Life & Family

In Which I Talk About My Mom

Next Wednesday marks a year since my mom died. Super positive way to start a post, eh? But it’s what I’m thinking about right now. What complicates matters is that my cat died the day after my birthday (back in March) and thinking about my mom makes me also think about him and it’s a vicious cycle. The other cat is acting sketch (aloof, grumpy, etc) so he’s not helpful. Shane is my rock, as per usual. Today 4 years since his dad died, so we’re not a super fun/happy household. Anyway, in honor of my mom, here’s a couple of stories about her.

When I was learning the state capitals, I made my mom help. I laid on my parents’ bed and she sat on the side to quiz me. I will never forget her gleefully calling out “Idaho, Boise!” because it was slightly off-color sounding. She loved a good kind of dirty joke. She had the best laugh.

You know what else she loved? Phallic vegetables. I got many texts of a phallic veggie or several.

When Shane moved in while we were still in college, people told my mom to cut me off financially. Because Jesus, I guess. I didn’t rely on my parents for much, anyway. Insurance, I think. We lived in a house my parents owned so Mom told them 2 things: she’s over 18, she’s an adult and that she’d rather have Shane paying her rent than living there unofficially for free.

Which doesn’t mean she approved of Shane/our relationship right away. I was too young to be so involved with a guy, I should live my life a little first. He wasn’t a warm person (in her eyes), and so forth. She came around, though, and eventually loved Shane.

We went to New Orleans together once, where she saw her first Pride Parade. She loved it. We also walked down Bourbon St, she saw dancers with just mechanical tape over their nips and exclaimed that she wanted to take a picture for my dad – who was in Afghanistan at that point. Every night we went out to dinner and I’d get coffee and she’d get dessert (or the other way around) and it was so nice.

We had a complicated relationship, which is pretty normal for mothers & daughters, but I can say without hesitation that she was my best friend. It’s painful every single day, but it’s so much worse right now. Luckily, I know she’d want me happy so I don’t feel guilt for enjoying life.

I know this isn’t a post many will read, if anyone. It’s kind of depressing, honestly. But I had to get it out. Thanks, Internet, for letting me ramble.

Oh, the image up there is one of the last texts she sent me – I had told her someone told me I was too quiet.

Sarah

Cooking · Life & Family

Remembering My Mom Through Food

I think about my mom a lot, sometimes I imagine the conversations we would have about whatever’s going on in my life. I’m lucky in that while memories hurt, I enjoy thinking about her. I still like to poke fun at her, to be honest.

A lot of memories associated with my mom center on food. Dinners growing up, holidays, special occasions – and the random gourmet level recipes she made with my brother. But even more than that there are specific dishes that are tied so tightly to her in my memory that even considering making them makes me feel closer to her.

She made a specific potato salad – one with Russian dressing – that wasn’t in the recipe box I got after her death. I found a close-enough version online and while it needs some tweaks, it immediately made me fall into a well of (happy) memories. “Brown Rice” aka stick of butter rice that would be fought over by everyone. It was the best side to another Mom memory – soy sauce marinaded flank steak with horseradish.

I’m realizing that the rest of these are pretty standard family holiday foods – mashed potatoes with “too much” garlic, green bean casserole, crescent rolls from a can, specific types of cookies, fudge, etc. The sight of a little dish with tiny gherkins and both green and black olives. There have to be both types of olives, it’s the law. Even the process of canning or making fresh pasta makes me think of my mom. I want to learn to can things because my mom did and I want to share that with her.

She also passed down an interest in grocery stores in other places. I think it comes from growing up/living in a small town – we had to drive 2 hours away to get a lot of the ingredients my mom and brother needed. Standing in a fancy grocery store buying things that my childhood home’s stores would have never carried is imprinted in my mind. And getting the mini coffee at Fresh Market feeling very grown up.

We went to New Orleans once, just the two of us, and we hit up the grocery stores as soon as we could. Regional differences in food and the way grocery store are made are a real thing. Shane has indulged my need to check out grocery stores in the cities we visit for years now.

There were so many long, loud dinners and those memories really carry me through some of my worst times.

Sorry if this is rambling and doesn’t make much sense. I just wanted to get this “down on paper”.

Sarah

Life & Family

My Return to Blogging

It’s been a year since I wrote a blog post.

Shortly after my last post, my mom died. It was sudden and devastating. I lost my best friend in addition to my mom. I can’t describe to you the depths I’ve been in for the past year. I like to think I cover it well, but I haven’t been myself for most of the past 12 months. My soul hurt. That’s the only way I can explain it. And honestly, it still does, even though I’m becoming more and more myself.

Another sudden and devastating death happened on March 11th – the day after my birthday. Laurie, the light of my life, died gasping for breath by my side. It was horrific.

So, along with a worldwide pandemic, the death of my aunt, and Tau struggling to find stability, it’s been a rough year. Also, Shane’s snake keeps trying to eat itself. And I keep finding it when it’s trying to eat itself. We think we have it under control now, so here’s hoping. (See below)

Which isn’t to say nothing good has happened – we bought a new house, I have a new niece, Tau has adjusted to the move better than we expected, we planted a garden (kinda), I was able to move easily to working from home during quarantine, and so on and so forth. The bad just looms large in my memory.

Recently, I started thinking about how nice it would be to sit down on nights that Shane’s in bed early and just do some blogging. I have some pen-pals to write, and a journal, but there’s something different about this format. Even if people don’t read it, it still feels different.

I’m not going to remove any of my old posts, but I’m not going to read them again either. They can just live on.

Here’s to blogging once again. 🙂

Sarah

PS – Before I get any comments on the health of Sarge the Snake – he’s over 15 (life expectancy is 10-20), his new environment is consistently much warmer than he’s used to so he gets hungrier a lot faster than he used to (which in turn was a lot faster than we were used to), he got super stressed when we moved, & honestly California King Snakes are really really dumb so sometimes they happen to think their own tails belong to other snakes (they’re snake eaters). He’s old, hot, hungry, and dumb so he munches on his tail sometimes. We dumped some ice on him and threw him a thawed mouse and all was good. Obviously, it’s not a good thing and I would rather it never happen again, but he’s done himself no permanent damage and we figured out how to keep it from happening (much more frequent feedings) so there’s that. Also, I check on him *constantly* throughout the day to head any weirdness off at the pass.