Category Archives: my mom

My Mom's Birthday

My mother’s birthday is today. When I went down to visit her and other members of the family in Charlotte, NC back in June, I was reminded of the fact that I am happy that she’s had the opportunity to get to know my daughter. This is particularly true since Lydia never got to meet my father, since he died almost four years before she was born. But it really is not adequate. Lydia knows her, and my sisters, for that matter, more from pictures than from personal relationships. Whereas my in-laws she sees with a fair frequency. At some fundamental level, I’m jealous of this fact.

My mother goes to an adult day care every weekday. I believe it has been tremendously helpful in engaging her mind, which is important at her vintage.

As I noted before, my mother, sister and niece were in a car crash a couple weeks ago. They’re OK physically. But the vehicle was totaled, and the amount of money they’ll get from the insurance will be inadequate to get as comparable used vehicle.

I was having a conversation with someone recently, and the question was whether either of us had been knocked unconscious. I had, twice. The second time was the car accident I was in when I was 19. The first was when I was pitching in a sandlot baseball game, when I was 10 or 11, and the batter, who was the older sister of one of my sister’s friends, hit the ball straight back to me, hitting me on or near my left temple. My mom stayed up with me all night, waking me up periodically to make sure that if I had a concussion, it didn’t lapse into something worse, which was the recommended treatment at the time. My parents may have called the doctor, but I’m almost positive we didn’t go to the doctor’s, but instead engaged in that course of treatment. I’m sure she did lots of other things that moms unselfishly do, but this is the strongest recollection that came to mind.

These pictures were taken in the Bojangles Coliseum parking; my niece Alex’s high school graduation was held at the center.



My sister Marcia informed sister Leslie and me last week that our mom’s been at the doctor’s office, addressing some of her health issues, such as weight loss and pains, which could be for lack of eating and NOT DRINKING WATER. Perhaps she’ll start taking those Boost-type drinks.

Yesterday, my mom was at the doctor’s office for several hours, getting an IV for her dehydration. Marcia was driving mom home when she tried to avoid something on the road, left from some road construction, and hit something else. This briefly propelled the car into the air. The landing initiated the deployment of the airbags, which forced my mother’s glasses into her face, cutting her, which made her scream, which unnerved Marcia.

Bottom line is that my mom went to the hospital to get checked out for a few hours, but did end up returning home. The vehicle, on the other hand, was towed and is probably totaled. Marcia notes it could have been worse.

and speaking of lack of water

Our office, indeed a bunch of offices, got e-mail notices recently that state contracts could no longer pay for water. Now, we’re not a state agency. Nevertheless, our water dispenser was carted off yesterday. When I saw someone wheeling one machine, I knew ours would be next, and alerted everyone to get as much water as possible.

Odd thing is that we still have three bottles of water, but no real way to consume them. I used to have messages pop up on my computer to get a glass of water four times a day; I have to shut those down, and find a new way to stay hydrated.

and speaking of my office

We have been in our present building for 4.4 years. Never have I seen so many ladybugs on the walls and windows outside our office as I did yesterday after none noticed a couple days earlier. THOUSANDS of them, yet very few around the rest of the building. What is going on?

and speaking of checking thing out

I ordered checks by phone for the first time in over a year and a half. $32 for 150 checks? Don’t know what they were before, but it wasn’t NEAR that much! It’ll prompt me to do more online transactions, though most of my bills are autopay already.

and speaking of the unexpected

I was riding my bike downtown a couple days ago when I saw a woman riding a Segway down Western avenue in Albany. I had actually never seen one up close before, only on television. We happened to catch the same red light, and I engaged the young woman who rides it in conversation.

Seems that she won the machine in June in a drawing, a total fluke. Now she rides it to work twice a week, rides her bicycle twice a week, and drives the car once a week.

I checked the Segway site, based in New Zealand, and found five dealers in the state of New York, on Long Island, Queens, western New York, Poughkeepsie (mid-Hudson) and Coeymans (around Albany).

A bus driver said that one will see the Segway more often because they were once not legal to ride on the streets but now are, traveling in the same stream of traffic as the bicycles. I didn’t independently verify that, but it seems right.

Mother's Day

My mom is a good woman. She’s not particularly flashy; whereas my father would dominate a room, my mom would work quietly in the background. If they were casting The Hare and the Tortoise, my father would be the Hare, running off in all directions , not necessarily along the designated path. My mother would plug along unobtrusively. And you know how that story turned out.

At my father’s funeral, my sister sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” to my mother on behalf of my father. No, my father never sang that, probably seldom said it. (And yes, it’s a treacly song, but one gets a pass when dealing with grief.)

There were lots of adults in my mother’s early life, including at least one uncle, one aunt, and a very domineering maternal grandmother. Then she married this multitalented singer-painter-bunch of other hyphenates. Perhaps this explains that at some level, she’s still finding herself.

I haven’t seen my mom in over a year, though we talk on the phone regularly, but I’ll see her next month, ironically around Father’s Day.

Happy Mother’s day, Mom.

Carol’s a good mom. Lydia and I almost certainly wouldn’t get out the door in time every weekday to catch the bus if not for her. While I dress the child, Carol does her hair and makes sure I have the right accouterments, whether it be blankets for nap time or her swimsuit. At night, she picks her up from daycare, makes us dinner, makes sure she has clean clothes. I usually give the medicines and get her into the pajamas, but Carol makes sure Lydia’s teeth are brushed and flossed before I read stories and sing songs. And on Thursday nights, when I have church choir rehearsal, Carol does all of the tasks above.

It’s not just the functions, though. Lydia feels safe and secure with her mommy, and that makes me very happy.

I’m sure Lydia has made something for her award-winning mom so she can wish her a Happy Mother’s Day as well.
Best wishes to Gordon’s mom re: her liver transplant. And to Gordon as well.
Jaquandor’s loving tribute to his late mother-in-law.


Mom's birthday

My mother turns 81 today. Happy birthday, mom.

We’ve established that she doesn’t want any more “stuff” for her birthday, or, for that matter, for Christmas. In fact, our present for her 80th birthday was the removal of a half ton of trash. Being four or five states away, that’s not always an option.

Generally, gifts now are consumable (food, postage stamps) or disposable (flowers, e.g.).

So this is what I wish for my mom: clarity. She seems…stuck. Without getting into it too much, she often talks, thinks and worries about people, places and things that she has NO control over. People who disappointed her from many years ago, in large part. I wish she could just let it go, maybe write letters to these deceased folk to rant at them.

Lest you ask, I don’t think this is a function of Alzheimer’s. She was checked for hat last year. The pattern of behavior long predates that.

One of my sisters, who lives with her, is at her wit’s end as to what to do. That I would talk about it this much expresses my own sense of helplessness in the situation. I’m open to suggestions. Perhaps it is that the children should just let it be.


Half A Ton

My mother really didn’t want anything for her 80th birthday. So we didn’t give her anything. Instead we took things away. My sister Leslie flew in from San Diego to Charlotte on Tuesday the 13th and I from Albany on Thursday the 15th. The mission: to get rid of stuff, specifically from the shed, which is the size of a small trailer home, that’s in the back yard.

Part of the task was to ascertain just what was there, so there was a lot of sorting of papers. But we were able to put all those canceled checks from 1983 in the “to be shredded” pile, and Avon catalogs for the last decade of the 20th century in the recycle pile, except for the back page stamped with Mom’s name and phone number, to the shred pile.

We also had to deal with a nasty little infestation of ants, hundreds of these large black insects eating away at everything in one corner of the structure.

We did keep photos and references to my father’s 39 (or more) businesses. And there were things we kept of sentimental value. But lots of stuff went, including, unfortunately, a box of FantaCo publications that had gone to mold.

All told 562 pounds went to the shredder. I’ve discovered that there are companies that will come to your house and for about $90 for the first 500 pounds, shred the stuff right there. Some of the companies even have cameras inside the vehicles where you can see the shredding take place. We opted to go with a company that was a member of the NAID®, the National Association for Information Destruction. This process beats the heck out of doing it yourself with some $30 shredder from Office Max, since the cuts are more precise, and the time savings is ENORMOUS.

Additionally, 14 Avon boxes of recycling went to the recycling place and 13 contractor bags went to the garbage. My sister Marcia held a garage sale for some other items, and while not much of it sold, not much of it returned either, since Leslie found some medical charity to pick up the unsold items after the event. Marcia also took a few things to Goodwill.

So, I think it is not a reach to think that we got rid of 1000 pounds of stuff before Leslie and I left a week ago Tuesday. And Mom’s happier with things going off her property than coming onto it.

If you’re tackling such a project, consider latex gloves; we occasionally used hospital masks as well, though not as often as we should have. Also, drink PLENTY of water to wash out whatever toxins you might come in contact with.

"The Place That God Forgot"

That’s the pet name that one of my best friends has for our old hometown of Binghamton, NY. I think it’s a bit harsh, but I do know where she’s coming from.

My sister Leslie flew from San Diego to Albany on August 10, and my mother from Charlotte, NC to Albany on August 12. One doesn’t fly into Binghamton from hardly anywhere; it cheaper to fly into Albany or Syracuse or New York City, then rent a car or take a bus.

Leslie, my mom and I drove down to Binghamton that weekend for my sister’s XXth high school reunion; my mom and I saw friends. I was hanging out with another one of my friends from grade school when three very drunk people approached us about going somewhere on foot at 7 pm; there just isn’t very much to do in downtown Binghamton most evenings, though there are pockets of improvements.

Binghamton is an odd place. Where I grew up in the 1960s, in the First Ward, the housing stock is much the same, and therefore deteriorating or vacant, mixed with these incongruous pockets of yuppie houses with Beemers in front.

But it’s my hometown. More specifically, it’s my mom’s hometown, and she gets joy visiting our old church, her old friends. We’ve done that trip three or four years n a row now. Binghamton’s only 150 miles from Albany, but it feels like a half a lifetime away; for my mom’s sake, it’s worth the trip.

Happy 80th birthday, Mom.