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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Party Like A Rock Star

The Lanes, also known on Facebook as the Twaters took our last family vacation with our kids. The next time we go anywhere, Lane 1 will be paying. Kidding, kind of. He is 18, all grown up and whatnot. Still a pain in the ass, then again, so is his father and he is 40!

We went to the Mall of America, visited some of my “creepy internet friends” who “weren’t that creepy after all.” We also went to a comedy show staring ANT and Jason Dudey. Good times. They really made my kid’s birthday one to remember…as did the drunk lady with the money stuck to her boobies?!?!

Hoooo boy! A picture can tell a story so let’s get this thing told…

The mall has a log ride and roller coasters.

It also has half-naked boy models? But that is only a fun sight to see if your mom makes you pose for a picture with him.

Here’s the kids. Yeah we have a couple extras, but they are just like family anyhow. (Lane 1’s girlfriend and Lane 2’s soul sister.)

There’s random characters everywhere in the mall.

But Bubba Gump was oddly adorable.

These two knuckle heads were my favorite characters.

The lovebirds kind of ditched us.

But that was okay because they were stuck with us at the hotel.

Lane 2 was on top of the world…well on the top floor of the hotel anyhow.

We arrived at the club following a really long day at a very big mall. First thing any of us wanted was food.

Lane 2 ordered chicken fingers but got dicken fingers instead. The ranch was a nice touch don’t you think?

That dicken strip made it’s way around the club and would have been sold on eBay had my daughter not been starving.

Her meal went well with Jason's act as he used the microphone as a prop.

We were sitting in front row and it didn’t take long before ANT was making fun of the name Twater. My family is seasoned for dealing with embarrassment, thanks to me. But I wasn’t sure how they would take it coming from someone else.

As you can see they were terribly upset. Bunch of attention whores! Of course when ANT mentioned this old blog during his act I became giddy as all hell.

The show was over after midnight. We were heading out when the manager of the bar stopped my son. As she explained what she wanted to do to him, I could hear him say, “What the fuck?!” without opening his mouth. If you look in the background you can see his sister and girlfriend were saying the same.

As she had another woman tear the dollars off of her chest with her teeth and drop them into my son’s lap, I heard him say, “Dude, Ma, help!” again without opening his mouth. Classic!

The insanity was more than that boy could take. Mr. Lane was pretty hammered so he thought it was great. I think he secretly wished it was his birthday!

When we left the club ANT and Jason invited us into their limo. ANT would probably kick my ass for posting this picture, but it is one of the few I took, and the only with him and any of us. Trust me, this doesn't do him justice, he is a good looking guy! I felt like I was infringing so I didn’t go camera happy.

In his drunken state, Mr. Lane asked ANT if he could rip his shirt off and hang out of the limo sunroof like Ke$ha. Thank Blog he was just kidding. Or was he?!

We were all tired after the show but I wanted to spend more time with my friends. So after the family was tucked in for the night, we partied like rock stars until 4 or 5 am. Okay, 4 or 5 is true, the rock star part, not really.

Except my friend Beck. She got a face full of Jason’s crotch when he got up to hug someone goodbye. I think I heard her say, “That is no tuna taco!!!!” without actually saying anything.

I don’t know why I took so few pictures of everything and everyone. I guess I was wrapped up in the weekend. I didn’t get one picture of me with any of my creepy internet friends and that is the only part I regret.

When we were all piled in Lydia and Angie’s hotel room, the phone rang. It reminded me of the old days when I’d be with friends at their house when their parents said not to have people over. They would call to check in on their kid and they would whisper yell at everyone to be quiet. Before Angie picked up the phone, she shhhhed us. It was someone looking for Katie. There wasn’t a Katie with us, but they said, “Well we have alcohol and are willing to share.” There I was with my “creepy internet friends" having a great time. But when a real life stranger wanted to come over I got a little creeped out. Turns out they were LA cops. Things sure are different when you’re a grownup and the cops show up at your party.

Doc and Lydia made the weekend possible. They are probably two of the nicest and most amazing creepy bitches I have ever met. Next to that weirdo Jungle Pussy Bush, of course. It was great getting to know all of you! Huge thanks to ANT and Jason too.

Most importantly, here's some big ol' happy birthday wishes to my sistah, MeeMaw! She's 98 this year. :D Happy birthday! I love you!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You’re Never Gonna Be Alone

It’s supposed to be a love song. For me - it’s a song to my mom. It’s a song from my mom - just for us. (blog post below lyrics)

Time, is going by, so much faster than I,
And I'm starting to regret not spending all of it with you.
Now I'm, wondering why, I've kept this bottled inside,
So I'm starting to regret not telling all of it to you.
So if I haven't yet, I've gotta let you know,

You're never gonna be alone from this moment on.
If you ever feel like letting go, I won't let you fall.
You're never gonna be alone. I'll hold you 'til the hurt is gone.

And now, as long as I can, I'm holding on with both hands,
'Cause forever I believe that there's nothing I could need but you.
So if I haven't yet, I've gotta let you know,

You're never gonna be alone from this moment on.
If you ever feel like letting go, I won't let you fall.
When all hope is gone, I know that you can carry on.
Were gonna take the world on. I'll hold you 'til the hurt is gone.

You've gotta live every single day,
Like it's the only one, what if tomorrow never comes?
Don't let it slip away,
Could be our only one, you know it's only just begun.
Every single day,
Maybe our only one, what if tomorrow never comes,
Tomorrow never comes?

Time, is going by, so much faster than I,
And I'm starting to regret not telling all of this to you.

You're never gonna be alone from this moment on.
If you ever feel like letting go, I won't let you fall.
When all hope is gone, I know that you can carry on.
We're gonna take the world on. I'll hold you 'til the hurt is gone.

I'm gonna be there all of the way.
I won't be missing one more day.
I'm gonna be there all of the way.
I won't be missing one more day.
~ Nickelback

That song makes me bawl. I miss my mom. A lot. Sometimes, even when you don’t want life to go on, it just does. I don’t want to seem too hokey, well actually I kind of don’t care if I am, but sometimes I feel like she is right here, fucking with my head, just like the good old days.

Maybe we see, hear and feel things that remind us of our dead loved ones as a way to comfort ourselves. Maybe it’s all fabricated in our broken hearts. Maybe it’s real and they are reaching from the other side. I guess none of us will really know until we are gone too.

I want to believe that there is something more than this once we leave our bodies. An eternal sleep just doesn’t appeal to me. It’s somehow easier believing there’s visits.

When I’m swept over by sadness, it kind of feels like a pat on the head from her saying, “You’re going to be okay… and I was pretty awesome so of course you miss me. By the way, Lo, you should cry bigger tears like when you were little and trying to get your way.”

Since Mom has been gone, we’ve continued living as she directed us to do. It’s been hard but the feeling of her presence, helps make it bearable. Lane 1 graduated high school…by the skin of his teeth. She could have had a hand in that.

There’s just no way to get a good picture of my kids and if you saw the post below, they come by it honest.

My nephew Yoda became a dad for the first time. Was she able to be in the delivery room to watch her great-grand-daughter enter the world?

At one point in the hospital, my sister Mary and I spoke candidly. We were discussing why Mom continued to cling on to life. There was something she wanted, needed and she tried with all of her heart and soul to get…to see and hold her first great-grand-child.

Mary (who I now call MeeMaw) and I talked about going to the hospital nursery to borrow a baby to bring to her so she could let go and finally be at peace. I know that is fucked up but it’s us, did you expect anything else? And trust me, if babies weren’t so hard to momentarily kidnap, we’d have done it!

The feeling of my mom visiting me really hit hard while I worked on a memory garden in her honor. A group of board members from the teen center gave me a concrete stone with an angel on it, the perfect addition.

I specifically wanted to have her garden in front of my dining room window because when I am inside or outside having my coffee, it is what I look out toward. The problem was, I already had a garden there and it was really not Mom worthy as is. Among the many flowers, it also had four beautiful peach rose bushes, but it was lacking something.

Azeleas I think she would like.

One day, I was outside trying to decide what to do about the plants I needed to remove to make room for new ones.

Mom always enjoyed the simple things in life so I began by planting some daisies for her.

Then I planted lilies in various colors.

I was almost in tears because I was so frustrated. I've worked so hard on the garden, I couldn't throw the plants or flowers out. I had no good sunny location for relocating. And to be honest, I have way too many flowers already!!! (I can't believe I admitted that openly.) I couldn’t even find one neighbor to give them to.

I know she would love white irises too.

Just as tears were about to sprinkler system from my eyeballs, a van pulled into my driveway. Two people got out. Two people I don't know. They were about my parents ages. They just stopped by because they "loved that gazebo" (it's a pergola, but whatever and by the way my mom always called it a gazebo) and wanted to know who my contractor was. I said, "You're looking at her."

I opened the gate and let them come in to take a better look as I described how easy it was to design and build. The woman stopped listening and walked over to where I had all of my shit laying around in front of that garden. She commented about how beautiful all of my flowers were. I thanked her and continued talking to her husband about building stuff.

He gave me a short life story. They have only been in the area a few years and lived in the next town over from where my parents lived. The lady asked what I was doing in that garden, so I told her the short version of my mom’s death and my garden dilemma. When she said, “What are you going to do? You can’t throw those beautiful flowers away!”

“That is why I am having so much trouble. I usually split up my plants and share with a neighbor but none of them have been around for days.”

“Well I am new at gardening but would love to have some if you are going to be getting rid of them. And besides, I am sort of your neighbor.”

A solution to my problem pulled into my driveway…odd.

She said, “Honey, write our number down so she can call when she is ready for me to come over and play in the dirt.” (I always say play in the dirt instead of garden.)

He had a pocket T-shirt on, like my dad always wore and in the pocket was a pen and piece of paper. He jotted down their names and phone number. He handed me the paper and as I folded it to stick it in my pocket, I saw his name was the same as my dad’s.

Then I noticed the last four digits of their phone number was the ages of my parents at death. 6465. It felt like another sign. I could almost hear my mom laughing at me.

The next day, those beautiful peach rose bushes that have been there for years but hadn’t bloomed yet, were in full-bloom but they weren’t peach as seen in last year's photo.

They were fuchsia…my mom’s favorite color.

Logically, I know that "altered" roses can morph back to their original bloodlines. So there is an earthy and reasonable explanation, but it felt more logical and comforting to think it was just Mom messing with my wee little head as she always did in life.

How could Mom not get a kick out of the flower that looks like a penis?

Lane 2 said, "Mom, is that a dick weed?" Certain I heard Mom's laugh, I couldn't even reprimand my daughter. Especially when she added, "Maybe you should plant some pussy willows to keep those company." She is a chip off the old block.

And once it finishes looking like genitalia, it becomes a beautiful poppy.

I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing. I needed a doodad, a something decorative in that garden to make it complete.

No doubt she would love the purple of the Siberian irises I planted in the back of her garden.

My mom always liked butterflies and my dad was a huge fan of frogs. I thought it would be really cool to find some kind of garden statue with both. Mission impossible? No, not when Mom snuck into the store with me. She always did love to shop. I walked to the right aisle in a store I rarely go to and looked at the right shelf immediately.

Mom was always a jokester with a notorious laugh...

... and Dad was always a man of God, a church-going, heartfelt believer in every sense of the word.

I didn’t even know these dianthus would bloom in her favorite color when I bought them.

Mom’s not just playing Evil Queen, painting the roses red, she is working some kind of magic for my career, too. For over three years I have been trying to get a daily newspaper to take notice. I have freelance assignments that come and go, rarely offering steady work. That means I’m always searching for more work, which sucks - a lot.

Every six months (which is how often they discard resumes) I have written a new cover letter to go with my resume and have sent it to the editor. I don’t know why while Mom was sick I got a bug up my ass but I finally got fed up enough to just walk into that office and say, “Why not me?” As it turns out, all of those emails I’ve sent have gone to a spam email folder. The head editor had no idea I was trying to apply and hired me on the spot, gave me a contract to sign and said, “We’ll be in touch.”

But he wasn’t in touch… until the day after Mom died. First there was a “Can you cover this?” message. Hours later an official assignment showed up in my inbox. The next day, two more assignments came from another editor at a sister paper. And it has not stopped. I honestly haven’t had this much work or front page stories since I worked in the newsroom full-time. I didn’t even know how much I loved or missed this kind of work.

For as long as I can remember, she loved the cooking shows. I have no doubt that when I was asked to cover a visit by the cast of Ace of Cakes, she had her hand in that mixing bowl. Incidentally, I was the only media person granted an interview. Thanks, Mom.

As much as I miss my mom, I feel her with me. Looking down (maybe up) laughing. I feel like I am unable of falling, unable to feel truly alone. She would want a lot of comments on today’s post saying how awesome she still is. And be warned if you don’t comply, she may just come to visit you next.

Thank you all for everything, the cards, flowers, phone calls, prayers, emails, charitable donations in her name, specifically the donation by “That Nana in Indiana” of a coffee pot she donated to her local hospice center. That is right up Mom’s coffee-lovin’ alley.