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Jan 31

Did you know that smell is the most evocative of the senses? It is powerful. My Grand-dad has been dead now 20 years, and he quit farming 10 before that, but if I smell a sun-warmed field, I am instantly moved back in time. I am young again, and he is still alive. And wood smoke is the scent of Papa, and he is laughing and saying “Denise, you are cuckoo.” Green beans simmering on the stove with bacon in them, that’s Grandma, and a nursing home is my Grandmother. (I have to add that I hope with time, more pleasant smells will bring her to mind.)

Anyway, you know that old shampoo commercial that goes “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair”? That’s sorta what I did on the 31st.

wash that man right outta my bed

Tick. Tick. Tick.

When you are waiting for something, good or bad, why is it that time just slows to a crawl? I mean, I recognize this is, like, the eternal question, right after “where did I come from”? But I always thought it applied to good stuff, and now I am finding that I was wrong. It doesn’t matter what you are waiting on, and it doesn’t matter if you are wearing one of the fancy Festina watches, or a $6 one from Wal-Mart, you will be checking it, and it will seem to stop.

So why is that? Is it because wen we are waiting, we are so focused on how much time is left? Like this morning, my question is do I have enough, and then when Grandmother was dying, it was “Can I please have more?” combined with ‘Dear Lord, this needs to be over, for her sake.”

You know, I woke up Sunday morning about 3am, with tears on my face. I was dreaming about her death, and in my dream, I was just crying out “no, no, no”. I was on my knees on the floor, but I wasn’t praying. I just couldn’t stand up. Not letting myself grieve like I needed to when she died was probably one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made.

They say that we dream so that our subconscious can deal with things that our waking minds cannot deal with. I hope this is true. And don’t take this personally (you know who you are), but please don’t ever encourage someone to keep up a good front when faced with a cataclysmic event. And don’t assume that it isn’t an issue for them just because it isn’t for you. I wonder if I had cried then, would I still be crying now?

And Dear God help me when my mind decides to tackle Papa and Grandma.

Decisions Best Made in Advance

Those of you who follow me on twitter, and if you don’t you should, because I am clever and witty and bitingly sarcastic, and totally transparent, unlike my secretive and transcendent friend, Pete, who still has not approved my comment, might have noticed this little gem

can you hear that roaring sound? It is the vacuum created by the current suckage of my day/week/month/year. /end covering pathos w/ humor. 10:43 AM Oct 17th from TwitterFox

and then I have had a recent conversation with Ang., who doesn’t even moderate my comments at all, where she wondered if perhaps Satan was beginning to win the war within me. I was in a very bad place, and I frankly still am, and I mentioned to her that I could not see God anywhere.

Folks, this has been the hardest year of my life. Harder than the year I got divorced. Harder in some ways than the year I lost custody of my first born child. And it’s because there has just been so. much. fecal. matter. to deal with. Wave upon smelly wave.

When I got back from Vegas last year, I entered what can only be described as the pit of despond.

First, I gave my husband the checkbook, and I told him I was done with it. I was more than tired of the financial train wreck that had become the norm. I figured if I kept out of it, maybe he could get it back under control. Then there was the RankSpank, and my income dropped to just about pitiable levels.

And then, before I could take a breath, Mama called me and told me Grandmother had quit eating and was getting ready to die. And then she did. And I honestly do not know how I kept my grip on sanity during that time. I look back at the self portraits I took during the 10 days she took to die, and I do not even know that person in them. Those haunted eyes cannot be mine, because surely no one can look like that and live to tell the tale. I made it through her funeral stunned and shocked and clutching her picture to my chest on the way to the church and the cemetery. I remember the pull of my husband’s hand on mine, pulling me back as I was walking up the aisle of the church after the eulogy way too fast, trying to get away. I remember than same hand attached to mine and pulling me forward when my legs stalled and my knees locked as I made my way across the cemetery. (And you should know that I am typing this through tears even now). I do not know how I made it except by the grace of God, and if He had not been wise enough to make breathing an involuntary reflex, I might not have.

And then it was Christmas, and busy, busy, busy. And then it was April, and my Papa was dead, too. I had known he was sick, but my mind just refused to do the math involved with the phrase “stage 4 lymphoma”, and I still thought I had plenty of time.

And then, in June, we buried Grandma, too.

And the finances aren’t any better, and my husband quit his job, which did indeed suck, but it was a job, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my marriage is shakier than it has ever been, and that I am angry with him every

The world's first gigacoaster, the 310 ft tall...
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day. The disconnect letters keep coming, the creditors keep calling and here we are. This is not the life I dreamed of. I wanted to be Cinderella when I grew up, and instead life is handing me one full chamberpot after another!

Can you see what I meant up above? It’s bad in here where I am. I feel like I have been cut off at the knees, and people, I am not very tall to begin with! There has not been time to grieve, because there hasn’t even been time to breathe, and the situation just looks pretty desperate and I so want to run away from all of it. I wake up every morning thinking “if I have to ride this roller coaster today, I am going to throw up”, and I get in and buckled up, and off we go, and yet I barf not.

So, here’s what I shared with Ang. the other day:

[10:11:51 AM] CassKnits says: yk, settling long ago that God was real and the Bible was true, it has made such a difference in my life
[10:12:02 AM] CassKnits says: I think back, this past year
[10:12:18 AM] CassKnits says: my life since Vegas has been one suck after another
[10:12:49 AM] CassKnits says: seriously, and the only reason I have not completely thrown in the towel is because I know that I know that I know God is real
[10:13:09 AM] CassKnits says: I can’t give up, because He won’t

I can’t quit because the God of the Universe believes in me. He knows I can go on, if I just continue to hold on to Him. He’s the one buckling the roller coaster’s seat belt for me, so I don’t fall out. But if I had not made up my mind decades ago that God was real, then I would panic because I cannot see Him now. It’s still scary, but I know the fault is lies with my human eyes, and not God. Trusting Him to see me through is absolutely the best “decision in advance” I have ever made. Some things it’s just better not to have to try to do during times of duress, or when the fog is thick and the path overgrown and littered with chamber pots, and the roller coaster is making that horrid clicky tick tick tick sound that always precedes the sudden scary drop.

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Time to Blog, Part Three

So, then, just in the middle of my frenzied research on cholesterol and how to lower it and all that, my connection dropped. Kaput. Gone. No internets. Boooooooooooo! So I called tech support, and the lady took me through some things, and she decided I needed a new modem. She said it would be here in three days, and I said that was unacceptable, and she promised to overnight it instead, and I was unhappy, but I though I could deal with 24 hours off-line.

But on Thursday, guess what came? That’s right: NOTHING. So I called the competitor, who I;d been considering switching to anyway, and they made me a pretty nice offer, and said they’d have an installer out Friday. And they did, and life was good. I got back on line just in time to go camping, which picture you saw.

And then on Monday, my cousin and I were finalizing plans via email for a face to face midway between her place and mine for Sunday when she wrote, “and Grandma is in the hospital”. Well, it didn’t look real good about Grandma, we knew she would not be recovering, and we emailed through the week, and I was a bit distracted, and that is what was going on in that mostly silent week between the SPS’s. Check email, switch the laundry, check email, fix food, eat, check email. On Friday, we postponed our face-to-face, knowing that our aunt who was to join us would not want to leave her mother.

Saturday, I spent with Mama, and we had a good time, as we always do. We shopped like lunatics, and I bought more crack shoes. Behold the gloriousness of high heel platform wing tip mary janes:

img 0554

And then I came home, and compulsively checked my email for a few hours. And Sunday, there was church, and a trip to Granny’s to give her some pictures, and more compulsive email checking. My cousin called early this morning, and Grandma died last night. We will be having a face to face this week after all, because she will be buried tomorrow, beside Papa, who was buried just 8 short weeks ago. It’s been a rough year for grandparents, ya know?

My emotions are so mixed here. I have never been close to Grandma, for a variety of reasons that are really no longer here nor there. There are lessons learned as there always are. And in this case more than any of the others, there are the lingering “what ifs”. There is a hurt and confused little girl in here, trying to make peace with a past that even the grownup me doesn’t understand.

I guess that just about catches us up, now, doesn’t it?

Still a Shoe Ho

Have I mentioned that I love a shoe? I do! Also, lipstick and eyeshadow, and the feel of silk, but I’m digressing. Of course, you may remember the photo pf me wearing 2 different peep toe wedges. Or the one of me with 4 different shoes. Or the one with three pairs of clogs. And then the one of the clothes I bought the day of Papa’s funeral, with the shoes (unmentioned, but clearly loved because they were) on top (of the clothes). And then there is the pair of brown spike heel snake-skin look pumps I bought weekend before last. I love a shoe.

So! It was with great trepidation and much lust that I visited InfinityShoes.com today. Oh, have I mentioned that I have been rather firmly requested to avoid shopping for clothes (including shoes) of any kind until after the Indy 500 as a result of the shopping spree that included those luscious brown pumps? And have I also mentioned that my daughters love shoes, too? And that all our birthdays are just around the corner? That’s right; June, July and August, just in time for me to get placed by on clothes restriction until the Race for the Chase is over.

Bachelorette PnkM
It would most likely be worth it, though, because will you just look at this shoe? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It is truly delectably dangerous ground for a girl like me! They have tsubo shoes, seychelles shoes, minnetonka boots and several other brands, and plenty of ways to spoil your birthday gal. And also yourself.

P.S. I wear a size 8. And my birthday is toward the end of July. I’ll wait by the mailbox. Don’t disappoint me.

About that picture

I noticed that many of you thought I looked different in that picture I posted Sunday. I guess I did. As I posted it, my mom was in the driveway honking for me to come out and get in the car, so we could go to Papa’s funeral. Yes, that Papa of the soap and cuckoo clock. Cuckoo, Papa, Cuckoo! (That link leads to all the posts I have written here that mentioned him since I started this blog in 2006.) I took the picture between doing my face and doing my hair. That’s why it’s in the clip. I stopped to get some moral encouragement from Ang. and then didn’t post it right away because I….got up to do my hair.

I did enjoy the time with my mom. We talked our heads off on the way up, and we were very early, so I was able to go to the cemetary and see Aunt Janey’s grave. And Daddy’s. I’m glad of that. I stood during the service, and I think my knees might have buckled under me if I had looked over and seen Janey’s marker without knowing it was right there before hand. I wasn’t living here when she died, so I didn’t know until yesterday where it was.

Then we did what nervous women do best, when they decide not to eat—we shopped! Lord have mercy, we shopped. And we bought clothes in the color of hot pink. Wanna see? There are shoes in there. Yeah, I thought you’d say yes. Here ya go:

IMG 0430

And we talked some more on the way home. I learned a lot of stuff about this crazy mixed up thing that is my family. And we love each other anyway. UNCONDITIONALLY, Aunt Marie, UNCONDITIONALLY!

Gut Punched

Ever have a morning like that? This morning, I have had three personal pieces of bad news. By personal, I mean stuff that affects me directly, not stuff I read on CNN. You know what? Satan doesn’t have any new tricks at all. No, not one! He reads the same old books, he lays the same old traps, he hasn’t had a new trick since Job! And all too often we walk right in, slam the door shut behind us, and refuse to see the window God cut just to allow us an escape. I’ve been guilty of that in the past.

This morning, I am choosing not to do that. See, I read the same old book, too. The difference with me is that mine is the Bible and I believe it.

Dear Satan posing as Car Repair Guy: sorry, God inspired a friend to ask for help on my behalf a few days ago. I was a little dismayed at the time, but now I am glad. Because of my friends generosity, the water bill is covered, and the money I would have spent on that will still be available. Therefore, your bill is covered, in spite of the fact that you changed the amount.

Dear Satan masquerading as an email from my cousin: Nice try, but Papa is saved. He’s going to Glory when he goes. There is nothing I can do for him. You were able to steal what we should have had 35 years ago, but we’ll have eternity to fix that, if it’s even an issue there.

Dear Satan acting like a phone call from the orthodontist’s office: I have other options, and I am on the phone right now finding out what they are. God is faithful and not one of these children will need something that won’t be provided. Now, you go right back to the pit, and take this stupid musak with you!

Tick-Tock, the Memory Clock

I wrote quite some time ago about Papa and his cuckoo clock, the one that he always told me thought I was cuckoo. What I didn’t say at the time was that whenever I hear the term “grandfather clock”, I always think of that cuckoo clock. Even today, when I am forty, my mind instantly pulls up the image of that clock, and I can hear so plainly that bird, and Papa’s chuckle as he sets me up yet again. I literally have to remind myself that most people mean a tall clock that stands, regal and majestic, striking the hour with dignified tones and not a clock that hangs on a nail screaming cuckoo at you when they speak of grandfather clocks. My response to the phrase is completely tied up with my memories of Papa, completely separate from what the words really mean. I hope you can understand what I am trying to say, it’s coming out rather muddled on this end. let me try again. You know how you have heard people say they when they catch a whiff of Old Spice or whatever, they think of their dad or granddad. For me instead of a smell, it is the phrase “grandfather clock.”

Now, once I push past the memories, I do enjoy looking at grandfather clocks for what they actually are: finely crafted time pieces, each with a personality and character of it’s own. My aunt had one like that. It’s also tied with memories, LOL, but I will avoid going there today. Instead I will tell you what brought these clock-ish memories to the forefront of my mind. I saw a reference to 1-800-4clocks.com. Isn’t it funny the triggers we have? It’s a bit nerve wracking really, to think that the things I do could create such an impression on someone that someday they would have to make a mental adjustment when they hear a certain phrase, that it could be so tied up in who and what I am that the phrase would mean something totally different to them because of me.

But back to the clocks themselves: I saw on their blog some information about a test you can take to find out which grandfather clock is right for you. It’s called the Grandfather Clocks Personality Profile. I’ve left a comment to ask where the profile is, but I wanted to post about this NOW, and if you looked at my desk and saw the gargantuan stack of stuff I need to blog about you would understand why putting it off might mean you’d never get to read about it.

And also, I am impatient, so I had to just look at the site and see if anything struck my fancy. “Struck”, haha. So punny, that’s me. Just like Papa. I clicked on traditional, because, well, I’m a traditionalist at heart, I guess, and there I did indeed find something: the Reagan, by Howard Miller. Is anyone among us shocked that the clock I prefer is the one named after a Republican? I thought not.