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What A Long Strange Trip It's Been
Friday, 29 February 2008
Giving thanks for lots of stuff
Mood:  lucky
Now Playing: A Tisket - A Tasket sung by Ella Fitzgerald
Topic: Mothers

So – I am rewriting this blog because for some reason it didn’t post right.

 

I am really happy and very thankful.

 

For all those who don’t know, which is practically everyone since I kept this little nugget of news to myself for the most part, my mother has been incredibly ill for months now, and we’ve been extremely worried about her. We didn’t know if it was colon or stomach cancer or something along those lines, but whatever it was it was bad.

 

For months she has had an extremely upset stomach, almost like an ulcer. What was worse in this case was that there was so much stomach acid it was eating away at the sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus. She had severe lacerations on her esophagus and was in so much pain she couldn’t eat or drink. The doctors didn’t know what was causing this problem. They shoved all kinds of meds into her, which of course reacted with her system and gave her all kinds of gastrointestinal issues. So now she had problems with both ends if you know what I mean. So, scopes when down the throat and up the bum, and she had a slough of tests, blood work, everything. This has been going on for six months.

 

My mother told me it felt like she was swallow shards of hot glass every time she ate or drank. She stopped eating and drinking – lost a good deal of weight in the process and became incredibly depressed.

 

Finally, this past Monday, the doctors (six of them) finally diagnosed that her thyroid was the problem. They put her on medication for the hormonal imbalance in her thyroid and nearly immediately she felt better. It is a major relief and I am thankful – very thankful that she will be okay.

 

She is still living with the amazing pain of her arthritis condition, but at least that isn’t life threatening as we thought this other condition was going to be. Her body was eating itself. With all the increased acid in her stomach things could have gotten very bad for her. Yet, she is alright, and on the road to recovery from this ordeal. It will take a while for her esophagus to heal and for the sphincter to repair itself. Hopefully there won’t be any permanent damage.


Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 12:33 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008 7:29 PM CST
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Wednesday, 18 October 2006
Did you ever notice the smother is mother with a
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Mothers
Do you get along with your mother?

For many, MANY years I would answer that question with a resounding "NO!". I don't think I ever enjoyed any time I spent with my mother EVER until I was in my late 20's. There are numerous reasons I can think of and oodles of stories I can tell. Shall I embark on the motherload of horrific tales? Will I pontificate and proliferate the puns? No...I won't pull anymore puns out of my head...promise.

It's not all my mother's fault, but between my mother and my father, she pulled more crap and hurt me more deeply than he did. Where to begin? How about chronologically?

1) Adopting my brother and telling him that they just 'had' me, but that he was special...they 'chose' him.

Well, we adopted David when I was about 9 years old. My parents opened our home as a foster home and accepted newborns or any child for that matter. We got David when he was a few weeks old at most, perhaps five to six weeks old, from a lady who could no longer care for him Trudy. My parents fell in love with little David and wanted him for a son. I remember it clearly, listening to them tell David a few years later that he was special. That they chose him out of all the foster children that came through our doors and that he was most certainly wanted. Being an insecure child, as I was, I always felt like I was some accident. That being a girl for starters was not what my parents wanted, AND that even after they found out my mother couldn't have any more children, that I wasn't enough for them. They couldn't just 'settle' for me and be done with it. It hurt tremendously and I have always resented my mother and father for having a foster home and bringing David into our lives. This topic could be an entire blog by itself.

2) Using my inheritance from Grandpa Joe to have her teeth capped

In a nutshell, my Grandpa Joe left me $2,500 in his will in the late 1970's. That money was to be used for college. Instead of putting it in the bank and letting it earn interest for the next ten years, my mother decided she needed her teeth fixed, used the money on her dentist bills and made her teeth nicer. Later, when she won her lawsuit, she gave me back the money, without interest. I can't blame her for wanting better teeth since her parents did next to nothing for her the sake of her teeth, but to use my inheritance and basically loose out on five years of interest during a time when interest rates were at an all time high (1978 - 1983) and not repay that interest really pissed me off back then. I'm over it now since my mother has far repayed the debt...far repaid!

3) Having my jaw wired shut so I'd loose weight and look good for her wedding to Dr. Evil.

This still has an effect on me to this day. I was 14 years old, two months from turning 15, just about to start high school (10th grade). My mother took me to my orthodontist and had my braces wired together so my jaw was basically wired shut. I had just gotten back from a free trip to Hawaii with my friend Leslie Ann, and my buddy Kim and I were throwing a starting school party at her house. My mother took me to the orthodontist first thing in the morning and dropped my off at Kim's house afterward. I couldn't eat solid food, only drink through a straw. Needless to say, Kim's parents were horrified. I was mortified beyond belief and stayed away from everyone at the party so I wouldn't have to take to people with clinched teeth. I nearly passed out from not eating at the party.

I started school and for the first three or four weeks of classes I didn't say anything to anyone since I couldn't open my mouth. Additionally, not having the ability to brush one's tongue lends itself to nasty breath. Between drinking water, Diet Rite, and Sego, I did loose weight so I looked good at my mother's wedding to Dan, which is what she wanted. Although, she had my braces taken off two days before the wedding and I proceeded to get very ill - even at the wedding since I hadn't had solid food in more than a month.

4) Telling the hairdresser to cut my hair short after I specifically requested only a trim - loosing more than six inches in the process

She was trying to be nice, and took me to get ready for the prom to her own hair dresser rather than Fantastic Sam's were she normally had my hair cut. We went to Manhattan Beach and it was all very fancy. I had my nails done and my hair touched up with dye. When it came to the style, I asked that it be kept long, and I like long hair. My mother pulled her hair dresser aside, and my hair that was nearly to my but came back barely touching my shoulder. Nice way to enrage me on a very special day...Prom.

5) Telling me I ruined the evening after I passed out from exhaustion at Homecoming 1989

It was Homecoming 1989. I was the first female head drum major in our high school's 83 year history. It had been a tremendously long day. I went to school early, ran around all day doing a PEP rally, helping with homecoming floats, etc. I had walked home at 4:30pm after staying late at band practice. I scarfed down a frozen burrito, grabbed my drum major baton and boots, and ran back to school. For the next few hours I did nothing but run around, making sure everything was in place. Then when the parade started I lead the band around the track four times during the parade, then marched them down the field for the Star Spangled Banner THEN, led them through four quarters of cheers and songs not to mention a field show. After it was all over around 10pm, I was walking along the track back to the gate which led to the band room, and I collapsed - fainted dead away. I had eaten only a single burrito in a 24 hour period and had been moving at a frenetic pace for hours. Ayde and Emily helped me back to the band room. My mother, who had only ever attended that single game in the three years I attended Venice, said to me "Well, we were going to take you out and celebrate the win, but you've just gone and ruined the night." My friend Emily sat there open mouthed just staring, then got up and left.

6) Leaving me at school until after midnight because she forgot to pick me up after my flight from Hawaii Band Competition arrived

I really don't know what happened here other than I called home to ask them to come get me after waiting for two hours for them to show up. They had forgotten that I was flying back from Hawaii from International Band Competition. There was nobody home, so I left a message on the machine. Finally, some six hours after we landed, I was sitting out in front of the auditorium alone (yes, everyone else had left me) in the dark on Venice Blvd. with my suitcases, and they finally showed up. Dan was actually mad at ME for taking them away from a planned evening with some shit about 'why couldn't you get a ride home with someone?'. My mother didn't take my side, she just let Dan yell at me, like she always did.

7) Spending my scholarship money and leaving me stranded in England

Again, this could be a topic for a single blog itself - but here goes.

I went to England for my first semester of college. My mother and step-father (Dan) were so excited to see me gone, they brought Champagne to the airport and toasted my leaving. I was in England around six weeks when my weekly $100 American Express travelers checque didn't arrive. My mother made me put all of my scholarship money and inheritance from Grandpa Joe in travelers checques, then made me sign them. Then, she took them all and said she would dole them out to me week by week since she didn't trust me with money - thinking I would blow it all. $100 didn't go very far as it was changed into 50 pounds sterling due to the exchange rate. A Whopper was still 2.25 but that meant it was nearly $5.50 for the Whopper in American money.

Anyway, I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon and I decided to call home to ask my mother to send the checques sooner. I was borrowing money from Leah and Jim by this time and feeling like a mooch. I called home and got my step-father. I asked for my mother and he hung up on me. I called back and asked him why he did that, and he hung up again. So, I called back and said "Listen, you put my mother on so I know she's alive or I am calling the police you fucking sicko!" This is what he said to me, "Your fucking whore of a mother doesn't live here anymore you ungrateful cunt." Then he hung up on me.

So, I hung up scared to death he'd done something to my mother. I called my grandmother. She had no idea what was going on. She sent me some money immediately. I repaid Jim and Leah, and got an under the table job at the Pub on campus washing glasses and at a local bookstore at night unpacking boxes and stocking shelves too continue to pay for things in England. It turns out that my step-father started to abuse my mother after I left since he had nobody else to blame things on. Yep. I wasn't there to yell at or point the blame at, so my mother became that target. It sure opened her eyes to the shit I had been complaining about for three years. One day when Dan decided to get rough with her, she ran into my bedroom, locked the door and called the cops from my phone. They arrived and took him away for questioning. She then called the movers, and had them come and take everything from the house. She used my scholarship and inheritance money that was paying for school to put first and last down on a place for her and David - leaving me stranded in England.

If it were not for the money from my grandmother and the under the table jobs I had in England, I would have been left with no funds for transportation or food, or anything else while I was there. Another noteworthy event - since my mother moved out in a hurry she had to leave my dogs at the house, her new condo not having a back yard and my two dogs being huge (a Belgian Shepard and German Shepard) weren't inside dogs. My stepfather had them put down to spite us both. I never got to see my dogs again. Bandit and Ashley were gone. I've only had one dog since then, Honey, and she's in California with my ex. I don't know when I will be able to get another dog. I get too emotionally attached and it has NEVER ended well. That's the topic for another blog.

My mother has since repaid me over and above - paying off my student loan debt (principal and interest) which I inquired as a result of her spending my college money.

8) Waving $20 at me and kicking me out of the house at midnight so she a) could continue having sex with her boyfriend, and b) wouldn't be by me

About two weeks after I came home from England, I called up my friend Adam and went out of the town with him for some fun. I drove home to my mother's condo in Redondo as I was staying there on Winter break between the semester in England and the new Spring semester at CSUN. I came home around midnight, opened the front door and my mother came running down stairs naked with a $20 bill in hand. She pushed it at me and told me to get out for the night. It was midnight, I was tired, but she didn't want me to come back until afternoon the next day.

Crying I left and drove from Manhattan Beach, back to Mar Vista. I knocked at Adam's door and his mother answered. Mrs. Payne was very understanding and told me to stay the night on their couch, which I did. I was very at my mother's actions, and when I found out why she had done it, I was angry.

My brother was at my fathers for the weekend, and my mother had her boyfriend Keith over. Now, she had been from my step-father since October, this was either late December or early January - so like two maybe three months since she left Dan. Keith was a snobby Japanese man, who was younger than my mother, wealthy, and always thought the sun rose and set around him and his wants and desires. He was a total fucking asshole and treated my mother like filth. She was to have an 18 year old daughter since Keith I don't believe was even 30 yet, maybe he was 32 at the most. AND, I wasn't a stick figure (which is what Keith liked). So I was everything she didn't want around to remind him that she was older. She was ashamed of me and for her boyfriend to know about me. She got over that eventually and introduced us a few months, nearly a year or so later.

9) Coming to see me in an opera, arriving during Act II, and thinking I was in the pit orchestra and not on stage despite the fact that my name was in the program and I was center stage during Act II and a great deal of Act III

I was in my first opera at CSUN as a chorus member. It was Spring of 1993. I had been majoring in music-voice for two years, and asked my mother to come see me in the opera. She showed up in the middle of the second act and thought I was playing french horn in the orchestra. Here are the parts that really blow:

a) I've NEVER played french horn in my life
b) I was MAJORING in VOICE - as a soprano and had been for TWO YEARS already.
c) I was center stage for the majority of Act II dancing and singing. I happened to be the tallest woman on stage AND I have a huge birthmark on my right arm that is from a distance that my costume didn't cover. I was clearly .
d) She didn't bring me flowers because she thought I was a pit musician, not a stage performer.
e) When I confronted her in full costume after the opera, she asked me what I was doing 'dressed up' if I had been playing an instrument in the pit.

10) a dinner date so she could get her nails done after I had already cooked everything

I had been working as a temp full time and still going to school full time since the money I had taken out in student loans only paid for my tuition and my rent. I had to pay for EVERYTHING else - insurance, utilities, food, etc. I was living with Lisa and I invited my mother to our condo for a fancy mother daughter dinner that I would make myself so we could talk about my upcoming senior recital and graduation from college.

I had hand made calzones from scratch, batter and all, made a lovely salad and garlic bread. I had even bought my mother's favorite wine at the time. I had made stuffed mushrooms for appetizers and even had a fruit tart and sorbet for dessert. The dinner had cost more money than if I had taken her to the Olive Garden, because I used the best cheeses from Trader Joes and bought a $20 bottle of wine. It cost almost a week's pay after taxes, but it was a special mother daughter thing that I wanted to start with her...to bond.

She was late and I was worried. I called her house numerous times. Finally, the phone rings and it's her. I was very worried thinking she was in a car accident, thinking the worst. She tells me she is having a manicure and and won't be coming to dinner. She then very casually tells me she is going out with Jim or Stephen, her boyfriend at the time, for some drinks later or something and wanted to look nice for him. I hung up an hurled the phone through the hallway from the kitchen to the living room and into the fireplace. I was the most angry I had ever been at my mother. I nearly hit my roommate Lisa with the phone as she was coming down the stairs. I laid on the kitchen floor and cried. Lisa and I ate the dinner although it tasted like crap since everything was burned and dried out as my mother was two hours late in calling me.

My mother came out about two weeks later and took me clothing shopping at Target, buying me about five new outfits to make up for it - or so she thought. Which led to the next huge disappointment.

11) Not coming to my graduation recital so she could go to the Kentucky Derby with her friends despite the fact that my recital was a week before the Derby

My recital was on April 30th. My mother had known about this for several months as I had to book the church WAY in advance, the earthquake in January having ruined many of the performance areas on campus. A week before my recital, my mother calls and we are talking about this and that. I ask her what time she is going to show up so we can take pictures and whatnot. I asked her if she was going to help with the reception set up at the condo. She then tells me that she isn't coming to my senior recital. When I asked her why, she said that she was going to the Kentucky Derby and couldn't make it. I said to her that the Kentucky Derby was a full week after my recital date. She says that she knows that, but that her girlfriends were flying out the week before and she wanted to fly out with them - it was a fun thing to do and she didn't want to miss flying out with her girlfriends.

Now, this was my senior recital. Something you only ever do ONCE. It was the culmination of all my hard work in college, what I had been training for over the last four years. It was tremendously special to me and having NEVER heard me sing alone, I had hoped she would come. She blew me off like it was some nothing party. This was a HUGE moment for me and she couldn't be bothered to give a shit. Her girlfriends were more important than her only daughter - her only flesh and blood child. A fucking horse race happening the next week that she had no vested interest in was more important. Some stupid horse race that happens EVERY year was more important than a once in a lifetime moment for her daughter. Yep. She missed it, and when she came to my graduation from college and sat on my couch in my condo I popped the video tape my Dad had made of the recital into the VCR, she proceeded to talk through the entire thing and then remove it from play and pop in a VHS tape she made from old 8mm movies of her when she was pregnant with me. She thought it was a nice gift for my graduation. YES! She took old home movies of herself and put them on video tape as her graduation present for me...a graduation gift from college!? Can you even believe it? I was stunned, shocked, . Granted she had never gone to college, and did NOTHING to truly help me with the expense of it all at the time except for co-signing my Parent Plus Loan.

Since then, she has apologized for missing my recital although I don't think she understands why it hurt me or how deeply. She has also paid off the student loans she co-signed for after I paid on them for seven years. I thanked her for it, but really I think she did it because it was associated with ther ss# and she wanted it off of her credit history. Still, I am NOT looking a gift horse in the mouth. Yet, I think I understand her motivation.

Well, there are many more I could write about, and perhaps someday I will.

BUT, my mother has made many restitutions to me...all of which are monitary in some nature. She paid off the student loans that she co-signed for and gave me money for my house. We've grown closer over the years due to my miscarriage, and because I sang at our family reunion. She finally got to hear me sing opera in March 2000, and I blew her away. She cried and said she had no idea. Well, that's because she didn't pay attention.

Now, my mother wasn't the wicked witch of the west all of the time. She just wasn't a mother. She was a self-absorbed child. She had me too early and wasn't ready to give of herself to be a mother. She always came first and I never did. Then when David came along, he came before me, because he was the special child...adopted. So they had to give him more attention to make him feel that he was loved. Meanwhile, it made me feel like shit. They favored him tremendously over me, all the time. He got whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it.

Money not love is what she used to make things right. She'd give me a dollar or two a day rather than an I love you or a hug. I didn't want the money, I wanted the time...I wanted HER time. She didn't have it for me. She ran her own daycare and was exhausted at the end of the day...from taking care of everyone else's children! Not from spending any time with me. She gave everything to everyone else...to either impress them, or show she could do so much for everyone, but gave little effort in spending any time with me. She'd feel bad, and buy me something to make up for it. That's just what she was taught from her own mother that treated her like shit.

My grandmother is pure evil, and I know it. She never gives anything out of the true sense of giving. She gives something so she can hold it over your head the rest of your life. She still gets on my mother for the money she loaned to my parents to buy their first house even though they paid that back to her over thirty years ago. Grandma treated my mother like crap, so why should I expect my mother to know any different, to know how to love a daughter. And, she really didn't until she started therapy. Yes, analysis, therapy...my mother's been through it and it has helped her somewhat, to actually love me for who I am. No more walking up to my husband (my ex) and showing him pictures of what I looked like thin and saying, "Alison sure was a hottie back then. Maybe you can work on her to get her thin again." Yes, he told me about that comment, and how he agreed with it, and how it got him thinking about my body AND that it was one of the leading reasons he stopped loving me which lead to our divorce. Yes. He stopped loving me because I am fat. Just as my mother didn't love me because I was fat. She's passed that now, so she says, but it is a tremendous strain on me not to think about it.

Do I love my mother? Yes, I do.

Do I hate my mother? I did. Not too long ago, I hated her more than any other person on the planet.

Do I hate her now? No. I don't hate her now. I see her for who she is, an imperfect woman, who did what she did at the time because that's all that she was capable of at that moment. She didn't have it in her then to love me for who I was. She's grown since then, and I love the person she is now, with all of her faults, just as I hope she loves me with all of my imperfections. She's the only mother I have.

She can smother me with all that she thrusts at me...David, money, her health, my grandmother...but down deep, she's just a person needing love and validation just like any other. Cut her and she bleeds...she's human, and she's my mom.


Posted by amiga/trippiehippie at 4:44 PM CDT
Updated: Monday, 23 October 2006 12:09 PM CDT
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