daidoji_gisei: "Because I'm worth it" (L'oreal)
There is a truism floating around that women are fated to grow up to be like their mothers. This has always worried me, because though I love my mother I very much do not want to be the type of person she is. For one thing, her habit of having the TV on all the time drives me clean up the wall. For another, that she has reduced her life to the point where it almost entirely consists of sitting in front of the TV doing counted cross-stitch terrifies me.

So on Christmas Day I was there at my mom's house and, as usual, she had the TV playing. I can tolerate commercial TV with its loud, ever-present commercials filled with disturbing assumptions about who I am and what my desires are for about 20 minutes, and so I had retreated to the kitchen. I had my laptop set up there, so I could plug the headphones in and sulk in dignified isolation without exactly imitating my 15-year-old-self's habit of hiding in my bedroom. (I didn't like TV then either. That eighth-grade English unit where we studied commercials while reading Animal Farm changed my life forever.)

There I was, putting ink down on Judgement Night and watching the cut scenes from Devil May Cry 4, when my mom wanders into the kitchen. "Hey, he's cute!" she says, pointing at the ever-delectable Nero. "What's his name?"

"Nero," I respond, on autopilot. "He's, ah, kind of a cousin to this guy--" I point to Dante, who is now on screen. "They are trying to save the world."

"Well good for them," my mom announces, and wanders back out of the kitchen.

Off all possible sources of my fascination with pretty, white-haired heroes, I inherited it from my mother is, without question, the most disturbing.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
I went to Omaha for Easter to visit my mom. I was conflicted over this before I went, and am still conflicted over it now. I went down Saturday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon so with the car rental and gas and all I spent over a hundred dollars to spend 24 hours with my mom and her TV.

I had decided to go due to a sense of--guilt? filial piety? sense of impending mortality? I can't find a phrase for it. Basically, I have begun to notice that when the news reports the death of some famous person, that person is around my parents' age. I find this very disturbing. I have trouble thinking of my parents as being old, and even more trouble thinking about them dying. So I decided that maybe I should make more of an effort to spend holidays with my mom.

The problem with this is, visits with my mom are not very fulfilling because we are not well-connected. I'm not saying we fight, far from it--it's just really hard to have a conversation with her. We just don't seem to overlap in a lot of places. And then there is the TV, which my mom has on All The Time. I am not a TV watcher, and every time I visit my mom I am reminded why. Commercials are loud, stupid, and ever-present. And I am not going to go into sitcoms; I don't have the energy to drag up that much invective. So my visits turn into me trying to find things I can do in the living room, so that I am at least in the same room with my mom, suffering through the Really Loud TV. Yeah.

My mom was happy to see me, however. I have difficulty understanding why, given how little we talked, but whatever. After our lunch on Sunday we went to the Cathedral of St Cecilia, which has an exhibition of an exact duplicate copy of Michaelangelo's Pieta. (I just know I messed up the spelling there. Just roll with it.) It is a pretty amazing sculpture, so I was very glad Mom had suggested it.

So there it is. I am not sure when I'll visit mom next, though it is remotely possible that I could drop in on her when going home from the Sioux City Kotei. Since this would coincide with Mother's Day I am feeling strongly pressured. On the other hand I am feeling a little whiney and put-upon by this--if Mom and Dad thought visiting your parents was so important, why didn't we visit Grandma and Grandpa more often? Yeah, they lived a few hours away but they didn't even make regular phone calls. I hate it when my brain splits like this; it makes it so hard to decide what to do.


Oct. 1st, 2007 07:41 am
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Today is October 1, a day with many meanings. For one thing, it is my mother's birthday, and I am glorying in the knowledge that this year I managed to get a birthday card in the mail on time. I try to be a dutiful daughter, but dutiful /= organized.

It's also the feast of St Terese of the Child Jesus, the saint who's name I chose as my confirmation name as a child. In spite of the best efforts of my CCD teacher and the priest who prepared my class, I chose "Teresa" because I liked the name and then found a saint to match. In my adulthood I realized that Divine Providence had been at work in my choice of Teresas: St Terese's "Little Way" revolves around approaching all interactions with one's fellow humans filled with love for them, and "love of my fellow humans" has always been a weak area for me. I'd kind of like to get to a mass today, in honor of the feast, but I'm not sure how that will work out. But there's a church only a few blocks from work, so if they have a noon mass maybe I could slip out to that.

Meanwhile, work today will be oh-so-fun (not), because it is Inventory Day. I can't stand doing inventory. This is somewhat mysterious, because even when I am working alone it only takes me an hour or so to do my department, and if I have one of my minions count the retail stuff it takes me even less time. Nevertheless, it annoys me considerably. I suppose it's even worse for our bookkeeping staff, who are then required to decrypt my handwriting afterwards.

Today will also be the day I restart my strength-training program. I'll do upper-body stuff today, and lower-body tomorrow, and so on through the week until Sunday when I give my muscles a rest. Last Saturday I took ALL of my aluminum cans that I was hording in the basement to the recyclers and used the money to buy some 3# and 5# dumbbells. I'm going to use the 3# for things that I know I already have some decent muscle tone from baking (dumbbell press, curls, triceps extension) and my 1# and 2# for muscles I'm not sure of. I looked at ankle weights, but I decided to hold off until I could do all the leg stuff with perfect form without weight.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
So, I've had my mom living with me for just over a month now. I vary between being ok with this and being so frustrated I want to throw something. Yesterday was fairly serene, though. She seemed to be reaching the end of the military history parts of my personal library (I am both amused and weirded out that she went for that first), so I dug out my copy of The Phoenix Guard and convinced her to try it. She's gotten to chapter 11 and seems to enjoy it.

It has gotten very, very cold here, and so last night before she went to bed Mom took one of the blankets off of the bed and insisted that I use it, since I'm sleeping on the floor. This meant that while temp-wise it was the coldest night so far, I was the warmest I've been in several weeks. I enjoyed it, but I'll have to make sure that she wasn't too cold. I'm glad that I had the sense to insist that we grab some of her blankets from the house when I picked her up, otherwise I'd never have enough for us both.

I considered taking the bus this morning, but decided I'd rather deal with having to warm up the car than stand in the wind waiting for the bus. I am, of course, making the hopeful assumption that my car will start up.

This morning NPR's national new broadcast talked about Beckett, an old movie about Thomas Beckett and King Henry that has been re-released for the theaters. I'm not a big movie fan but this is an interesting story so I'm hoping that it gets to Lincoln.

This last temptation, the greatest treason:
to do the right thing, but for the wrong reason
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Today's little dose of family drama involved my uncle calling me long-distance at work to ask why I hadn't solved all of my mom's problems for her. OK, so that's not exactly what he said, but that's the message I was left with. I was extremely vexed by this conversation. My mother is an adult with what appears to be a sound mind. She lives in a different city than I do. I know nothing at all about furnace repair and can do nothing to hurry along the repair of hers. Dad is handling the furnace repair and Mom has his number and he lives in the same city as her. SO WHY IS EVERYONE CALLING ME? Vexed. Extremely.

I was telling Margo-sama (our assistant general manager) how much I dreaded going home and getting more phone calls on the topic. She suggested not answering the phone. It would work as a short-term solution, but I'm not sure I could hear Mom's or the friend's voice on the answering machine and not pick up. At the moment I'm online which ties the phone line up nicely but I'm of two minds about whether I want to stay online just to tie up the phone. I generally try to behave in a virtuous manner, but it's unclear to me what the virtuous course of action is. Solving my mom's problems for her (assuming that's even possible for me at this moment) would make her happy, but I'm wondering if she might be better off being forced to take a more active role in her well-being. Or maybe I'm being selfish and lazy. I don't feel lazy, especially as I'm staring down a deadline that my relatives are not helping me reach, but you never know.

In brighter news, the Bakery's rolled oats showed up on the supply truck Monday so we will have no granola bar shortage this week. Our distributer may never know how lucky they were. Earlier that day I had proposed to the purchaser that if they out-of-stocked us again we should seize the semi and send a note back to the distributer: "If you want your truck back, send us 300 pounds of regular rolled oats in small unmarked bags." The purchaser really, really liked that idea. I have the feeling that our general manager would have nixed the plan, but that's how it goes.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
When I rode the bus home tonight I thought that the worse thing I had to deal with right now was the fact that our supplier had out-of-stocked us on rolled oats two orders in a row. (This may not sound like a crisis to you, but when you run a natural foods bakery it is. Trust me.) On the bright side my general manager had approved my proposal for increasing the Bakery's labor hours (Thanksgiving, you know) and I had some nice tilapia fillets to experiment with for dinner.

When I got home my answering machine was flashing so I hit play, expecting to get someone trying to sell me satelite tv or some political ads. The first message was from a friend of mine who has become good friends with my mom in recent years. She was calling to let me know that the furnace in my mom's house had gone out and that Mom was going to be staying with her that night. The second was from my mom, asking me to call her. There's too much of my life backstory for me to explain why these calls gave me immediate feelings of doom, but they did and I don't think I was wholly irrational on this.

I immediatly called the friend and got a busy signal. Hung up, waited 30 seconds, hit redial. Busy signal. Hung up and redialed carefully in case I had misdialled the first time. Busy signal. Gave up calling her for the moment and called my dad. Dad was home. Yes, he knew about the furnace. Yes, he had made arrangements to have the furnaced fixed but it was going to take a few days so Mom would have to find someplace to stay during that time.

Feeling a little better after talking to Dad I called the friend again. This time I got through and we had a conversation that made me feel worse again. Mom had called her up around noon semi-hysterical about her furnace. Neither of us could figure out what she was so upset about. It's not even that cold out yet--I haven't even turned my heat on--so even if she had no friends to stay with it wasn't like she was in danger. And if she wanted to have hysterics with someone, why not call me up? She has my work number and she's called me before.

I finished my conversation with friend, called up my mom and had a conversation that worried me even more because all my mom wanted to tell me was that she would be staying at friend's for a few days and she didn't want me to be worried if I called the house and didn't get an answer. She didn't volunteer any information about when the furnace had gone out or why she hadn't called me before or anything. Looking back on this it occurs to me that I should have asked, but in my family no one tells anyone about anything and 40 years of habit are hard to break.

After I got off the phone I cooked myself dinner. I didn't feel especially hungry at that point but it's a shame to waste good fish and I knew I needed to eat anyway. I no longer felt like experimenting so I just rubbed in some garum masala, coated it in flour and fried it. It wasn't fabulous (needed lemon juice, but I didn't care enough to get up and get some) but it was good enough I had seconds. Afterwards I felt a little better. Then I typed up all this and felt, not better, but calmer. I will, I think, be able to get some L5R work done before I finally go to bed.

But still I'm worried. I'm worried that there will be some unexpected problem in the basement that will delay putting the furnace in. I worry about the expenses this is creating for my dad. I worry about Mom overstaying her welcome. I worry about her inexplicable reaction to the furnace failure.

But most of all, I think, I worry about the fact that women grow up to be their mothers.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
Yesterday was taken up with my day-trip to Omaha. The occasion was my mom's first annual check-up with her oncologist. Last July, after the end of her radiation treatments (which came after her mastectomy, which came after her chemotherapy) he had pronounced her to be cancer-free. For now. A cancer patient isn't really considered cured until five cancer-free years have passed. And even then, you never know.

My mom and I showed up at ten for the blood draw, and then waited around for the hour and a half until her doctor's appointment. He was a little late, but we didn't fret. As my mom pointed out, what if he was seeing a patient who was really dying? Eventually he showed up and told us the blood tests looked great. He examined her carefully, asked some questions, complemented her manicure, praised her for starting to take walks every day, and said that she appeared to be still cancer free. My mom and I took this news with laudable calm, but as soon as he left the room she got off the examining table and we gave each other a big hug. One year down, four to go.


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