serene: mailbox (Default)
My sister died yesterday, a few minutes after Munchkin The Elder left to pick up his father from the doctor. She died while being given CPR, which strikes me as a violent kind of way to go, but she had been unconscious for hours at the time, so I doubt she felt anything.

Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.

The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.

We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.

Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.

I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.

My sister

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:18 pm
serene: serene (ooh)
If you and I are close, you probably remember first hearing about my sister and being kind of surprised that my feelings for her range from deep apathy (almost all the time) to raging anger/hatred (during any of the crises in my family that she caused or precipitated over the years). Mostly, once the kids I helped raise were 18, she hasn't affected my life in any direct, practical way, but her fingers are in most of the shitty turns my family's lives have taken, for as long as I can remember.

She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.

I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.

Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.

Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.

Dec 6: Home

Dec. 6th, 2014 10:09 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
Lately, we are in a kind of limbo on the issue of home. I mean, we're living with our family, which means we have a home, but we're in their space, which means we don't always feel at home. Partly because of this, or perhaps mainly because of this, we go out driving a lot. If we lived someplace walkable, we'd probably be out walking a lot.


This morning, we got up, ate, got showered, and drove an hour or so to Julian, a local mountain town famous for its apples. They have an apple festival every year, and their apple pies are an iconic San Diego treat. We wandered their main street, checked out their antique shops and other stores, had kick-ass barbecue (the best smoked ribs either of us has ever eaten), and bought some pie and raw cider to take home. I also bought two Georgette Heyer books to take home, from a little bookshop with a chatty owner.

We got there at 10 to a very sleepy town. A little after noon, when we left, it was clear they were just beginning some kind of holiday street festival or something. We happily skedaddled out of there.

After that, James wanted to do some more antiquing, so we went to Ramona, another local town that has lots of little antique malls and shops. They were also having a holiday craft fair in their town hall, which was delightful. I bought TARDIS hair clips and we got some old-timey candy from the antique store. We talked and laughed and admired pretty women and held hands and discovered things.

And I was far away from the place I live, which itself is a temporary lodging.

And I was home.
serene: mailbox (Default)
Yesterday, we loaded the trailer. I kinda blew out my knee, but we got it loaded. Later, I'll show you the picture of all my worldly possessions. Anyway, we got it loaded and hitched to the car (silly to do it in that order, but we did) and hit the road.

It. Was. TERRIFYING. The car was of course a totally different beast. Horribly hard to accelerate, which I could deal with, but going downhill was one of the scariest things I've ever done, and they were pretty tame hills. And then the tire-pressure warning light went on.

Within twenty minutes, I knew two things:

1) I was not going to be able to drive my little car and the trailer for ten to twelve hours without having a panic attack or worse; and

2) There was no fucking way I was going to trust my car on the Grapevine pulling that load.

We were very near [personal profile] stonebender & [personal profile] loracs's place, so we pulled off the highway, went to their place, and regrouped.

I am grateful for my ability to whip out a credit card and pay U-Haul to come pick up all our stuff and deliver it to us in San Diego next week. I am grateful that I have family in whose guest house we could spend the night. And I am grateful that I was able to push past my fear of being seen as a failure and say Hey, I can't handle this.

We're planning to leave tonight, with just a car full of our essential stuff. My knee is out, so [personal profile] james_huber is out there doing the loading, speaking of things for me to be grateful about.

Here we go

Dec. 18th, 2011 08:48 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
Good, if unproductive weekend. Came home from work on Friday in a foul temper (I assume from relief at the end of both my own school quarter and our students' semester, which was especially hard for me this time around because I was finding people scribes for their finals. I think I just had a mini-meltdown from its being finally over), and it took me until yesterday morning to feel vaguely like myself again.

This week, I have to work Monday/Wednesday/Friday, but my boss is not here and my file clerk is, so I think I'll be able to get lots of work done. I hope so! It would be awesome to be able to greet my boss next month with the files in order; they've gotten so bad with all the work turmoil.

Got to go to Costco with [personal profile] wild_irises yesterday, which was fun, and have spent some time cooking and cleaning and exercising, but lots more time staring into space and playing computer games than usual. Which, of course, is okay. If my dad gets here on Saturday morning and my house is a wreck, hell, he lived with me for 14 years; it will not be news to him.

We are liking the Bowflex. It's easy to use and was fairly easy to put together. It takes up a HUGE amount of space, so it's good that we have a big living room and no sofa.

[profile] sogwife has to have surgery this week (I don't feel okay talking about the details; that's her story, but my story is...) and I'm worried for her, but also glad she's able to have it done. I wish I had the wherewithal to go up and hold her hand and stuff, but honestly, I'm standing


and the end of my rope is


My dad and stepmom will only be here for one day, the 24th -- they leave the morning of the 25th -- and then when they're gone, I have one week off from EVERYTHING: school, work, and obligations. I will be broke, but that's okay. I will be in my house, with my family, recovering. I can hold out for one week until that happens. Pretty sure. Probably.

The kid's grades come out on January 3rd, according to her school's website. I'm actually kind of glad I don't have to deal with that conversation until after Christmas and her birthday. I'm not feeling anxious about it, but I still don't think it'll be easy. Unless somehow I'm completely wrong and she didn't actually drop out of school without telling me. Again. I mean, there are people who manage to get good grades without going to class, right?


Oct. 10th, 2011 08:16 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
1) Look what [personal profile] stonebender and [personal profile] loracs got me! Isn't she great?

2) Still loving school. Teachers who put assignments up a week late and don't shift the deadline? Not so much.

3) Work is getting better because (a) I have an assistant; and (b) I'm forcing myself to leave work on time every day, which I think is actually making me more motivated to be productive during my work hours.

4) There's a person at work (we don't work together, but I see her most days) who looks a LOT like my dear friend [personal profile] hobbitbabe, and seeing her makes me happy.

5) My chosen family member [personal profile] wild_irises is going to be one of two Wiscon Guests of Honor in May, and while I wish I could go, I can't. So the family's taking Deb out to dinner tomorrow to celebrate. I love it that people I love are doing such cool things.

6) Speaking of that, [ profile] clever_doberman and my friend/co-worker Danny have a voice class recital tomorrow evening, and the family's going to continue on after the celebration dinner and go listen to our friends sing. Should be nice.

7) I've been on a total Korean-food kick. Check out what our dinners have been looking like lately (well, minus the writing; I added that for you. You can see a bigger photo by clicking on it, and you can look up the dishes if you're interested at my new favorite cooking site, -- only five of the dishes you see are filled with store-bought things (pickled garlic, gochujang [red pepper paste], Korean barbecue sauce [I can make it, but it was on super-cheap sale], pickled herring, and the seaweed); I made all the rest, mostly with the help of Maangchi's videos.



Apr. 9th, 2011 02:09 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
1) Probably sick. Fortunately, also off work for a few days.

2) [personal profile] maevele speaks for me.

3) Listening to an album start to finish. I don't do that much. Really enjoying it.

4) The boyfiend and the kid cleaned the house yesterday, so when I got home from a late and frustrating day at work, there was clean and peace to come home to. I love them a very huge lot.

5) I keep looking at my financial aid offer letter and shaking my head with disbelief. It's a lot of money, and a lot of help in making my long-awaited dream come true. I am in awe.

6) That said, I really really really am feeling impatient for April 29th to come, so that I can know where I'll be going to school!
serene: mailbox (Default)
I don't generally write long con reports, but I do like reading them, so please, those of you who went, let this serve as encouragement for you to post a better roundup than I'm about to post.

1) Seeing people I rarely see was lovely, even though I was too fragmented to do much about it. Also, for other people who don't consider yourselves fans and/or con-goers, I recommend FOGcon. I am neither a fan nor a con-goer, besides which I'm an introvert: still, I felt welcomed, interested, and part of the group the whole time I was there.

2) Outside of the con, the weekend began badly* (with a tsunami evacuation -- we live in a basement by the bay), and never really improved after that, so I think it's pretty awesome that I enjoyed the con as much as I did

3) Every panel I attended was filled with smart, articulate people who can disagree without being disagreeable. I loved the panels a lot.

4)in which I whine for a minute, but passive-aggressively put it behind a cut tag instead of politely keeping it to myself )

5) Next con, I don't just pay for my own room: I GET my own room.

6) Best consuite food ever, but still, I should really not try to live for two days on mostly consuite food.

7) However, because I did live for two days on mostly consuite food, in addition to two meals out with generous people, I spent $20 at the con, besides my room. That's pretty amazing, if you ask me. (That doesn't count my outlay for the kid's booth and prints and stuff; that's a loan, not an actual expense.)

8) My mom and I would have had a lot of fun doing this con together, if we hadn't been babysitting a couple other family members. Lesson learned.

9) BATHTUB!! I took hot baths two mornings in a row. Being submerged in water is my happy place. My next apartment MUST have a bathtub.

* For James: And inside of a con, it's too dark to read
serene: mailbox (Default)
Thank you, everyone. The day got much better as soon as my local family woke up. Several things made the day better as it went along:

The kid made me tea with milk and sugar and was sweet to me.

Both boyfriends were, as always, sweet to me. Sense a theme?

[personal profile] loracs was sweet to me.

Then [personal profile] james_huber and I took the kid to Best Buy, then the grocery store for Mom Food stuff, then home, in the Zipcar. Have I mentioned I love Zipcar?

Oh, and on the way to get the Zipcar? Dance flashmob!

Walked the 2 miles home from the Zipcar lot, bought a jacket and some burgers on the way, and just talked about how I wished I'd awakened everyone sooner to make me feel better.

And somewhere along the line, got a hint that I'm probably really hormonal today, which would help explain at least some of the crying.

And [personal profile] james_huber and [ profile] wtfpotatoes cleaned the kitchen! You have no idea how depressing it is to me when the house is a pit. It's still a pit, but at least the kitchen is lovely, so I can cook tomorrow!

Talked with the kid for a long time about how complicated her emotions about her mother are, but I interrupted too much, so I hope I get a chance to do it again soon, with more listening.

Now I'll sit and veg for a while and write a blog post or six.

How was YOUR day? Anything joyful happen to you, with you, because of you?


Apr. 8th, 2010 08:05 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
This week in Sereneland:

+ I got a raise. Sort of. (That is, I've been a 50% employee since I started; now I'm 60%, which means 20% more hours and 20% more pay, so yay!)
+ I splurged on lunch out, which won't happen again for quite a while, but it was nice.
--- Mom had a suspicious mammogram. Eek! Ultrasound tomorrow. (And mommy has a boyfriennnnd!)
----- [ profile] dbubley is back in the hospital. Boo, Hiss!!!
+ I've spent most of my spare time reading up on how to get out of debt and get ahead financially. Oh, and playing Clockwords (thanks, [personal profile] maize!)
+/- My house is a total fucking pit, but it's on its way to a better state. We've been pulling out boxes and boxes of stuff to give to [ profile] sogwife's yard sale.
-/+ Oh, did I mention [ profile] sogwife has to move? I'm sorry to see her lose her cute apartment and to be moving so far from her darling [ profile] someotherguy, but I think she and her dad will enjoy each other, and I hope she'll be in a position to make another, better change soon.

Anyway, crazy week, but I'm doing okay. Mostly brainless tonight, but my belly is full of bruschetta (baguettes, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt -- olives on the side. YUM.), and I'm about to do as little as I can before going to bed. Sounds like a plan, yes?
serene: serene (mustard field)
1) I am facing my finances without flinching, at long last, and it's less painful every day. My net worth is in the red right now by approximately $10k ($4k in student loans; a few thousand in medical bills from when I was uninsured; a few thousand in loans from family members -- I'll know more accurately when I've gathered up all those long-ignored medical bills and start answering the phone when creditors call -- but thankfully, no high-interest debt like credit cards or car payments); I hope to go into the black by this time next year. More later if I feel up for it, but that's my basic goal, and we'll see how it goes. It won't be easy, seeing as how I made around $16K this year (and mom sent me another $5K or so to help with child-rearing expenses), but I think it could be doable, especially if I pursue freelance work more diligently and/or get a raise, which is a possibility.

2) The kid has been playing the piano on and off for a couple hours. I love it.

3) Summer hit Berkeley yesterday. It's actually been hot here. I wish I could ship some of this to my friends who are still in winter.

4) Is it silly that the thing I'm most excited about re: the tax refund is that [ profile] someotherguy and I can get our dental work done?

5) Today is the birthday of both [ profile] sogwife and my baby brother. They're a year apart, and as different as two people can be, but I love them both. Tomorrow night is the traditional birthday corned-beef-and-cabbage dinner. :-)

6) My dad friended me on Facebook, and minutes later someone posted this, which I had to share, but I will confess to having paused for a minute before hitting send. :-)

7) The magazine lost $632 in 2009. That feels like a respectable first year to me. It puts the thing squarely where I said it was, which was "moderately expensive hobby". I know people who spend more than that on yarn and beads in a year, so I don't feel too bad about it. If I revive the magazine, and I hope I will be able to, I will have to be a LOT better about keeping records, though, and not just dumping receipts into a file drawer. Taxes took way too long this year. Normally, I've got them done by the first week of February.

8) And speaking of recordkeeping, I found an excellent piece of money-tracking software for linux called GnuCash, and I love it! I actually had to brush up on double-entry bookkeeping before using the software, but the documentation is so good that I was able to do that in an afternoon, and the software is very robust and does everything I need it to. Suck that,

9) Tomorrow is medical-stuff day: EKG, echocardiogram, and thyroid blood tests. I tell you, if I keel over, it won't be because doctors weren't trying to figure out how to keep me alive.

10) I really love our Farm Fresh To You CSA. I had to scale back on the size of the box (back to regular from one size bigger), but that's because I've been busy and not cooking as much. That'll probably change now that Disability Awareness Week and the taxes are over.
serene: mailbox (Default)
1) People in my family can just stop being sick now, kthxbye!

2) I didn't get it all done, but I'm impressed with the chunk I took out of my to-do list this weekend when I was feeling ever so sickly and irritable and weepy and stuff.

3) It's taking all my willpower not to spend money I can't afford to have food delivered, but I know once I get up off this chair and start cooking, I'll be perfectly happy with that.

4) I've pretty much decided to go ahead and take the beta blockers. I'm so grateful they exist, and so sad and angry that I need them. (No, this is not rational. No, I don't need to be reassured that it's okay, or convinced that it's not.)

5) I've never read Poppy Z. Brite before, but I'm enjoying Drawing Blood. I'm about 1/3 into it.

6) This is so fun (for Jonathan Coulton fans and/or music geeks):


Jan. 23rd, 2010 12:29 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
Take one week. Add driving rain and hail. Stir in the first week of college, a mom in the hospital, chest pains, lack of sleep, a death in my community at work, tragedies in Haiti, and a street closed off because of a shootout, and you get a really stressed Serene.


Mix in the love and support of a big family, the Best Job Ever, and the potential for a substantial tax refund, and things don't look quite as gloomy.

That's the short-and-sweet version; this is the detailed version, which you're forgiven if you don't feel like reading. The important parts first: Mom is fine. I am fine. The kid likes school. )
serene: mailbox (Default)
[ profile] sogwife and [ profile] loracs outdid themselves yesterday, I'll tell you. It wasn't a happy birthday -- it was a HIPPY birthday! I had a lovely, mellow time with my family, ate TONS of food, and got many lovely gifts, including a new logo for the magazine that I adore.

Are there pictures? Well, [ profile] loracs was there, wasn't she? :-) (Not pictured: [ profile] stonebender, [ profile] sogwife, [ profile] loracs, [ profile] wild_irises, and [ profile] dbubley, all of whom are perfect and gorgeous, as well you already know.)


Sep. 8th, 2009 05:53 pm
serene: mailbox (Default)
1) My adorable and crazy neighbor, [ profile] worthyadvisor, is swimming the Tiburon Mile THIS SUNDAY (!) for Hospice. Even if you can't donate -- or can only donate a tiny bit -- you have to see her donation page. The adorableness is massive. She's also auctioning off some awesome stuff to raise more donations.

2) I keep trying to say stuff about my increasing withdrawal into myself, and this hermitage of mine, but all that keeps coming out is "Yes, I still love you all. I wish I had it in me to see you. I just don't. Sorry."

3) The Best Job Ever continues to be fabulous. My mom continues to be sick. [personal profile] stonebender's dad continues to be very sick with leukemia. [ profile] dbubley continues to have cancer. Basically, what was good before is still good, and what sucked still sucks. I wish I could wave my magic wand and make it all better, I truly do.

4) This weekend was a tonic for me. Except to go for walks and shop for food, I didn't leave the house. I made vegan carrot cake and cooked dinners and cleaned and paid magazine bills and clipped coupons and zoned out in front of the computer and read The Graveyard Book and got some peace. It was really wonderful, and it reinforced for me that this whole hermitage thing is, for now, really working for me. I have a book club commitment this week, but no commitments otherwise, and that's a good thing.

5) On Monday, the kid starts her figure drawing class at Cal. I'm very excited about it. I think she is, too, when she's not mad at me.

6) A few weeks ago, I started eating a different way in order to be proactive about the side effects of my medication, and WOW! Hermitage or no hermitage, I have So. Much. Energy. I'm cooking and cleaning and going for walks. I'm getting maybe 5-6 hours of sleep, on average, and feeling great. And I almost never have joint pain or heart palpitations now. This may all be a coincidence, but I'll take it.
serene: mailbox (Default)
Nothing bad happened today, but still, I feel depleted and as though I had a rough day. I think it's a combination of the stormy weather, the relief of finally having the magazine stuff just about done (mailed the physical copies today, and just need to send out pdfs now) and some understandable still-recovering stuff, but wow, I'm wiped. Y'all won't mind if I just crawl up into a ball of brainlessness and do nothing for a while, huh? Knew you wouldn't.

I cancelled my social engagement for the evening (sorry, [ profile] bastette_joyce), and will cancel tomorrow if necessary (probably not, [ profile] wild_irises, but just a heads-up), because Friday morning, I'm flying to San Diego, and I need to be at my best in order to spend five days at mom's.

Okay, off to read LJ posts until, well, until I don't wanna any more.
serene: mailbox (Default)
So much happens and I don't write it down
and then it disappears

And then nothing happens and I have this urge to write it down
but it bores me silly

So I'm reading
and sometimes writing
but nothing important
and not the stuff about how I'm scared silly of being exhausted
or how my loved ones can't stay well
and how I'm terrified they will die

or how I feel guilty for feeling
so much day-to-day

serene: mailbox (Default)
The best kid ever: "I may not be the comforting type, but, like, this is my way of telling you it's all gonna be okay."

How fucking great is that? (By the way, that's me. Looks like me, doesn't it?)


Feb. 19th, 2009 09:20 pm
serene: fuck cancer (fuck cancer)
1) Got six cups of cashew milk, two cups of cashew pulp, and nine cups of tomato sauce into the freezer. Potatoes and garbanzos will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm wiped.

2) Talked to my boss, who must have said ten times, "If you're too tired to work, don't come to work. You need your rest. Take all the time you need," and the like. I'm very lucky. She even offered to drive me home if I did go to work and run out of energy.

3) I think I'm already experiencing some hypothyroidism. It makes sense, since I'm on the same thyroid dose as I was before, when I had a thyroid. But around 6pm these days (most of the time), I suddenly crash, and most days, I don't get energy again. I'll just try to look at it as practice, huh?

4) Mom is ill again. They gave her some serious pain meds today, and tomorrow, they're going to try another scope procedure. Getting an IV in her is next to impossible, so she's opting to swallow the scope *without* *anesthesia*. That poor thing! She's so tired of this, and who can blame her?

5) I got two wonderful artists to do work for the magazine! Lee Abuabara did a stunning illustration for L. J. Geoffrion's equally impressive story (if you know Lee's LJ name, please don't mention it here). Kathleen Flannigan is providing the cover painting. If you've never heard of Kathleen, do google her. She's been an artist for a very long time, and she's got a unique style that I love, though most photos don't do her pieces justice. She's a full-time student at Cal, and she studies art, gender, and disability. She also travels all over the country doing research on artists with disabilities. She's a fascinating person. [ profile] wild_irises, her next project is going to be about her (seventy-something-year-old) body. When I have a link, I'll send it to you in case you want it for Body Impolitic.
serene: mailbox (Default)
Yesterday, mostly for my benefit.

My visit with the surgeon, which I almost missed because of false economy )

Yet more bad health news for my family )

But I'm doing fine, maybe too fine (meaning maybe later I'll crash, but for now I feel genuinely fine), and I plan to spend some time today doing what I do when I'm stressed, which is cook for people. Miss [ profile] dbubley likes my cooking, so she's getting some real, non-hospital food this evening.

And then tomorrow, radio silence, as I pile [ profile] someotherguy and some food in the car, and head off for wherever, just the two of us, no cellphones, no nothin'.

(Oh, and we'll be picking up at least one guinea pig today. Oy.)


serene: mailbox (Default)

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