September 23rd, 2006

pink doily

(no subject)

This time of the year, I miss my mother so much it hurts, she died in September, her birthday is October, my grandmother died in November (yeah, 2 months after my mom. It was a HARD year), and then the holidays.
From past experience, I tend to handle it one of two ways, the first one is very self destructive. The second one is to give. Get busy, update my webpages, make things, and help out strangers.
So tomorrow, I'm going out, and buying a whole mess of makeup for the local women's shelter. Like I said, I *won't* donate money to them. It's awful to say that, but there are a lot of places that need it so much more, and they are the first place a lot of people think of, but makeup? While they get shampoo and razors and that sort of thing, who thinks of lipstick? And sometimes feeling pretty makes people feel so much better.

Then I need to nag Mike to build me that triangle loom he promised me. Because the other thing I tend to do when I miss my mom a lot is to make shawls. With a triangle loom, I can get them done a lot quicker,with a lot less yarn, and get the urge out of my system.

My mother was an amazing lady. She came up to Alaska as a Vista volunteer to teach in the villages. She was a fairly sheltered girl from a white upper middleclass family in California, who really believed in the Age of Aquarius. It wasn't ever just lip service with her. During Watts, she was in the basement of a church bandaging up people, she marched and made signs and phone calls all through my childhood. One of the pictures of me that was in the newspaper was because she had me holding a Rainbow Coalition sign at a political rally. She didn't believe Rev. Jackson could win, actually she KNEW it, but she got appointed caucus leader, and wanted HER caucus to make a stand that said yes, America was ready, and she wasn't a fool, she knew a kid holding a sign had a good chance of making the local evening news. I remember stuffing mushrooms for a Stop the Mushroom event that she helped organise during the Reagan years.
It was an amazing way to grow up. She had all these huge floor pillows and would invite people over for fondue parties, and they would burn incense and cook meat in pots of boiling oil, and talk about all sorts of things kids usually don't get to hear. She also would go to fancy dress dinners and talk about the same things.
She had this very unique look. Sort of urban gypsy. Long paisley or denim skirts, colorful silk shirts, and blazers and GORGEOUS shawls, and her clogs and jewelry. She wore gorgeous big artsy pieces of jewelry, bought or given to her by local artists when I was younger, and when I started beaded, pieces I designed with her. She drove a 2 ton pick up in 4 inch heeled clogs, and her eyes were so light they reflected whatever colors were around her, so it seemed like they were constantly changing.
And she BELIEVED in peace. In a very real way. She was an honest pacifist. Not the sort that there are so many of who believe in it until they are themselves threatened, but as a core thing she believed in turning the other cheek and remaining standing.
She kept a picture of Mother Theresa, a habit which I've kept. The idea being, that when it feels like it's too much, to look at her, and to know that one person did all she did, and you can always do a little more.
That was my mom. I mean, don't get me wrong, she had her faults, but for most part, she made life magical just by being.
One of those mental movies I have of her was in the last year she was alive. She pulled this karoke machine someone gave her to use a tape player out to the front of her house, and I put on something, some music she liked. She didn't get along with her neighbor very well, and said happily "She won't complain while Mike's here, she's afraid of him" and danced in her barefeet which were always so dirty from walking barefoot everywhere she could and a pair of jeans that had been too long but were frayed to the right length from being dragged around by her barefeet and a teeshirt. She danced like she had been taught in the villages she taught in. Shuffling her feet and moving her arms, and she laughed like a child full of happiness and feeling good about dancing and not being worried her neighbor who was always hungover would complain.
She was the person who could be so very old and caring one moment, and an utter innocent and make me feel ancient the next, but happy for how her innocence had endured.
Here's something a lot of people don't know, the original reason I put up my webpage, and why I remember when so clearly, was so I could post pictures of my children while she was in California helping out my grandmother. That was the year she died. A lot of what's in my page was created in memory of her. The first ribbon I ever won for beadwork was directly because of her. I entered the state fair because I knew it would make her happy. One of the last times I talked to her was to tell her I'd won, I didn't get the chance to pick up the ribbon myself because she died before the fair was over,and I went to California the day she died.
She believed in me. Sometimes I think that's what I miss most of all. Having someone who was passionately interested in everything I did, crochet, beading, books I was reading, the music I listened to. Someone who could make believe it mattered, because sometimes I wonder. I wonder if posting my little ideas to the web makes a difference in anyone's life, or if it's just ego. I want it to matter, but sometimes it would help a lot to have my mom beside me being proud of me. Even though I didn't take her path of social activism.
Sometimes I wish so much I could be more like her, and shower joy on people. That when I'm gone, someone will remember me laughing and dancing.
So here's to my mother, and lessons that endure, and with all the thanks in the world for teaching me what really matter, so I don't think success is money or things, but success is measured in happiness and joy.
I miss you Mom.


My mother couldn't crochet. She wanted to learn so much, and I remember her struggling with the hook and my books *trying* to figure it out, and trying to teach her, but for whatever reason, she NEVER got it. She build coffee tables, made gorgeous clothes for me, and did needlepoint.

One of her favorite things to stitch was a saying from Eleanor Powell.
What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.
I'm not sure if it was a pattern she made up, or one she had, then modified to fit the sizes she did it in, so I can't really make a pattern off her original, but I downloaded some freeware crossstitch programs recently, and I think I'll make a pattern for cross stitch.
pink duck


1) Don't go out shopping with Kim before you've eaten or drank coffee
2) Cafe Del Mundo by Fred Meyers (The lower Hillside location) makes their espresso entirely too weak. Yech. Neither of us could drink our coffee
3)I can hit JoAnns and Burlington and come out with 3 bags total in the time it takes her to find one dress. Plan accordingly
4)For some reason, pigtails or braids, a light colored shirt, and my Chucks will ALWAYS garner a "Gosh, you look so you cute" from Kim. There is something vaguely disturbing about being told I look cute by someone who comes up to my chin.

And actually my hair is one braid down my back.

So my local JoAnns had clothes pins for 50¢ a pack, so I've got to pick up more magnets, and find the ones I have, but the kids are going to paint/decorate them and Gorilla glue the magnets to the back to make magnets. Emily picked herself out some open stock paper, she doesn't scrapbook, but cool paper for 25¢ a sheet always get used for something. They also had some blank picture frames clearance priced for 50¢ each so I grabbed a couple for the kids to decorate for Dad.
At the clothing store, we got jammies and a couple skirts for Emily. She was unenthused. She's got a new book and wanted to be reading that. Kim wandered off while I was checking out at JoAnns, so I wandered through the store saying "Kids! Emily, Kimberly, it's time to go!"
Kim was very unamused. *grins* But it serves her right. EMILY is 2 inches taller then her. And she called me cute.