Monday, August 24, 2009

Always Thinking

Since no one is going to give me any accolades and I don't feel like working hard enough to earn them, I've decided to invent awards to present to myself. I can make ribbons and trophies and certificates to accompany them, I can even notarize them to make them all official. I deserve a prize for this mother-flippin' awesome idea.

We started seeds and planted 48 tomato plants too close together, thinking we'd thin them as they died. None of them died. They grew and orgied and made fugloads of tomatoes. This August MacGyver and I have put up dozens of gallons of tomato juice, sauce, whole tomatoes, and puree. We can on Friday nights, weekends, and whatever nights he's exhausted tired from work (It doesn't matter how I feel. One energetic MacGyver is worth four of me, so he often pulls my wieght). The leaves on two varieties are finally dying off and IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME. We easily overfill a five gallon bucket every two days with the tomato harvest. I'm ready for the tomatoes to disappear so the house doesn't smell like a ketchup factory all the time. I will say it's a nice problem to have.

Speaking of problems, cancer SUCKS. When my brother was admitted to the hospice program the doctor prescribed morphine. Which is great for controlling his pain and he isn't suicidal all the time now. Yay! Unfortunately his memory is shot and his temper erupts unexpectedly and sometimes violently (not physically violent, yay!). I don't know if these are side effects from the morphine or if the cancer has metastasized to his brain. Sigh.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I don't have many solid memories of my grandfather.

I remember he usually wore a suit and tie. I remember sitting on his knee and feeling the slippery scratchiness of his wool jackets and breathing in his aftershave scent. He would bring ziploc bags full of pink gum, raisins, and cracker jacks when he visited us. When we visited him he would give me Bugles, and I would slip them over my fingers and wiggle them about before eating them. He took me to the zoo and I fed the giraffes leaves I found on the ground. He took me to McDonald's and I would always order a cheeseburger just ketchup. He taught me to draw little Vs to represent birds in flight. He gave me five dollar bills slipped into a fancy card for birthday presents. He took us to Dairy Queen after school Christmas programs. I loved him fiercely.

When he died I was 8, he was 85. He died of bone cancer about a month after his diagnosis. We thought he was going to get better at first, but he never did. I drew Get Well Soon cards for him and my mom and I would see him in the hospital in the evenings. At his wake I wrote him a letter and my mom tucked it into his jacket pocket, and I have repeated that ritual for other loved ones several times since. His death brought relatives to town that I had never met before: my uncle Jack, my cousins Tony and Mark. I keep a picture of grandpa and me on my bookshelf - I'm just a baby and I'm looking him right in the eye. We're both bald. I like to think I loved him even then.