Tag Archives: death

Faint

Universe

Sometimes I hear faint echoes of lives I might have lived, not when summoned, because those are more properly classified as fantasies, but unbidden. Occasionally they’re catalyzed by conversations or actions I observe from others, interactions among couples, or when I run across a career that seems interesting. I could have done anything, but I didn’t. There’s still time, but not much, and I sense the end of it. Numbers have always seemed real not abstract to me and I see my own fading in the near distance. When my time ends, all time ends: the solipsistic universe of me.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Faint

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Believe

Rainbow

I don’t believe in ghosts, but when I couldn’t remember where I was born, my mother whispered the name of the hospital to me one morning while I brushed my teeth. Phillips Memorial. That’s what it sounded like, though it was wrong. Close enough however, so that Phelps came up in a Google search and I was finally able to obtain my birth certificate after all these years. Now I can get a passport. I had photos taken at the drugstore. Without glasses, I look much older and tired. A lot like my mother. I find I don’t mind this.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Believe

Hard Promises

The first time I heard Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers I was in a car with my boyfriend in 1980. We were in the back and his friend and friend’s girlfriend were in the front. It was the year of Damn the Torpedoes. (Says on Wiki that DTT was released fall of 1979, so that makes sense.) I fell in love with Refugee instantly and couldn’t wait to run right out and buy the album. So many good songs on there. I bought the prior album too and possibly the first one, not sure. Maybe later on a greatest hits I ended up with American Girl and Breakdown. Tom Petty was one artist I bought in vinyl, then again in tape, and finally on CD. Ridiculous, how we did that. But I didn’t do that for everyone!

My favorite Tom Petty album is Hard Promises. Unfortunately, I no longer have it (or any vinyl) and I see via iTunes that I don’t even have a complete list of the songs scattered about. Well! I don’t know how this disaster happened, but it will have to be remedied at once. *puts CD in Amazon cart* Every song on Hard Promises was significant to me in some way in 1981 when I listened repeatedly to the album back in Chicago. I can’t say that 1981 was such a terrible year, since 1982 was worse, and 1983 broke my heart, but maybe I had a premonition or something. I don’t know. I listened to so much music back then, just listened, absorbed. Not like now, where I’m usually doing something else, not focused on music unless I force myself to stop.

Of course I loved some of TP’s later work as well. Learning to Fly. Free Fallin’. I Won’t Back Down. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with Stevie Nicks. I didn’t really pay much attention to the Traveling Wilburys, except of course End of the Line was fun to listen to.

RIP. ❤

Windsong

I can’t seem to forget you…
Your Windsong stays on my mind.

Remember that commercial for the Prince Matchabelli perfume from 1980? I thought about it tonight when I unexpectedly ran across someone online from years ago and remembered him, but he had no memory of me at all. It was so vivid for me too, that connection we had during a time that was intense and painful for both of us, about a decade ago, and yet… it clearly meant nothing to him. Nothing at all. He apologized for failing to remember me, but it’s happened before, many times.

When I messaged this man, I was so… buoyant. I think that’s a good word for the emotion I felt earlier today. I had to shop at Target, and the whole time I was a bit floaty, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to chat with someone who knew me from the time before… before the divorce, before my mother was gone. Why this is important to me, I don’t know. But it is. And so for a couple hours I felt light and happy, certain that my life would take a new direction as the man and I renewed our friendship.

I came home, put my stuff away, fed my kitty, fed the feral kitties (all three were around tonight!), got a snack, logged back on, and after a little while a message arrived. The man did not remember me. Oh well. Then that old commercial jingle popped into my head and I wondered if it would be possible to find it on YouTube. Of course… first hit.

Image

Happy Birthday Mommy

Mommy

Portland Memorial 2015

I’ve been a blogslacker lately and I don’t have an excuse. Today’s prompt word search brought up this photo from my trip to Oregon, and, as it turns out, it’s only a few days late for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It was a very sobering experience to pay my respects at the memorial.

20150828_122653

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Roots

Time Pieces

My mother had some old watches and pocket watches she picked up here and there at estate sales and such, and now I have them. I tried to sell them once and was told they had no value, so I keep them tucked away. I’m glad I didn’t get rid of them after all. They’ve grown on me.

This is a plain pocket watch with no cover. It says “Waltham” on the face. This piece is two inches in diameter and feels heavy in my hand.

Time4

This is the back. It has a cool geometrical pattern/logo, but no words.

Time5

This piece is smaller and lighter, about an inch and a half in diameter, but it’s thicker and more complex, as you’ll see. This is the front.

Time6

It flips open to reveal the clock’s face sideways. “Elgin” is printed on the face. The back of the cover says “Keystone” and has a serial number (1194946).

Time10

This is supercool ~ the back opens to show gears and stuff!

Time9

Next up is a ladies’ bracelet watch. It’s very delicate and pretty. It says “Victoria” on the face and nothing on the back. The clasp says “Hadley” with a patent number.

Time1

The last is another bracelet watch, a Bulova. I like it a lot, though its face is scratched up. I might get it cleaned up and working someday so I can wear it for real. I used to wear it anyway, just for fun, but then I decided it was bad luck and stopped.

Time2

The reason this watch is so special is because it’s engraved on the back. I imagine a husband gave it to his wife for Christmas in 1947. I’ve decided he fought in WW2 and she waited for him.

Time3

My mother died today, nine years ago. I love her and miss her every day. Her voice and presence are both still right here, almost, as if she just left the room a few minutes ago. Nothing has changed in all this time.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Timely

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.

But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.

*

I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.

This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.

*

In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~

I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

No Name Kitty

There was a kitty who lived in our parking lot. A nice neighbor, Christine, provided food, water, and shelter for him. He had a cozy bed and a covered bed too. I kept a bag of treats in my car and gave him a handful a few times a week. Sometimes he disappeared for a few days, but just when I thought he was gone for good, the next morning I’d see him snoozing under a car as I left for work.

He wasn’t a pretty cat ~ small and sturdy, black and white, but mostly dirty. I often said, “Hi kitty, you need a baff!” He wasn’t amused, nor did he ever come close enough to be touched. And he didn’t meow; I’ve read that ferals don’t. Meowing is something that tame cats learn to do to get attention from people. (Gatsby is a champion meower.) But he did know me and would stare at me sometimes as if to say, ahem, you haven’t given me any treats in a few days… whassup with that?

Last night there was a note on the main door: Christine had called animal control that morning to have the kitty put down. He had been attacked by a raccoon in the night and was severely injured. She asked us to please close the trash bin lids to discourage the raccoons from coming around since other cats prowl around the back of our apartment complex. I didn’t even know we had raccoons! Sometimes I hear horrid shrieky noises in the middle of the night, but I just assume that’s people having sex.

Poor kitty. I cried for him. I imagined him trying to defend the parking lot from a herd of vicious raccoons. They’re so huge and nasty! What was he even thinking? He should have just stayed under a car. And now I’m worried about the 2-3 little black cats back there ~ how could they possibly deal with raccoons? I hope they have sense enough to run away. I also know that people are simply not going to close the trash bin lids when they get full. That’s just how people are. We probably need another bin anyway, since the two we have get overstuffed.

I don’t know how old no name kitty was or what kind of life he had overall. But for the 3+ years I’ve lived here, I suppose he’s had it pretty good for an outside cat, until now. The lifespan for an outside cat is only 4 years. Nature is cruel and savage, always has been. Cats, eagles, snakes, raccoons… I’ve seen/read a lot about nature last few days. Can’t get these images out of my head now. Only the thinnest of walls separates us from savagery at any moment.

Thank you for patrolling our parking lot, no name kitty. RIP. ^..^

Rainbow

 

A Different Don

My dad would have been 86 today. He died a little over three years ago, without too much suffering, all things considered. I don’t miss the person he was at the end and rarely think of that person these days. It’s hard to connect the end-person with the man I knew my whole life as my father. Alzheimer’s is such a horrible disease, shredding the person you know bit by bit into thin strips of nothingness. Even when you can occasionally have a somewhat normal conversation with them you know they aren’t really processing it and won’t remember it. And they might not even remember who you are. But we did have a nice visit around Christmas 2012 with the girls, and he seemed to know them then, so hopefully that was a shining jewel he kept in a locked treasurebox somewhere in his tangled mind.

My father was a smart guy. He loved words and crossword puzzles. And he loved the New York Times. When we moved to California in 1983 he gave the LA Times a go for several years, but he eventually returned to the NYT because he missed it so much. Sometimes we attempted to do the toughie Sunday puzzle together, but we were rarely able to finish. He was no slouch at math either ~ he was a numbers guy, an insurance underwriter, manager, VP, and finally EVP. But his greatest strength was his love for people. People liked him and he liked them. They trusted him, and he was trustworthy. He was also a little innocent in some ways, believing that most people were good, and would do good if given the chance.

Dad had a sweet tooth ~ how he loved his desserts! Brownies, ice cream, cookies, cake. I definitely inherited that (as opposed to people who dislike sweets, right). He enjoyed trying new cuisines and new restaurants, but he was totally fine with a burger too. After my mom passed away in 2008 he learned to cook simple things and was very proud of his signature dish ~ shrimp with pasta. We’d usually meet for dinner once a week when he was living on his own.

While Dad loved (loved!) to read, he was not an introvert. He liked to socialize and mingle. He also loved to travel and take long drives to nowhere in particular. Dad was great at reading maps, but he was also fine without a map and didn’t stress about getting lost. He just figured everything would sort itself out in due time, no biggie, and he’d see a new town or three in the meantime. Dad was a planner, but definitely not OCD. A big picture guy ~ someone else could sort out the deets. He would go with the flow. Mellow dude. I’m glad he got to go to the UK, his dream trip.

My father was liberal, Jewish, agnostic. He liked the Doors and Jefferson Airplane and Bette Midler. He’d periodically nag me to read Ulysses and I still haven’t ever finished more than a third because ugh. He taught me to play chess. (I wish we’d played more chess.) He taught me to love poetry by reading aloud and quoting the greats. He always had a book open somewhere,  and usually more than one. Dad had an intense interest in history and politics. He followed the news religiously. But never sports! He hated sports. We went to a lot of museums. Dad had an eye for art. He was a good photographer, a professional at one point early on while he was thinking about a career in journalism.

He was a good man. He took care of his family. And he was funny.

Dad

Dad and me, probably around 1994, Huntington Beach. Yes, he smoked. Yes, I am a vampire.