Sunday, February 24, 2008

My First Rant

Intrigued by the rant posts of others' blogs, I have decided to do my own rant.

I hate that:

I am so damn stubborn I waste hours, days and weeks on a line of thought that could easily be resolved by looking at it from someone else's point of view.

Eight times out of ten my husband, mother, father, child or grandchild is correct in the argument and I am, gulp, wrong.

I take an offense when none is intended, am offensive when I don't intend to be, try to offend and no one notices.

Am, apparently, able to write on multiple forums without any conscience knowledge of doing so.

Write my best pieces about an hour before I wake and forget them within three minutes of rising.

I most often forget to thank those who deserve to be thanked the most.

Generally forget to give more than I receive.

There are so many in this county who do so much more than I do to make this community a better place to live in. I should appreciate what they do, instead of griping about what they don't do.

So many living so very near by have so much less and I still consume too much, recycle too little, overspend and under save.

Whatever the December storm taught me, I have forgotten too soon.

In most people I dislike, I see some part of myself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hold Me 'Bika

The sound of an umbrella unfurling over my head wakens me. As my eyes peel open a little voice lisps, "'Amorning, 'Bika!" "Good morning baby, Allah-u-abha," I murmur back. I stare up at the umbrella. It is black with swirls of red through it, looking like waves of fire. He is twirling it over my head as he unsteadily settles next to me. It is a large umbrella, old fashioned with a wooden handle, and as one of the spokes plunges towards my eye I put my hand out to grab it. "How did he manage to get this into bed without gouging my eye out?" I think. "Baby, why do we have an umbrella in bed with us?" I inquire. "It maybes going to rain, I think," he says. His voice is fuzzy and I look over at him. His cheeks are very rosy and his normally sunny blue eyes are stormy gray. "How do you feel, baby boy?" "'Bika, I don't feel good. My back's mad at me. It's hurting me." "Can we close the umbrella?" I ask. "Oh, sure, sure!" he says. It's his new saying for the month. "Oh, sure, sure," and he pats the air reassuringly. I wonder which one of us he has picked that up from. Such a small baby boy, my grandson. What was it, day before yesterday when my baby boy was just as small?

"'Bika, can you hold me?" "Sure, sure," I say, not quite certain if I picked it up from him or vice-versa, at this point. He snuggles in next to me and lays his head on my chest. He is so warm. I rub his back. Yesterday my other baby, this one's twenty-four year old uncle, had stopped by to play a game. It was his day off and he had asked if him and I could spend some time together and play, "Axis and Allies." He hadn't had time for his old mom in quite a while so though I had a jazillion writing assignments to research and finish I knew these opportunities don't come often so I thought, "What can a little game hurt?" Nine hours later I told him I just didn't have it in me to try to defeat Japan and Germany any longer. Sorry, World War Two must end in a stalemate." He said he had grown tired of the game two hours earlier but thought I was enjoying it so didn't want to ruin my fun!

Throughout the whole game Kaden had to be entertained with various side games. We all play with his stuffed animals with him and use different voices so he is doing that now. As the day progressed he went from happy boy to grumpy boy to whiney boy. Then to quiet boy. That's when, "'Bika, hold me," became his mantra. "Can you hold me, now, 'Bika?" So I would take him up and roll dice or move my "army" with one hand while holding him to my chest, rocking and and making sushy noises. The older boy, who was this small it seems, what, just yesterday(?) and now could easily hold me, patiently explained for the hundredth time why I couldn't attack one of his countries since my planes weren't strong enough to fly back to safe territory. Men play by too many rules! No wonder they don't like women in wars. So, I say, my planes are kamikaze. He protests, You aren't Japan and kamikaze aren't in the rules, anyways. So, I say, my pilots have parachutes and they are meeting up with the Resistance after they bomb and bail out of their crippled planes. And he protests, Moooommmm! So, I say, Okay, okay! Sure, sure, have it your way.

"'Bika, can you hold me?" I look down into those eyes. I have stories that need to be completed. I have research that needs to be done. I look over at my son, who, just hours ago, was this tiny and small. "Yes, 'Bika can hold you baby." I scoop him up and hold him. Too soon he will be too big to hold. Too soon he won't have the time for me. Too soon, it will be tomorrow and the day after. I will take this moment in time and treasure it. "Yes, baby, yes, 'Bika can hold you."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday TH!


Tryan said “Being born was great for me,”
he couldn’t see how anyone could call it a chore.

And every year he’s pleased to see,
That it’s him we all adore.

He prances about shouting over dale and hill:

“Bloggers flock right and left to stay close to me;
They claim to know me well.
They’re proud to know a celebrity,
And gee, I know they’re swell,

They celebrate, they laugh and sing,
And gifts on me they shower.
I must have done a wondrous thing,
My birthday cries, HARTILL POWER!”

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Winter months of solitude bring thoughts of death. What might have been, what still might be, what was, was not, and won't.

I have prepared Muslim, Christian, and Baha'i mortal remains for their final resting place. Very few acts of service have I been allowed to do that have honored me more. I have been honored to be called mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Cousin, niece, aunt. I long to be called Baha'i, but that isn't really for here. It is what I call myself but if I will be called that only time will tell.

In preparing someone's loved one's remains for their final rest it is truly unbelievable the amount of trust they have in you and it is with a shock each time when I realize how much they wish to know that this last act is taken so solemnly, so carefully, and done so sacredly with love. Your hands are their hands, your eyes are theirs, your lips, theirs, as you chant the prayers they want said. Your ears theirs as you listen to the music they wish played and your minds eye theirs, too, as you see the life of "once was" passing softly as wisps from the smoke of candle wicks, sputtering in soft evening light.

Attar of rose oil rubbed into the skin, the more pure and pungent leaves my hands tinged purple, and then the body is wrapped in swathes of silk. Round and round, billowing up and down, and around and tucked in. A final cocoon and hand stitched so as to not become disturbed with the rocking of the casket. A few times, on this final wrap, an assortment of pins frames the face or adorns the chest. "#1 Dad" reads one, "Love" says another, a shamrock pin, a bowling pin, a teddy bear. Love notes to be tucked in now. A poem from a grandchild, a drawing from nephew, a song sheet from an old love. Closure, the ache shared is not as heavy as those born alone.

I think of these caskets of love. The honor that people give in these last moments and I think of those who die alone, none to honor them, love them, hold them, wash this world from them and today I ache for them. So much senseless death, so many dieing alone, so many not caring from one moment to the next who is going without when they are so focused on who has more then they do. And I ache for them.

A child, alone, no one to hold it for those final moments, no one to wash the cares away, the soil that was this world, rest the head on the pillow, kiss the closed eye good night, to say good-bye. And I ache for that one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dressing for Today

I don't like to be lied to.

I don't like to be patronized.

I don't like to be put off.

I don't like to be ignored.

I don't like people to use their perceived power to hurt people.

I don't like crybabies.

So, today, I think I'm gonna kick some ass.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Big girls don't cry

Yesterday was one of those days which I wanted to spend in tears. You know those days? When what you have to do is hard, so hard because what you are doing is affecting peoples' lives and what you are finding out are things that are shocking and what you really didn't want to know. By the end of the day I really didn't like people so much. A defense mechanism goes up, I think, where, if you don't like anyone what you have to do just doesn't matter?

I think people think I am made of concrete. Or maybe steel. Maybe no tissue, no blood coursing through me or tears pour out of me. Maybe they think that I can find all of this out and not want to just scream, or throw things, or vomit. I ran around interviewing people Thursday, and leaving messages, and begging for records. Records, which I came to find out, others didn't have to go through the same process I did. Records which appear to be kept from me. Why? Because of the information I am after? Shit! That means what I am after is on target? Shit, shit, shit!

Friday one real important meeting and then people start calling me. Right and left people are calling. Confirmation after confirmation. People wanting to tell their story. So many people talking I grow tired of hearing people talk, but I still need to clarify a few points and I still don't have the paperwork from records. I do, however get the "exciting" news that they released the same records to someone else. That can go into the story.

I don't think they are the same records I am asking for. I hope not. We will see. I get a call back from a few other official sources and read legal documents. So much to read and my eyes are burning, my chest is throbbing, my throat is raw. Obviously, I've got the crud.

So, last night to release all of that pent up sadness I watched the Netflix that had arrived in the mail, Two Weeks, with Sally Field. Oh my gosh. I cried within the first 15 minutes and didn't stop until it was over. My mom and dad watched it with me, which was nice. They don't do that often, sit and watch a movie on the big screen. They asked me if I was crying because I was thinking of them dying and being there when it happened or if I was thinking of my children watching me die? Who was I identifying with?

Actually, neither. I was just crying because all day I had wanted to cry and cry and cry. But I couldn't. I had my big girl pants on all the while knowing what I wanted was to peel them off, throw them into the hamper, crawl back into bed, pull the blankets up over my head and pretend I didn't know a damn thing and hope the big pink elephant trampling the county would disappear, on its own, without me doing anything.

But it won't. So, today I got up, put on another pair of big girl pants, got another interview which confirmed another fear, had a wonderful birthday with my grandson, spent time with the hubby, read more legal documents brought over by my editor that an attorney had sent to us, and made plans for tomorrow. The movie for tonight? Driving Lessons. I hope it makes me laugh. I want to, after this week. Long and hard.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Pace of My Life

We are a family of pacers. We don't sit and think, we pace and think and many of our friends are pacers. What is it about motion that seems to help the thought process? I watch Blues Clues with my grandson and the main character encourages the kids to sit and think about the clues. Sit? My grandson knows better, you only sit if you have needle work in your hands. Or in his case, needle unwork.

The other day I was pacing in the kitchen and our friend was pacing in the green room. My mother paced in back and forth, commiserating with each of us. I left the kitchen, paced through the green room to pace the hallway for a different perspective but hubby was already there, pacing with a cell phone in his hands, talking to a contractor, on his day off. Back through the green room into the kitchen but I had vacated and Eldest had taken it and was pacing with her cell, making a hand flicking motion that I shouldn't "bother" her with my pacing.

I paced on to the pink room, where I did stop my pacing. To gaze transfixed into the fireplace. I have found that the one thing that can stop a pacer is an open flame. The dancing flickers gave my legs a rest while my mind still raced. Back and forth, up and down, pace, pace, pace. Then slowly, calm came. Puzzle pieces began to fall into place. This step should lead to that one, which could mean this was so, which meant the possibilities there were open and thus.

Back to the computer, quickly acting before I lose the inspiration, pulling the story together. Fingers fly over the keyboard. Slight distraction. What the heck? Why are all of these people walking around? So annoying! Why don't they hurry up and come to their inspiration? Where was I again? Shoot! What was that thought? Where was I going with that line of reasoning? Why are my legs so figgety? Oh, I better get up, what room is open? Why doesn't it quit raining? Crap! Too many people are here pacing, pacing, pacing.