Tag Archives: death

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.

 

Two for Tuesday ~ Driving Dreams

I’ve had two disturbing vehicle-related dreams since I bought my car in early January. The first dream occurred a few weeks ago. I was driving Sweet Caroline with one of my exes sitting very close to me. Really close. In fact, he was squashing me up against the driver’s door to the point where it became hard for me to steer. But I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make him angry. Or interrupt him while he was jabbering away about something or other. But I ended up driving off a cliff. I gasped and then he noticed what had happened. He told me not to panic but to steer to the right and there were definitely things we could do to mitigate this unfortunate circumstance if we kept clear heads and used logic. Blah blah blah blah. He was still talking when I woke up.

I don’t know if that’s true. Should you steer to the right if you drive off a cliff? LOL

The second dream occurred last week. I was with this same ex and this time we were in his pickup truck. He was driving, yet even so he was somehow again sitting so close to me that I was squashed up against the door, this time the passenger door. He had the passenger window all the way down and locked in place, and he kept circling past this group of three dogs, stopping so they could jump up in my face, snapping and snarling. They hated me and wanted to kill me. I was so scared and asked him to please move over so I could get away from the window, but he wouldn’t. For whatever reason, I didn’t ask him to quit driving near the dogs. Finally, after doing this repeatedly with the dogs able to get closer to me each time, he opened the door and pushed me out on the ground to be attacked and killed. Then I woke up.

What’s weird is that I hardly ever, if ever, dreamt about this ex at all until now. Nothing memorable either. Something about the new car is triggering something about him? Idk. I do think and talk about him sometimes, as I think and talk about my exes generally, for life-clarification purposes, mostly to myself. Talking to yourself is a sign of genius, yo! I read it on the internutz somewhere.

An interesting thing that only just occurred to me is that since I moved to California my car pattern has been like so: blue Alliance, beige Stanza, blue Camry, beige Camry, blue Camry, beige Corolla. Huh. This must mean something!

Dream interpreters, fire away!

Ziggy Stardust and Coconut Cake

My first exposure to David Bowie happened when I was 14, babysitting for the neighbors. I’d been sick for a while… I was sick a lot. I put the kids to bed and turned on the TV. Got a piece of homemade coconut cake that the mom had made. There was a concert on… weird guy, dressed so crazy, singing such awesome stuff. I didn’t know then that I was watching the Ziggy persona… all I knew was that this was sofa king cool. The music, the hair, the eyes, the makeup, the costume! It took me the whole concert to finish the piece of cake in miniscule bites because I hadn’t eaten in so long, even though it was incredibly delicious. From then on, whenever I hear a Bowie tune the taste/smell memory of coconut cake flashes in my head. Maybe that’s why I love him so much.

Plus he’s just so damn great. Hard to pick a fave. Space Oddity. Young Americans. Let’s Dance. Modern Love. China Girl. Changes. Rebel Rebel. Jean Genie. All The Young Dudes. The Man Who Sold The World. The music he wrote for LabyrinthAnd of course Under Pressure with Freddie Mercury (another R&R giant whom I adore). I think maybe that one is my favorite.

I just ordered Bowie’s last album Blackstar, which won’t be in stock until the 17th. Can’t wait to listen. I vowed not to buy things I don’t need this year, but I do need this.

RIP David Bowie.

Ziggy

Coinkydinks in Fiction

Jackpot

Not a fan of ’em. Which is why I’ve had a love/hate relationship with romance novels all along, I guess. The “plots” normally hinge on a series of ridiculous coinkydinks. In my view, the fact that the protags meet at all for the first time (cute or otterwise) is ENOUGH. Just the one. One per story. But that’s not what we get, of course, or there’d be no story. And I’ve done the same in mine too. Really you have to have a meet and meet-again (at the least). Or else what? And that doesn’t even begin to address the myriad other against-the-odds stuffs embedded throughout.

I was up early today (like crazy early) and watched a movie. I have found that if I wake in the middle of the night with a headache and go back to sleep, I will be guaranteed a migraine at 6AM, but if I get up, take aspirin, drink water or cola, I can sometimes get rid of it. Naturally I’ll be exhausted mid-afternoon, oh well. The movie I watched was In Lieu of Flowers, sort of a rom-com, but mostly about the grief process after a romantic partner has died or whatever.

The protags, Eric and Rachel, meet at a grief-support group. OK. But then it turns out Eric’s doctor is Rachel’s father. This is totally unnecessary. But even worse is when E&R encounter each other in the waiting room. Think about that. How many doctors there are and how many patients each doctor has. The odds, IN NEW YORK CITY, of you and your romantic interest having the same doc. Then the odds of you both having appts on the same day about the same time. Boggle.

Of course there’s the usual stupid thing of having people with ordinary jobs in NYC somehow managing to live in fabulous places. I suppose Rachel, a second grade teacher, has doctor-dad subsidizing her BEACH HOUSE, but we never get the scoop on Eric’s financial sitch. Whatever. It was just a fluff movie. For a supposedly broken person, Rachel always manages to look continually gorgeous and smile at every strange man, even a drunk on the subway.

I understand that everything can’t be a masterpiece. It’s fine. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. Or should I say starting them. I don’t finish most. I did get to the end of In Lieu because I had nothing else to do.

Writing fiction? Seems unfathomable to me these days, like chasing a blow-up raft that’s floated out to sea. I sort of still see it bobbing out there, but it’s so far away, and I’m tired. I write some poetry though because that’s all language and emotion. I don’t have to grind out sentences and dialog and worry about where it’s going and the point of it all.

No point.

The Inescapable Sadness of Spring

I’ve always been a fall girl. Because Halloween.  And pumpkins. And the crisp, apple-fresh start of a new school year. Yes, I’m one of those weirdos who liked school best of all environments. It’s where I shone brightest.

Spring brings sadness. After the end-of-winter conflicting emotions surrounding Valentine’s Day and my ex-anniversary, comes my father’s death day, his birthday, my mother’s death day (today), my birthday, Mother’s Day, and finally my mother’s birthday June 3rd.  At least there’s a happy day following on June 8th ~ Gatsby’s birthday.

I didn’t used to think of my birthday as a sad event, but I do now. A bunch of relationship issues happened then, plus I’m old. Yeah, yeah, but I feel old. I think I must have arthritis now.

However, there is this…

20150411_172651

Quickie Movie Reviews

These are old, so don’t get excited.

1. Hitch. Wow, what a fun movie! My friend brought it over for us to watch after Passover seder. It’s a typical rom-com, but almost all from the hero’s POV, which was different. Lotsa chemistry between the protags and a great supporting cast too.

2. Finding Neverland. Interesting story of how J.M. Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan. I really enjoy Johnny Depp, in whatever role. Highly recommend.

3. Pillow Talk. One of my all-time faves and it holds up decades after my first viewing. Love the witty dialog and the chemistry between Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Tony Randall is adorb and Dr. Bellows plays a phone company employee, tee hee.

4. Identity. Weird, scary, violent, exciting, suspenseful, interesting plot twists, and John Cusack. Love this movie ~ and I bought it so I can watch again because I’m still not exactly sure wtf happened there.

5. Stuck in Love. OK, this movie both intrigued me and annoyed me. I found the protag Dad oddly interesting in his obsession with his ex-wife. Annoying how he didn’t appear to be working anymore but had a big beautiful house on the beach regardless. Because having one famous book means you’re set for life, right. I loved his daughter and thought her romance was very well-done. Loved her dude. But it was super-annoying that she wrote a book while in college, tossed it, wrote another one and boom got published at a top house. Ridiculous. Younger brother is still in high school and wants to be a writer, too, natch. Sis sends his story to Stephen King who calls him personally to say he liked it, because THAT CAN HAPPEN. I found the girl’s estrangement from her mother and her boyfriend’s loss of his mom super-moving and believable. A mix of yay and rawr throughout.

More to come. 🙂

Closing Time

Leonard Cohen’s lyrics fit my mood…

I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
CLOSING TIME

Listen to the whole thing. It’s awesome. Seriously.