East Of Eden
Me, on my 3rd birthday, and Jos, 6 months, in 1985.
"A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite." - Elizabeth Fishel
It's the sixth year since she left, quietly, in her sleep. Joscelyne- loud, and laughing, and singing, in lip gloss and heels and body mist- closed her eyes, and then... silence....
It's Holy Week; Lent is almost over. Unlike last year, I did not write daily Lenten posts. I'm in a weird place when it come to producing work- blogs, sketches, paintings. First, I'm extremely busy with Zoe. Homeschooling, getting her to activities, and the daily demands of parenting leave me with less free time than when she was 2.
Second, January and February were stuffed with medical appointments: a port removal/ new port placement/ six rounds of plasmapheresis, blood work, an EKG, and a 12 hour stint at the ER after an anaphylactic...
Note: This post first appeared at my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on May 8, 2012. ~Li
As I mentioned, somewhat in passing a couple of weeks ago, I resigned from my full time job. It was hard. So very hard that three weeks later, I still feel at a loss for words. It's not because I loved my job. Because quite frankly, I had no warm feelings towards it. The people- my boss, the coworkers and the students I helped, yes, very much so. But the filing, memos and meetings- eh, not so much. It was far better than the previous job, but it was still just a job. I don't mean that in a disparaging way. If it weren't for those jobs, I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm extremely grateful for them. I mean they weren't part of the career I had...
Note: This post was first published on my old blog, Far Above Rubies, on December 31, 2012. ~Li
Princeton University. I did not attend. I did, however, drive by a number of times on my way to the neurologist's office.
I attended and graduated from a state university, and one not in the top tier at that. That is not to say I received a second-rate education. Far from it. I learned so much, in class and even more-so, from occurrences not transcribed on to a syllabus. Reading "Lost in the Meritocracy" by Walter Kirn at The Atlantic, I was heavily reminded of my college days. Sure, he matriculated at Princeton around the time I was just arriving on this Earth, but there are some transcendental experiences with which I could relate:
Note: This post was first published on October 2, 2012, on my old blog, Far Above Rubies. Enjoy! ~Li
On Thursday, my friend Kawania stopped by to pick up a flash drive. She was just leaving her job as an elementary school teacher, and as I opened the door to let her in, I said, "Wow! Is this what the teachers are wearing these days?" Decked out in a brown, above the knee shirtdress, with leopard print, four inch, peep toe heels, she laughed and said assuredly, "Gone are the days teachers wear long flower skirts and penny loafers." I laughed, too, thinking how cool it would be to find a pair of penny loafers nowadays. But hey, these glasses aren't for show. I'm a true blue nerd. Kawania began playing with Z, and I slid back over to the...
(Image source: YouTube)
My home infusion nurse Charlie was over on Wednesday, administering IVIG. While the Gamunex dripped into my vein through my accessed PowerPort, he spoke about visiting a very rich patient upstate some years ago. She lived in a mansion that was staffed with white-gloved maids, personal chef, and a driver to chauffeur her to shopping trips in Manhattan and back. He set up her infusion while she reclined in a giant bed, swathed in high count sheets. After finishing, he was escorted to the front entry by a stern faced Black maid wearing a highly starched black uniform. It was undoubtedly the most expensive place he had ever stepped foot.
Immediately after, he drove to the markedly-not-so-tony city of Patterson...
Spoke with the BFF about an hour ago and she asked me if anything was new. "Um... with me? Nope. Just the same ol', same ol'. Except this blogging everyday again stuff... I feel like my time is really limited. I added something but it's not like anything else got taken away. So there's still meals to cook, Zoe's homeschooling, cleaning...", I trailed off as I pulled a tray of meatless meatballs from the oven.
No, there's nothing really new with my day-to-day life in the past month. I'm still getting Zoe to her Vocal, Dance and Gymnastics classes every week, followed up with addition flash card drills, Social Studies on various countries around the world, and the proper construction of stories. There's also piles of laundry to put...
(Image Source: KJ Design)
I had a convo with a friend earlier this week about life and death. At some point, I asked, "Why on Earth would anyone want to live forever?" She responded by talking about accomplishing life goals, building relationships and making memories. "Oh no, I'm not saying 'Why not just die and get it over with'", I paused and continued, "I mean, I think most people desire a long, healthy life. But to never die? Never? While the people you love most do die? The world you know fades away? Like, live just to not die?"
I thought of my grandmother who has buried her mom, husband, siblings, three of her kids, and a grandchild. To be clear, Grandma doesn't have a deathwish, and is quite active at 86...
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." -Proverbs 13:12
I've been reading a spate of articles for over a year now about the sudden increase in the rate of morbidity amongst middle- aged White Americans, and Vox published yet another earlier today:...
Friday marked the third anniversary of my sister Joscelyne's death.
Around 8AM, I pulled the black and white photo of her, ensconced in a shiny, mirrored frame, off the bookshelf, and placed it in the center of the piano. I set out a couple of candles, and searched through a closet for the least tacky plastic flowers I could find. I wanted fresh lilies, but due to a sprained ankle I've been nursing for three weeks, that didn't happen.
I found some pink and purple ones, part of a bouquet that she had purchased in 2011 for our mom that wound up in my possession. They surrounded the candles, which I lit and watched flicker. Their light could barely be seen because it was bright in the living room. November 20th...
Congratulations to my wonderful friends Aja and Paul Thorburn on the birth of baby number three, Isaac, who was born yesterday morning and weighed in at eight pounds, four ounces.
He is joining big brother Theo:...
About twenty minutes after leaving the graveyard where we laid my father to rest, I stood in line at the nearby Starbucks. It's "my" Starbucks, the one I spent hours studying in during college, where I took part in Bible studies, discussed matters of importance and frivolity with Joscelyne, and of late, just go to get my order and split.
When it was my time to order, I got my usual- a venti soy white mocha- along with a frap for my nephew Justin and a chocolate milk for Zoe. When the friendly barista asked my name, I said, "Larry's Daugter". She repeated it back to me with a slightly quizzical look on her face....
So I am totally being lazy in the Soren Kierkegaard class I'm taking. Assigned to read Plato's "Euthyphro", I haven't been able to read more than a few pages before having my brain scream "Nope" and start daydreaming of how cute K would look in a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.
We sat today, waiting. Waiting for my dad to die.
He was moved to hospice this week, and a little after 11 this morning, they shut off the respirator.
My grandmother, cousin Velvet, her husband Mike, cousin John, brother Joe, his wife Jenny, stepmom Kathy, her sister Monica, K, Z and I all sat vigil. Prayed, sang, talked and laughed. Streamed music through an iPad and sipped coffee and tea.
I was visited again today by Friend 2 from last week. Repeatedly throughout her visit, the conversation veered into some of the more difficult areas of life- illness, breakups and death. I kept responding to her frustrated statements with, "But I can't control that" and "I cannot make people do what they do not want to do". She would agree, only to turn right around and then go into complaints. Exasperated (and my voice going screechily high pitched), I finally declared, "Don't you get it? We aren't really in control of many things in life!"
I said control so many times I started to hear the Janet Jackson classic in my head.
I snapped the picture above while out running errands this afternoon. I spotted what Zoe calls "The sad teddy bear on the ice" set out for trash. Filthy, wet and torn, I felt sad looking at it. Zoe had brought her stuffed Curious George along for the outing, and I couldn't help but compare the two. George, clean and dry in Zoe's arms, her favorite since Christmas, very much loved. I wondered if that bear was once some other little girl's beloved cuddly friend... now discarded.
I spoke to my good friend Kandi who lives overseas a few hours later via video call, catching up on family, career, and Zoe. She talked over the past decade of her life which has seen her move 12 (!) times, change jobs, live in two different...
"No longer shall I paint interiors, and people reading, and women knitting. I shall paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love—I shall paint a number of pictures of this kind. People will understand the sacredness of it, and will take off their hats as though they were in church. I shouldn't like to be without suffering. How much of my art I owe to suffering!"
-Edvard Munch (as quoted in George Heard Hamilton, Painting and Sculpture, 1880-1940, 1967 and Joy Schaverien, The revealing image: analytical art psychotherapy in theory and practice, 2009)
Last week, as Kanye West's post-Grammy rant went viral, my brother Joe sent me a simple text:...
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