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Mom

Film, Hipstercrite Life

Remembering the Past In Order to Truly Appreciate the Present

I wrote this last month while visiting home. It was a difficult one to write. Did a lot of reflecting…

As the plane descended over the familiar lush landscape that is my hometown, several emotions reacquainted themselves with me. Feelings of joy, sadness, fear and optimism alternated dance steps in my brain.

“Where has all the time gone?”
“What will the future hold?”
“What happened to all the people I loved who have passed?”
“How can I keep moving forward?”

These are questions I don’t ask myself anymore. They’re only questions raised when provoked by the sight of my past, which is something that happens irregularly since I moved away from my home and family eight years ago.

In our attempt to live a fulfilling adult life, it’s often easy to get caught up in the minutia and forget what you’re thinking, feeling. To forget where you came from.

This last trip home wouldn’t let me walk past the flowers without perking my senses.

I was picked up by my beautiful Continue Reading

Featured, Hipstercrite Life

Goodbye, New York

My trip is coming to an end tomorrow and I’ll return to regular blogging soon.

In the meantime, here are a few more pics from my trip home.

Some more remembering to stop and smell the roses….

Momma representin’ Marfa in Central New York

My friend Dan is the vineyard manager at Long Point Winery

Dan showing us his vineyard

Lindsay (Dan’s wife) is learning to spin wool 

This dog has four legs; she hates wearing clothing

Featured, Hipstercrite Life, Travel

Remembering to Stop and Smell the Roses

As I get older, trips home vary in emotion. When I travel back to Central New York in the winter, I join the legions of individuals who feel depressed and forlorn. My hometown feels as though it has been forgotten- which it has, in a way. However, during the summer, the area feels alive and thriving and downright gorgeous- which it is. I’ve lived in or traveled through nearly two thirds of this country and there is no place quite like the American Northeast in the summer and fall. Nothing compares to the rolling green hills, the soft grass and the luscious wildflowers.

This trip I have reconnected with old friends and seen extended family. This might not sound like anything particularly special, but considering I come from a small family and am not always best at keeping in touch with people, this has been a very therapeutic and enjoyable experience. I’ve also gotten to lay in the grass while staring at the sky, paint my grandmother’s toe nails, take naps next to my favorite little Continue Reading

Featured, Hipstercrite Life

Summertime in New York

I have a lot of stuff I want to write, but I’m on vacation, I’m sick and I’m grumpy.

I’m trying to stay away from the comp, but it’s hard.

In lieu of writing, here are some pics from my trip. Hope to get back up and writing this weekend.

Have a nice weekend y’all!

Nothing like New York in June

Grandma visiting Lionel in his new assisted living home. They miss each other.

Lionel holding a picture of his younger self so he can remember his life.

Little Miss Lucy

Featured, Social Media

Newt Gingrich’s Attack on Poor Children: A Poor Family’s Perspective

Over the past two weeks I’ve noticed a lot of social media anger and teasing directed towards Rick Perry’s recent “Strong” commercial wherein he gripes about gays being able to serve openly in the military but children not being allowed to pray publicly in school.  Around the same time another Republican made an equally prejudice and cruel comment regarding “really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods [who] have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works”, the “stupidity” of child labor laws, and the idea that poor children should become janitors in their schools. I’m surprised that Newt Gingrich’s speech hasn’t created as strong of an outrage considering how completely insensitive and ridiculous the speech was. When I first heard quotes from his speech on NPR, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was it a joke? How could somebody be so thoughtless and downright mean?

I took particular offense to Gingrich’s speech because I came from what one Continue Reading

Hipstercrite Life

Your Life in a Box Full of Smushed Candy

Moms are awesome!
Want to know why?
Because they send you an Easter day care package four weeks later with stuff like this in it:

A 2001 Engagement calendar.
Me: “Mom, why did you send me a calendar from ten years ago?”
Mom: “Because it’s a very special year. The year you graduated high school.”
Me: “I know, Ma. But what am I going to do with this?”
Mom: “It’s pretty.”

And this:

The script to the very questionable female rendition of 12 Angry Men we interpreted in high school. The play where I was offered the role of Juror #4 or as I like to call it- The Character With the Second to Least Amount of Lines Because I Can’t Act My Way Out of a Paper Bag.

And this:

A CD booklet to a Stevie Nicks box set I no longer have.
Just the booklet. No CDs.
As I flipped through the pages scratching my head as to why my mother sent me liner notes, I became more and more intrigued by the lyrics and pictures and decided that this was the best thing she put in the box.

And this:

An audio tape of David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day. I’m not sure the last time I’ve seen a tape player. I also know that I have three copies of this book. Maybe I can make the tapes into coasters.

And this:

A novella adaptation of the movie The Jerk. I didn’t even know that I had this or that something like this existed. I’m not sure why it exists.

And this:

Smushed Easter candy that’s been crammed into a box full of odds and ends from my most awkward years of living because my mother no longer wants this shit sitting around her house but she knows that if she tries to sell it in a garage sale that her daughter will be super pissed and not let her live it down for a very long time.

 

Hipstercrite Life

Mommas.

Today I was going to post a guide to Postmodern Tourism, but decided instead to talk about my Momma.

My Momma was born in 1950 in a small town in Upstate, New York. She still lives in that town. In fact, she still lives in the house she grew up in. When she was 24, her father passed away and gave her the house. It was the house she brought my Daddy into and the house I grew up in. It’s a modest house, but it was always filled with screaming kids, Will Smith CDs blaring from the stereo, and love.

I grew up an only child with a single mother. My Dad left when I was a little girl. Heartbroken that her family fell apart, my mother did her best to raise me alone. She brought home poverty level earnings from my grandmother’s clothing store on a dying Main Street, but working for the family afforded her time to pick me up from school and attend every band concert, soccer game, and play. If it was difficult for my mother, I did not know because she made sure I didn’t see it. The few times she cried, I yelled at her. My mother was to be a stoic pillar and nothing else. Mothers are not human- they are better than everyone else- and admitting that my mother was human was not an option.

My mother grew up in the picture perfect middle class 1950’s home. Her father was a handsome engineer and her mother, a beautiful owner of a thriving women’s clothing store. Carl was distant. After coming home from the war we went to bed early and didn’t share his thoughts. His significantly younger and outgoing wife dealt with this as long as she could until one day she left him. My mother was in her freshman year of college when the news came and her father sent her letters confused as to why my grandmother left him. Not long after he died. A stroke at 60 years of age. My mother has never told me how she felt about her parents divorcing or her father dying. Maybe her father was distant enough not to make her feel close. Maybe this bothered her more than she ever told anyone.

Coloring inside the lines has not proved exciting for my mother. Though she is happy and content, she lived the life she thought people wanted her too. She forgave an education at FIT to help her mother run the family business. She got married at 27 and had a child at 33. Her mortgage is paid off and her bills consist of groceries, utilities, and food and toys for the Jack Russell Terrier that quickly filled the empty nest. Brenda has been safe her entire life and at 60 years of age she wants a change. She’s bored. She wants to be closer to her daughter and her daughter wants to be closer to her. She wants to travel the world and go to art galleries and museums and natural wonders. She wants to be stimulated and she deserves nothing less.

Mom, I wish I was there with you this Mother’s Day. I wish I was there to spontaneously grab lunch with you, to help you take Grandma and Lionel to the doctor’s, to take walks around the neighborhood, to go shopping, or to sit by the edge of the pool and talk about everything. I wish I could take you across the world to meet interesting people and to try unique foods- even though you probably wouldn’t try half of it. I think about you every day and I want you to know that even though I’m 27 and still fight back when you tell me to do something, or snap at you when I’m in a bad mood, or tell you’ll I’ll call you right back and don’t until the next day, you’re the most important person in my life and I thank you for making me who I am. I’m proud to be your daughter.

Hipstercrite Life

And You Made it All Ok

Wow, I was, like, a super-bitch to you as a kid.” I said to my mother on the phone yesterday.

Nah. Not really. You were a kid. You didn’t know any better.

No, I mean, I wouldn’t let you cry. I’d get angry if you cried. You had to be my mom and nothing else. You couldn’t be human. I’d get so angry at you the times you showed any emotion over Dad leaving. I’m sorry, Mom.”

This conversation occurred at the exact moment my father sent me an email out of the blue explaining to me “why he is the way he is.”

This sounds like the beginnings of a “heavy” post, but it’s not. These are interactions I have with my parents on a semi-regular basis due in part to me becoming more objective over my parents divorce as I grow older, me apologizing more and more to my mother for not letting her mourn the divorce, and me occasionally snapping at my father for always being the good-time fun guy I used to idolize. I still look up to my dad, but in different ways than I used to and the matters I used to chastise my mother for now make her my hero.

I have a family of three- my mother, my father, and my grandmother (Mom’s mom) and I grew up in a divorced family. I not only love my family, but I like them too. I talk to at least one of them every day and they are the first people I call when something wonderful or terrible happens. They’re my buds and I can’t imagine a world without them. My parents did a pretty good job of making sure their divorce did not heavily effect my childhood, such a good job that it wasn’t until my 20’s that I really stepped back and thought about my parent’s divorce.

My Dad left when I was six for good. Or seven. I can’t remember. He kind of left intermittently after I was born. It wasn’t because he didn’t love me. As he explained in his email yesterday, he’s a free spirit, a wanderer, someone who always wanted to go against the grain and live by his own standards. As a semi free-spirited adult, I can relate and respect, but as a semi-grounded adult as well, I question if a person of such mentality should marry and have a child by 30. In his instance, I’m glad that he did.

My parents tried to make it work. My Dad relocated to Annapolis, Maryland and my mother and I would go to visit. Annapolis has always held a romantic place in my heart because it was the last time my family was one. We became two shortly thereafter and it was a rocky time full of tears, anger, and frustration- though I saw very little of this.

Being a free spirit meant that financially it was often difficult for my father to be a “normal” father. Once he left, he would collect cans just to have gas money for the drive from Maryland to New York. I would wait for hours by the window for him to arrive and when I’d see his car pull up, the world stopped.

Our routine was to rent a movie and purchase a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee and vegetables while sitting amongst the tiny hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles in my dad’s friend’s warehouse. There was nothing I looked forward to more than this time with my father. My mother, my caretaker, would be cast aside and if she called with a reality check I would pout and resent her for spoiling my time with my dad. Little did I know the frustrations my mom was going through with having to be the responsible parent.

You don’t know any better when you’re a kid. The world revolves around you.” she said to me yesterday.

It’s true. As a kid, it’s all about you and seeing your parents waver or falter is not an option. Reality is not wanted.

My 20’s have been an interesting time of awakening. A lot of apologizing done by me to my mother and my father to both of us. A lot of tearful conversations of talking about the past. A lot of phone calls and emails like the ones last night. But mostly my 20’s has been about realizing something I already knew- I’m lucky to have two of the greatest parents in the world and though the journey may have been atypical, we made it work.

Blogging, Social Media

My Blah

Grandma: “How is your blah doing?”
Me: “My what?”
Grandma: “You know, that thing you write on? How is it spelled? B-L-A-H?”
Me: “Oh, you mean my blog?”
Grandma: “A what?”
Me: “A blog! Like ‘log’ with a ‘b’.”
Grandma: “A blog?!”
Me: “Yes!”
Grandma: “What the hell is that?”

She had a very excellent point. What the hell is a blog and why is not called blah?

My mother and grandmother’s behavior has been very ‘blah’-worthy as of lately.
Blahworthy being code word for slowly turning into The Beales.
But instead of dramatic New England accents and dozens of cats looking for attention, we have Jewish nagging and my Grandma’s boyfriend, Lionel- a crusty old man in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and looking for attention.

It’s all started with my Grandmother’s horrible back pain. Being the stoic Depression-born woman that she is, Grandma was in complete denial about it. She walked buckled over in pain, near the point of throwing up, but refused to take any medicine. Wait- let me rephrase that. It has nothing to do with being born in the Depression and everything to do with martyrdom.

Grandma: “Ooohhhh….I’m in so much pain!”
Mom: “Is there something I can do for you?”
Grandma: “No, no. I’ll just suffer.”
Mom: “Are you sure? I can cook food for you? Clean the house? What do you need?”
Grandma: “No, I can do it.”
Mom: “Are you sure?”
Grandma: “Yes. I do everything myself. I’m used to it.”
Mom: “But I just offered to help!”
Grandma: “No, I’m fine. I’m just going to get down on the kitchen floor and start scrubbing,”
Mom: “You’re in crippling pain! Why the hell would you need to clean the kitchen floor right now!?”
Grandma: “Because it’s dirty!”
Mom: “You cleaned it two days ago when you were in horrible pain and shouldn’t have been cleaning the floor in the first place!”
Grandma: “Well, who is going to clean it!? No one offers to help me!”
Mom: “I just offered to help you!”
Grandma: “You won’t do it right. Now let me go so I can scrub the kitchen floor.”

Finally, when the pain became unbearable, she asked my mother- who lives across the street- to take her to the Emergency Room. That is where they told her that due to falling and Osteoporosis, she fractured her back…in multiple places…and that she would have to wear a body brace for 5 weeks…and take narcotics.

This did not sit well with my Grandmother who owned a clothing store and despite being 84 years of age, is still the sharpest dresser I know. Forget that the body brace felt like strapping a turtle shell to your back- it was visually displeasing to the eye. This fact may have finally been the clincher in convincing my Grandmother to take her narcotics and forget about reality.

So, Grandma’s drugs. This plays an important role in a the story I’m about to tell you.

My friend Levi told me I’d be blogging about this story in no time. I didn’t believe him. I figured he was just saying that to pull back from the figurative ledge I had just climbed up on and was positioning myself to jump from. However, it’s six days later and I’m blogging about it, so I must be over it. I just hope TO DEAR GOD that my mother doesn’t decide to take a gander over to my blog today.

In short, last Saturday, my Mom was absolutely convinced I was lying dead in the gutter and she not only contacted all my friends on Facebook, but sent the police to my house.

This panic came when she could not reach me for four hours because I was AT MY FRIEND’S HOUSE TRYING TO RELIVE MY PAST BY WATCHING FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS OF KIDS IN THE HALL, OK? I had set my phone aside and attempted to zone out for a bit.

Mistake.

My mother had talked to me no less than 24 hours prior to this freak out, yet because I was unreachable for those four hours, I was decapitated somewhere in East Texas or shredded in a wood chipper, obviously. I even spoke to my Grandma a few hours before my mother’s meltdown, but because she was higher than a kite, she couldn’t remember if she spoke with me that day or the night before- when my mother last spoke with me. As I mentioned earlier, my mother worked herself up in such a frenzy that from New York she called the police and sent Facebook messages to everyone she knew I was friends with in Austin. Including people I’m not particularly close to who were probably like, “What the f?”

I came out of my Kids in the Hall dreamland to finding 20 missed calls from my Mom, a few from her friends, and a couple from my friends. I called my mother back and she was wailing. The sound of a woman who was 100% convinced that her daughter was dead. She told me what happened and I started yelling. Then I started crying. Nowhere in there was I laughing. I was upset at her for overreacting, but was trying to  empathize with a woman who thought she just lost her daughter. My mother has been particularly stressed dealing with my Grandma and Lionel’s respective ailments and her nerves have been frayed.

Me: “I talked to Grandma a few hours ago! What the hell do you think happened to me in that time?!”
Mom: “She couldn’t remember if she spoke with you this morning or the night before!”
Me: “I talked to her for almost an hour! She doesn’t remember the conversation?!”
Mom: “She’s on drugs, Lauren, ok?”

She was right. My 84 year-old Grandmother was on drugs and I was mad at her and I was mad at my Mom for using Facebook as her parental bullhorn. And I was mad at myself for being mad at them. How could I be upset with them? They love me. A lot, apparently.

I think my biggest frustration was the realization that we’re changing. Life happens. Parents and grandparents get older. They do weird things and the only way I can deal with it is by exploiting them through my blah.