Friday, November 29, 2013

Bittersweet November

Thanksgiving - Thanksanukah - is late this year. M and I celebrate our "going steady" anniversary at Thanksgiving. 2013 makes 19 years together. It seems both a long time and just a blink of an eye. I guess that goes for time generally.

I meant to blog about the epic adventure that was our London trip in the days off after we returned home last week, but I just didn't get around to it. I took notes and everything. And now another life event--a passing of a life--has happened and it's hard to focus on anything else.

Grandma hadn't been doing well the last few months and I was grateful that Uncle Lloyd found a place for her in a nursing home where she could get more attentive care. But she was back in the ER this week with GI issues that at first seemed surmountable but turned out not to be. She died in the hours before Thanksgiving dawned. I'm not shocked--I feel like I've been waiting for this news for a decade and Grandma had expressed, strongly, her desire to stay out of nursing homes and in that regard I'm also grateful that she didn't have to endure those surroundings for long--but it's still hard to take, hard to believe that Grandma has gone.

I've been lucky not to have very many people pass away in my life, even at my age, so maybe that's why I feel somehow unprepared. I was hoping of course that she'd be one of the few to live to 110, 115…but ever since Vista Manor in Wilbur closed, life must have gotten much harder for her. I didn't want her to spend years locked in a mortal coil that could no longer support her bright and vital spirit. I am, selfishly, grateful that she lived for as long as she did. She seemed to be able to strike a balance between nurturing herself and her creative drive, and also being selfless, an example I want to emulate. She nurtured her relationships--with people, with animals, with the places she inhabited. She rarely spoke critically of anyone or anything. She tried to see everyone's perspective. She just wanted everyone to get along and be happy. That is a most worthy legacy. Grandma, I promise I will try to be more like you.

There will be a service and family gathering in Wilbur next weekend, so I'll be on the wing again sooner than I expected. Because of her way of living, I'll find some comfort in being with so many people that I love very much, a last gift I hope she knew she was creating for me and for all of us.

Friday, November 08, 2013

More Traveling!

We're off to England today! M's first trip to Europe. We're very excited.

Before I go, a quick post about my New York #2 visit.

It was briefer than before but I had a fine time. The Manhattan Madhus were in town, so I had the comfort of having dinner with them on the Sunday evening. Even more wonderful--Aunt Janice and Uncle Madhu were in town too! It was great seeing them all. I was lame and did not take any pictures that evening. It went by too quickly. Junu was a dinner guest as well and we took the 6 train together for a bit after dinner. It was one of those perfect subway rides--as you slide the Metrocard in the turnstile, the train arrives.

Other than the family dinner, I didn't get much time for extracurricular activities. I did some walking in Central Park with a colleague. I had a work-dinner on the "future of marketing" with some at the chic DBGB Kitchen in the Bowery. Very nice food. That got me downtown, which was nice. The dinner went late, but there was a work party happening just south of Washington Square, so I walked over for a brief visit. It was nostalgic to wander the familiar streets at night.

I had the whole weekend at home. We celebrated the time change with a very long motorcycle ride on Saturday. We took in some spectacular views from Cazadero Road and Meyers Grade, then along the coast and home along Coleman Valley Road. We had great visibility that day. We also stopped more often than we usually do, both for pictures and exploring. How many decades have I passed Russian Gulch and never stopped? It was an interesting walk to that beach through a Hobbit-like forest and undergrowth. We also stopped for coffee in Jenner, sitting with the other tourists listening to a flamenco guitarist, trying to fend off the strong sunshine bouncing off the mouth of the Russian River. It was a very pleasant day.

OK, time to pack and get the house ready for our dog sitter.

I leave you with a poem I wrote on my New York #1 visit. Not done yet, but you get the idea.

Vickie, New York

Every time I return
I search for you
among the eddies of
pedestrians in the city where
we were born as women together.

Are you here?
Do you ever think of me
as you make your way upstream
along the streets we shared?
I can't remember the last
time I saw you with eyes rather
than dreams. You haunt me living.

Every time I return
I will the world to let me
into the orbit of your arms again.
This poem is a prayer
that once again I will meet
you at the corner of 9th & 44th
or opening the door to Veselka
for buckwheat pancakes.
I am convinced I am missing you by one
minute, block, mile, continent, life.
I know you're here somewhere.

Bell captain whistles
cab horns grunt the breath of this city.
The fan blows impotent air in my hotel room.
Out the window, is that you? I know
you're here