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Monthly Archives: June 2008

I wanna run to you

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One thing I’ve noticed about moving to the city of Birmingham and living and working within the confines of the city: There are so many runners. All sort and shapes and sizes. But the ones that seem to catch my eye the most are the old men.

Daaaaaaaang.

There are all these really old, gray, wrinkly men that run constantly on the street I work on and even where I live. Is it wrong that I saw a man the other day that looked like Wilford Brimley from the neck up and delicious from the neck down and wanted to drool? His legs were amazing, all muscly and sinewy and strong. I mean, really. It’s a crime to be that old and look that good.

I wish I had a runner’s drive and dedication. But I just can’t do it. I never could run when I was in school. I hated it. I got all out of breath and itchy and wanted to throw up. Now, I love a good walk, and you get basically the same benefits without all the stress on your joints, but it doesn’t sound as cool to say “I’m going out for a walk” as it does when someone says “I’m going for a run.” I used to like to draw a line down the middle and say “I’m going for a jog,” because now that I can do. I like to blame it on my knee (which does prevent me from doing much more than a swift walk or light jog), but I really know it’s because I hate to run.

But God bless the men who don’t hate it. And the girls who are always running on my street? I hate them.

I think I’ll stick to walking and yoga.

hey, your son is on line toot…

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For those fearful of flatulence, turn away from this blog now.

Ok…anyone still there? Good.

So, today I’m in my office, which is really an open workspace with three other designers, sometimes a fourth. Today, I was sitting at my desk, doing my own thing, when I realize I need to retrieve a file from the drawers under my desk. I lean over, rustle through my papers to find the needed paper, when I did it.

Pfffft.

That’s right. I let one go, right there in my office-slash-workspace.

Luckily, there were only two other designers up there with me, and it was not of neck-choking, gagging-for-air variety. It was strictly air. However, i was then thrust into the situation of having to exercise some damage control.

I’m not very proud of what happened next.

I immediately began making happy little farting noises with my mouth. “Pffft, pffft, pfft…” and so it went. That way, I figured if someone said something like “Was that you? Did you fart?” or “Did you hear that?” I could respond with, “Huh? What? Oh, I was making fart noises with my mouth earlier, maybe that was what you heard. Ha, ha, ha, that’s me, I’m just so quirky. Pffft, pfft, pfft…”

God, I need help.

what’s the deal, pickle?

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Sometimes things happen to me that just make me want to cry. Like, sit in the middle of wherever I am and bawl. Call me overdramatic, I don’t care. (Actually, I do, and if you said that to my face, I’d probably collapse in a heap at your feet and commence the over-emoting.)

Anyway. I remember once hearing my mother say, “You know, Autumn and I just think everything bad happens to us. Everything bad really does happen to Summer.”

Honestly. If there is a hole to fall in, a banana peel to trip over, or a bucket to step in, I will surely be the one to provided unintended comic relief.

The other day, I went to the grocery store after work. It was pouring down rain, but I brave those falling drops to purchase some pantry essentials. While shopping, a jar of pickles caught my eye. I haven’t had pickles in so long! I thought. I picked up a jar and went about my way.

When I got home, it was still raining, and I had several bags. I pulled out my trusty umbrella and walked over the passenger side to retrieve my wares. As I turned one way, I noticed a box of pasta fall out. I hastily picked it up and turned to get my other bags. Then I heard the sound of glass splintering. What the hell was that? I thought. I turned around, wondering what would make such a noise.

It was my brand-new jar of pickles, lying naked on the grass, surrounding by the glass that once held them safely.

This was one of those moments where I wanted to cry. I felt so bad leaving them there, all alone on the sidewalk.

I think a dog came by and ate them one day. At least somebody benefitted from my misfortune.


I returned to the a scene a day later, prepared to mourn.

how much is a memory worth?

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We’ve all been there before. You bump into someone at the supermarket, or around town, and when they offer up a warm hello, you feel a twinge of guilt because you can’t remember how you know them. Or worse, you can’t remember their name.

Or sometimes, when you’re looking for something, like your keys or your glasses, and you look and look, only to find them in your purse, or perched on your head. You laugh to yourself, and think, “I must be losing my mind.”

Now think about this: You’re surrounded by people you don’t know, but who all seem to know you. It’s impossible to find things you need, and even harder to remember where you’re supposed to put them. Time is a limitless concept; days and nights and weeks and months all fade into each other. You’re in a strange place that you recognize vaguely, but you don’t know where you are. You just want to go home.

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and this is what life is like for her every day. Times ten.

Let me back up a little. My grandparents have always lived right across the street from me. My dad’s two sisters live beside us, all three families on the same street across from my Maw Maw and Paw Paw, as we all called them. About ten years ago, my grandfather suffered a massive heart attack. It was so sudden, so unexpected. Just out of school for the day, I was across the street, alone, waiting for my parents to come home from work when I saw all the flashing lights and heard the fire trucks. He died instantly. We were all worried about my grandmother, and my dad would go out to stay with her at night. I spent Christmas Eve there that year. But everything seemed to be okay, as good as it could’ve been.

About two years ago, my parents started noticing little things about my grandmother. She would lose her glasses, or insist she’d lost them, and they’d be on the dresser. She’d lost a lot of weight, and she seemed to have trouble remembering little things. At first, we just chalked it up to being old. But it got worse. My dad would find pills on the floor. Upon opening a cabinet, my mother noticed an empty fish stick box next an unopened box of crackers. One afternoon, all the spoons disappeared—we soon realized that she’d thrown them all away. She was losing so much weight because she was forgetting to eat. When she almost started a fire on the gas stove in the kitchen, my dad decided that someone would have to stay with her more often.

Then some things were disappearing from around the house.

One day, I noticed some pictures were missing. They were of my sister. One by one, they came down, off the shelves, and off the wall. Then my pictures were gone. It finally came to the point where the only pictures that remained were very old, not including the three family pictures about the couch from when we’d had church directory pictures taken.

With the pictures went the memories.

I called my grandmother’s house one day to speak to my dad. I asked for him, and when she said he was gone, I asked her to tell him to please call Summer. “Which one are you again?” she asked. It only got worse after her pacemaker was put in and she came home from the hospital.

She’s convinced that my dad has brought her to some house, that he found her somewhere and brought her there. All the mirrors have either been removed or taped over so that she doesn’t feel like “that woman” is watching her. She thinks my Aunt Phyllis is some girl who my dad has paid to sit with her—she doesn’t even recognize her own daughter. The last time I visited her, we’d talk about people and she’d have to ask me who was living and who wasn’t.

I live in Birmingham now, so I don’t get to see my family as much as I like. I rely on my daily reports from my mother and father to see how she’s doing. And it never gets better. I can see the toll it takes on my family, esp my dad. To me, it’s sad, because she’s my old grandmother. But that’s my dad’s mom. She used to take care of him, now he has to take care of her. I hope and pray that my parents never have to ask me who I am. Or who they are, as my grandmother is slowly starting to forget herself.

I can’t imagine how sad and lonely she must be, and how hard it is for any of us to even begin to understand what she’s going through. There are so many moments in my life that I want so badly to forget, but I hope the day never comes when I can’t remember anything, even those things that I don’t want to.