I Wish I’d Written My Grandmother’s Obituary.

I could have done it without

a) sentence fragments
b) run-on sentences
c) comma splices
d) passive voice
e) sloppy wording
f) capitalization errors.

Also, I would have included E and Carol in with the grandchildren and spouses. But they don’t exist, because Bo and I haven’t married them. Obviously.

Goodbye to my Grandmother.

She died today.

I am so very glad I went to visit her on Saturday. Alzheimer’s had waged its long, slow obliteration through her brain, leaving nothing but the basic components: breathing, and a desire to Keep The Conversation Going. Grandma was a Lady, and that’s what one does.

There was almost nothing left of the active, vibrant, mischievous woman I grew up with. She was dull-eyed and had a wracking cough, but didn’t have the strength to cough out beyond the top third of her lungs. She drifted in and out of sleep as I chatted with Janet, a woman who is kind of an honorary aunt to me. When my grandmother’s eyes were open, she would mumble a little, say a few intelligible words. Janet left and I stayed a while, holding my grandmother’s hand and thinking nothing in particular. I held the straw while she drank some Boost. She was thirsty. Afterwards, I mopped a little from around her mouth.

When it was time for me to go, I smoothed her hair and kissed her paper-thin, wrinkled temple. “I love you, Grandma.”

Just for a moment, it seemed like colour flooded back to her faded blue eyes, and I saw the love and happiness of a grandmother looking at her granddaughter, looking back at me. For one second, less than one second, she came back to see me.

And now she’s gone.

Saturday Confessions.

Uh, hi. I forgot yesterday was Friday. More to the point, I was preternaturally aware that it was Friday, so focused on the fact, that I forgot to post a Friday Confessions.

I was waiting for E to call and tell me either he had succeeded at stage-managing at Pemberton, or that he was going to jump from the girders, and I’d have to talk him down.

At ten thirty, I got a call from a triumphant E. Everything went well, no one died, exploded, or was out of tune. He did almost kick Bob Rock off the stage (BR was watching), but didn’t, so avoided a major gaffe.

My confession: I miss him. A lot.

Anyone else late with a confession?


So I was having some lunch with my dad today, and we got to talking about E’s parents, who are coming sometime this summer, but they don’t really know when because they don’t actually, you know, make decisions. Anyway, he winced in a sympathetic way and said, “Get a real job!” in prissy tones meant to imitate E’s parents.

I laughed. “I know. He makes more now than his dad ever did as a high school librarian! And I think they must be completely baffled by me, not corralling him into a mortgage, a Camry, a wedding ring, and a desk job! I think they think I’m SLOW or something!”

I paused and then I went for it. “I hope you’re not disappointed in us.” The subtext of this, within the confines of my father’s and my relationship, is really more like I desperately want your approval and I’m so scared I’m screwing up on your scale of things and I really love you and want you to be happy with the fact that I have built a happy life for myself.

“No,” my father answered. “Not disappointed in you.” He smiled slightly. “But I do get annoyed that I’m not going to have any grandchildren.”

And then I told him about my godchildren, and their siblings, my friends’ children I love and am so proud of, because it kept me from saying, ‘Thanks for staying the hell out of my reproductive choices!”

But now I have been thinking about our father-daughter subtext, and I wonder what he was really telling me. If he was.

Why We Should Teach Macbeth To Nine-year-olds.

They love the gore. Here’s an excerpt from the poem written by my student, modeled after the witches’ ‘recipe’.

‘A bloody skeleton from a bloody tomb,
Some yellow slugs from a woman’s womb.
These will be sweetened with some shark’s eyes,
But just a little pinch, or your soup will be a pie.
Don’t forget to put in a dog’s leg,
Or else your soup will taste like an egg.
A little bit of boiled brains will be good,
It’s better than you being food.
Sure enough, you can put in bloody mummies,
If you’re so sure not to think of Gummies.
The lastest ingredient is dirty old fingernails
But beware because you might get a sore toenail.’

Pretty good, huh?


E has finally gone to set up the Pemberton Festival. (Intruders, thieves and brigands take note: This house is protected by Guard Gnomes, so don’t even think of trying anything, wise guys.) Anyway, in a flurry of packing and panicking and sniping and laundry-doing and whatnot, there he was, rushing out the door like an addled tornado, and now he’s gone for ten days. I hope it’s not too bad. He packed a lot of creature comforts.

Things E Packed for Pemberton:

Toiletries (including body wash so he didn’t have to faff with soap!)
3-man tent
Air mattress
Disc with all his favourite albums on it
Phone charger
Extra phone battery
Battery-operated ceiling fan for tent
Portable light for tent
Gig tools
Duct tape
First-aid kit

Things E Forgot to Pack:

Sleeping bag


Friday Confessions.

Hello. It’s been a week. Yes, it has.

I kind of resent the people who moved in upstairs. They spend a lot of time on the back porch (who wouldn’t, it’s gorgeous!) but now I sort of feel that my private haven of gnomes and weeds has overseers.

I have been watching a lot of crap tv. And you know what? That is its own punishment. Last night I watched some show about some Bridezilla who was the whiniest, most obsessive, spendthrift, irrational bitch I have ever seen. If I were her guy, I would have dumped her. If I were a friend of his, I would have roofie’d him and left him in the changing room at a strip club, just to ensure that he left the bitch. She wanted a signature drink for her wedding fer chrissakes! Her tiara cost more than 500 bucks! This show gave me heartburn, so I changed over to CSI.

Also, yesterday on the bus, I almost threw up on the woman in the seat next to me. She was carrying a banana skin and chatting on her phone. Yeah. it was hot yesterday. And the banana’s sickly sweet stench assaulted my nostrils such that I really almost hurled on a total stranger. Besides, with garbage cans at every bus stop, what was she doing carrying a banana skin around?

Harumph. Over to you.

Bonus Conversation!

I’m taking pictures in the park. Light through trees, that kind of thing.

Rumpled-looking guy: Hey, do you, like, publish those or something? Or just let your friends see them?

Me: I put them on the Internet.

Rumpled-looking guy. Oh. That’s weird. (pause) Living there must be like paradise! (indicates nice house beside park)

Me: Yeah, it’s pretty nice.

Rumpled-looking guy: (walking away) Not like me. I live in the zoo!

Me: That’s harsh.

Rumpled-looking guy: (calls over his shoulder) Yeah. I live with the polar bears. It’s rough. But it keeps me warm!

Me: Good luck with that!

Pemberton Festival Fracas

So there’s a big rock concert at Pemberton, and E is setting up. The whole lead-up is simply fraught with miscommunication, tension, and dissatisfaction. Every day there are different directives.

First it was x number of hours at y dollars. Then it was a flat rate. Now it’s fewer hours per day at the same dollars.

First it was planned that the workers would camp in a field. Now it’s camp in a field 25 K away from the actual event site. At the airport. (Pemberton has an airport? What?) Today, after having told the workers they’re camping, (they told them 3 weeks ago) they offer reduced rates on tents (that many also have, or have already bought).

The promoters might try to prevent them bringing their own beer to the campsite (Carnage will ensue! Livenation will charge, like, six bucks a beer!).

Now, with less than a week before they’re supposed to go, and the promoter is telling them there are restrictions on how many days in a row they can work. So there will be guys stranded in Pemberton with, say, Wednesday off, and absolutely NOTHING to do.

These Livenation promoter people don’t seem to be very good at making workers happy.

Debate Class

Yes. I’m just on my way to work to teach a class in debate. To one student. That’s actually less absurd than it seems, given the circumstances.

These kids’ mothers think, “Oooh, debate! He’ll learn to speak eloquently and fluently! And then he can go to Harvard!” But really? I have to start with the basics. Things like having an opinion. Never mind expressing it. We’ll get there. We’ve got to find out what you think. What’s that? You don’t know what you think? We’d better fix that. Here’s some stuff to read. Then we’ll talk about what it means. Then we’ll see if you’re beginning to think something about it.

Later on, we’ll get to the actual argument. We’ve got to learn to back it up with support, not leave it hanging out there in its underwear. And then we’ll work on putting it all together.

So, while I only have one kid in the class, it’s really good for him, because he’s learning how to think for himself. It’s just not going to get him into Harvard.

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