Saturday, January 10, 2009

At 85
Yesterday was my mom's 85th birthday. It's a good age. She was born in 1924 in Detroit and grew up poor in rural Michigan. During Prohibition, her father and uncles brewed illegal beer, which they served on wooden planks in their living room...turning the house into a speakeasy when my mom and her sister were asleep.

Eventually the family came to California in search of work, and they settled in Oakland. That's where my mom when to high school and where she lived until she married my father. Mom and dad met at work, Southern Pacific Railroad, after he came home from WWII and they lived first in San Francisco and then moved to the peninsula where they raised their five kids. My mother and father were a great couple, very much in love. Sadly, he died too young in 1981 and she's never really gotten over it.

As many of you know, I'm not terribly close to my family. They're all nice people, but we have nothing in common. And mom is, sadly, deteriorating quickly. She has basically no short-term memory left. She's at that stage where she'll tell the same story several times in the space of a few minutes. She can't remember names, places, sequences of events. She'll talk to me about my father as if I'd never met the man. Last night we took her out to dinner and couldn't remember the names of the siblings who weren't there.

It's sad. And yet, because of the lack of closeness with my family (which they don't seem to feel exist) I feel detached from the loss that is to come. It's odd, because when Steve (the brother of my heart) was dying, I felt every single painful moment. Maybe that's why I'm so removed with my mom -- because I know how much it hurts and I want to spare myself.

No, that's the answer I'd like to be true. That's the sympathetic answer. The truth is I feel removed because I feel removed. Because I don't feel like I'm one of the Waltons, in spite of the fact that my mother and sisters think we are. My brothers seem to have similar feelings to mine, but maybe they're nicer than I. I wouldn't be surprised. I'm not the nicest kid in the playground. But I'm already feeling guilty because I'm not reacting the way the world would expect me to. No, not guilty. (Surprisingly.) It's just a sense of not living up to what I feel I should be. But I've never been good at persuading myself into emotions. So here I am. Detached. Once again feeling like I'm looking at my family from the outside.

The problem is that mom needs a lot of care right now. She's physically OK, but she gets incredibly lonely. My eldest sister lives with her (thankfully) but when she's at work or goes away for the weekend, mom is by herself. And she's never been good at being alone. I know I should spend time with her. Take her out, have her over, go visit her at her house to keep her company. The fact is I'm just selfish enough that it's hard for me to be there. I'm just not nice enough to be good at pretending I haven't heard her tell me about this one episode from grammar school seven times in the past two hours.

When Steve was dying there was a joke among my friends that I was the cold-hearted bitch because I didn't show how much it was killing me to watch my best friend die. But the truth is, deep down, I can be a cold-hearted bitch. It's hard to put yourself out, to do something difficult for someone that you don't love as deeply as I loved Steve. And I guess I just don't feel for my mother what a daughter "is supposed" to. I'll do my best. I guess my 2009 resolution should be to spend more time with her, to give my sister a break and do what is right. But it's going to be a damned hard resolution to keep.

How do you force yourself to do something difficult when you don't feel the emotional need to do it?
Photo of the day: Tower of Tunes

Part, a small part, of Husband's music collection. It misses him too.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cat of the week: Mikey
Mikey is a 3-year old brown tabby (you know me and brown tabbys) with amazing yellow eyes. He's extra sweet. A bit shy at first, but loves to sit on my lap and soak up the attention. He seems to be a bit scared of new things, but with patience relaxes and settles in for a good, long pet. He'd make a wonderful companion for a child-free home with an owner that knows good things come to those who wait I really like this guy and hope he finds a good home.

Mikey's ID is A442136 and you can find out more at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA website.

Also, can someone please tell me why Motley hasn't been adopted? She is the sweetest kitty who just wants a warm lap all her own. Surely someone out there has a lap with a vacancy!
Photo of the day: Studio A

Ah....the high-tech, state-of-the-art wonder that is the KZSU studio. Thanks to our hard-working Chief Engineer it works, even if it isn't very pretty. (Or photogenic.) This was taken during my show on Wednesday. Behold my second home.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Flying solo
So Husband is off to the wilds of NYC for a week of jazz, family, jazz, meeting up with friends, jazz, maybe a museum or two, and some jazz (if he has the time). I'm home with Cipher (TWMAC, SYIYDA tm), a stack of books, about 75 hours of movies on TiVo, and a house that suddenly seems too big.

Don't get me wrong, I love my solo time. I love having complete ownership of the remote control, the bed, the blankets, the sofa, and the bathtub. I love not having to think about what to cook for dinner (and then cook it), having to clean up after dinner, or straighten up after anyone but myself. But I'm going to miss him, big time.

He just called. He's there safe, saw his folks, got an unintentional tour of Manhattan thanks to a "short cut" and is now getting ready for the Ron Carter show where he's going to meet up with another jazz critic and also meet up with, well, Ron Carter.

Me? I'm making a cake for me mum's birthday tomorrow. And, in the background, Top Gun with the sound off (because it's dumb but hey, they're so pretty). What can I say? I'm a sucker for the volleyball scene.
Photo of the day: NECH

This is a mysterious door near KZSU and Husband and I have always wondered what "NECH" means. And why is it such a nice sign? At the radio station, we have "KZSU" hand-painted on the outer door. But the NECH building (well, it seems to be more of a shed) has this engraved sign letting all NECH-ers that they have found the place.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Photo of the day: Fall in Winter

There's some nice crunching underfoot at the Stanford campus.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Best menu ever!
From the wacky folks at comes this Korean menu. (Part two is here.) I can't decide between the "house bear thang" or the "six membership fees pip rice".

Photo of the day: Envious
How do cats sleep so deeply? I can't. Never have. But I just walked into the bedroom and saw Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) curled into a perfect ball on the bed and looking like she'd sleep until the Rapture. It's cold out, and kind of gray. The perfect day to be curled up like a sleepy cat on a comfy bed. But no, I'm cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cat of the week update
Megumi has been adopted! The cute little black and white charmer that was last week's CotW has found a home. I'm going to miss her but I'm so happy to know she's got a family now. And yes, I do have a new favorite now. You'll have to wait until Friday though...

Photo of the day: I Second The Motion
Strangely enough, many of the people who work or volunteer at the PHS are liberals. Go figure... I captured this in the parking lot today.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Photo of the day: As a bone
The secret to being weird is in finding odd things interesting. Like the inside of your dryer. Hey, I just took the're the one actually looking at it.