Friday, August 29, 2008

The Grandma Jean that I knew…

Sitting in her memorial service and going through her things made me realize how little I knew about my grandma. I didn’t know the woman who exchanged funny, flirty anniversary cards with her husband, was an excellent seamstress, and an impressive musician. To me she was always just my grandma, and the things that I’ll remember about her are much different:

• At Christmas and Easter, the notes that came from Santa or the Easter bunny were a squiggly version of her handwriting (obviously carefully disguised).

• At her house we would always eat peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread with carrot sticks and apple slices and fewer chips than either of us would have liked (eating crusts, especially on wheat bread, was slightly horrifying at the time).

• When she would babysit us, she would be the pitcher when we would play with the Snoopy baseball set. When it was too late to play outside, we would play Yahtzee.

• She could easily trade joking (or at least half joking) insults with my dad.
SIDENOTE: My only social skill - starting conversations with something sarcastic and inappropriate - came from my dad. So I’ll blame him for implying that my cousin was on drugs in front of the minister. But that’s another post for another time…

• We would try on my Mom’s wedding dress in the yellow room (my mom’s old room) where she kept all of her old formal dresses. We would sit at the vanity and look at ourselves in all the different lights on the makeup mirror.

• In her house she had a pink bathroom and always had Aquafresh toothpaste which was the best because it was stripe-y. She also had a plastic cuticle pusher that I thought was very cool even though I had no idea what it really did.

• She would pay us 10 cents for every acorn we picked up in her yard.

• She would let us play with Mom’s old dolls, Debby and Cathy

• She would let us drink out of the brightly colored aluminum cups that were in the “bar” in the basement.

• We would put on fabulous roller skating shows on her driveway.

• When we stayed at her house for long periods of time, we would get to watch As The World Turns with her.

• She always made sure that we were taken care of – fed, clean, clothed, and equipped with the resources to take up any opportunity that came our way.

• She was practical and strong. She loved us, and we loved her.

I wish any of this brought any sort of closure but I think I’ll always have to remind myself that she’s not in Lincoln welcoming a visit when we can break away from our busy lives.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Do they make a medication for this?

So normally I like to think of myself as a pretty logical person. Hopefully not like the clueless FBI agent/CIA agent/police officer/museum curator/professor in the movies that is always saying, “But this can’t be! I’m sure of it!” right before the alien/killer pandemic/ghost/prehistoric curse offs them (after all, I have seen all seven seasons of Buffy at least 4 times plus the first graphic novel). But in general, I think I’m fairly level-headed.

But my normally logical thinking completely breaks down with my belief in some weird karmic scorecard where the universe is constantly weighing everything I say or do and altering our lives because of it. And not in systematic ways, like if you try hard and think positively things will work out. No it’s like a guessing game of random events that I’m sure will determine our fate.

Take for instance, the potential of Steve working here on campus. Everything I say about it, think about it, and even completely non-related events affect, in my mind, the chances of this happening. If I mention it too many times, then we want it too badly and the universe will teach us a lesson. If I don’t mention it enough, then we don’t want it badly enough and it will go to someone else who wanted it the proper amount. Since Becca got her job in Flagstaff, maybe that means that the universe will be balanced by Steve not getting his. Maybe me running into another advisor he would work with is a positive sign, or maybe the fact that I didn’t ride my bike to work enough this week will result in punishment.

Flying is another one that gets me. If I don’t worry at all about flying will the universe try to be ironic and make that the time the plane goes down? Or if I worry too much will I project negative mojo on the plane and make it worse than if I were thinking positively? How can I possibly keep the perfect balance of positive and negative thoughts that are obviously the only thing keeping the plane in the air?

After reading this post, my mom will be thinking that I need more to do. It’s probably true.

But whatever your idea of positive thinking, praying, altering karma, could you please try to do it for Steve to get the job here? Maybe your system will work better than mine.

(Too bad this blog post will do no good since my hope that Steve gets his job is semi-selfish and the universe only rewards completely altruistic thought. Foiled me again, universe!)