead.
shannon said he felt like he would enjoy those dreams.
they're really distressing to me. i am so aware that she's not back forever, and so afraid of having to start missing her again from the beginning that in the dreams i am afraid and mad.
and waking up from the sweetness of having her back, even for a little bit, just for a hug or something, or to smell her neck, and having to know it's not real, is painful.
i'm pissed at my subconscious for constantly dumping these on me.
i know it's a choice, but i'd just prefer the real deal, as opposed to a dream. if it's just the dream, i'd rather just not.
i made some calls i've been avoiding.
called social security to tell them mom died. i've been avoiding it, but i don't really know why. i was worried that i'd have to give them money back, in case they've given mom some payments since she died. i don't want them to think i'm trying to rob the system or something. but they had been informed by the funeral parlor, so it was fine.
i also called the tax collector's office to have them send proof of payment to my mortgage company. i was delinquent on my property taxes, but i finally paid them, and i need to prove that to my mortgage company, so they don't punish me soundly. the tax collectors were nice and were fine with faxing the confirmation to the mortgage people for me, which was very nice.
i started a file for my files called 'yumi' which is the name of mom's/my farm. in it, i made files for property tax and mortgage. probably next will be insurance. i need to call about changing the policy since i have a 'tenant' now. and, by tenant, i mean a squatter who i am paying to live in my house.
i'm still chewing on the allen nonsense.
i talked to my uncle on the phone for a long time yesterday, about allen and what i should do. he didn't offer suggestions about it, but reminded me that i need to decide what mom would have preferred.
i want to make sure that, whatever decision i make, i am making it for the right reasons.
i don't want to not give him money from the sale of the car just because i don't want to and i don't have to. i don't feel like that's a good enough reason.
and i don't want to give him money because mom would have, because mom was in love with him and i am totally not.
i also don't want to be giving him money because i am afraid of him freaking out and being insane. i am not going to get in the habit of just doing what he wants because i'm afraid of him.
so, i still have some pondering to do.
i'm just slowly, carefully, steadily chewing on the issues facing me.
i just do what i can, everyday. i'm doing a mostly successful job of not beating myself up for not doing enough. i'm keeping it to a minimum, at least.
my car is still full of shit from mom's party. my office area is better, but my no means fixed. my side of the bedroom is better, but not done. i need to vaccum and change the sheets on the bed, in case we have mold spores in there that are upsetting shannon. i have been thinking a lot about writing, but not actually writing. also cooking. thinking a lot, but not doing.
all of these things are things i am able to beat myself up for, but which i am mostly not.
i talked to a bunch of people yesterday, each for a satisfying length of time, and i was really thankful for that.
i have such a hard time connecting with people sometimes. well, mostly just reaching out. it's a challenge for me even in the best of circumstances, so in a time like this, it's especially hard for me. but every time i do, i remember why it's so important to me.
i had a meltdown in costco a few days ago. me and mom used to go to costco all the time, together, and i hadn't really thought of that. i just underestimated the difficulty of it. i did some head-down-on-the-handle-of-the-shopping-cart crying. surrounded by the caliber of shopper who invariably fills costco in the middle of the day on a weekday, in the kid's clothing aisle, with the smells of instant mashed potatoes wafting to me from the sample table behind me, i cried over missing my mom. seeing the value packs of brightly colored sharpies, i cried.
god, it's not a very dynamic way to state the situation, but i just missed her so much.
i don't know if i like costco without my mom there.
alright, i'm taking myself to a matinee.
oh, before i forget.
i was thinking about britney spears, as we all are, and thinking about how ashamed her parents must be. having a kid with a drug problem, or who gets into a life of crime, those are things that can be related to genetics or the community surrounding them, but her story is not attributable to anything other than a massive failure in parenting. it's like her entire existence is saying, 'my parents totally dropped the ball.'

Thursday, October 11, 2007


i went out to breakfast this morning.
well, i ate breakfast there yesterday, too, with my dad, but i woke up thinking about it again this morning, so i went there.
mid-way through the meal, my phone rang.
my phone said mom was calling from home.
as always, seeing 'mom,' there was a process of thoughts and emotions that took about one second. mom! mom's dead. not mom. allen. oh no. allen.
so, because allen gets kind of crazy when i don't answer my phone, i took my phone outside of the restaurant to answer it.
he sounded drunk/high. slurred speech.
he told me he wanted to talk to me about a couple of things.
he told me a long, rambling story about him and mom having a conversation about her car. (if you'll recall, i might have mentioned that allen asked me if he was going to get a portion of the proceeds from the sale of mom's car. i politely informed him that that wasn't going to happen.) anyway, he told me this story about mom offering *him* the car, and him declining, because it would hold his bass. he said she had said maybe she'd give it to tab, since i didn't want it. allen said that they had left it unfinished, the conversation.
so, his end decision was this: we should sell the car and split the money 4 ways - him, me, tab and lucy.
as he told me the story i got more and more impatient and annoyed. he does this thing, where he grabs hold of some idea and he worries it and worries it and he won't let it go. he'll bug me about the same thing repeatedly, because it's on his mind, despite me having told him the same thing over and over. so, him bringing the car up, and a reason why HE should get some of the proceeds from its sale, was not unexpected, but certainly unwelcome.
in what can only be described as an epic, herculean feat of self-control, i told him that i would think about it and talk to him about it at another time.
i am just so surprised that he is constantly looking for more ways that he can benefit from my mom's death.
my allowing him to live RENT FREE in my mom's house for the next year, i am basically giving him $30K. that's how much it will cost me to keep the house for a year. and yet he wants more. he wants a portion of the sale of mom's car, so he can fix up his fucking VW van, even though mom basically bought him a truck only months before she died. and yet he should also benefit from the sale of her car? he wants me to pay to rebuild the yoga studio, so he can live there, so i can rent out the big house. like i am not able to rent out the big house without coming up with a way for him to stay. why the fuck should i pay for ANYTHING for him, really? he's not my semi-deadbeat boyfriend. he is not my responsibility, and yet he's just always looking for ways to nibble a little more for himself, here and there.
i can understand him being an older guy who's worried about his future. i can understand him worrying about what will happen to him. that's scary, i'm sure. and yet, mom took on the weight of caring for him out of her love for him, and in exchange for whatever emotional and energetic benefits she gained from their partnership. i, on the other hand, have gained nothing from knowing him, aside from frustration and annoyance and anger.
i know, i'm just ranting.
but it's just always so god damned sticky with him.
like, he sees my mom's car's sale as a way to solve his own problem, specifically, how to fix up the van. rather than taking the route that the rest of the world would take, namely getting a fucking job and making some fucking money, he goes for the easiest route to the money, namely tapping his favorite money source - my mom. only she's dead now and so *i* get to get tapped for his fucking crackpot ideas.
it's barely been a month and already i am really, really anxious to get rid of him from my life.
did i mention that he already emptied all my mom's drawers in their bedroom? yeah. he emptied them into bags and stuck them in her closet. he bedside table and her dresser. then when we were up he told me about all her stuff in the medicine cabinet, hinting that i could go through them at any time. fucking dude. i am up gathering things for her funeral, which hasn't even happened yet, because she's barely dead, you insensitive ass-face. i don't give a crap about her fucking face lotion. p.s. sorry the remnants of my mom's existence are so trying for you to be around. my mom, who bankrolled your crazy-ass for almost 10 years. yeah, sorry HER stuff being in HER house that i am allowing you to live in RENT FREE is harshing your mellow.
those were *my* drawers to go through. that was for me to do, as a way to come to terms with her passing. i wanted to know her better through the artifacts of her life. and he's basically bulldozing over the whole thing to make it all a more comfy chill out zone for him.
i think i was hasty to commit myself to a year of him.
in totally unrelated news, tacked on here at the end of my outburst, shannon spent all of yesterday shoveling moldy dirt out from under the house. it was fucking dreadful. he suffered sore muscles, low-ceilinged crawl spaces and, most horrifying of all, a potato bug on his arm. i am getting skeeved out just thinking about it. we covered the air vents in the house with black plastic, which seems to have greatly reduced the amount of moldy air that is coming into the house, and shannon felt he could tentatively say that he felt better this morning, with less mold coming in to attack him and make him wheeze.
so, that's nice news.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

dear mom, #1.

dear mom,

i stayed home today, after a week of pretty much constant activity.

even yesterday, the day after your triumphant memorial party, i was so giddy and insane with relief over the weight of that responsibility being lifted that i still ran around like a crazy person. it was wonderful to be running around doing mostly things that i *wanted* to do, but it was a long day of no rest.

so, today i stayed home.

i went into town to find a breakfast place. we have some left over pizza, the remains of shannon's lonely pizza dinner last night while i gadded about, but the single piece i ate last night when i got home at 10:00pm left me nervous. i woke up at 3am with cramps like i had never experienced, so intense i couldn't tell if i was going to vomit or not from the pain and the just patently new quality of pain. it was terrible. given that i hadn't eaten anything since my lunch with keith and ginny and the ladies at 11:30am, i felt like the pizza had to be to blame, so i was understandably reluctant to roll the dice on that again.

so, i wandered into my newly adopted downtown. i was aiming for a particular breakfast place that i had seen, but, having forgotten my book, i asked a woman in the nearby grocery store if there was a bookstore within easy walking distance. she was very nice, and gave me good directions to a street that i have never been on before, despite it being one of maybe 5 main streets in petaluma. there, directly across from me, lay copperfield's books. it was glorious. a huge independent book store, right in my downtown! i can ride my bike there!! ohman, i am still a-flutter from the excitement of it. the rest of that street's offerings were mixed. a couple of 'nyeh' clothing stores, a bompin' looking antiques store, a nice looking art supply store, and i finally found aram's after michael klein hyped it so much! i ended up eating there. the mediterranean plate was so-so. pita too doughy, hummus too salty, way too much tabouleh (maybe add another thing, guys), but the mediterranean chicken soup was really good. i'll definitely go back again. mike was scared he'd overhyped it, but i felt like it was a really good find. i read a new book i was unable to resist buying at the book store, which is so far not great, but we'll see. it's still early.

came home to a mailbox full of stuff and a package for shannon, from one of his canoe buddies. finally got my new check card. thank heavens. i felt naked without it. i haven't written so many checks in years.

my deal with myself about staying home today was that i'd get some real business taken care of. but upon entering me and shannon's shared office, i realized that my desk was useful only as fuel for a mighty bonfire in its then-state. so, i dragged out the boxes of office stuff that were waiting patiently for me in the spare room, and i started digging through my desk piles. it's absolutely not done, but it's so much better now. as i went through my piles, i came across so much stuff about you that i ended up having to start a big pile in the middle of the floor. cards to reply to, the binder i used to organize business stuff for you, the expandy file thingie holding your medical bill info, the death certificates that the county of mendocino sent... i'm not sure what to do with those things yet, so i'll just leave them. i unearthed a hip-high stack of cds that i have been listening to, to decide whether or not to keep them or sell them. i got stopped on that project, so i guess i should start it up again. i found my student loan paperwork and, seeing that i was already a few payments behind, i decided to just pay them off, which i can do now, thanks to the money you left me. i was lucky that my loans were weeny, as far as student loans go (huzzah to grants and public colleges!) but that was still $7k more than i'd have had anyway.

thanks for leaving me that money, mom. i'd rather spend the rest of my life struggling with bills than have this money, if it meant that you'd live to be 105, but i am appreciative of this gift and trying to find things to feel glad about. so, i am glad i can pay off my student loans, or pay for my car insurance for the next few months in one shot. and i really miss you and i'm sorry that *this* is how this came about.

mom, your party was so fucking amazing. i feel a little self-conscious telling you, because so many people felt like you were 'there' during the party, so maybe i'm boring you by telling you what you already know. but still. you would have loved it, ma. you would have been so damn proud. it was like a birthday party for you, where people from all areas of your life came to celebrate you, only you weren't able to come, so we had to just do it without you. if one's ears can burn in the Beyond, yours might have melted off your spirit-head, because we all just talked and talked and talked about you. if you weren't already dead, you might have died of bliss. there was the requisite crazy guy, a friend of al's who freaked everyone out. there were platters of sandwich fixings and chinese chicken salad from comfort's and wine (that annie brought) and beer (from dr. baeza) and balloons EVERYWHERE. (ben brought those.) we hung huge glittery fish in the trees in the little garden, and you would have wanted to keep the fish, and i would have let you, thought i'd also have fretted about what you'd do with them. we created an altar for you in one corner of the room, with pictures and crystals all sorts of odds and ends. so many pictures of you, mom. from elodie (you with your shaved head and yarn braids, riding the elephant with elodie) and suzanne (from every era of your life, and some of mine i'd rather not have recalled.) cards from well-wishers and all my ladies brought candles. holly went to the flower mart to get fresh flowers, and they were in vases all over. linda strung christmas lights over the raised end of the room (what's it called? where the pastor would do her speaking or whatever?) and with the lights down for the ceremony, they twinkled and shimmered. the whole space was just packed with people. mom, so many people showed up to help. it was just like at the hospital, where we were totally knocked on our asses by all the people in the waiting room - like you were a rock star. i started crying, i was just so overwhelmed by the support. i really barely did anything to set up, i was just wandering around, answering questions and saying 'hi' to people. i worked on the altar, mostly. but mom, tab was the real star. she just did it ALL. every question, tab knew what she wanted and who to speak to. she was everywhere, doing everything. as if we didn't have enough reasons to be thankful for her, this was sort of like the biggest, best reason ever. the whole thing was her creation, and it was so YOU. god, it was all so you. daddy made a spiral out of river rocks, and everyone took one into the sanctuary for the service.

oh, and the service! so, the pastor, who is our newest addition to the tribe, basically, spoke, called in the four corners (less wicca 'hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the west' and more relaxed), read some lovely stuff and then invited people to come up to speak about you, then put their stone in the big bowl of water and GLITTER!!! in the center of the room. i had been nervous about not enough people wanting to speak, because that's how i roll, but mom, people couldn't say enough about you. seriously. tab and daddy had the most to say (of course) and tab blew everyone's hair back with her singing for you. marissa came from tahoe and played a gorgeous song on the piano that made me cry. people were so funny, so loving, so generous and openly effusive about you. (i guess there's no better time to gush than a memorial, but i was still really pleasantly surprised.) i felt so shy and nervous and worried about speaking. my outfit wasn't exactly what i wanted to wear (though i wore the bottle green silk top you gave me and a white skirt that belonged to tab's grandma, so that was nice) and i felt like i'd get up there and my skirt would probably be stuck in my undies, or i'd trip, or i'd just cry and cry and make everyone really uncomfortable. but i thought about you and how little time you wasted on shyness, and i thought about how much everyone's contributions to the party would have meant to you, so i felt like i could stand and say something about that. so i did. i thanked everyone for their support and love this year, and at the party, and i thanked tab especially, and i put my rock in the bowl with the others and i didn't throw up or fall. so, that was successful.

at the end, we played 'i'll fly away' from the 'oh brother' soundtrack, and then everyone went out to eat and mingle. i got LOTS of hugs. sososo many hugs. people came from every aspect of my life, too. old friends, new friends, friends of friends. mom, our people are so amazing. for someone who considered herself a lone wolf, you sure did build bonds with people, and you sure did raise a daughter who craves community. and mom, our community it just the best thing about this year, and really this lifetime. i think a lot of people feel like their friends are great, but i also feel like our friendfamily, with everyone's parents and friends and partners and's just so beautiful and precious. and while you might not really feel like that's you, it totally is.

i miss you, ma. i bought an amber scented candle and i'm burning it. i took one of your pashminas (i gave one to lu and tab, too) and it smells like you still and i'm afraid to wear it and make it smell like me, so i just keep snuffling it and putting it down. i know i already said this, but it was so hard to really take in that you were dead, at the party. the pictures of you, from a few years ago, looked so much like you. so much the mom i know. so while i can believe that cancer mom is dead, because she was new to me anyway, the older, healthy mom is the one who i keep on getting jolted by. i am still struggling to believe that she's gone.

okay, i have to call mendocino county and deal with the property taxes that i've been avoiding. owning a house is a lot to deal with.

i love you so much, and i miss you, and i wish i was able to feel you nearer to me. everyone talks about you visiting, or you being here, and i am still not feeling it. i feel your influences inside me, so maybe that's what they mean. i just don't feel a sense of you, external to me, and that's what i am yearning for. maybe i need to experiment more with hallucinogens, or open myself to things i find a little silly or hard to believe in. maybe i just need to choose to believe, to make myself feel better. maybe. but i'm not there yet. so far, i do feel you strongly, and i can feel what you'd do, or what you'd think or want, and that's pretty nice, too.

talk to you soon,

Sunday, October 7, 2007


home from my LOOOOONG day at the memorial.
i can't say enough about it.
pretty much everyone who reads my blog was there, so i feel silly recounting the details, but it was better than i dared hope for.
we had to add extra rows of chairs for the service!! because there were so many people!!
(no elephants or parades, but it was fucking close.)
i can't even begin to put into words how fortunate i feel to have the community i do. almost every person who matters to me was in one place, at one time. looking into the garden at the church, seeing everyone working their buns off to get the party set up, it just made me weep. so, so, so lucky, and so loved.
and THEN a huge group of people went out for dinner afterwards!
we kept the restaurant staff working late as everyone chatted and got along beautifully and it was wonderfulwonderfulwonderful.
i'm feeling very tired and maybe like i have a fever and definitely boozy from my beers and margaritas, so i'm going to bed, but i just wanted everyone to know how amazing today was.
if mom were a party, she'd have been this party - profound and fun, in perfectly equal measures.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

not well.

okay, i'm going to be honest with myself and everyone else.
i'm not doing well.
i'm not taking care of the things that need taking care of (bills, unpacking, cleaning) and i am mostly just sitting around and staring off into space. some reading, too. i'd sleep more if i could, but i'm not very tired. i'm not eating well. my appetite is for shit so it means that when i do eat, there's more pressure to eat something good, since i might not eat again that day. but nothing sounds good, so i just eat what i can, which means i'm not eating enough fruits and veggies. i'm not talking about how i feel very much and i'm not asking for help. i don't know what i need help with, so i don't know what to ask for.
i feel like, because i'm not returning calls much, that i've made people think that i don't want to talk, or that i don't need to talk. which is sometimes true - sometimes i can't handle talking. i can almost never handle calling back, though.
i think about people all the time. i know we're all dealing with a lot right now, and i think about everyone's loads: lizzi searching for her path post-college; ana keeping her family together; poor mike crushed in a car accident; shannon bearing the brunt of our finances and struggling breathe as the mystery mold in our house tries to smother him; lu carving out a life for herself surrounded by new people and places; ellie's body betraying her; suzanne working so hard, but never making enough to relax; theo learning how to be single again, worrying about his mom... everyone, i am always thinking about you. even those of you whose burdens are too private to talk about here. or even if your burdens are just the normal burdens: getting dressed in clothes that don't make you feel stupid; working in a job you're not loving; trying to find meaning in your life; getting your bills paid; keeping it together, just being you. i know that just being you, with no added stuff, can be nearly unbearable sometimes.
but right now i am barely surviving.
i wish i was able to take an active role in everyone's problems, and help lift even a corner of the weight you all carry.
and i am ashamed to need more help from people, when i know how hard you're all working, just to make it happen, to do the best jobs you can at being you.
but i need more help.
i am so afraid of fucking this all up.
i worry that everyone is tired of me needing help.
i worry that i have totally blown my mom's memorial party and no one will show up.
i worry that i am going to waste the money mom left me and i won't be able to afford to keep the house and i'll have nothing to show for the money.
i am so worried that mom will be disappointed by the party.
i know, i know.
i have had this conversation with myself an unlimited number of times.
if there is a state of being beyond life as we know it, mom is probably a being of pure light, past disappointment and judgment. and even if she's retained some of her personality from this life, she feels nothing but love and compassion for me, because that's who she is.
and i know that if there's nothing after this life, then mom is totally gone and really, REALLY doesn't care about her party.
but *i* care.
i feel like there should be a national day of mourning for her. streets should be closed and they should be paced with mourners who are all feeling her loss as deeply as me. there should be elephants and balloons and speeches that last for days because people don't want to stop talking about her.
that's what she deserves.
and i feel like i'm a huge failure because all i can manage is the fucking fairfax community church and more people have told me they weren't coming than that they were and it's my fault because i didn't sent the invitation out until it was too late.
and i'm so, so mad.
please don't take this personally, but i am furious at anyone who had plans they aren't willing to break for my mom's party. what could be more important to anyone in the world than my mom's memorial? how can anything matter to anyone aside from this? nothing in my life will ever matter more than losing my mom. and it's lonely feeling like that's rare, like other things for other people might take precedence.
i find myself in a strange situation.
i blog about how i'm feeling because it's therapeutic for me, and sometimes i don't even know how i'm feeling unless i am talking/writing about it. so, in that sense, this is for me. it's personal.
but on the other hand, people i know (and don't know) read it - people who might be written about, or who might have their feelings hurt by me saying i'm mad at people for not coming to the party. i don't want to use my blog to soothe people's hurt feelings because i'm not really writing for them to read it and feel bad, or as a way to communicate something that i am not able to communicate in real life. i am writing it for myself, so i can get my emotions untangled inside myself. i don't actually need anything done about it. identifying the problem largely eliminates it. while i am sad, or confused, about people having other plans, i also really do understand. there are people dying at every second and i am able to keep breathing or reading or driving even as i know that, while for each person who dies there is probably someone who has been gutted by their loss. even people who i liked a lot, or cared for, or who were very important to people i care about, they might die and i'll go on with my day largely unaffected, aside from some thoughts of pity or sympathy for that person's loved ones. our brains are smart to ration out the pain, to keep it saved for special occasions. imagine the difficulty of living in a world where every death in the world was as immediate as the loss of a loved one. it would be impossible.
so, i understand. i really do. and, upper case me (which is a distinction my mom made, upper-case You - your best version of yourself, and lower-case you - the part that is in the middle of the muck sometimes) totally knows that this loss isn't as vast for some people as it is for me. in fact, it might be that i am truly alone in the scope of my feelings of loss, and that's not good or bad, it just is, maybe. i know that people need to take care of themselves, and sometimes taking care of themselves might mean not coming to my mom's party. i really do understand that, and i am not going to be making a list of people who didn't come, which i'll repeat to myself every night before i fall asleep, so that i can remember their sins and continue to punish them for it. it's really okay.
and, lower-case me thinks it sucks and is probably my fault, because i waited too long to tell people, or because people just don't care at all.
so this is all a conversation/struggle in my head, that doesn't have much to do with anyone but me.
i cried about a million times today. about everything and nothing, i just cried. i felt like i might break down at every single second of the day. every question that needed answering was almost too much. i seriously considered just sitting down in the health food store, on the floor, out of the way, and crying. i could barely laugh, barely smile, barely manage to uphold my end of the human-to-human interaction contract.
i just feel like i'm broken. you know, not irreparably, but i have maybe given up the task of being 'together.'