My Mental Scrapbook: Another moment with Grandma

Perhaps I should explain to you, at the outset, that I have a mental scrapbook. That I quite intentionally take snapshots of profound or poignant moments in time and file them away, hoarding them for later. The first time I did this was in Egypt, riding in a taxi through the City of the Dead while eating an apple; but that’s another story for another time.

Today’s snapshot is one that I just found myself describing in a comment on Me + Richard Armitage, Servetus’ exceptional blog. It is one of my last memories of time spent with my grandmother, and talks about the bitterness and the sweetness of such moments, and why I choose to construct my snapshots the way I do.

“I try to create mental snapshots, a kind of a scrapbook of good moments that I can go back to later. From my last days with my grandma, I remember having cookies and milk with her in her kitchen, holding her hand and trying not to feel the matchstick thinness of her bones, the soft sagging pouches of flesh hanging from those bones. I concentrated instead on the joy in her eyes, loving her so much in that moment that it actually truly hurt. I get a lot of comfort mileage from those memories now, especially as her husband, my step-grandfather, kept the mementoes that were supposed to come to us on her death. Well, he can keep the things. I have that joyous, sunlit moment in her kitchen; the taste of mint and chocolate in my mouth; and our cookie-crumb-filled, strong, trembling grip across the table.

The fact that later in the day, she wept and sobbed as I cleaned her in a private moment, from shame, from pain, from rage at her situation – I remember these things, and I can pull them out of my mental filing cabinet if I need them. But they are not in “the scrapbook”. They are part of the love and tenderness with which I remember her, but more from her bravery and ability to access joy in simple pleasures (sunshine, me, chocolate chip cookies) as she faced the indignities of age and infirmity, than from any pity or sorrow.”

Truth. I love you, grandma. You were strong, and you bore it as best you could. The fact that you were occasionally also a bit snippy to your caregivers, well, that happens. :} I’m sure I will be, in my turn. I wish you were here so I could paint your nails and rub cream into your arms and legs and talk to you about  things, although I don’t know what you’d think about my divorce… you always did have a soft spot for K, as he did for you. :}  Well. I miss you, anyway.

Sigh. Ok! Enough sadness! Moo (grandma) didn’t have a lot of patience with that. I think I’m going to go back to bed and dream of beautiful men.

It would be a vast improvement over an earlier dream, which was about making sushi with my brother. I had a knife, and a bunch of fish, and I had to do everything from cutting off the fish-heads to gutting them – it was disgusting. And because I had a peanut-butter-sandwich for lunch, I suspect, I ended up with a bunch of peanut-butter-sushi. Yuck. :p I would say that was a Bad Dream. Yessir.

Not the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in, but…

lol Well!! It’s a good thing this room is cheap, because palatial it ain’t. But!! I’ve stayed in worse. MUCH worse. The worst *ever* was on a high-school band trip: my friend and I got into our room and found what looked very much like a puddle of congealed blood on the floor. We just sat there and stared at it in horror until they moved us. UGH.

A close second would be the overnight hotel near JFK airport where there were hardcore porn channels interspersed freely with the regular channels – so it was “home repair show”, “meaty slapping flanks”, “90’s family sitcom”, “boom chikka wow wow”, “infomercial about closet storage”, etc – and you had to go out to the little bulletproof cage in the lobby to get the guy to “enable” the phone for you so you could order a pizza, because the only thing people usually used the phone for were 900 numbers. And it was sticky. EWWEWEWEW ewewwwwwwww. O.O  The bed was round and had a ceiling over it and the cover was… shall we say… inauspiciously spotty. We ordered a pizza and then I was afraid to eat it after touching the phone. lol We slept in our clothes after pushing the “duvet” off the bed with a stick and, the next morning, discovered that you had to step on, then jump off, the rickety toilet to get into the shower, because of how the glass shower door butted right up against the toilet. We just… didn’t.  😀

And, although I’m complaining, that was actually one of my favorite terrible hotels EVER. Worse than any hotel I ever stayed at in Egypt, or Morocco, or India, I think. This includes the aptly-named Moroccan “Casbah Asma” (asma really means beautiful or high-status, but all I could think of was asthma) where the sewer gas was so bad we could hardly sleep and I kept wheezing and gagging all night. Worse than the hotel in Morocco where there was a light switch behind the bed’s headboard, and if you moved the bed too sharply, you would turn the lights on and off. Get your minds out of the gutter; I had a cold, and I sneezed the lights on and off all night, and the bed was fastened down somehow, the bastards. lol Worse than the hotel in India with no lock on the door. Really. No lock. Just a string to tie the door shut. Worse than the horrible room in Tobago with the ear-molesting, gigantic mosquitos and the constantly-crowing rooster. About 4am, after he’d been crowing for 3 hrs straight, I had the most violent thoughts about that rooster that I think I’ve ever had about another living creature to date. But I digress.

So JFK hotel was really, really, REALLY bad, but it was only so bad because of my OCD. If I hadn’t been so horrified by the thought of sitting in a room literally splorked with… um… splork juice… I probably wouldn’t have thought it a bad room.

But as it was, it was completely outside my realm of experience. It was so NASTY!! It awed and amused me at once, while making me want to burn my clothes and get a complete round of vaccinations and antibiotics.

(cough) So. This one is much better than that. I’m not detecting Super Splorktasticity and the air conditioner is kind of working, we have travel size thingies of stuff (you can fill in the blanks there yourself, it’s like a mad-lib), and all I need are roommates!  😀

Teaching tomorrow, and a show. Happiness is!

Another Suitcase In Another Hall

Today I’m getting ready to drive to Indianapolis, IN for another dance workshop. I think this is the last of my traveling for a bit, and I’m looking forward to it.  :} Then I’m ready to be in my house for a while, to settle in, to unpack and continue shifting around the transient piles of flotsam and jetsam and figure out what’s staying with me and what’s moving on.

So. One more weekend. Another suitcase in another hall. Then back again, to continue making this “my home” instead of “our home”. A hard change, but a good one. And… I do love road trips. 😀

Last night’s dream

Last night’s dream, and it was a doozy. Stephen Colbert showed up as I was talking to a friend. He stood behind me and jabbed me in the neck with a needle. Then he injected my friend with something from a glowing vial and said, “There! Now my formula is complete!!” (There may have been a villainous laugh. Not certain)

I turned to him and asked, “did you just take blood from me for your formula?” And he said “Yes??” like that was a stupid question, and then took off running. He had a pipe clenched between his teeth, and he was wearing a silk robe, cotton boxer shorts, and a white cotton men’s undershirt (tank top cut, if you care). I chased him for a minute, and then caught his legs to tackle him. Looked up and said, “Dammit, Colbert, you have the perky flanks and buttocks of a Greek god!”

He looked back at me and one of his teeth twinkled as he said, “I know!”

Then I woke myself up, laughing.

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(PS: I cross-posted this on Facebook, for those of you who are also friends with me there – sorry about the double posting. But I thought this merited the rerun.)

(PPS: If you don’t know this about me, I am prone to randomly bizarre dreams. It has nothing to do with medications or food, it’s just mah brain. Due to recent sobering events, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a funny dream. About 6am, however, the curse was broken! 😀 Hooray and hallelujah. So here it is. Hope you enjoyed.)