Sunday, March 30, 2014

In Memorium: Clara Viola Morris, 1916-2014

This post is a tribute to my grandmother, Clara Viola (Fouts) Morris, who lived her life from October 6, 1916 to March 24, 2014.

Grandma wasn't the "grandmotherly" type that people tend to think of, a fluffy white-haired old lady sitting in a rocker knitting.  She did crochet for most of her life, and probably made several tons of blankets, toilet tissue covers, potholders, baby clothes and various other yarn goodies, but I don't think I ever saw her in a rocking chair; there isn't even one at her house. Instead, she loved to travel, which she was able to do after her children were grown and she was living with her partner of over 40 years.  He was a musician, and they traveled around several states; he and his band would play in different clubs, and she would frequently get temp work at the same club as a cocktail waitress.  She had some pretty wild stories to tell from those days!  When I was up there right after my mom had her surgery, I drove Grandma from Clearlake to St. Helena to visit her in the hospital.  It had apparently been several years since Grandma had been out of Clearlake, and she reminded me of an adorable puppy dog on a road trip.  She spent the whole trip to the hospital staring out the windows, trying to see everything as we drove by; if she'd had a tail, it would have been wagging furiously!!  :-)  I was really glad she got to take that last trip with me, even though she was exhausted by the time we got home.

Grandma was married three times (the first time at 18 to my grandfather) and widowed twice before she was 40.  She raised four children and buried two of them, as well as two of her grandchildren.  When I was at her house last week, I found a box labeled "Army Letters"; in it were many letters written to her by my grandfather while he was in the Army during World War II.  With my mom's permission, I took them home with me and have been reading them out loud to Martin in the evenings since I've been home.  They are fascinating to read, and although they weren't written by her but to her, they are giving me a different perspective on her life and who she was, as well as introducing me to the grandfather I never knew.

Grandma was one of the ladies who taught me to crochet, and I will always appreciate the time she spent helping me when we visited her or vice versa. In retrospect, I realize that she also taught me, as did my mom, that you don't have to conform to what society expects you to do in order to be happy.  It's more important to follow your heart and be who you REALLY are.

Rest in peace, Grandma, and I hope you are having a big happy reunion with your parents, your sister, your husbands, your partner, your children, and your grandchildren.  Say hi and hug everyone for me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pretty in BLACK

I just found this most awesome picture!!!  I adore flamingos, so finding a pic of a rare BLACK flamingo was a real treat:

This photograph, taken by Don Presser of Carmel, shows what could be the world’s only "documented" black flamingo, in a salt pond in Eilat,
This photograph, taken by Don Presser of Carmel, shows what could be the world's only "documented" black flamingo, in a salt pond in Eilat, Israel. Other photos have been taken in the Middle East of what is believed to be the same bird. (DAN PRESSER/Contributed photo)

Isn't it gorgeous????  I hope there are more out there somewhere!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I'm Throwing Glitter as Fast as I Can...

Several posts ago, I quoted a drag queen as saying, "When in doubt, throw some glitter on it!"  I also commented that if I really did that, the world around me would be covered in glitter because I have so many doubts.  Well, here's some glitter for today...

First of all, it's taken me weeks to write this post, as I've been doubting that anyone would actually want to read it.  (Glitter!)  Second, I had to come to a conclusion that was very difficult for me to accept, and that    is that my mother is not always right, and sometimes she gives me information that is not complete or not correct.  (I feel almost blasphemous just writing this, even though I know she will never see it.  More glitter!)  Like most young children, I believed that my mom knew everything and if she didn't know about something then it didn't exist.  Now, please understand that it was me who projected this onto her; she never pretended to know everything.  But she was very decisive because, as a single mother, she had to be.

Anyway, after a few incidents at the nursing center where she and Grandma are currently staying, I now realize that I'm the one who will have to be decisive for both of them, possibly for the rest of their lives.  Grandma will not care, I'm sure.  In fact, I think she has already let go of most decision making already; that's why she decided to stay at the center permanently.  When I've given her checks to sign to pay her bills and told her what I was doing with her house and things, she has always thanked me and told me I was a "good girl", but she doesn't ask any questions and doesn't really seem to care what will become of her possessions.  We all think she is just biding her time now, and that's okay.  No glitter there, it's just life.  But me making decisions -  the right decisions - for her and my mom?  Lots of glitter being thrown...

My biggest problem, at least for the moment, is this:  I live three hours away (by car) from the nursing center.  I also have a full-time job and a husband who likes attention now and then.  This means that much of my interaction with the nursing center and others involved must be by phone.  However, it appears that no one there is ever at their desk, and almost no one apparently believes that it is necessary to return calls in a timely manner, if at all.  So far, this appears to be true of almost everyone who was not available when I called.  Of the five messages I have left in the last five days (to four different people), only two have been returned.  Two messages were for the same person, but I have not yet heard from her.  This morning I found she is not the person I needed to speak with, but that doesn't excuse her not calling and telling me that herself.  Do I have doubts about being able to deal with all this?  Well, at the moment, I can't see the floor through all the glitter I've been flinging... 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My First (Belated) Birthday!

I just realized that, as of last Friday (3/7), I've had this blog going for a year!  Wow, I missed my first birthday!

Anyway, in honor of my actually keeping it going for that long, I'm giving myself flowers and a cake:

Teardrop bouquet of black & white silk roses

 RebelsMarket Gothic

Thanks to everyone who actually reads my posts, and extra thanks to those who leave comments!  :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

March: "I'm SO Goth..."

The Ultimate Goth... 

Sorry, did you say something?  I was staring at this pic and drooling on my keyboard...  ;-)