31 August 2009

What have you been up to?

*Went to Toys/Babies R Us for a baby shower gift, and I went up down every single aisle with Gabriel. He can't imagine anything better. This is better than the zoo! Than the aquarium! Look at all these toys! He was very good and didn't pitch a single fit. I listened to his lengthy explanation of what kind of birthday party he wants to have, and who should come, and what presents I should buy him.

*Went to my cousin's baby shower, which was quite nice. I ate my weight in vanilla scones, spread generously with lemon curd and whipped cream. Then I went ahead and ate some rose petals, to prove that they were edible (rose petals are edible, in case you're wondering).

*Went out with my sister. We encountered a bachelor party from Manteca or Modesto or Merced or somewhere like that. It involved the drunk soon-to-be Groom crawling around on the floor trying to put money in the jukebox, and me scolding that same bachelor in the scary voice I reserve for Very Naughty Children, and him sulking in the corner for the rest of the night (he said some racist stuff, I reprimanded him). One of his friends came up to me and my sister and said, "I might as well learn your names, since I'm sure you're drinking off our tab."
"Excuse me but I'm drinking off my own tab. I don't mind telling you my name, but you sure as shit didn't purchase the rights to knowing it."
There was an excess of people touching my back. I was wearing a tube top, and I do have a massive and awesome tattoo, but I still don't want you, Hells Angels Biker Man, tracing the lines of my shoulder blades with your finger. I don't like to be touched without permission, be it explicit or implied. You have neither.
It was a fun night (<- that's not sarcasm; I really did have a lot of fun)

*My mom had my sister and I clean out my grandfather's refrigerator and chest freezer. It involved mold (how does frost mold? Please to explain). And clam base. And a vegetable that was originally a cucumber or a jalapeno; it's hard to say. I told Daniel that I thought we might have to lower him into the chest freezer to clean out the bottom. He left! Useless boy....My sister stripped down to her bra and underwear at one point because she was worried about bleach stains. There may or may not be about 80lbs of frozen spaghetti sauce in my parents' trash cans. The garbage truck doesn't come until Friday. Our plan, if our dad asks why the garbage is so heavy, and why it smells so bad, is to claim absolute ignorance.

*I stuck my bus pass SOMEWHERE MYSTERIOUS yesterday. I remember putting it in my car and thinking "Okay Dumbass, this is a stupid place to put your bus pass." But WHERE? Where was the stupid place that I put it??

*Gabriel asked me to teach him to read. We've been working on that.

*Gabriel wants to take dance lessons.

*I have some video of Gabriel showing me how to do push-ups. I'll upload it soon.

I MISSED YOU!

28 August 2009

Unintentional Mini-Break

I'm on a four-day Hanging Out With My Kid and Not Doing a Damned Thing weekend. Which is nice.

However.

I don't have internet at my house.

I had internet at my house, but I moved. And I called AT&T to transfer my service. And despite the fact that I moved to a different unit in the same complex, I'd have to pay $10 more a month for the same service. Which was infuriating, so I canceled it. Then I had someone else's wireless for awhile, but they moved, and all the other wifi near me has passwords, and none of the passwords are 'password'. So now I don't have internet, but I'm still too irritated to re-buy it.

And that's the story of Why I Disappeared.

I'll at least be back Monday. WORK has internet.

25 August 2009

Nightmares

Photo 69
The first time I showed Gabriel my tattoo, he asked me, Mama, are those nightmares on your back?
I thought I'd read him the book a thousand times or more. I know we both know it by heart. I realized that I mostly just recite it to him from memory.
I do that a lot, with books from my childhood. I tell them to him, whispered in the dark, just before sleep. The Story About Ping. Grandfather Twilight. Let's Be Enemies. Goodnight Moon. The Runaway Bunny. A House Is A House For Me. The words are familiar, the stories he knows.
But he may not recognize the pictures.

So we read it.
We looked carefully at every single page.
And that was good.
(And he likes my tattoo now. Loves it, even.)
And I'm trying hard to recite fewer books from memory, in the dark, and read more, and be sure to show him the illustrations, in the light.
--
Most of the time, almost all of the time, I dream of frustratingly ordinary things. My dreaming life is just a replay of the stultifying minutiae of my waking life. Grinding coffee. Clipping my toenails. My dreams stick so closely to Real Life that the only signal I ever get that I'm dreaming is when my alarm goes off in the middle of getting Gabriel's shoes on, and I have to wake up and do it again.

But.

I've had nightmares for as long as I've had dreams.

Horrible nightmares, full of death and pain and anxiety and ominous dread.

The good thing about my nightmares is their recurring nature. I can catch the first threads, the first signs that I'm walking away from boring details, and I can usually catch myself and wake up before I drown, or suffocate, or have all of my teeth spill out of my mouth in an endless tumble of bloody pearls clattering onto a concrete floor. Usually, I can stop myself before I wake up in tears, with my heart racing, unable to fall asleep again.
--
When I was pregnant, my nightmares turned to my unborn baby, and I was caught off guard. I saw every one through to the end. I would see myself putting him in the washing machine, or forgetting him at the hospital, or running him over with my car and crushing him, bucket seat and all.

After Gabriel was born, these nightmares got pushed aside, and it was with absolute relief that I found myself back in my old suffocating, drowning, brakes-go-out-and-I-drive-off-a-cliff dreams. I could go back to waking myself up before they really got started, and Gabriel, my heart, was blessedly absent.
--
Gabriel has reentered my dreamworld - and not because I'm making his lunch (although I am, and then waking up to make his lunch).
Recently, I'm not sure exactly when (although this summer I'm certain), Gabriel started joining me as I careened off a cliff into the ocean, trying helplessly to turn the wheel of my car. The final moment of my dream shifted. I'm no longer staring into the depths of nameless dread, struggling in vain to turn back to the moment before I stumble into the sea. Now I'm staring desperately into Gabriel's wide questioning eyes, and the dread is very specific, palpable as I pull him down with me.

I'm sorry, I try to tell him.
I love you.
I'm sorry.

These dreams are much, much worse.
--
Last week, I started reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I couldn't put it down.
--
This book is many things.
Uplifting it is not.
--
If one is prone to nightmares.
If one is a single parent.
If one's only child is a wide-eyed, questioning, sweet boy.

Well.

Then one might have new kinds of nightmares is all.

Gabriel Weepy Face

24 August 2009

Tattoo, Appointment II

George added a moon. I had very little to do with that process.

IMG_5224

Don't let anyone tell you that tattoos don't hurt.

The face of what it feels like

Really.

OUCH

Here's me, getting stabbed with needles.

IMG_5236

IMG_5244

Here's what it looked like when we were all done with the second appointment.

Tattoo, Phase II

My bra goes well, don't you think? Next appointment is October 24th (Happy Birthday Dad!), all tattoo pictures can be found here.

Unrelated, I'm this week's Mom of the Week! Go say hi!

22 August 2009

Domestically Unkempt

I've been mulling this over in my head ever since Swistle wrote a post requesting housekeeping advice. I'm not terribly domestic, nor am I terribly clean. However I don't live in filth, and I do occasionally have to do something to maintain my slovenly lair.

*Put away ten things. This was actually a chore my mom used to give us when we were kids. As in, you can go outside after you put away ten things in the living room. If I don't know where to start, I start with putting away ten things. It's nice and non specific, and generally renders fairly visible results. Plus, once you put away ten things, you can have yourself a little rest, and then put away ten MORE things. Eventually, you can put away enough rounds of Ten Things that your house is tidy, and you can do it nice little units.

*Clear all horizontal surfaces but one. Somehow having one side table stacked with lots of papers seems tidier than having every horizontal surface in the apartment stacked with some papers. And once I get it all in one place, I can sit down and go through it all.

*Pick a goal that requires you take care of some other stuff first. For instance, I'll decide that I'm going to empty and wipe out my kitchen sink, which involves emptying and then loading my dishwasher to get to it. Or I'll decide I'm going to vacuum the living room, which means I have to get everything off of the living room floor first.

21 August 2009

When The Pills Aren't Enough

This was written by Danielle, and originally appears here.
--

When Pills Aren't Enough

On several occasions over the past few weeks, I have read or heard people complaining that they can't be absolutely and completely honest on their blogs, for a variety of reasons. Maybe your mom reads your blog. Or your grandmother. Or you have co-workers or clients who have found your blog. Maybe your spouse doesn't like you telling "strangers" about the concerns you may have in your marriage. Whatever it may be, I'm pretty sure at some point you have been afraid to post something. And who can blame you? Who wants your grandmother to know you are testing & reviewing a dildo? Who wants your co-worker or boss to read about how stabby you get in the office?
Whatever it is, it would be nice to rant, bitch, complain, vent, get it out already, without the negative consequences. It would be great to get some feedback from other smart people out there, without worrying about losing readers (or your job).
Thus, The "When pills aren't enough" Sessions! (As in, "I took a pill to calm my ass down, but I'm still stressing/pissed/panicking." And I can't take credit for the name; Holly is fabulous with stuff like that.)
Basically, this is how it works:

  • You send me an email [at dlwinkler (at)msn (dot)com] telling me you want to participate. Go ahead and give me the link to your blog as well. Let me know if there is anything you do not want posted on your blog.(such as sexual content)
  • Then you send me your post [dlwinkler(at)msn(dot)com]. It can be about ANYTHING. Nothing is off-limits here.
  • I will send your post to another participating blogger to be posted on their blog next Friday, August 28th. We will all post the guest posts that day.
  • If you wish to have an under-the-radar, sneeky pen name for your post, go right ahead. Just put it in the email. If you want your blog to be linked on your post, let me know.
  • Here's the great part: It's a round-robin sorta thing, so if your guest post goes on Participant #1's blog, Participant #1's guest post will not go on your blog, but on Participant #2's blog. That way, no one that normally reads your blog (like your mother or your nosy secretary) will be able to find your guest post!
Am I fabulously smart or what? (Don't everyone answer that all at once).

So! Pretty please send email to dlwinkler(at)msn(dot)com if you are interested in participating! I will need your guest post by Wednesday night, August 26th.

Now I just need to decide what I'm going to write about first!

**You may see this post on several people's blogs today. Just trying to spread the word. Feel free to do the same!!**

20 August 2009

Birthday Wish List

I like my birthday. A lot. I get excited. I like to plan something with my family, and I like to go out with my friends. If my birthday's during the week, I like to take the day off. This year my birthday's on a Saturday! Of a holiday weekend, no less! Possibilities abound.

Well.

This year, my grandfather's public memorial will be on my birthday (at Aptos Village Park, at 2pm, all are welcome to attend).

So I guess that takes care of my birthday plans.

In lieu of thinking about where I'm going for dinner and which friends can make it out, I've been doing a lot of internet fantasy shopping. I have a rarely updated Amazon Wish List. From that list, the things I want the most:

*Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD

*The Art of Maurice Sendak (big surprise, right?)

*I also want this lens and/or this one for my camera; both have been recommended by a few different people.

*This dress from Anthropologie.

Dresses from ModCloth: this or this or this or this or this or this or this (yeah, I like that store - a lot)

Threadless Shirts: this this or this.

And some other stuff too, I just can't remember.

--

Edit: This is NOT me asking you for prezzies, this is me talking about stuff I like.

Girl Talk Thursday - Happy Girlie Times



A Short List Of Things I Like To Do With Girlfriends:

*Aimless shopping. Like the kind where you go to Ross or Target or Kohl's or the Macy's sale racks and just sort of shuffle through to find things you don't really need, but can't pass up for $7. I like the gossiping and the armloads of weird shit that might be cute once you put it on.

*Drinking wine and talking on the phone. In theory, I'd also enjoy drinking wine and gossiping in person, but that's rarely presented as a choice.

*Food. I like to go out to dinner, although again, it rarely happens. Alternatively I like to sit around the kitchen table and eat chips and salsa.
I LOVE going out to breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite going-out-with-friends meal. Bacon and coffee at my fingertips? Yes. Please.

*Hot tubs.

*Dive bars. Dive bars are my favorite kind. Especially the kind with a dartboard. Bonus points if UFC is playing in the background.

*Dancing. This is the other kind of going out that I like to do, and it can not be further from item one. My favorite places to go dancing are usually gay clubs because then I don't have to worry so much about getting accosted in the bathroom, but I also loves me some sleezy hip-hop clubs. The main thing is that the music is good, and I'm intoxicated to the point that I can delude myself into the idea that the dancing is good.

*Coffee. This was my number one going out with girlfriends activity when I was in high school, and old habits die hard. I love coffee shops. Not the Starbucks kind either.

Things I Prefer To Do Alone:

*Waxing. I used to go fairly regularly. And I prefer to go alone.

*Bookstores.

*Gym.

19 August 2009

Walking with Grandma

Walking with Grandma

Does my new commenting format work? This is sort of a test post.....

Unpolished Style Points

So. I only wash my hair a couple times a week, and comb through it even less. I have my friend Stella dye it, meh, every couple of months or so? And I get it cut about as often, if not less, so I'm usually pretty rich in split ends.

Taking all of that under consideration, I get a surprising amount of compliments on my hair. More specifically, I get a lot of compliments on the manner in which I put my hair up. So, without further ado, here is one of my two 'up' styles. I call it Low Side Bun For Work.

Unpolished Style Points

Unpolished Style Points

Unpolished Style Points

I started doing this because I couldn't find any hair ties. Pretty much, I do this thing to my hair every. single. day. To implement, you need two large bobby pins and three regular sized ones. No brushing required! Pull your hair over to one side, twist into a 'rope', and then twist that around into a figure eight. Holding the end of your hair (which will be the top of the figure eight) against your scalp, secure the two big bobby pins in an 'ex' fashion, so they're holding each other in place. Use the three small bobby pins to tame any fly-aways, loose-ends, etc.

I suppose you could do this on the back of your head, but I don't look at the back of my head when I'm doing my hair, and when it's pulled over to the side you can sorta see when you're jabbing pins into your head. Which is nice.

Next time I do it, I'll take pictures, and we can discuss my other 'up-do', The Texas Prom Queen.

17 August 2009

Duncan. 25.

Duncan

A couple weeks ago one of my friends pointed out that whenever I talk about my brother Duncan, I start out with, "So my brother Duncan, I love my brother..."

I absolutely adore my brother Duncan.

He is 25 years old today. Because he turned 25 precisely 19 days before I'm set to turn 27, he's spent our whole life claiming that I'm only one year older than him. Whatever.

Duncan is one of the worst phone-people on the face of the planet. Before I call him, I make a little list in my head of questions to ask and things to say. I hate talking to him on the phone.

In person, Duncan is one of the easiest people to talk to.

Yesterday my mom, my sister Laura, my nephew Elliot, my brother Daniel, Gabriel and I drove up to Sacramento to visit Duncan. We walked around his neighborhood and harvested some fruit out of the alleys. We went swimming in a storm drain on the American River. A storm drain which Duncan described, very seriously, as 'a little beach.' We had pie and milkshakes. He's taking pilates, yoga and kick-boxing 'with all the ladies', because they're free through school. His favorite kind of fight to watch is a bird fight, followed by a girl fight, followed by a squirrel fight.

Duncan, swimming

A great brother, friend, uncle, son, nephew, grandson. He's going to be a great doctor.

Duncan wrassling with Elliot & Gabey

Happy Birthday.

Storm Drain
The storm drain/"beach"

16 August 2009

Weekly Winners - 8/16/09


Weekly Winners


I went to the park with Gabriel yesterday. It was the first relaxing day we've had in a long time.

Slide

Watching Basketball

Grumble Puss

Tall

Getting a Drink

14 August 2009

The last month in searches

Occasionally, I look at my blog stats. Because I'm narcissistic curious. I'm sure other bloggers already know this, but it just fills you up with MORE QUESTIONS. What prompted you to google "don't drink and comment"? What comment did you leave? (Personally? I disagree).
And what about this poor soul: "i have flat feet" fetish - My feet actually have these insanely high arches/insteps, they're the antithesis of flat feet. But what is it, specifically, about flat feet that gets you all hot and bothered? And also? Sorry dude. I hope you find your p0rn.

What about the woman (I imagine this as a woman) who searches out "remembers how to sleep" When did you forget?

The person searching out ativan and morphine cocktail? Yes. Please. You can mail it.

boobs hug head - Seek medical attention.

double fisting instructions - Order two drinks. Hold one in each hand. Proceed accordingly.

Then there are the stories I want to hear: everything just went kinda fuzzy and cold... and minty... i don't remember much after that. I imagine someone sitting in front of their computer, typing blindly into the google box.

And fuck me i'm tired? God. Me too. We need a nap.

The person hunting for packing list for masters degree? Pack your sanity somewhere safe and away, so you can pull it back out when you're done.

Of course you can't get flagged as a p0rn site without talking an awful lot about boobs, which I am, and I do. So there's a big CHUNK of p0rny, inappropriate searches that are ending up here. I've made my peace with that. But I have to tell you, it makes me smile that someone searched for pictures of grown ups sucking other grown ups boobs, because I picture them hunting for dirty photos and coming up with breastfeeding pic after breastfeeding pic. #snort.

the bloggess pregnancy - Dude. Jenny? We're having twins, right? How come you never call or write? If you cut me out of our babies' lives? I'm gonna be pissed. You could at least send me a copy of the ultrasound. Or a picture of your boobs. Or both.

My very very favorite search from last month? wagina - Nuff said.

13 August 2009

Girl Talk Thursday - I bathe. Sometimes.



I washed my hair last night for the first time since Saturday. I'd showered in between. Oh wait. On Sunday.

Yeah.

Basically? I shower like four times over the weekend, and maybe once in the middle of the week when my hair starts to look like greasy hunks of gross. It averages out to five or six showers a week!

What's with the weekend showering yo?

I have this stupid curly hair that goes all DREAD LOCKS OF DOOM when you sleep on it, so if I'm going out, I need to shower, cuz I need to get my hair wet, cuz I can't comb through my hair unless it's wet. If I comb my hair dry, I end up with a frizzy lampshade head. And then if I DO go out, I come home smelling like a bar, which means I have to take a shower because I have this weird phobia of my sheets smelling like a bar. And on the EXTREMELY RARE occasions that I get laid, I totally shower afterward because I don't want my bed to smell like S-E-X. When I'm getting some on the regular this is much less of a concern, because S-E-X is no longer a foreign concept. Also if I'm at my parents' house, they have this giant claw foot bathtub, so I take a bath pretty much every time I go there. And I'm slightly more likely to exercise or swim or something on the weekend, which is also a shower situation.

So.

Showers on the weekend? Frequent.

Showers during the week? LESS SO.

I have stupid fucked up ears that get even more fucked up when I get water in them so I often put little pieces of cotton ball in them before I shower so as not to go deaf.

The only face wash I can use without dying a HORRIBLE FACE WASH DEATH OF PAIN (er, without my skin freaking the fuck out) is Cetaphil, so that's what I use. I have a variety of bar soaps and sugar scrubs and body washes and stuff. I receive them as gifts or samples or whatever, and I use whatever I have in my cabinets.

For hair stuff I go to the professional beauty supply store with Stella every time we go to buy hair dye and then she picks out something good and also on sale. Right now I have Paul Mitchell, before that I had...Bedhead? I think? And before that Biolage. I like to switch it up, based on what's on sale.

Conclusions: I bathe irregularly, and only really care about facewash. TraLaLa the end.

Riveting
Randall Kane

The San Francisco Chronicle said this photo was too dark to run with his obituary.

12 August 2009

Today, 12 August

Today. My nephew. Simon is 6. He is in first grade . He can read and swim and ride his bike. He's the oldest member of our next generation. He's a pretty cool dude. Happy Birthday Simon.

Simon

Today. My brothers. Today James is a senior in high school. Today Daniel is officially in junior high. How are you both so old? Conversely, how are you both so young? I am baffled in both directions.

IMG_0888

11 August 2009

More pictures! The good times with good friends edition!

Can you believe I went out twice last weekend? Twice! That's the kind of crazy thing that happens when Gabriel spends the weekend with his dad.

On Thursday I went out with my sister, Aurora, and Jenny & Megan (who are sisters). We all went to our crazy-small high school together.
We went to some bar I've never heard of because Aurora's husband's band was playing. They didn't serve hard liquor and they were overcharging for the cheap wine, so we snuck in cheap champagne from the liquor store next door (<- I like the rhyminess of that).

The Parish is going to have to start searching bags.....

Me, Aurora

My sister is full of magic and when she drinks she can talk anyone into anything. She talked some boys into crawling around on the floor (she assured them that it would impress us), and then we all wore fancy hats. Aurora introduced me to some skeevy dude like this: "This is Jenny, she has a 3 1/2 year old, and she loves sex." Then she introduced everyone else all normal. It was hilarious, except that it was me, so it wasn't hilarious, because then I had to deal with Dude of Skeeve. But now that it's been almost a week, it really IS hilarious.

Jenny & Laura, crawling

Crawling

#suckit

Aurora Tackle

Me, Megan, Jenny

Saturday! Saturday I went out with Stella, and her friend Tara, in San Francisco. We went to the bar where Cody works. I danced so much my legs were sore the next day. I stayed up so late I watched the sun rise on a fire escape.

Boobs in a Crotch Shot?

Kissy Kissy

I had fun. Did you have fun this weekend? I hope you did.

Sundays in Baseball

My dad loves him some baseball, specifically, San Francisco Giants baseball. He goes to every Sunday home game, and then some extras where he can fit them in. This past Sunday he took me. The Giants lost 5-2 to the Reds, and the game was frustrating, at best. Twice the bases were loaded with no outs. Twice the batter up in that situation hit into a double play. Oi.

But! I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss going to baseball games with my dad. It's a fucking science.

He buys whatever tickets are available, and then he upgrades them when he gets inside the park. He buys you food, and sends you to watch batting practice in the bleachers while he shmoozes with various ballpark employees. Even though I think my dad is horrifyingly embarrassing, for some reason the ticket people love him, and save him tickets all special, and give him t-shirts and stuff. Once they sold him tickets in the owner's box. Often we're there amongst the scouts. On Sunday we were directly behind the dugout, which was also nice.

Anyhow.

Pretty much the only thing my dad spends money on is Giants baseball, so going to games with him? It usually works out.

Sunburned

View from our seats

Matt Cain

Inning Change (Sandoval)

10 August 2009

So much it hurts.

Gabriel,

I love you so much it hurts. And that's such a fucked up cheesy thing to say. If you'd asked me four years ago, even when I was pregnant, even when I already loved you like crazy, I would have said that was a stupid thing to say. Who says that? Fucking soap operas and idiots, that's who.

But I do.

I can't help it.

I love you so much it fucking hurts. I can't imagine loving anyone on Planet Earth as much as I love you.

Since we've moved, you've been sleeping in my bed again. You say it was different when you were in the living room. Before you needed a drink I would know and now I don't know if you need a drink of water you told me. There's frogs under my bed and they scare me. There aren't any frogs under your bed. They won't get me with you.

Where did you ever get it into your head that you're afraid of frogs?

I don't like old people, you tell me. Old people die, and that's scary. I hate old people. Grandpa's dead. Grandpa's dead and his body's burned up but it's not his body but he's burned and I won't see him anymore. I hate old people. And I can see all the hurt and all the confusion and you just trying to figure things out and all I can do is love you. I love you so much that it hurts.

You're three. You'll be four soon enough. Three's not very old. But three's so very old. You speak in complete sentences. You can spell you name. You can even write it, if I sit next to you and tell you how.

You're so fucking smart. It blows my mind.

And I love you so much. And that blows my mind too.

You're like this little miniature of your father. You look so much like him it's uncanny. I'm constantly looking at you trying to understand how anyone can look so much like anyone else. Christ you even have his feet. I didn't even know that I knew what his feet looked like until you had them. You think about things the same way he does. I see it in your eyebrows, when you're thinking something through. And that's crazy.

If you don't know it already, you'll know soon enough: You're father and I? We're like oil and water. Nothing about us mixes together, unless you count the fact that we mixed together and made you. Just thinking about him makes me crazy, and just thinking about you makes me smile. And I still don't understand how that works. You make me crazy and you make me smile in the exact same instant. How do you do that? Tonight I was putting you to bed, and you patted my cheek in that special tender way you do, like you're the mom, and you're just looking out for me? That makes me cry. You've been doing it since before you could walk, since before you could crawl, and it still makes me cry. And I don't cry.

I love you so much it hurts. It hurts down in my soul, if I can ever figure out where my soul is.

I love you.

Love,

Mom

07 August 2009

Grandfathers

I have two grandfathers. I used to have more.

My great-grandfather, my dad's grandfather, 'Great-Granddaddy-in-San-Francisco' we would call him, all run together as one word (as opposed to 'Granddaddy-in-Palo-Alto'), he passed away when I was six. We used to visit him in San Francisco, where he lived with our Grandma Esther. World War I vet, former mayor of Twin Falls, Idaho. He was framed for murder during his re-election campaign, his wife (my great-grandmother) left him, he spent five years in prison before proven innocent, with help from Esther. They moved together to San Francisco, where he was a jeweler and watch repairman. He used to give us M&Ms in a glass candy dish. He had an elevator going up to his apartment. When he was 89 he was beaten and mugged. He had to give up his apartment, live in a nursing home. Esther had already passed away. He died a year and a half later, in the spring. That same year, on his birthday, the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck, with the epicenter less than a mile from my parents' house.

Me, great-grandaddy

Grandpa. My grandpa. The only grandpa I've ever just called grandpa. I always felt adored by him. He was a difficult man. Mean. Intolerant. He rarely turned that side of his personality on me. He took me to get my ears pierced for my birthday. He wore rainbow suspenders and a beret. He tipped generously. He did 80 push-ups every morning, rode his bike everywhere. He once mocked me with line, "I'm a lady of the world, I hardly know how to speak English anymore!" Because I was wearing shoes.

Grandpa

Granddaddy. Or Mac. Depending. He goes by Mac, we call him Granddaddy. My dad's dad. A Freudian psychiatrist. A difficult man. A collector of antique watches. Thrower of restaurant tantrums. Sharp. Intolerant. Judgmental. Married to his third wife. But. My grandfather. Witty. Not unkind. Honestly, I love him. He is my grandfather. Last year he had to have triple bypass surgery. His recovery was slow. Hospitalizations. Cellulitis. He finally had to close down his medical practice. I'm not sure that anyone but my dad really thought he was going to make it. But my dad did. And he did. My dad visits him every Saturday, goes out to eat, goes to the movies. He's my grandfather. Granddaddy. Or Mac, yknow, depending.

Harly & Grandaddy

Grandpa Irv. My dad's step-dad. Married to my grandmother when my dad was 14 years old. Unlike Granddaddy's wife Deborah, he's been a part of my life my whole life. Loving and kind, while simultaneously skeevy and uncomfortable with awkwardly long hugs and weepy professions of how much he loves you. But he means it well. He loves us. He loves us like his own grandchildren. I think we are his grandchildren. As of this week he's in a nursing home. My grandmother worked up into a fret and a tizzy in that big empty house with her husband in a home. He's not doing well. The last time I saw him, I last saw him in July, it was only July, I thought to myself, maybe even said out loud, "Irv doesn't look like he's doing very well." And I guess he's not. It seems less foreign though. We've been watching his health decline for years.

grandparents & cousins

It was just July, it was just July, that I was thinking in my head that Grandpa Irv doesn't look well. But I wasn't even really worried about Grandpa, who hadn't yet fallen, who hadn't yet been declared to be living under the shadow of death, who was still well enough for us all to feel resentful, for him to be mean. And then when Grandpa, when my grandpa died, the health problems of Irv just seemed like they had faded away. Because how could he be dying with one already dead? How can that work? It doesn't. It doesn't work that way. Does it?