Sunday, October 15, 2017

Today is my younger daughter, Jessica's, 36th birthday.  I made her a quilt for her college graduation and I wrote this that day in 2003 when I was finishing her quilt. She has just presented me with my first grandchild and I am so very thrilled. Happy birthday my love.

As I sat sewing the last stitches of Jess’ graduation quilt I was overcome with memories of her and Addi, me and my problems, and our lives intertwined.  When I was pregnant with Jess, I was scared that I wouldn’t love her.  I had such an overwhelming love for Addi and didn’t know if I had it in me to love two people in the world like that.  Believe me, love for your children is a lot different than romantic love.

Not liking most people is one of my problems.  I know I can pretend but not well.  I guess that is the reason I never wanted to have children.  I was afraid to have this little person thrust upon me and then – what if I didn’t like them?

Addi was so easy because she was so pleasant.  When she did cry, she cried so hard that she passed out.  Talk about scared!  And Addi was so adventurous.  Everything was exciting -- bathing, nursing, swimming, the dogs.  She was such a pleasure to take care of.  I thought when I was pregnant with Jess that I was having a boy.  I had sort of wanted a boy with Addi but she turned out so perfect that it didn’t matter.  I thought having a boy would be a new adventure for me.  I was so afraid that I didn't have any more love possible within me though and I was more afraid of the bond between my new baby and me than I was of having a baby.

Jess’ breach birth scared Rick to death.  He was so afraid he would have to tell me that my (our) baby was dead.  He was so relieved when she finally cried.  I had been anesthetized to give way for the baby’s birth because we were well beyond doing a Cesarean.  Jess’ feet were out while I was first examined and I could have had her in the exam room while waiting for the doctor to arrive.

I know how pioneer women and native women must have felt when they found themselves alone and birthing.  I needed to push and there was no one near.  I was in too much pain to cry out.  All I could do was pant and try not to push.

Luckily, I had a wonderful pediatrician and Jess was born amid a melee but was healthy.  I suppose the strain of this horrendous birthing experience scared Jess for life.  She was caught in the calamity of the moment and still allows this hurricane out of her on occasion.

When I awoke from the anesthesiology Rick was right next to me waiting.  I asked him, ”where’s my boy?”  He told me that he thought to himself, “I’m so glad I don’t have to tell her that he is dead.”  He replied and told me the one thing that he knew would make me relived.  He said, “Wilma, our baby is a girl.  And she has the longest eye lashes.”

I took a moment to incorporate the shock of another little girl and in my mind’s eye I saw her looking similar to me with my long eyelashes but even longer.  Addi had looked like neither Rick nor me and the thought of a little human being similar to me touched my heart and soul.

When the nurse finally arrived and I asked to see my baby, she wheel chaired me to the nursery.  She placed this blanket wrapped package into my arms and I looked down on her little olive puckered face.  She did have beautiful eyelashes.  I began to cry gently.  I was sad that the son I would have had was not to be and I was relieved that this child who had scared the living daylights out of an entire maternity ward was all right.  And I cried because my question was still not answered.  Did I have enough love in me for one more?

One of my tears must have run down my face and dropped onto Jess’ eye.  I looked down at her and in that instant I saw the tear fall into her closed eye.  At that moment she opened her eyes and looked at me.  I looked back and we continued to gaze at each other for what seemed like a very long time.

“It’s going to be all right,” I whispered to her.  “I’m going to be your momma.  It’ll be all right.”

And most of the time it was all right.  We had our ups and downs but they weren’t significant.  Only the good times were important and there were so many of them.

As for enough love within me for two daughters – they call me “Smother” because I guess I have too much love.

Jess and her "Pa" traded glasses.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Today, October 14, 2017 would have been my mother's 99th birthday.  I wrote the following many years ago as a tribute to my mother.  Wherever she may be, I hope she is the most spoiled princess of all times. She deserves so much for being the lovely human being that she was.   

            The last time I was home to visit my folks I came to realize that my parents are getting old.  Of course, I have always known that they would eventually grow older but until that visit it really did not hit me.

            When I was ready and packed up I gave my dad a hug and went to hug my mom and she seemed so small and fragile.  I held her to me and felt her quivering yet quiet sob.  I knew she was crying because I was leaving and I began to cry softly because she was old.

            My mother has never enjoyed good health but she certainly enjoyed a happy life.  She was a housewife and mother and obviously was quite good at it.  She ran a loose ship.  When company was coming, it was more important to have a good meal on the table than for the house to be spotless.  Our house was always clean but not always “picked up” for my mother is a collector.

            One of the things I have always admired about my mother is the fact that she can gather together 10 simple things in the kitchen and in an hour or less have the most wonderful feast spread out on the table.  Flour, milk and butter miraculously become bread.  Green beans and a couple of seasonings becomes a vegetable that warms your heart and soul.  Dessert appears from an apple or two.

            And my mother was always open to having company.  My aunts and uncles and all their kids would show up on a Saturday and she was up and creating her miracle of food materialization from nothing.  When I was a teenager all of my friends loved to come home with me because my mother would fill their stomachs with food. Teenagers with their hollow legs and unabounding appetite would be welcomed at my home and my mother loved feeding them.

            Once mother was fixing a picnic for me to take with a new boyfriend I had acquired.  I was in a hurry to look good and be on time and was not paying attention to what was important to her and that was the food.  She had packed our picnic lunch in the container we owned.  It was a stack of aluminum containers held together with a handle that snapped over them all.  Little did I realize but the handle was not very stable.  She warned me of the instability but I was more intent on my hairstyle.  As I was leaving with the picnic the handle gave and our beautiful picnic crashed to the floor.  This was the first migraine headache I remember ever having.  I was hysterical and suddenly I couldn’t see.

            My mother shooed me to wash my face and lie down and she proceeded to patiently salvage what she could from the picnic I had ruined.  I relaxed and got over my temporary blindness, my headache subsided and sure enough, Mother had a picnic lunch ready for me to be off and on my way.  She warned me of the handle and this time I listened.

            My mother’s patience is another of her attributes that I greatly admire.  I sure received none of it but she bestowed it on me frequently.  She is a warm, loving and nurturing mother and an excellent Grandmother.  When my girls were little she and Daddy would take them and give me a much-needed rest from them.  My girls loved going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. 

            I remember once arriving to pick up my girls at the Grandparents house, and there sat my mother with both of my girls sitting behind her on the back of her lounge chair.  They were fixing her hair and had every bobby pin, barrette and hair tie in the house arranged in my mother’s hair.  She winced when they pulled her hair but she never complained.  Again that patience was showing.

            When I was a little girl I had frequent bad dreams.  My mother would scoot me over in bed and lie with me until I went back to sleep.  She smelled of powder and her body was warm and comforting to me.  I suppose comfort will always mean having my mother’s arms around me although she would probably prefer that comfort be a full stomach of her food.

            I have a very special mother and I am quite grateful.  And although her shoulders are stooped and her hair is white, she will remain in my eyes as she was when I was a teenager – happily moving around her kitchen and preparing a feast for my friends and me.

Pretty Arms

by Wilma Faerber

"You have pretty arms," she told me once.
She had always been overweight, so her arms were not.
There was strength in her arms and in her soul.
I was a gardener.  Hoeing and shoveling make your arms pretty.
Sunshine -- a little tan doesn't hurt, does it?
Melanoma on that pretty arm.

She is gone now.
I remember the last time these pretty arms held her.
She cried because I was leaving and going far away back to my home.
I was crying because for the first time in my life, I saw her as OLD.
My pretty arms did not want to let go.
But they had to.
And now it is over and these pretty arms will never hold her again.

Peace be with you.  And thanks again for all the birthday greetings.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My newest retirement adventure is one that I never thought would happen. I have become a Grandmother. Daughter, Jessica, called in January or February to alert me to the fact.  She had baby, Vincent Anthony Muse, on September 1.  She went in to the doctor for an appointment and because her liver enzymes were so very high they took her right in for a “C” section.  Her due date had been September 14.  Baby Vincent had to be incubated for some time and was not brought to Mama for a while but he is healthy and so sweet.

Since Jess hadn’t gotten time to prepare for birthing a baby, there was a lot to do around the house and so I got out on the 16th to help her out.

I spent the 15th with my good friend, Ellie, and her husband, Jeff in Mesa.  They too are expecting to become grandparents in about four weeks. They drove me down to Tucson from Mesa on Saturday to see the baby. Ellie and I cooed over baby Vincent and made grandmother idiots of ourselves.

I had such fun just watching Vincent.  He is so animated.  Stretching and cooing, farting and pooping.  His every move is just a miracle.

I got to rock him to sleep a couple of times.  I sang songs to him and snuggled and kissed his cheeks.

Jess and I put together his Pack and Play.  I wondered how many babies dressed as clowns we could smash into the thing.  We figured three on top (one in the bassinette area and two in changing area), six or seven on the next level, and if we stacked them, about 12 to 14 on the bottom.  Of course, we then had to surf the internet to see if we could get clown wigs for all these babies.  I’m going to dress the Pack and Play like a Volkswagen.  The video will go viral I am sure.  (Now where to find 24 babies with mothers willing to let us dress them up as clowns and stack them in the Pack and Play.)

Vinnie did this finger pointing thing, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, and I said “keep in touch”, and Jess took a photo of Dad and Vinnie touching fingers.  Hiliarious!

What can I say?  Our family have strived to have a fun time doing whatever it is that we are doing.  Vinnie will join in with us in a few years and we will get a new attitude of jocularity that we have never experienced

Welcome Vincent Anthony Muse.

Oh, and I a baked an apple pie.

Peace be with you.

Monday, September 4, 2017

This morning I cleaned the bathrooms. I know its Labor Day but it is also Monday. And Monday is bathroom cleaning day.  So I am cleaning the mirror in my bathroom and there is dog hair on the mirror. I began singing in my head “Dog hair on the mirror makes me not happy, dog hair on the floor makes me go sky high, dog hair on my black dress makes me nauseous, dog hair almost always makes me cry.  “

I love this little dog but this dog hair thing is getting out of hand.

I have just finished two of the best books I have read in a very long time.  They were Everybody in Town is Talking by Fanny Flagg and the other Containment Failure by J. Robert Kennedy.  Two very different books but I enjoyed both.

I’d like to hear about some of your favorite books.

Some of mine are Shibumi by Trevanian, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows, The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman and anything by Desmond Bagley.

Won’t you share five of your favorites with me?

Peace be with you.

P.S.  I am a Yia Yia.  Vincent Anthony Muse arrived on the 1st of the month and the family are doing well. I will be heading out to Tucson his month to hold him.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Something interesting happened to me yesterday.   We had a new student in our Pilates class last Friday.  His name is Jeremy and he is a 33-year-old black man in training for some kind of martial arts thing.  He had asked me about my broken finger and I took the opportunity to bitch about my broken finger, eczema and the fact that I ran over a freshly painted yellow line on the highway.  I was unable to clean my truck of the yellow paint.
He told me that he would wash my car for $5.00.  We decided next Wednesday after Pilates, he would wash my truck.  “I’ll bring my stuff.’  He told me.

I got to the Pilates class yeserday and he didn’t show.  I was so sad but at the end of our class, in he walked.  I was elated and I know the other ladies in my class were happy to see him.

We made arrangements with Fitness Lifestyles to use their water and they loaned Jeremy a five-gallon bucket.  He had brought a sponge and a bottle of cleaner.

He got started and I went back into the gym to pottie.  I had my phone and a book but I had forgotten my reading glasses. I went out into the parking lot and sat on the book.  I pulled up some music on Pandora – Steely Dan.  I figured he wouldn’t mind a little soft jazz & blues.

We got to talking and I learned that he was a deeply religious person. While we talked he looked to the sky frequently and gave thanks.  He was very sweet and quite ripped for such a little guy.  During our conversation, he told me about his ambition in this martial arts thing.  I found out he was originally from Chicago but had lived in New York City for the past eight years.

It took him over an hour to get most of the yellow paint off the truck.  I commented on what a good worker he was and he told me, “if you are going to do something, do it the best you can.”  He also told me that he was going to clean my car as if he were cleaning his own.  He certainly did.

For those who don’t know me, I drive a 2003 Chevy S-10 pickup truck which my father left me when he passed away in 2006.  I have been pretty hard on it.  I have hauled dirt, compost, manure, rocks, weeds, and have loaned it twice to people who were moving.  It has had regular oil changes and maintenance as needed.  Just this year we had to put $1,000.00 into it.  But I love my Daddy’s truck and was heartbroken when I discovered the yellow paint.

Jeremy put in over two hours washing my truck.  He said he would come to my house and clean it too. “I’d knock that bitch out.” He told me and I sure believed him.  What a fantastic worker.  I had $36.00 in my change purse and I gave it to him. He jumped for joy and gave me a quick hug. 

He said, “Today I can pay my way.”

When I got in the truck I found two more dollars and gave him those too.  I almost invited him to lunch with me but didn’t think he’d want to.  I was also afraid he would want to buy and I wanted him to keep the money.

I believe the truth of the matter was that Jeremiah is homeless and has been for some time.  He has no family or friends.  From the things he told me I also believe he has been institutionalized before.  He is quite the fanatic.  He is also a lovely human being, and I believe the powers that be brought him to me to wash my truck so he could pay his way that day.

I am forever grateful for all my blessings and yesterday, Jeremiah was my blessing.

Photo is my Daddy, Don Marshall VanHoose

Peace be with you.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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One of my lovely readers said to me the other day, “You haven’t been blogging.”  I could have kissed her (and liked it).  I just love it when someone reads my blog.

Well this is what my life looks like these days.  About a month or so ago I broke my ring finger on my right hand.  I got a splint and wore it for two weeks when I got a case of Dyshidrotic eczema (interpretation – blisters from Hell).  I developed little pussie blisters all over the palms of my hands.  I had had this about a month before but they went away in a day or two.  Not this time.  I got them on my knee, between my toes and on my forearms.

I decided to go see my doctor who diagnosed my illness.  While looking at my feet she told me I not only had the blisters there but I also had toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.  Can I get an amen?  I ventured to the pharmacy and got my prescription and a tube of anti-fungal cream and a lovely little bottle with a toenail fungus photo on the box.

When I got home and washed my feet to apply all of the above, I read on the toenail box that “this product is not effective on nails.”  What the …?  Why would you put a photo of toenails with fungus on a package of shit that does not work on toenails.  I’m taking it back and demanding they take it off the shelf.

By the way I don’t have athlete’s foot.  My toes were inflamed with the eczema and after two days of use of the prescription cream for the eczema my feet were fine.

The day after I saw the doctor for the skin condition, I had to remove the splint on my broken finger.  The skin was worn away and I had quite a few blisters on that finger.  A week or so later I got the splint back on.  I am now, as I type, typing with one hand and a couple of fingers.  Another reason I haven’t been blogging.

And all of this time the garden has been exploding.  I have made 14 quarts and five pints of hot dilled beans,  two pints of tomato sauce, five quarts and seven pints of French sliced green beans, four quarts of tomatoes and have dried the dehydrator full of dill, basil and parsley.  And the garden is still full.

I made a pot of cabbage rolls but used kale for the leaves.  It was different but still delicious.  I need some kale recipes.  I bought and planted 4 plants and they have taken up about half the row, shading my jalapeƱos. I have only gotten a few peppers so far. I have trimmed away the shading leaves so hopefully they will start producing.

All this and I have had to keep up with the laundry, some housekeeping (dear god my house is a mess).  And I have smeared this eczema cream all over the place.  I’m sure the dog will never get eczema.  And my steering wheel is safe too.  Plus all the door knobs in the house.
The worst part of this thing is learning how to wipe my ass left handed! I am completely useless with my left hand.  Except for typing, thank goodness!

I also took three days and made it to my daughter’s baby shower in Tucson.  I was so embarrassed with my pussie hands.  (Note that I didn’t spell it pussy. What is the correct word for extremely pus-filled blisters?)

When I got home from Tucson the dog about ate me alive.  Dodging the blisters!  And the garden was covered in weeds and produce.  Weeding the garden one handed is not a fun Zen therapy.  I did manage to get it under control.  The milkweed is starting to produce seed pods and I should get rid of them soon.

I was in the garage yesterday cleaning the dirt off my potatoes to store them for winter.  I got almost ten pounds of potatoes. I had to pull onions to dry next. I think there are about five pounds of them.  And I got 13 heads of garlic.

So anyhow, I was listening to NPR while I worked in the garage and Ted Talks was on talking about time.  It was so very fascinating.  One guy said something to the fact that past and future are real but the present is just an illusion.  F…ing blew my mind!  Be Here Now is one of my all-time favorite books.  I try to be in the here and now but I keep thinking the now is already gone as I say it. Light bulb moment.

I am in the garage Zenning out cleaning the potatoes and I look down and the floor is so dirty.  I naturally get distracted and end up sweeping the garage floor.  If I could just stay focused on what I am doing I could get so much done.  I guess I write that way also.  The Digression Queen is my title.

I get back to the potatoes and realize that I should really put the stuff on the garage floor on the shelves so I can get that part of the floor swept.  I rummage on the shelves and actually throw away and recycle quite a few items.  I am so proud of myself.  I can be such a hoarder when it comes to saving junk I really don’t need.

I had a clay strawberry pot that I had never used.  I put it out on the curb hoping someone would pick it up.  (It’s still there!)  I also recycled several empty vinegar jugs that I had intended to use.  And I recycled several Chock Full of Nuts coffee cans I thought I might need.

I make toddy coffee and I pretty much always use CFON.  It is so delicious.  You put a pound of dry coffee into this plastic container and cover it with water.  Twenty-four hours later you drip the condensed through a filter and into a decanter.  I freeze the coffee in ice cube trays and when I want a cup of coffee I just add a cube to a cup of boiling water.  Ta da!

And so dear reader, I have had a month of Hades.  I decided to take a morning off today and do a couple of things I had been putting off.  Next, I have to vacuum up dog hair.  Emily is doing well, but god, she sheds like a freeking banshee.  (Do banshees really shred?  And what is a banshee?)  Take time out, look on Google.  (An Irish legend; a female spirit whose wailing warns of in impending death in the house.)  Holy guacamole!  I guess she sheds like a retriever.

Peace be with you. And blisters be gone from me.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The past while I have been working on a new garden project.  To the south of my fairy garden was a spot that wouldn’t grow grass and just became overloaded with white pine needles.  I decided to turn it into a garden area last fall and began working on it.

I had torn the bricks from my old herb garden and wanted to do something with them.  I stole them from the State Bank of Davis after it was built.  They had discarded a lot of unused bricks, some whole and some broken in half.  I took the whole bricks to the south west side of the house and made several planters out of them.

I have since filled the planters with Japanese iris, Blackberry Lilies, my transferred Japanese fern, a transplanted Bleeding Heart and I purchased a delphinium last week to go in also.

Two weeks ago, I laid down newspapers and covered them with weed barrier.  I hoped to kill most of the weeds that were still growing.  This week I got brown mulch and filled the garden bed.  Yesterday I purchased gold mulch and filled the pathways.  Ta da -- a new garden.

I have to finish spreading the gold mulch today in the upper flower bed.  And then, I have to put in some time weeding and getting rid of some irritating plants that are trying to take over.  Anyone out there looking for some daisies?  They must be thinned.

My hollyhocks are looking so beautiful in my flower garden, thank you very much Noeha Garard.

The dog is growing and is a happy camper.

Life is good.

Peace be with you.