Saturday, October 20, 2012

one more

Charles never seemed old, but he turned 91 last week. He referred to himself as Charles Lorenzo Eduardo -- although he was that rural Oregonian shade of white that could never believe we have a black president. He died just now, they tell me. He paced the hallowed halls, looking for his car, a can of paint, the army, all the misplaced parts of his life he just couldn't hang onto -- or let go of. What will I look for? Cling to? We are what we do. I am a sofa. I am a keyboard. I am wax and housework and a frying pan over a hot stove. I am the sidewalk in front of my house that takes me to coffee. It is pouring down rain, finally, in Portland. I'm heading upstairs to turn on my wax. Therapy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

out loud

Pansy is dying. I've lost 52 pounds to date. People look at me funny, like they want to say something but are afraid, at my advanced age, that I'm dying too, or that something has gone seriously wrong. I'm not. It hasn't. I feel really good -- just ask my knees. We, the body parts, are happy with each other and the brain right now. It feels something like the opposite of cognitive dissonance. It might be contentment. I wouldn't know. The war, while not over by a long shot, is momentarily at rest. The brain is finding fault, however, with the legs: too thin, the ass -- gone. the gut, still not perfect, although the belly button that was inserted by dear Dr. Young, my plastic surgeon of days gone by, is nice again and my tits are still here.

I've claimed to have lost 50 pounds in the past, but I don't think it was true. I'd meant to be telling the truth, but I think it was wishful speaking. Find something that weights fifty pounds. Right now. Now try to lift it. Go. I'll wait here...... Freaking heavy, right? I've lost that much weight. No wonder I was so tired all the time. For now, I see myself quite differently. But, pessimist that I am, it all feels pretty mercurial. Dreamlike. Temporary. I'm fifty-fucking-nine years old and I have at long last lost the post-baby fat from my 35 year old son. It is frightening to say out loud, but there, I've said it. Its in the blog so must be true.

I don't know what to wear. I've been a long time fan of Flax clothing, plain linen tent-like garments, expensive and expansive, elastic "waists" held up by invisible suspenders over layers of extra me. Now that there is less extra me, I'm not sure what my style is. I may like simple things. Still prefer black. Still want to be invisible. Thankfully, I lived and shopped in denial most of my adult life, so already had bin upon bin of small clothing that kind of fits what is left of me. But even those clothes are a bit baggy. I hope I'm not complaining. I have boxes and boxes of leftover clothes. I got rid of what I hope not to wear again, but I didn't get rid of all of it. There's too much and this isn't my first rodeo.

So if you read this and need some 1-2x clothes, I'm your gal. Think black and white and menopause beige.

Well, that's it for now. I had to write this post eventually. I was kind of holding my breath. I should take a bunch of pictures now before it goes away.

Friday, October 05, 2012

what's in a name

Hellen has one foot in the homeland. "Two L's." Hellen was a big round beloved woman, a preacher's wife who loved a good deal. Her daughters, each equally well-heeled, came in the evenings, their most recent bargain in hand: a pair of Nine West shoes for three dollars, a silk scarf embellished with roses, just fifty cents at a yard sale. They whirled into their mother's little room waving the treasure and announcing the price. Hellen would smile with crinkled eyes, nodding from the bottomless well of her heart with a sweet, "Hey girlie, where you been?"

Now she's not so round as she once was and her crinkled eyes are closed. There are no sweet words carried to her children on her eternally hopeful breath. She will be gone before daybreak.

There are too many to take her place. A crooked line forms just outside my door, and they bang with gnarled fists to come inside, in full-retreat from the darkness that envelops them and steals their thoughts, pushes them down and breaks their bones.

Recently, though, as Hellen and Edna and Elsie and Myrtle have passed, they are quickly replaced by Janice and Eileen and Barbara and Susan. I greet them with uneasy familiarity, these younger women with names like mine.

I marched in the Alzheimer's walk. The Walk to End Alzheimer's. It won't end, though. You know that, right? But we march and we raise money and we pretend there is hope. But there isn't. Not like that. What hope there is lives in the workers I train, and others like me, who teach the young ones to carry the sick on their backs to the end of their lives.What works is not Aricept or Exelon Patches. It is kindness and understanding, clean hands,strong backs and open hearts.

I raised some money for the Alzheimer's Association and my name was put into a drawing. I won first prize. I won a 50 inch plasma TV. Kurt says we can put it in the neighbor's house across the street and watch it from here. I've never really won anything before. Its too big for me.

Addendum: this morning Harriett is gone. I planted hundreds of spring bulbs today in her honor.