« July 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

August 2009

The internet is my boyfriend

I really mean web instead of internet, but it didn't have the same sound to it. 

I was just reading another article about who uses Twitter and why, and whatever's better or will last longer, etc. etc. 

When I signed up there in May 2007, it was because a few people here were using it, and it seemed like we could have bits of sharing wherever and whenever. This past winter I started adding people to my list who looked interesting to peek in on. It's been fun. I'm more of a watcher than a participant, but/and how neat is it to just peer into lives from all over the world in any instant I choose? It requires no upkeep in any way, I just drop in when I am in the mood. Lately I've been posting links to interesting music videos, and now and then I grrr briefly about an annoying public attitude that is prevailing on a particular day. Occasionally I post a phone pic of something interesting I saw. I tried doing that here but cannot get it to work lately. 

Anyway. It's just a bit of fun. You get to make it what you want it to be.

I won three magazines at eBay this week. I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. One is from 1969, which is much later than I normally go, but it has some small current significance:

I'm excited for this one from 1961, but a little disappointed that I lost out on two from 1957; I always want a super-duper bargain and whoever got them was willing to go closer to what they might actually be worth:
This one, I think, will be a blast:
This isn't the copy I won, but in about the same shape. 

Last night we went to The Tiger's Tale in Montgomery. We sat at the bar to eat, and a Korean couple began setting up for karaoke right behind us, so we stayed to see some of that. The singers were mostly pretty good, really, and mostly were middle-aged and older men who sang old stuff we were quite familiar with. But one of the best performances was by a woman who sang an interesting country song called "Red-Necked Woman." It was very fun. I think we're going to go back in a couple of weeks and stay longer. But also sit on a different side of the bar for a better view. The man who hosted it played a tambourine as the singers performed, while his wife ran the equipment. It was kind of awesome, because it was just so rec-room, except they had pretty good equipment. 

I was thinking, while sitting there, it would have been something my dad would have enjoyed. However, I could not truly imagine going to such a place with him, since the small dark corner of unpleasant memories are all to do with his excessive drinking. Better to remember him in all his other ways. 

Do you have a list of things you looked up when you first got internet access, some you were delighted to find right off, and others you have continued to look for over the years, figuring they'll eventually turn up? Of course you do! 

It took ages for me to find all the old music I'd long been searching for, but lately it's pretty much a cinch it'll be on the web somewhere. Whether or not it's all easy to download is another question, however, I was pleased to discover this late last night. :- 

bits of odd comfort

I wasted a lot of time yesterday, not having any idea how to process no longer having a dad. 

I mean, we moved from that area 15 years ago, and only got back a very few times for a visit. My dad and I would have spates where we talked frequently and then those when we did not. But we totally got each other. I'd have given just about anything yesterday to talk with him again. We said our goodbye, really, about 10 days ago. It can't ever be enough, though. 

So I wasted time. I made these Mad Men ladies,

That's not my most recent waistline, to be certain. But the next size up was much too large. 

I like this one, however, there wasn't a proper setting for it, or a proper item for her left hand. 

Vox is acting very strange and buggy. When I told it to add the other picture, it said "that tag could not be found." Er?

Now there it is, but with a little question mark, when it's clearly in my photo album already. Weird. I had to upload it all over again.

So then I made a man for her to meet at the bar, because the one already there is very Stepford, but he's not quite the same scale as the other one, so I have to do some fiddling in order for it to work in this scene:

See. That guy is really not at all interesting. This one is better, though not exactly perfect:
I modeled him after Catcher Block in Down With Love. I could reverse his head and pop it on the other body, but I'll have to shrink it. And the other guy also needs a better tie.  

So there's that. 

We watched Houseboat last night. I just love that movie. The first time I watched it I was 12, and I was home alone while my mom visited my Grandma in the hospital. I made spaghetti sauce from a little packet of powder that got mixed with tomato paste, water, and a little oil, and then I cooked spaghetti and ate it with the sauce while watching the movie. I fell completely in love with Cary Grant. It's been a long time since I felt that way about him, but I do think he was utterly awesome. (Look, you can still buy those packets. Only these ones have mushrooms. I am certain it didn't when I made it that one time in 1977.) 

Anyway. There's a scene in the movie where Grant and Loren dance together to a song sung by Sam Cooke. I went looking for it online last night and found four versions. I am going to share this one with you because I bet my dad would have loved it. It is sung by the lady herself:


what about today?

I want to finish the color blocks for my new painting. There are four little sections left to do. Then I paint on them in a sort of "artistic" manner. 

If I don't get some scanning done, I'll start to regret putting it off. Maybe I'll bring it downstairs so I'm not shut up in the bedroom with spotty web access.

I couldn't make more ice cream yesterday, but intend to today. 

A lot of dusting. 

Thawing something to cook for dinner? That should get done sooner rather than later. 

People have started to use the shelf under my big new coffee table (as well as the surface, let's be honest,) to hold things they don't want to put away. I have to nip that in the bud. Not all surfaces are meant as convenient containers for laziness. In fact, no

Where to hang the new magnetic white board for school? That room has no useful wall space. But to hang it elsewhere would be immensely unattractive as well as considerably less convenient.

Continue to put off thinking about things I've put off.

this afternoon and evening I...

did everything on my list in the post below this one. 

How weird is that? 

Right now, actually, I'm watching Mad Men. Don appears to have just reviewed his entrance into the world as Dick. I'm not clear on that, but let's face it, I rarely am with these things. I might be in the top 2% or whatever, when it comes to the tests that judge that sort of thing, but I'm not always swift on the uptake with TV drama. Also, I've had two of the cucumber gimlets. So. 

I've poured some bourbon and soda. Pull up a chair! Wow, does Don look good unshaven, or what? 

The ice cream was very good. I only made a quart, because I wanted to test the recipe. I'll make more tomorrow. Here's the recipe. It's something I created from several others, but the process is from Emeril Lagasse, because it was the traditional method, and the others I read were not. 

3 cups heavy cream, half and half, or a combination of both, or the cream with whole milk

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup strong coffee

1 tbs kahlua

Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and coffee in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat.

Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, to the hot cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. After the ice cream is made, transfer to an airtight container. Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. 

So this will be my base that I'll work from, very gelato-like in texture, with all those egg yolks. Tonight I used 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of half and half, and I will say that I think it needed just a sprinkle of salt to brighten the flavor, and I will do this with chocolate, but if I were making vanilla, I would not add it in. 

The drinks were fun; we made the first ones with the shaken ice, but then poured the second batch straight up. 

Good lord. This scene with Pete and Kenny in the elevator is about as awkward as this show gets, isn't it? Mad Men is made of awkward, of course. That's the deep dark secret of the 60s. Underneath the cool panache was all nerdiness and nervousness. 

And now we get to see men kissing each other, and of course it's interrupted by a fire alarm. This was pre-Stonewall, so men didn't really get to be with each other without major interruptions and repercussions. It's just how things were. 

I kid, of course, because I love.

So after making dinner, 

We put the record on, 

And oh my gosh, it was not the right one

When I was at the record store in Westport, I pulled out the album, noted the label briefly, and looked it all over to make sure it wasn't warped or scratched. It was fricking mint, I'm telling you. 

But I never noticed it was not the right recording!!!!
It's called The Steamer. (this will play something when it loads. also, it's about the digital copy. the vinyl only has the first 6 tracks.) And it is just bloody fanTastic. Just, awesome west coast 50s jazz. But, you know, I'm really into the 60s bossa nova thing. I was going to do the 50s this winter, but not yet. And totally not when I've looked for-ever for this Getz-Almeida recording! 

We just listened, though, because, wow. And then we had the ice cream after it had hardened a bit. Now, hey, I need the cover for this album, and the actual album for the other cover. ::sigh::

Ann-Margaret!!! Wow, Aubrey, you were right. That's pretty cool. But was she just an odd bit of casting for Bye, Bye Birdie, or is that just me? 

I should make to-do lists more often, I guess. 

Roger is drinking a Gibson, which is really nice when done 6:1 with Hendrick's and Noilly Prat, but he's probably drinking whatever passed for decent in the 1960s, so we'll leave on this note: thank you, 21st century, for premium triple- and quadruple-distilled spirits. 

This afternoon and evening I intend to:

freshen myself up. 

put bratwurst, green beans and new potatoes in the oven to roast. with onion. 

make coffee ice cream.

make drinks using gin, cucumber, lemon thyme, and lime syrup.  

listen to the new album I got while in Kansas City.

watch the first two episodes of Mad Men.

Let's just see how that all goes, shall we? Look for the pictorial follow-up later on!

ps, in the meantime, I'm using html again to make sure external links open in new tabs or windows. isn't it much nicer that way? I think so. 

Twitter updates for those who crave more dullness in life

Yeah. Sometimes I might say interesting things. No, really! But clearly that hasn't been the case in the past day or so...

The really hilarious part is that you don't even get to know the context of half these tweets; about 2/3 of what I say is a response to something I read. But I think I'll do this often. It might spur me on to some sort of effort at wit and/or cleverness. 

Lazy Saturday

You may know I couldn't scan for awhile. That was a super bummer, because I wanted to do a weekly magazine post. When I got my new computer, I thought I couldn't scan, because I couldn't print. I still haven't figured out how to get it to print; reinstalling drivers has not helped. But I can scan now!

Only I'm downstairs and the scanner is upstairs, so not at this precise moment. 

Being so depressed and then so sad or confused on top of that has made it really hard for me to write and make words. But after the trip last week to Kansas City, I did start to get a wee bit more inspired. I don't feel less bad, but more like I can carry on. I was just painting, in the meantime. I want to do more painting, but not forget that what I do is write. 

I have been moving my other Vox blog over to this space a bit at a time, but it's slow. It only lets me do the latest ten posts. That means I have to be signed on to the other one in the other browser, and delete those ten each time, then come back to this one to grab the next ten. That seems silly. I read why it's so, but I'm certain it needn't be. Anyway. I'm back to last December now, and I guess I'll do some more today. 

I was going to have a look at the ocean waves, but with rain imminent every hour, that seemed like a drag of a drive, to and from. I still crazily miss living right near the shore. Having it over an hour away feels torturous. 

Also, I got a Facebook thing to keep in touch with my brother, but if you find me there, I probably won't add you as a friend unless we've met in person. You won't miss anything, though, trust me. I'm just posting really old family photos, which I'll probably put here as well, eventually. It's kind of a dull, clunky place, and I don't trust it very much. It disappoints me that people spend so much time there, but I think it's just a certain way of things, a sort of "fast food" affair. To me, Twitter is far superior fast food, but there we are. My tastes often don't align with others. 

This summer, I have been watching more TV than usual. I have watched many episodes of Clean House, mainly. It satisfies both my need for Schadenfreude and for order to be made from chaos. I was going to mention some other shows I've spent time with, but it's mostly just that one, and ooh! I Dream of Jeannie! I think that show should have gone one more season, but they really kind of trashed it toward the end. 

some things work well,

and some things don't. 

I've been working on a slideshow to share here and I just can't get it both the way I want it and small enough. And the music I used comes from a CD that YouTube says I can't share. :-(  So I have to keep trying or else give up and make it annoying and small. 


Lashing back in an oblique way, I now have this in an iPod playlist: 

And this on my hard drive:

additionally and so forth,

I like this place. I like having a blog. I've had one for 7 years or so. I wish I could make this one look like my homemade one, because I did fun things with columns and colors. But otherwise it's better to do it this way. 

I use Twitter, but that's for a different thing; I signed up for it a couple of years ago in order to enjoy mini updates with some of my Vox neighbors. Otherwise, I like here, and all the places before here, and I'm really done with signing up for anything else. When I signed up at Twitter, I decided that was the last one on my list.

Other than the color fun I don't get to have, this place here, Vox, is just about the most perfect place on the web, in terms of suiting my exact sharing needs. 

But there are fewer friends and updates lately. It doesn't feel as huggy and lovey-dovey these days. I have been having a difficult summer, however I'm here for as long as Vox is. I have stuff to share and this is where I'm sharing it. 

Here are a few pictures taken at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City. 

life, the universe, etc.

So. This past week we were in Kansas City, saying goodbye to my dad. 

I mean, I guess I get to call him a few more times before someone calls me to tell me I don't get to anymore. But I will never see him again. 

My brothers seem to remember the times that didn't go so well, and I guess they remember how he wasn't so consistent as a dad while we were growing up. I remember all that as apocrypha. (I'm not faulting them, I'm just saying, here, that none of that stuff even touches hearing him sing cheerfully along with the radio every morning way before I was ready to wake up thirty years ago. That is a fond, fond memory, and I was a fool for not fully appreciating it then.)

Here we are all together, a bit rough around the edges; the whole week was like that, you know. 
I guess there's a lot more to say but I don't feel much like saying it. I'm going to share some pictures of my hometown instead, in another post. 

The James Lipton quiz

In May, 2006 I went to see Hugh Laurie at the New School on Inside the Actor's Studio. I don't remember the answers he gave to Lipton's famous quiz, but friends and I all shared our own answers shortly after. In looking them over, I'd say about the same thing now three years later. 

James Lipton didn't actually write all those questions, though. Most of them originally came from a French series, Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. It's kind of an interesting transition. 

So here are my answers. Pass this one along if you like, as you like. 

01. What is your favorite word?


02. What is your least favorite word?

that one, the scatological one that I can't bring myself to speak or write or even wish to read. Please be kind.

03. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

clever, witty conversation

04. What turns you off?

rigidity of thought or opinion

05. What is your favorite curse word?

fuck, preferably as a verb. (which, of course, would render it not a curse word, but a vulgarity. I don't like to sprinkle these words throughout my speech; just use them when it really counts.)**

06. What sound or noise do you love?


07. What sound or noise do you hate?


08. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

commercial landscaping (Because if I have a profession besides me, it really is writing, as that's the only thing I've made any money at since 1990, other than the brief foray into weekends selling cheese fries.)

09. What profession would you not like to do?

law enforcement

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

you were right, this is all an emotionally-based fantasy. have a ball.

**I think I'm a bit Nero Wolfish in regards to "profanity." I will now and then say someone is an ass, or refer to something as damned (not damn, which makes no sense; when you damn something, it is damned) or damnable, but that's about it. Other than when I'm very occasionally pissed off, the other terms considered naughty are largely irrelevant to my speech or thoughts. And I don't seek out new words for insult, because there are so many good ones already there for me to use. I dislike ever seeming vulgar. You may, if you wish. 

The original Proust questionnaire with his answers

I have not answered this in awhile. I saved my answers from a few years ago, but thought I'd answer it first and then compare them. But what I'm sharing here is not a quiz for you to take (oh! but do if you like, or take the version at jaklumen's page,) and it's also not what James Lipton asks, or exactly what's going around Vox at the moment. This is copied from http://www.chick.net/proust/question.html, with a bit of his personal commentary, but the story is basically the same at several websites. I think it's interesting enough to share the whole thing. 



The young Marcel was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was 13, another when he was 20. Proust did not invent this party game; he is simply the most extraordinary person to respond to them. At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13-year-old Marcel was asked to answer the following questions in the birthday book, and here's what he said:
Marcel at age 13, 13kb gif

  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
      To be separated from Mama
  • Where would you like to live?
      In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
  • What is your idea of earthly happiness?
      To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
      To a life deprived of the works of genius
  • Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
      Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
  • Who are your favorite characters in history?
      A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
  • Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
      A woman of genius leading an ordinary life
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
      Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
  • Your favorite painter?
  • Your favorite musician?
  • The quality you most admire in a man?
      Intelligence, moral sense
  • The quality you most admire in a woman?
      Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
  • Your favorite virtue?
      All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues
  • Your favorite occupation?
      Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
  • Who would you have liked to be?
      Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger.

This questionnaire tells us much about two things, the character of petit Marcel, and the amusement of the young in the Belle Epoque. We see Marcel as a sweet and dreamy Mama's boy, brainy, aesthetic, a young citizen of the world with much sympathy for the feminine. What he sees in Pliny the Younger, famous only for speaking and writing letters, is hard to grasp.

What is fascinating about this questionnaire is that it was considered so great an amusement to very young people in Proust's time. It is hard to imagine a party of 13-year-olds in these times being quizzed about their favorite virtues, painters or characters of fiction and history. If the questionnaire were not to smack of exam, it would have to ask "what's your favorite TV show?" or "what's your favorite band?"

Seven years after the first questionnaire, Proust was asked, at another social event, to fill out another; the questions are much the same, but the answers somewhat different, indicative of his traits at 20:
Marcel in his twenties, 12kb gif

  • Your most marked characteristic?
      A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired
  • The quality you most like in a man?
      Feminine charm
  • The quality you most like in a woman?
      A man's virtues, and frankness in friendship
  • What do you most value in your friends?
      Tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having
  • What is your principle defect?
      Lack of understanding; weakness of will
  • What is your favorite occupation?
  • What is your dream of happiness?
      Not, I fear, a very elevated one. I really haven't the courage to say what it is, and if I did I should probably destroy it by the mere fact of putting it into words.
  • What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
      Never to have known my mother or my grandmother
  • What would you like to be?
      Myself - as those whom I admire would like me to be
  • In what country would you like to live?
      One where certain things that I want would be realized - and where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated[Proust's underlining]
  • What is your favorite color?
      Beauty lies not in colors but in thier harmony
  • What is your favorite flower?
      Hers - but apart from that, all
  • What is your favorite bird?
      The swallow
  • Who are your favorite prose writers?
      At the moment, Anatole France and Pierre Loti
  • Who are your favoite poets?
      Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny
  • Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
      Phedre (crossed out) Berenice
  • Who are your favorite composers?
      Beethoven, Wagner, Shuhmann
  • Who are your favorite painters?
      Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
      Monsieur Darlu, Monsieur Boutroux (professors)
  • Who are your favorite heroines of history?
  • What are your favorite names?
      I only have one at a time
  • What is it you most dislike?
      My own worst qualities
  • What historical figures do you most despise?
      I am not sufficiently educated to say
  • What event in military history do you most admire?
      My own enlistment as a volunteer!
  • What reform do you most admire?
      (no response)
  • What natural gift would you most like to possess?
      Will power and irresistible charm
  • How would you like to die?
      A better man than I am, and much beloved
  • What is your present state of mind?
      Annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
      Those that I understand
  • What is your motto?
      I prefer not to say, for fear it might bring me bad luck.

The second set of questions and answers give us Proust as a young man, mad for conquest, drawn to love crossing conventional sexual lines, still fixated on Mama. His aesthetic sensibilities have grown more serious. In these responses are early threads of character found in the narrator of Remembrance.

My life according to The Cure

I got this idea from jaklumen. I have other stuff to post tonight, including scorp's hot men over 50 list, and the Proust questionnaire, but it's not the same one that is currently appearing at Vox, so maybe you'll still find it interesting. For now...you could do this quiz, putting in the band name or singer of your choice. :-) And then share it with me and others. My iPod is in some other room or I'd share one of these songs. I feel lazy. You probably do, too; I won't be insulted if you don't answer. 

1.Are you a male or female?

The Perfect Girl

2. Describe yourself:
I'm a Cult Hero

3. How do you feel:

In Between Days

4. Describe where you currently live:
The Empty World

5. If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Where the Birds Always Sing

6. Your favorite form of transportation:
Another Journey By Train

7. Your best friend is:
Watching Me Fall

8.Your favorite color is:
From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea

9. What's the weather like:
Prayers for Rain

10. Favorite time of day:
This Twilight Garden

11. If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
The Lovecats

12. What is life to you:
To Wish Impossible Things

13. Your current relationship:
Never Enough

14. Looking for:
A Forest

15. Wouldn’t mind:
Just One Kiss

16. Your fear:
The Last Day of Summer

17. What is the best advice you have to give:
Speak My Language

18. If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Why Can't I Be You?

19. Thought for the Day:
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep

20. How I would like to die:

One Hundred Years

21. My motto:
All Cats are Grey

family memories

I scanned some pictures of my grandma shortly before my old computer failed. Then I learned some news that had me rather emotional, and I wasn't ready to share them yet. 

Now they're here on the new(er) computer and it's time to share.

Things I remember about my grandma: She liked Jack Jones, and had a lot of his sort of music on 8-track tapes that someone had made for her. I remember this from the mid-70s, when Grandma still had her poodle named Jock. When Grandma moved to her apartment in Independence, I would stay for the weekend, and we'd go to a place called Lotus Garden for dinner, where we'd get the appetizer platter to share. It came with wontons, little BBQ ribs, big battered shrimp, and egg rolls. At that time, she had a poodle named Nicole. Nicole went for regular beauty treatments and would come back with bows in her hair and matching polish on her nails. 

Grandma watched some soap operas, as she was retired from a number of years at the water company, and I'd watch some of them with her. Thus, I was way up on the others when it came to General Hospital lore, which became very popular when I was in high school. She'd give me old Soap Opera Digests to read so I had a lot of back story. 

She bought clothes kind of like Garanimals. Everything was carefully matched, mostly in pastel colors. And she had a silver Christmas tree with blue balls on it. 

My mom thought many of Grandma's ways and habits were irritating and possibly shallow; it's hard, looking back, to pin that down. But in later years they got along very well. 
This is Grandma around 1910-11. There was this whole thing with her sister where they both claimed to have been born in a different year than they actually were, and I only learned after she died what year she was actually born. 

The style of dress and hair in this photo seem to make it at least 1920, but she looks awfully young. I'm not solid with that time period, though, and she was a fairly small person, so it's hard to judge. 

Isn't it neat the way this is tinted? Grandma had violet eyes, by the way. They weren't by the time I knew her well, as she had two sets of corneal transplants in her late 60s. They didn't work very well. I guess if this was done now, 30 years on, it would be a very different story. 

Grandma was married and divorced twice, as far as I know. I say that because people weren't very upfront with what was going on back then, and they certainly weren't with me. I spent all my growing up years being "protected" from one piece of information or another, which was certainly tiresome at the time, and leaves me with some gaps of memory now. 

I'm guessing this is the Grandma era of which my mom didn't entirely approve. But she travelled a lot and had fun, going to Hawaii, Acapulco, Venezuela, all these places that were super exotic back then. I'd like to go, back then, just for the music and food. But it wouldn't be the same now. 

I don't really remember Grandma looking younger than this. This was around the time she replaced her Mustang with a Maverick. She gave the Mustang to my brother, but he ended up selling it. Later, after she was unable to continue driving, she gave the Maverick to me. It was my first car, and enabled me to finally get my license at age 19. 

Grandma spent her final years in an apartment run by the Salvation Army. It was a nice apartment in a mid-rise building, and there were people around if any of the old people needed help, plus they had a dining room for those who didn't want to or couldn't make dinner. The rent was low, too. She moved there to be closer to me, and for the first few years I could visit often, but then we moved so far away, I was never able to see her again before she died, and I have often wondered how she felt about that. 

After Nicole died, Grandma had her ashes in a little container in a metal box. I have the box. She had kept all her old jewelry, but she either ended up selling it in need of money or someone took it because I never saw it after she died. The former ash-containing box had some "costume" jewelry in it that I have kept for sentimentality. She also promised me her bedroom set but I was prevented from taking that back with me when I visited Kansas City after she died. Anyway. 

There was a cat she took care of for several years, named Miss Kitty. Grandma didn't like cats, but she liked this one, which had been brought to her in some fit of good will toward the elderly, and they bonded well. Miss Kitty never went near anyone but Grandma; she'd had a troubled early life and didn't trust anyone else. 

Toward the end of Grandma's life, someone brought her this doll.
For someone to hold and love, I guess. Grandma told me it was because this person felt bad that my babies lived so far away. I think that's super weird, and I imagine Grandma did as well, but I don't know. I'm sure it was one of those good intentions people have. 

I remember things about Grandma like how she used to put grape jelly and onion soup mix on her little roasts that she'd fix for us, and how she'd do the TV Guide crossword puzzle in script because she never learned to print. I remember odd and frustrating things about her as well, but you know, those are never the things that matter in the end. 

QotD: You May Say I'm a Dreamer

Do you remember your dreams?

Well sure, at least sometimes. Obviously I can't say how often...

Now and then I can sort of trick myself into dreaming a certain general subject, namely something I perhaps won't name after all.

And there are recurring elements to some of my dreams, especially when part of my brain is trying to wake up the other part. It has me hurrying through this whole series of places; there are two different versions of that, one taking place on a highway and the other in a shopping area, and there are bits of danger or chaos to navigate...