Wednesday, November 29, 2006

my video kills

Ok. So I finally hoisted my sad little self off my sad little couch last night and headed up to LA to meet up with Robbie and a couple of her pals for dinner before going to check out our friend Trish at the The Cat Club. Small club, great vibe and, need I say (?) fab entertainment. If you haven't caught La Monaco live you're missing a joyfully intimate experience. Trish is a gifted singer/songwriter of particular humanity and grace whose music blends effortlessly elements of warmth, wisdom, beauty and wit. Her too-brief set last night was vibrant, soulful and well appreciated by the small but mighty crowd.

Can I get a woo-woo?

And because I am such a very clever girl and quite capable of doing several things at once I happily balanced my Corona(s), my lime(s), my handbag, my eyeglasses, my shot glasses and my brand new Canon Powershot SD600 Digital Elph with video capability thank-you-very-much and took the following 3 minute work of cinematic genius.

Do not adjust your set. The picture is sideways because that is how I took my movie. I started with the camera turned on it's side because, well, that's just how I like to take pictures. I have decided to think of it as 'edgy.' That's 'edgy,' as in 'incompetent.'

Do not adjust your audio. Yes, I am aware that Blogspot does not have video capability. This is actually quite convenient because as it turns out, neither do I. There is no audio. It seems I managed to take a music video without the music.

Very edgy.

Can I get a...oh, never mind.

Fortunately, Trishy had an actual real live professional Mistress Cinematographer on hand. I wonder if she happened to catch Lukas Rossi and Posse when they showed up. Or Donal Logue. God knows I didn't. Robbie spotted them. Me, I was too busy searchin' for my lost shaker of salt.


Bottoms up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

aloha, sweet Ruth

I've been trying to write about this for I don't know how long now and it just won't come out right. Three days after I wrote my last post I was back in Texas. Mom was in the hospital for treatment of an infection. Three days later she was gone.

We lost my
dear mother on Saturday, the 14th of October. It may seem strange or even foolish to you to say, given her 93 years, but I never saw it coming. My mother was such an overwhelming presence in my life that I can't believe that I will never see her ~ whom my brother called 'That Little Smiley Face' ~ beaming up at me again.

Less than two weeks earlier we'd spent some quality girl-time shopping for clothes. We had bought her three new outfits ~ one in mulberry, one in camel and one all blue. A few pretty tops. She was still so full of life, then, and
spirit and style. We'd gone 'antiquing' together, and to lunch at her favorite Chinese buffet restaurant. I'd wheeled her chair past the offered dishes, describing each and filling her plate with whatever struck her fancy. She wasn't wearing her beloved Chinese robe, but I wish she had been. She'd eaten heartily and happily; she loved the egg drop soup. She told me to be sure and leave the waiter a good tip. We were making plans.

We'd discussed my coming back to get her in January to bring her to my place; to her sunny blue room in California, when she was feeling up to travel. We would do more shopping, and she was going to buy me a Buddha statue, just because I'd said I needed one. Or wanted one. She was always wanting to give me things. We were both looking forward to her coming.

When my brother called just a few days after I left to say she was in the hospital with an infection and that I should come back, I thought it would be to keep her company while she went through her course of antibiotics in the hospital. He said she improved as soon as I got there.

"When you come back to get me, I 'm gonna come live with you, " she'd told me when I'd left a few days prior. Her eyes twinkled mischievously as she pointed at me.

"We'll see," I'd told her smiling. I loved taking care of her. She found ways to make it easy.

"Hug me like you mean it, Ma" I said one day, instructing her to put her arms around my neck so I could help to lift her out of her chair.

I can stll feel the soft skin of her cheek and gentle breath in my hair as she whispered emphatically into my ear, "I do mean it!" I treasure that moment.

My mother was beautiful, in every meaningful sense of the word. Auburn-haired, petite and lively, she met my tall, blonde and handsome father while working as a dance hostess at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York City. They were married one month later. During the war, while my father served in the Army, Mom became a civilian employee of the Navy,where she worked as a radar inspector, a fact she was extremely proud of all her life.

In their late forties, at an age when most of their friends were looking forward to kids leaving for college and grandchildren, she and my father adopted two tiny tots, in an era long before Angelina and Madonna made orphan-shopping acceptable and chic. They opened their home and their hearts, and gave my brother and I a sense of security we would never have otherwise known. They gave us a family.

I am sorry to say that I was not always grateful. As a teenager, my mother and I battled long and often. She was a daughter of the Depression trying to raise her own in an age of rebellion, and I was not of a disposition to make it any easier. It wasn't until I grew much older that I clearly understood the bravery of what she had done; the everyday heroism involved in taking two complete strangers and offering them your heart and your soul; a lifetime of unconditional love.

I admired my mother. She was strong-minded and big-hearted; funny, generous, and kind. Quirky. Eccentric. Unique.

Above all else, she was true to herself always, and she tried to teach me to be the same. I wish I were more like her.

She consistently made me laugh, and imbued me with her sense of whimsy, not always to our credit. As we were wheeling our way down the hall of the assisted living home one day just a few weeks ago, mom turned to me and asked, "What's that song we like?"

We like many songs, but I know which one she means.

"Que Sera," I say, and she laughs delightedly.

"Yes, that's it!" We start singing out loud,

When I was just a little girl I asked my mother,

what will I be

Will I be pretty,

will I be rich

Here's what she said to me...

A couple of the old birds working the puzzle table glance up at us and quickly avert their gaze; they're 20 years younger than Mom, and seem to think us odd. Go figure. We sing louder.

Que Sera, Sera,

Whatever will be, will be

The future's not ours, to see

Que Sera, Sera

What will be, will be.

In the end, her tiny, frail body just couldn't take any more. My wonderful, beautiful, resilient little mother spent her last hours surrounded by loved ones ~ my brother, my sister-in-law and me. I barely left her side. I wanted to be holding her hand when she died, letting her know I was there. That it was ok. That we were ok. That she was cherished.

A few days later, in a chaotic and somehow comically surreal blur of activity and grief we all ~ my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law and their two sons ~ saw her safely home to New York, where she rests now with my father under a bronze headstone that reads "Together Forever". I want that to be true.

A few weeks ago, I could not have imagined a world without my mother in it. Now I can, and for me it is a more frightening and lonely place. I have never known such profound sadness. Yet I know that the world is a better place for her having been in it, and for that I am forever thankful.

Aloha, Mom. I miss you.