December 9, 2014

Dad: A Fitting Homage

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:27 pm by Maven

I know it’s been a while since I shared anything herein. My blogging life as well as my IRL life has become compartmentalized.

That being said, I felt compelled to share this anecdote.

We have been in the midst of redecorating our home. This Sunday after returning home from errands, I discovered the Maharajah had swapped out the art in our shithouse with two matted and framed professional photos my dad snapped, which both have his maker’s mark on them.

Maharajah quipped, a bit sarcastically, “Now when I poop, I can think of your dad.” Well, considering my father was KING of “pull my finger,” I think both, the placement of and the sentiment are both fitting.

This morning as I sat atop my throne, “meditating prodigiously,” I looked up at the photo, and my eye caught dad’s maker’s mark,and I had to laugh.

February 11, 2014

Dysfunction Junction

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:00 pm by Maven

Dysfunction Junction

Where I’ve been venting my spleen about my mother.

November 19, 2013

Soonish: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Giftmess

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:36 pm by Maven

Me:     Mom’s getting my siblings Omaha Steaks for xmas and wanted to know if I wanted them, too.
Him:     What’s Omaha Steaks?
Me:     Mail order meat.
Him:    How, exactly, do they mail you meat?
Me:    Packed in dry ice, kinda like how Arctic Zero sent me that case of ice cream.
Him:    Is it good?
Me:     I guess so, they’ve been in business for decades.
Him:    Is it like Peter Luger quality?
Me:    I suppose close to it, but doubt it’s dry aged. Peter Luger’s stuff is dry aged.
Him:    What’s dry aged?
Me:    Yanno when you open the fridge some days and I’ve got a slab of meat on a plate, open
          and exposed in the fridge for days? That’s dry aging. It improves taste and texture. I do it myself because to buy meat
          already  dry aged = paying 2-3X more money.
Him:    So dry aged meat isn’t fresh?
Me:    Nope. Not fresh. But delicious.
Him:    So your mom wants to give you meat as a gift?
Me:    Yeah. But I know how this shit goes down. She asks if I want something, and when I say yes, she gets me something else entirely. She offers up meat, so come holiday time, no doubt I’ll get something fucked up like my body weight in lima beans.
Him:    What do you mean?
Me:    For instance, the very last birthday I celebrated at my parents’ home, roughly 12 years ago, she asked, “What do you want for dinner?” My reply, “Sirloin salad.” She asked, “What type of cake do you want?” My reply, “As always a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.” Bottom line is, dinner that day was some horrific chicken endeavor smothered in a jar of pickled jalapeno rings, and my birthday cake was a non-festive Entenmann’s crumb cake. So in the end what I want or my special day wasn’t about me or my wants at all. So why bother asking me what I want, if you’re going to do your own thing entirely?  For three decades, I always thought my brother’s favorite birthday cake was a Black Forest cake. Turns out, he loves Casatta or an Italian Rum cake. I can’t remember what my sister’s bday cake fuck up fiasco was. I’m so glad and sad we’re going away for Thanksgiving.
Him:    We’ll have a good time.
Me:    Yeah, but missing out opportunity and time with family—but that’s just a fail spiral I fall into. No one gives a shit. And I resent the fuck out of driving 2.5 hours on a good day, and perhaps 3.5 hours on a holiday, to show up and be the hired help with all the last minute shit. If I wanted to work like a dog to host a holiday party, I’d do so at my own home with my own things, and serve what I want. But we can’t do that, because we live on motherfuckingJUPITER, OMG we live SO far away, no one will come, and even if everyone else would, mom CAN’T because she’s hobbled herself. Then, the obligatory pity party when the inescapable happens: Someone steps on or trips over her big bloated feet and legs. It’s just toxic. It’s not even pitiable anymore. Just pathetic and sad and a waste of what precious little time we all have left together as a family.
Him:    So are we getting steaks for xmas?
Me:    I don’t know. I never got back to her. Why should I bother? She’ll end up doing the ol’ bait and switch and fuck my holiday up. She’s the only one I get a gift from at the holidays now, since someone in their infinite wisdom decided my siblings and I don’t exchange anymore, and that the focus now is on my nieces, which computes to I’m fucked and xmas doesn’t exist for me anymore as we don’t have children,. Which of course, just drives home the never ending abyss of loss, the reminder that dad, my own personal “Santa” as it were, is gone.

June 26, 2013

So About that Crematory Job (& Update on Jackson Pollock Undershorts)

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:59 pm by Maven

Yeah. Well. There’s only one facility in the county where I reside. Pay is good and it’s a union job. But they’re obviously not hiring.

Back to square one.

So about TommyBoy, aka Jackson Pollock Undershorts (remember him? He who’d leave bloody piss dribblin’s on the toilet at work?), yeah. Apparently he’s not the big shit he thought he was while working here. Apparently he’s on the receiving end of someone who was a Dr. Jeckyl to his face here, and is now a Mr. Hyde to him now. How the mighty have fallen! It’s refreshing and sad all at once, to know that someone higher up in the food chain such as he is, is unable to change or improve his own work situation/conditions, this gives underlings like myself absolutely zero hope of the status quo changing.  But fuck yeah! He’s miserable like the rest of us!

April 1, 2013

A Glimmer of Normalcy From The Past

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:17 pm by Maven

When I was a child, my aunt and uncle did not have kids until roughly their 5th or 6th year of marriage. Periodically, they would take me or one of my siblings for a weekend, or depending if it were during a school break, for a week or longer. Given how my mother and I rarely got along, I remember being at my aunt’s home much more than my siblings.

Each of us got a “special trip,” which was carefully catered to what my aunt thought we were interested in at the time. My sister got a trip to Crystal Caves and my brother got an outing at a Mets game. My trip was to NYC.

This was roughly 1978 or 1979, before the “sanitized for your protection,” Disney-fied NYC of the Guiliani era. Things were still gritty, even midtown, then.

The trip was to see The Prince and the Pauper at Radio City. I believe back then, they were considering closing the music hall. I don’t recall if it was in disrepair or going bankrupt, but remember that was supposed to be closing then.

VIVIDLY, I can remember standing in line outside, waiting to go inside, and being horrified at the sight of a blind man with no eyes (well, no whites, no pupil or iris, it was just bright blood red where his eyes should have been) out there begging for spare change. Being a pretty sheltered kid from the Jersey Shore, with a head filled with all the horrors both of my parents saw during the riots of the late 60s in Newark, going to the city was almost enough to make my head explode.

(It wasn’t until I turned 30 and was dating my husband when I finally started going to the city on my own, and the first few trips into the city were enough to render me to nervous tears.)

I can remember sitting there watching what was going on stage. And they had an Easter holiday show with the Rockettes.

And afterwards, I recall we went someplace to eat. Someplace where I could pick what I wanted to eat. I selected Boston Baked Scrod as it was the most exotic thing on their menu.

I remember us going back to their home for an overnight. I slept on the pull out couch in the living room, and in the middle of the night, I’d raid the fridge where my uncle kept his Reese’s peanut butter cups (or did they have eggs back then?) from his Easter basket. One by one, I stole them all. I couldn’t resist. To this day, they are still my Kryptonite. To this day, every time I see Reese’s peanut butter cups, or the holiday themed eggs or pumpkins, I think to myself how I really should buy a bag, and apologize to my uncle. It’s nearing 35 years later. I’m sure he’s long forgotten.

I can remember other mid year or year end or summer stays at my aunt’s home (and one stay with my grandparents) as things with my mother were always weird and strained. Nothing she did seemed to help, and I was just a kid being a kid. But she had (and still has) no sense of boundaries or privacy, or boundaries of what is said to others, so to a developing pre-teen/teenager, it was pure hell, no doubt. For both of us.

My aunt always has been equal parts aunt and equal parts older sister, as she’s only 15 years older than me (and I, in turn, am 15 years older than her daughter). My aunt has always had a flair for the dramatic too, didn’t seem to take much to get her upset. I can recall my dad teasing her to the point of her running to the restroom, which happened with such regularity, Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ home was predictable: there’d be chicken/thigh portions baked in the oven w/parm cheese, cauliflower or broccoli w/cheese sauce, a garden salad of iceberg, mealy tomatoes, black olives and chick peas with Pathmark brand Italian dressing, soft rye bread and margarine on the table… and my aunt in tears in the bathroom.

When we lived at the shore in the Colonial bi-level, my aunt and uncle came to visit regularly. I enjoyed the visits. Kids being kids, I remember tickling my uncle to the point where he got hostile and demanded we stopped, and none of us kids ever tickled him again.

I can remember whistling like a songbird, no particular tune, though bits of  the tune from the Chinoiserie jewelery box my grandmother handed down to me, with the little doll wearing a kimono, twirling around as the music played. I’ve always been tone deaf, and to this day I cannot remember the name of that tune, though I know it’s a classical piece. Beyond that, no memory. I think I was cleaning my room or making up the pull out couch for my aunt and uncle, with my aunt walking in on me whistling, and asking if that was me.

Lots of big holiday get-togethers I recall. Too much noise and chaos for me, even then. I used to go on long walks after the meal to avoid it, returning in time for dessert. I remember being given the task to stuff dates with peanut butter and roll them in granulated sugar, or stuffing celery with olive cream cheese spread. I have the relish tray that the celery would be on, and the big milk glass “basket” that the dates or cookies would be in. And yet, now, I pull out that relish try when I have the rare dinner party with friends, as no family member comes to visit me still. And the milk glass basket is still wrapped up and in the box that dad put it in nearly six years ago, when I said I always admired that basket. I might as well use that basket while I can. I have no one to pass it on to when I exit planet Earth.

I’m on the heels of deciding to have a procedure done to help alleviate some of the agonizing pain I’m enduring. The downside is, it means pregnancy will not be an option for me. August I’ll be 45, and it’s just sad overall. In the time it’s taken me to get on track and be in a “good place”in my life (health and finances), too much time has elapsed, and I’m just too old to even entertain pregnancy. Too many risks for me personally, with very little promise of a return on the investment of time, effort, etc. It’s a scary endeavor even in the healthiest and best of circumstances. And then there’s the issue of my ego, and how thankless motherhood can be. Women are really sold a bill of goods as it were, with the whole motherhood fantasy.

Over the years, the extended family parties have dwindled, and mom’s cousins and their offspring are off doing their own things now for the holidays. Hell, all of two cousins (from that vast, unending array) showed up when my dad died, despite the fact I, personally, have been to all of their parents and even grandparents’ funerals. Fair-weather friends is one thing, fair-weather family is utterly incomprehensible to me.

My mom can’t visit me in my home due to being handicapped. My siblings don’t come to visit either. If I don’t make the point of going to their holiday get togethers, well, the silence is deafening on my end. My husband and I have a quiet life in comparison. And he’s Hindu, and I’m whatever I am, perhaps even a deist, so there’s no real drive to perpetuate the Christian holidays in our household. But I still miss it. That sense of family and togetherness and feeling somewhat less alone in the world surrounded by all of them.

The last 15-20 years, so much has been stripped away, both in volume of people who attend (as well as who have passed on), as well as the veneer of politeness. I get the vibe from the majority of folks who attend those parties now, that they’d rather be “anywhere’s else, but here.”

Death isn’t something that happens all at once. It’s a gradual thing. Seeing one’s personal circle of family and familiar folks dwindle, and seeing the love and regard degrade to silent resentment, resignation and obligation, is quite potent. So whether I attend a family party or stay home, the result is the same: Grieving for all that we once had, at the same time grieving for the moments being wasted right now, and knowing I am personally powerless to change any of it.

March 11, 2013

Another Note For My Therapist: Employment Epiphany

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:47 pm by Maven

The Epiphany.

Of course, it had to happen AFTER we spoke on Friday. It couldn’t possibly have occurred to me BEFORE we spoke. No, that’d be too convenient, and TIMELY. But I guess in keeping with my lifelong pattern of nothing happens quickly (or when I want or need it to happen), at least the epiphany came to me.

Of course when I reveal the epiphany to the husband, he thinks I’m crazy, and partly thinks I’m suggesting something (to him, his point of view) SO OUTLANDISH, he thinks I expect him to get so exasperated with me he just says “Then just stay home if you’re THAT miserable.” 

And yes. I am THAT miserable. So miserable that the thought of investigating what it takes to qualify and work as a retort operator at a crematory. Yes. You read me correctly. I want to cremate bodies for a living.

No, I don’t want to go back to school for mortuary science. I don’t want to embalm or handle dead bodies. I just want to be the last person in that process. I want to be the person who heats up the incinerators in the morning, and shuttles bodies from a refrigerator unit and place the bodies in the retorts for cremation.

I am also watching trends. And the trend at the moment is, most folks who hit their 50s who become unemployed are having a harder and harder time finding new jobs. I will be 45 in August. I don’t want to find myself in my 50s and still thinking about what the hell should I do for a job?  This sense of urgency to find “my next big thing” job-wise, coupled up with just this unrelenting dissatisfaction of my current job situation is what is driving this desire to change jobs.

I need a radical change in what I do for a job.

As you know, this is not an impulsive thing. I’m miserable. And let’s face it, going someplace else, I would no doubt have to deal with… PEOPLE. At least a good lot of the people I would be dealing with in my capacity as a retort operator would not be in a position to talk back or worry if I’m Facebooking or doing whatever. (And truthfully, being a retort operator does not strike me as the same as an office job. I doubt I’ll be sitting down in front of a computer much, if at all.)

To me, it is a job that needs doing. I’ve seen videos of the process. Seems straight forward. But I know that there’s a lot more to all jobs that just cannot be simply demonstrated in a short video.

If the pay is even CLOSE to what I make, and the job location is just as close, and an employer is willing to INVEST in me as a worker (by way of on the job training), and the work environment is an improvement, I don’t think it’s impulsive or foolish to investigate this.

Granted, it’s not creative. It’s not spiritual. There is an ecological aspect to it that appeals to me. But by and large it seems like a straightforward task to do to earn money.

Granted, a lot more information would need to be revealed before I even consider transitioning to this job:

  • the pay equal or near what I’m making?
  • Is it nearby?
  • Is the facility safe?
  • What are other tasks required? (i.e. would I be required to go on retrieval runs to hospitals, morgues, or the actual place of death, and bring the bodies back to the facility?)

 Ideally, if I were to do this for work, I would like to work at a larger scale facility which does direct cremations, and not work at a mom-and-pop type funeral home, as I really do not wish to deal with the public. At the moment, I’m fantasizing a bit about the solitude of this type of job.

On a whim, I sent my aunt a text to “take her temperature” to see how she’d react if I were to do this for a living. She said I had the perfect temperament for it, so why not? (Not that I base my entire life on what she says, but just to get an “every person” type of response, because it’s not an every day occurrence when someone decides, “Gee, I want to burn dead people for a living.”)

So I have two more weeks until you and I speak. Perhaps in that time, I’ll get a chance to speak to owner-operators of any crematoria that might be nearby and get some answers to my questions. I’ll also run this by my husband’s uncle for “cultural sensitivity” as in India, women are forbidden from entering cemeteries or be near cremations, etc. His uncle, while Indian, also is American (been here 40+ yrs), and is also a surgeon. So I am hoping he will be able to balance tradition with modernity, and approach my situation with also a medical/hygeine type of perspective too.

So, once you and I talk, and some of my questions get answers, I guess I will proceed. But you know me, it’ll be slowly.

And yes. There is some egoism afoot. I relish the idea (that if this truly is a good fit for me) of mentioning in my exit interview that I’m leaving to work at a crematorium, because the work environment is better.

So stay tuned!

February 20, 2013

Betwixt and Between

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:57 pm by Maven

Feeling the best,  mentally and emotionally, I’ve felt, perhaps EVER in my life. I suppose it’s very much “Survival of the Fittest” meets a Darwinian “thinning of the herd.” Well, my herd (family) has thinned out or distanced itself nearly to oblivion.

Dad’s been gone since October 2008, and even in the weeks leading up to his passing and especially in the five years since, I’ve seen our family dwindle further (with the passing of LadyC and my grandfather, and the divorce of mom’s cousin to Mr. Catalunya; and the passing of dad’s 1st cousin on his nana’s side), and distance itself out, emotionally. 

Life continues on its trajectory, moving ever forward. I stop momentarily to look over my shoulder. Soon it will go from technicolor to sepia tone. Life’s short.

I think of the obvious distance of relatives, with whom I have no ill will, and nary a harsh word. Since dad’s passing, there’s been a gradual distancing on their part. Perhaps I am part to blame. When dad died, so too did “Christmas” or whatever I felt Christmas was to me. Hence, with perhaps three or four exceptions (relatives on dad’s side of the family who are not “online), I have totally given up mailing out holiday cards. And while I am on FB, I have made it a personal policy NOT to “friend” family. I view this as a “fire wall” type protection for me, my thoughts and words, my status updates, as well as the vast network of friends.

The dysfunction junkies, simply put, do not need, nor are deserving of, that kind of access to me. If anyone had bothered to email or call me, they’d know this. Instead, I can only deduce that Pitiful Pearl is at it again, putting her greasy fingerprints on everything, distorting everything she touches. And the silence of these cousins in particular is my penance or punishment, for what? I haven’t a clue. And if Pearl IS at it, at the root of the problem, then those few relatives I once cared to remain on good terms with and in contact with, are partially to blame too, for buying it all, taking the bait, hook, line and sinker.

While it does sadden me on one level that the only relatives I remain in contact with are distant relatives, or relatives on dad’s side of the family, all relatives my mother does not know or care about, at least I have these few. It’s truly amazing how petty and threatened Pearl is by ANY relationship I have with ANYONE, male or female, alive or dead.

It is sobering and weird, that the healthier I feel emotionally, the lonelier I feel, familial. So I feel VERY betwixt and between. Neither here, nor there. Kind of like being quarantined or segregated from nearly every person with whom I share a few strands of DNA. Very alienating. 

While on a Pitiful Pearl note: Her passive-aggression hasn’t ceased. She just continues to play these little games, usually using the phone as an instrument of abuse. She’s now taken to not calling me, putting the onus on me. So if I go too long in calling, I know she’s been talking up a blue streak to others about how horrible I am. I couldn’t care less, actually. It’s just the distortion that bothers me. How one sided it all is, despite the reality that telephones work both ways. And if she wants to talk so damned bad, she could pick up the phone and call. Yet she refuses, and expects everyone and everything to drop everything and gravitate TO her.  ::shrugs::  And the rub here? Even when I do break down and call, she’s got nothing to talk about, nothing new, nothing of interest. Such is life of a shut in, I suppose. Such is life between hospitalizations. Yet? ALL OF IT IS HER CHOICE. Even choosing to NOT make a decision, choosing to NOT DO something, is still a decision. This is the life she’s chosen.

January 17, 2013

On the Precipice

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:26 am by Maven

I have this overwhelming sense that I”m on the precipice of losing what little family I’ve got due to their unreasonable demands on me, and their denial or inability to discern that it is indeed time to consider putting mom in a nursing home.

Any suggestion I make whether it be to seek out a social worker to come up with a game plan as it pertains to her care, or perhaps consider a conservatorship (as my bil has POA for mom), everything gets poo pood. Somehow magically, if I were to be there more, it’d make everything better, of which, I’m not convinced would happen.

January 15, 2013

Escalation: Another Note For My Therapist

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:24 pm by Maven



Things have been coming to a head throughout the last month with mom’s health crisis. To date, I have not managed to go to NJ beyond the obligatory attendance at my grandfather’s wake and funeral. Between our international travel immediately before and including the wake and funeral, dealing with my husband’s pain and health issues from the trip, wear and tear on myself, physically I did not have it in me to drive to Jersey for Christmas, which was inconveniently in the middle of a work week. Last thing I want to do is drive 240 miles on Christmas day, then go to work the next day.

Simply put, I just don’t have it in me anymore. I’ve got a mental block due to the lack of reciprocity, how no one will even attend any holiday type get togethers at my home or help ME with MY post-surgical care immediately after my surgery (even after someone VOLUNTEERED, I never asked for help), why should I go out of my way to “be there?”

(Again, this might be a bit tl; dr;… so if you’re brave, read on after the jump…) Read the rest of this entry »

December 19, 2012

The Cliff Notes: Five Pages Long (Memo for my therapist)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:14 pm by Maven

Wrote this out in preparation for Friday’s session with my therapist. I figured writing it out would help me stay organized with my thoughts, and also be able to cobble everything together in as linear of a fashion as possible. It ended up being a five page long Word Document, single spaced. Slapping it here on the blog as it’s related to the theme and direction this blog has taken.

To what few readers may still visit here, I apologize. I am sorry this blog is no longer my clearing house for WTF type humor and links and scatalogical humor, recipes, photo blogging, “day in the life” and other things I used to blog about when I started this blog (originally on Blogger) in 2004, and had to shift the blog to Word Press to shake a co-irker who knew of my blog’s presence.

Long time reader, please note, if you have my old email address, zap me a note, and perhaps we can reconnect via Facebook and or Twitter. I have other blogs (still on Blogger) for my addiction to crochet/yarn/textile arts etc, and the WTF therein is at a minimum. Tho, salty language is always a distinct possibility.

Okay. You’ve been warned and alerted about things. I shall now commence pasting sequence… pasting notes I prepared for my therapist in 3….2…1…….
Read the rest of this entry »

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