12.1.16

As grief seasons go, this one has been simultaneously rough and easy–oddly.  The rough part has little to do with my actual grief and more to do with my worry for my country.  I was nervous when October showed up–mostly because I had no idea how it would be not living in Denver during this time of year.

On one hand, I really really really miss Denver.  The election showed that home was actually a small area of sanity in a whole country of insanity.  I was reminded of the good people who live there.  So many people I knew from back home went up to North Dakota, for example, whereas–here?  I don’t think people even talked about the water protectors.  It reminded me of the Denver I used to know–the one I was incubated in and the one that was slowly disappearing.  Leaving has made me appreciate Denver much more than I ever thought possible, and I realize that–even gentrified–that place is a 1000% better than almost anywhere.  But things lately really have given me hope that it will still be home when I finally return–and I am definitely returning.  Not soon, but eventually.  I just wish I could find the opportunities I need there, but I can’t–so elsewhere it must be.  But I will live there again–one day.  The best part is that I’ll get to choose exactly where instead of inheriting something.

The holidays in California are not holidays.  At least, they don’t feel like holidays to me.  It has gotten colder here–since we’re in the Bay–but I am always sweaty–even when I’m cold.  I kind of hate it.  I still have not adjusted to the humidity.  In an odd way–that’s good.  Because Christmas hasn’t been in my face.  It feels like any other month.  I can forget it’s coming.

I had a good Thanksgiving.  I chose quiet while observing in a good way for me.  It was about as perfect as it could be–though I am not a fan of the current situation with the kitchen and would have preferred cooking more.  It was actually good, though, because it didn’t require days of recovery.

So, it’s been less about missing my parents this year and more about adjusting and missing home.  More about self-care because self-care is far more possible out here than it was out there.

I’ve been keenly aware of December’s arrival this week, though, mostly because work has been kinda rough lately and December 1st was my deadline to meet goal.  Last week, I was 50% there and certain it wasn’t happening.  As of 4 pm, I made 140% of goal.  It would have been more, but ya know how that goes.  Most of that happened on the very last day.  So, it was an okay Wednesday.  I doubt December will slow us down much–until our client shuts down mid-month.  But that just means I’ll have 2 weeks to do a whole month’s work.  So, no rest for the truly weary.  And man, am I that.

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A friend of mine posted this on FB.  Basically, it’s adult daughters writing about their Mamas.  And I enjoyed reading hers–realized that–over a decade after losing my mother–I still know her by heart.  Just because she’s gone doesn’t mean I can’t share.  So, on this first day of the last month of the year–the last month of grief season…when she both began and ended–I give you my mother.  Her name was Ruth.

  • She is sitting in front of the TV, what is she watching?
    A movie on Lifetime (something involving a woman in trouble), Little House on the Prairie, or 7th Heaven.  She would be very sad there are no longer soap operas, really.
  • Usually, what dressing does she eat on her salad?
    Wishbone Bleu Cheese
  • Name something she hates.
    Waiting.  Oh, my God, she hated waiting.  And heat.  Anything above 60 was Hell to her.  
  • You go out to eat, what does she order to drink?
    Depends.  If it was breakfast or brunch, plain black coffee–nothing too strong.  Just a house blend.  She might add water to it.  At lunch or dinner, probably a 7Up or a Coke.  Or a milkshake.  Vanilla.  That lady had a sweet tooth.
  • Favorite music to listen to?
    Old country.  Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr.  She also enjoyed her Elvis (aka Honey Lamb).
  • What is her nickname for you?
    As a kid, Pouder (but not after I started answering to it).  If I was in trouble, Irene (my middle name).  Sometimes, she referred to me as “my girl.”
  • What is something she collects?
    Figurines–the kind they sold in those gift shops of various animals.  They were ceramic, usually.  I used to buy her one every time I got paid.  Every single card or letter anyone ever sent her.  Bar napkins.  She had a little black book where she wrote down all numbers and appointments.  Old photos.  Glassware.  Christmas plates.
  • What would she eat every day if she could?
    Swiss cake rolls. Weak, black coffee.  Her daughter’s lasagna.  Salad.  Ice cream. Braunschweiger.  Summer sausage and cheese. Broccoli soup. 
  • What is her favorite color?
    Green.  She also liked red a lot, too.
  • What would she NEVER wear?
    Makeup.  Except for red lipstick.  High heels.
  • What are her favorite sports teams?
    She loathed sports!
  • What is something that you do that she wishes you wouldn’t?
    Work too much. Be so hard on myself. Ignore men.  Haha. She wanted some grandbabies!
  • You bake her a cake for her birthday. What kind of cake is it?
    In our family, buying a cake was a special thing.  We only made cakes if we were dead broke, and I was not a cake baker anyway.  (My Mama was and could outbake me any day.  I’m better now, but she could still kick my ass at baking).  I usually got her an ice cream cake from DQ.  If I got a normal cake, it was white cake with white icing and flowers. The colors varied.
    14. Favorite animal?
    She loved all animals.  Cows, geese, sparrows.  But most especially cats. Like all the cats.  All the time.
    15. What could she spend all day doing?
    Watching her shows while cleaning.  The woman never stopped moving.  Taking care of me.  Or whoever else was lucky enough to be loved by her.  Sitting outside with her coffee and her 1/8 of a cigarette, talking to little kids. Cutting up vegetables.  She was the best damn sous chef ever.  Reading her romance and mystery novels (though it was difficult after her eyesight got so bad).  She would have been astounded by ebooks.
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