Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Same blog, different subject line. But i am coming back. I swear!

I got a call from Washington Education Association today (my former employer). My name came up to work the month of May at the headquarters office working in membership and on the database. I love database work. I said i would as long as i didn't need to be there right at 8:00 am because the I-5 commute is brutal. And after driving only a couple of miles to work, i'm not sure i'm ready for that headache if i have to go during rush hours.

And i have a few dates that are already filled that i don't want to change. So i might be going to work for a month. Or not.

I have no ideas for the blog right now, but wanted to move my sister's happy birthday tribute.

In the meantime, here is a photo from Vashon Island from last December i think.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bitch Coffee & Fast Car

Today is my sister Kelly’s birthday. She would have been 54 years old. Kelly committed suicide in 1995, three days after her 35th birthday. Her daughter Jessica was 15 years old. Her son, Christopher (who actually found her that morning in bed) was only 11.

Today there are Facebook posts about Kelly and photos too. Even her first husband Rick (the father of Jessica and Christopher) each year posts a tribute to Kelly. I like that about him a lot.

Jessica posted a sweet photo of her four-year-old self holding her brand new baby brother Christopher, with her mom sitting next to them. While I do complain about some sad stuff that is posted on Facebook, I always appreciate the remembrances. For some reason the Louvraks don’t talk about Kelly in person to each other, but we do on Facebook. I’m just glad we take the time to show we don’t forget her, because sometimes it seems like we have.

Even though Jessica is now the same age as her mom when she died I still call her Jessie-Belle, which was my pet name since she was a little girl.  She still calls me Aunt Joo which is how she pronounced my name when she first started talking. I love that. Jessica has an 11 year old daughter now and Christopher has an 8 month baby girl. 

I don’t feel sad anymore on Kelly's birthday as I used to. But I do feel sad every time I see Kelly's granddaughters, who are so sweet and beautiful.  

Sometimes I get mad at Kelly for missing this. But I try to remember what our brother Troy said when I asked him if he ever got mad. He replied, “How can you be mad at someone who was so sad?” (He knows something about sadness, since his own son committed suicide in 2009 at the age of 24.)

I am not wallowing when I tell you that I am playing Tracy Chapman on the Pandora radio right now as I write. Tracy Chapman, no matter what lyric she is singing, always reminds me of happier times with Kelly. (And many of her lyrics do speak to Kelly’s life.)

We discovered Tracy Chapman during the first summer of our two summer trips to San Diego.  The year was 1989 and Tracy was just getting to be hot stuff with those funky short dreadlocks. A bartender in Old Town introduced her to us. 

I still remember how hot that bartender was. What a beautiful face, with that rare combination of almost translucent blue eyes and very dark hair, which I loved because it was in contrast to all of the blonde surfer looking guys.

Kelly, who was single, had a crush on him (I did too, but I was married to the second ex-husband at the time).

The bar was only a walk away from our hotel so we stayed a long time. It was a slow night so the bartender spent time talking to us as we always chose to sit at the bar instead of a table whenever we went out.

At one point he asked what kind of music we liked and at the time I was really into Joan Armatrading. I forget if Kelly even mentioned an artist. While she liked music, she was never into it like the rest of the Louvraks, so maybe that’s why I forget. (Though I have to admit, it’s more likely I was dominating the conversation because I can be such an ass when asked for an opinion. She probably never got the chance to talk about her favorite.)

So responding to me, that blue eyed bartender told us to check out Tracy Chapman because she was similar to my pick of Joan Armatrading.

The next day we bought the cassette tape with "Fast Car" and never turned on the radio again for the rest of that trip. We just kept playing that tape of Tracy over and over and after a few days we knew almost all of the words to "Fast Car", our favorite song. We would sing along as loud as we could with the air conditioner on and windows rolled down as we drove the strand to Hotel del Coronado beach. 

(Months later when Tracy won the Grammy for Best New Artist I called Kelly on the phone and together we both watched on our TVs. I was almost in tears watching Tracy shyly accept her award. I was so proud, as if she were our friend.)

It was this same trip that Kelly bought the 4-cup Krups coffee maker in Horton Plaza and I bought the Osterizer blender for our drinks. After suffering through the weak-ass hotel coffee for two days it was Kelly, oddly enough, who insisted we needed to fix the problem. Normally she is extremely tolerant about these things. 

For the rest of that holiday each morning we made what came to be called “Bitch Coffee”. 

Kelly named it Bitch Coffee and said it in honor of me - she made a point of saying it was because it was boss, hard core and strong, and when I poured in my half and half, (she drank it black) the color perfectly matched our California tans.

When my second ex-husband picked us up at the airport he laughed at us when he saw our stuff from baggage claim. We had checked in the blender, the coffee pot and a beach umbrella along with our two suitcases. (I wonder can you still check that kind of baggage today?)

Six years later when Kelly died the family had to clean out her house, which looked like a hoarder lived there, just how you might expect someone who was so depressed might live. We divided up some of her belongings, those that were salvageable. The only item of hers that I chose for myself was that Krups coffee maker which was sitting on her kitchen counter.

I suppose I might have chosen a more personal item of Kelly’s to keep. But I wanted something to remember the good times. 

That vacation, was a couple of years away from the time she met her own second ex-husband. Kelly had always been fragile and struggled with depression since she was a young child. (Her first suicide attempt had been at the age of 8.) But during those two summer trips she was healthy, more focused on her children, and happier than I ever remembered. 

Two years later she met Kenny, who while not to blame for her sliding back into self-abuse, certainly made a few deposits into what I tagged as her ‘Bank of Angst’. He did that by keeping her away from the family.

For years I drank my 'Bitch Coffee' and every morning would think about Kelly.  Coffee was such a staple in her life. She drank it by the gallon, and as a career waitress, poured it for a living. That Krups pot was as sentimental to me as any valued heirloom. It’s been broken for quite a few years. I had a hard time throwing it out and kept it for a few years before doing so, even entertaining the idea of trying to find someone who might fix it. Damn that Krups pot, it made really good coffee.

I often think about how Kelly coined 'Bitch Coffee'. And every time I think about it I so wish it would have occurred to us both to have named that coffee in honor of Kelly instead.

Maybe she would be alive today. 

Jessie-Belle and daughter Mariana 2013

Christopher with his daughter Kendall (2 months old Oct. 2013)

Kendall. She has SO much hair. She was born with it. 

Mariana 2013. She is such a darling girl. 
That's me on the left  and Kelly on the right. 1989. We flagged down one of the lifeguard jeeps at the beach at Hotel del Coronado so we could take a photo . 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jesus Didn't Stop By & I Still Don't Know What to Blog About.

my feet posing with my tulips that Brian brought home the other day
I haven't been in blogger mode because i thought Jesus was coming to post on my blog for the Easter Holiday. But He didn't. (I think He has been too busy checking out all the Facebook posts about Himself on Easter.) I know i had a few friends posting about Him on Facebook this past week. And i hid them too. I didn't unfriend them, i just hid the post. I don't think Jesus appreciates being a topic on Facebook.

I like hiding stuff on Facebook. Especially, of course, the cat photos!

Anyway, thinking that Jesus was coming made me not plan anything to blog about because i figured when Jesus posts you have to keep it up there for a fair amount of time so folks can view it.

And i've got my hands full trying NOT to make every night a Friday night now that I'm retired so i try to keep busy by binge watching Breaking Bad, filing my mail, checking my Facebook page about 30 times a day, and ironing my husband's shirts. Yes, i told my husband i would iron his shirts because i hate how he does laundry. And i also, oddly enough, enjoy ironing for it's instant gratification of having done something. I like dusting for the same reason. Plus i just like order. Period.

I'll come up with something later. In the meantime. Talk about whatever is on your mind.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm UnFriending Russell Wilson on Facebook...AND...The Best TV Show Opening Credits ever.

You may have seen my post on Facebook. I love this opening for the HBO show True Detective. We watched the first season during the free Watchathon last weekend. I am not sure how they will top this season because Matt Mc & Woody Harrelson were amazing and each season features new detectives. I bought this song by The Handsome Family because i like it so much.

1. Here are louie's ideas for a blog post:

  • What you love and hate about Spring 
  • Where you least want to go over spring break
  • Oh, and I need ideas for Easter dinner for 12.

2. What i love about spring: ...that summer is not far away....that flowers are so pretty...
What i hate about spring: ...antihistamine...rain and more rain...that summer is still too far away.
Easter dinner ideas?....check out your new Pinterest account, louie! 

3. Regarding Matt McConaughy (i had to look that i up and i think i still got it wrong!):  I used to not like him so much and once made a comment here somewhere that he and Woody Harrelson were sort of interchangeable actors, but that the movie would be better with Harrelson. But i've changed my mind. I really liked him in Mud and now this. And i haven't even seen his movie Dallas Buyers Club yet. 

4. I looked it up and there is no apostrophe after Buyers in that movie title. 

5. Speaking of movies: I did not care for American Hustle and don't know what all the fuss was about. 

6. After watching Game of Thrones on the free HBO watchathon, i now know what all the fuss was about. I started to read the first book to see if i like them.

7. Peter Dinklage is my favorite character. 

8.  Friday was my last day of work. I was surprised by how difficult it was to walk out of the office and leave my key. I worked it all out so that i was the last to leave because i don't like goodbyes. I know that i will remain friends with two of my colleagues but not working will change things. I have always worked full-time since i was 17, though in the 40 years of working i did have lots of vacation time. 

9. I have lots of projects i need to do including:
  • learn to make DVD recordings (with music) of my photographs so i can keep them organized 
  • organize my files and bills
  • watch that DVD of my Nikon D90 and learn to use it even better than i do
  • consider organizing a game night with some of the women around my condo association
  • volunteer in the school library by my house
  • research Italy and learn some phrases and study up on the euro money system
  • Go to the YMCA Wed. and Sat. mornings with my sister in law, Marie
  • Be more positive about people
Part of my Notes to Self: Russell Wilson's one of many photos with sick kids in the hospital. This one is disturbing. 

Notes to Self:                                                     
Best Thing That Happened This Week: Besides retirement - 71 degrees yesterday! 
Word Count: 496
Sunset: 7:48 
Sunrise: 6:37
Temp hi/low: 71/46
Book: Game of Thrones and The Goldfinch (almost done)
In the News: Malaysia plane still not found; family rescued by Coast Guard because little baby got sick (seem irresponsible on the part of the parents to me to take a baby to sea on a trip like that); Oso Mudslide victims continue to be found two weeks later. David Letterman retiring next year.
High Bowling Game: 120
# of People I Quit on Facebook: 1 (but more to come!) I quit following Russell Wilson, our Seahawks Quarterback. He kept posting Bible scripture after scripture plus  photos of himself with sick kids in the hospital. I prefer Richard Sherman's vacation in California and birthday party with the family photos.