Friday, April 30, 2010


Life got crazy busy. I took a week long subbing job in Kindergarten. Quite the kids. If nothing else they for sure make me feel good about myself. My top self esteem boosting moment: "You're beautiful Miss Harper."
Ahhh...that made all the "not so pleasant-ness" less prominent. At least for a minute untill I had to remind my friends to "Keep their hands to themselves" and listen to some tattling.

Ill still stand by my internal clock flat out refusing to adjust. Late nighttime is so productive. In the morning I feel like a slug. The first two days I could take it. At this point I'm back to stomach aches. The countdown til the wedding is under 30 days! Yay!

Issues around the house have subsided because...well, I'm at school all day. When I'm home...I'm a slug. I do have "small" to-do list that may be looming over my head. Ill worry about that when I'm done worrying about those k kids.

The b-party was this weekend. The girls and I went to the Clovis Rodeo. We had so much fun! Val did a great job coordinating! They got me a hat that says "Bride to Be"...the feathers sequins and sparkle streamers MAY have attracted some attention.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I am so frustrated....

that I could scream, spit, throw things, kick. Basically throw an all out throw down tantrum. But I wont. Ill just go in my room, call Luke, sob hysterically, he'll try to understand me through my hiccupping and loud bursts of tears. Then he'll talk me down and I'll figure out some way to mellow out to try to fall asleep before my sub job tomorrow.
My dad doesn't like stuff. Particularly stuff that's not his. He calls it junk. "What do you want me to do with this junk?" he says. He usually says this when hes moving it. Not because you asked him to but because he wants it out of his way. He doesn't want to see it. A mess is something you can see. If it's stuffed into a box, or into a drawer he doesn't have to look at, it's not a mess.
This has become an increasing larger issue because much of mom's stuff he has no use for. Therefore, it is junk. Get rid of it is his new mantra.

Only thing is, some of these things are things Valerie and I still use on a regular basis, have particularly fond memories of, and hope to use someday. Some of these things weren't even moms. Like the potted plants I grew from cuttings almost 8 years ago. The fact that they're even still alive is an incredible feat. I let my mom take them to her class sometimes for the school year but they'd come home and were still mine. My dad gave them away to my moms' caretaker. I didn't even know until the dust had settled after mom's service on Easter Sunday. He has yet to get them back.

Then there's the Tupperware. Mom had a set of 10 large Tupperware bowls. Great for pancake mix or fruit salad in the fridge. Especially great for cooking in the classroom. Which I do. I use the bowls at least once a quarter. Yep those were gone to.

Knowing that things are moving, disappearing, going places. It sets in a sense of panic. Here is my life as I've known it...home, found in not necessarily the architecture...and its changing. Faster than I can turn around. I was prepared for things to be different as far as not having mom physically here, but this is taking things to a whole 'nother level.

Part of me knows we cant take things with us to heaven so what does it matter, but maybe the things that have been left behind are reminders to help our family who is left behind. No. We DONT have to keep all of these things. We DO need to be considerate of those who DO want things.

Throwing everything away will "piss people off" and make them estranged relatives rather than loved ones. Saying "I'll put it in a box in the garage and you can have what you want" does not promote a healthy attitude of truly assessing and saying do I really want this.

When I see my dad getting rid of things I panic and say that I want it all. When I go through it I get rid of more than I thought I would.

Today was a pretty good day. Dad and I had lunch, I came home did some organizing in my room, getting rid of things, packing. Dad and I went to the gym, and even got him some new pans. We come home he gets out his pans, great he can use his pans, wash them in the dishwasher (he loooooves running the dishwasher and these are dishwasher safe) and put them away. I go to meet Val and a friend for appetizers. We come home and he's got a box in the kitchen. And the cupboards with the things we use when people come over are empty. Everything is on the counter. Other things are in the box. Panic takes over.

He told me today how he got rid of one pan that we've ALWAY made mashed potatoes in. Fine. Whatever. He tells me that he got rid of a bunch of "old cans of food that we never use." He got rid of pumpkin people. Hellloooooo pumpkin shortage this year. We were saving it for the pumpkin pecan dessert my mom loved. Still okay. I can deal. But when I see all the pretty colored aluminum cups on the counter right next to that box. And the mini HAVILAND saucers right there with them. We're talking OLD bone china.

Let me just say, that panic does not make a girl rational. Panic does not make a girl say "okay, Ill just pack up what I want." Panic makes me scream and cry and want to put it all in a box where he cant touch it. I can stand guard and label it Jessica's Don't Throw Away. THEN it will be safe and Ill have it. No one else. But really what then is the benefit? And really....packing all these things up for what? To leave in the garage that he wants empty? To leave while Luke and I traipse around the country doing golf stuff for who knows how long? Old things, sentimental family items are meant for a home. A home with memories. A home that you come back to.  A home that is the center of the family.

Argh, make the panic go away. Make me rational enough to pack everything up sensibly. Make me effective enough to do it quickly. Make it not hurt.

So. In response to his questions at the end of his blog titled "Dead Woman Talking" when he asks

Was God sending me a message? Was Sue? Was my mind just working to resolve my own internal conflicts? Bruce woke up shortly afterward, at 5 a.m. (8 a.m. his usual time zone) and we discussed the dreams a bit. I have an idea what I think about them, but would be interested to hear what some of you think.

I say it was your brain. Telling you its okay to get rid of things because that's what you want to hear. Our brains use sleeping time to file things that happen during the day. To file our thoughts and ideas. If it is a message it is not "sure, go throw  everything away. Get rid of it all." Mom would never have instigated so much stress and tension.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pondering Production - Going Mental

" There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness.'" -Dave Barry

I think what he meant to say was "There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and your family developing a mental illness."

My dad has learned a lot of patience with me and my hobbies over the years. Way back when, the sight of melting wax for some project in the house made him panic , now he calmly says, "clean it up and get it out."

He's learned that jars go in the dishwasher and then to my room for use in later projects instead of right into the recycle.

Knowing all the adaptations he's made to living with me I try and finish projects quickly. "It's almost done Dad" I tell him. It'll all be gone as soon as I'm done with this project.

The other day he pointed something new out to me. It's never done. Sure I finish one project, and I clean it all up and the big dining room table is cleared off for a day or two. BUT Sure enough, two days later a new and different project is out and on the table. There's always a project. It's never done.

Hes right. I cant deny it. I'm not even sure if I can change it. I guess I can be really glad and thankful that he tolerates it, and HE can be really glad and thankful that I'm getting married in 33 days and the problem will now be Luke's.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Miss Independant

My dad had found a book in my mothers night stand called The Love Between Mothers and Daughters edited by Helen Exley. It was one of those quote books full of so many sentimental quotes that you almost start writing them off. I took particular note however because this one had a post-it (yeeees, Mom did love her post-it notes) marking a particular page.

"A loving and careful mother both recognises and even protects her daughter's autonomy and also helps her dance out confidently on to a wider stage." -Rachel Billington

"My mother raised me, and then freed me." -Maya Angelou

Mom always said "We're raising you to be independent." This was an kind of independence I never thought would come when I was younger, surprised me when I turned 18, and I appreciate now.

My friends thought it weird that I was using a debit card in 6th grade. Their parents thought it strange that I was doing laundry by age 5. My parents friends thought it weird that they let me go on a road trip from San Diego to Victoria Island in Canada at the age of 18 by myself.  This independence has played an interesting role in relationships with friends, family, and especially boys.

I still found need for my parents, and was by no means completely independent. In my early years I wasnt allowed to wear two pieces, I had to go on group dates (no single couple) until I was 16. Mom stood over me while I was doing my homework, made me get my planner signed even in High School when I wasn't being responsible. Being a teacher in the school district she even had quick access to all my teachers email addresses. Talk about accountability. "We're  preparing you." she'd say. Ugh I hated that and NEVER thought she'd let go. Sure enough, once I was 18 she let go. Swim or sink was her mentality I think. Lucky for me, her persistance in high school got me on the right foot so swim and I now keep a thorough planner. Much to Luke's dismay sometimes. Granted there were many ways I chose to remain attached. I didn't make certain decisions that would be bound to get me cut off financially for example.

There a all kinds of things I'm sure I coulg go into but mostly....
I found it interesting. Of all the pages in this book, this is the one marked.
Just sayin is all.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What I'm Up to at the Moment

My wedding sweater. Can you say cashmere, Debbie Bliss Baby Cotton, and sparkle?
Felt golf bags and clubs for our ring bearers/caddys.

Stay tuned after the wedding for the final products! These are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar from done!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MCC Minus Mom

The MCC sale (more specifically West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction) happens every year at Fresno Pacific University. All funds go to support the Mennonite Central Committee who provides relief for people all over the world(United States included.)
From my early days the MCC sale has been a significant part of my year. My mom would push me in the stroller in the run/walk, then it was a huge deal when I walked too! In my elementary years I would spend a good chunk of time in the kids area, and when I got older it was so exciting that Dad would hand us a bill and say "Don't come back with change." We would then be allowed to roam and buy all kinds of goodies(little toys from the Thousand Village Shop, potted plants made from cuttings, twenty five cent books, funnel cake, balloon animals, homemade ice get the drift.
Once we were more on the independent side, mom would head straight to the quilt auction to meet her friends. We always knew where she was. Right at the top with all her friends. We'd go check in and sometimes she'd even let us hold her number and do some of her bidding. (Bidding is such a rush folks, you should come try it next year if you don't believe me.) We'd bring her food so she didn't have to miss a thing. In the last two or three years she was part of a group that spear headed having a quilter read a description and "sell" the quilt a little bit  better that the auctioneer might. There were a couple years I didn't make it to the auction and she would call me and tell me all about it. She loved that the better descriptions might be helping the quilt go for a higher price. Mom took her responsibility to make sure the quilts go for a fair market very seriously. She would bid people up and then stick em with it and feel so accomplished. Sure, we've got a few MCC quilts in our closets as a result now, but that's not the point. The point is that more quilts went for more money. Mom knew so many people at the sale. We'd stop and talk to people and if I didn't find out how I knew them or who they were from the conversation Mom would remind me after as we were about to start a conversation with someone new walking up.
This year I was very excited about the sale, primarily because of the auction, sausage, zwiebach and fritters. On might say I had sort of tunnel vision on the food. Later a couple people asked me if I was nervous because I'd see so many  family friends. Reality sort of set in. Don't get me wrong, family friends are great. They've been so supportive during this time, but right now I'm sort of in busy mode. Stay busy, laugh a lot and enjoy who you're with now.  I tossed a hat into my purse on the way out the door, just in case I sort of got tired of being recognized. We got there I realised there were  a LOT of people who knew mom and recognized me. Any other year I'd be thrilled and chat, but a lot of people had the same questions and I wasn't quite prepared to deal. I needed a publicist.
What I got was better. My dear friend Dani D. went out and got a black eye just for us

 (Val, my sister and me.) NOW when we were walking around people would see us and feel sad, then they'd see Dani and think "What happened?" in a matter of seconds. NOW when people would come up to talk they'd say "How are y...(see Dani here) What happened?!" It was nice. I knew they cared, and Dani immediately changed the subject. She must have known how useful it would be and told the girl on the opposing team to be sure to elbow her in the eye. 20 sugar coated fritters later, and a friend with a black is great. Needless to say, Friday night around 9 I crashed down from my sugar rush and promptly fell asleep.
The next day Val and I did our part and went to the auction. Val bid on and bought a quilt this year and she calls it "All the Reasons Bears are Better Than Children." Valerie is a bear lover and she just couldn't pass this one up. I now recognize many of the artists who made the quilts which is exciting. My friend Cindy made a quilt that had a gazillion pieces and it sold for $3,700. She has some great pictures of the sale and even a clip here.
Truly though, I had a great time. Next year will be a bit better, and the year after that will be better yet. Someday I too will have a quilt in the auction and be describing the incredible masterpieces to the bidders at the quilt auction, continuing the legacy mom left for me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

48 ounces of Jumbled

Disclaimer: I have typed this whole piece while not wearing contacts or glasses. I can't exactly see what I'm typing so please forgive any errors.
Throughout school,teachers would always ask us to come up with alliterations for our name to help them remember. I always said that I was Jumbled Jessica because my brain was everywhere at once. It now seems that I did not quite know the full potential for jumbledness.
My mother passed away on March 29th, and since then I kind of feel like my brain got dropped in this amazing blender we got as an early wedding present. (The most powerful blender on the market, AND it's red.) I have a gazillion things going on at once and lets just say its taken me weeks to organize, clean and pack my room. There were so many wonderful people at her memorial service and I apologise if I mixed up any of your names or even called you by the wrong one.
Many people have asked me "How are you doing?"
I say, "We're doing." Then they generally look at me like I'm sort of crazy or maybe even hiding something.
Its not that I'm hiding anything, I think its more that I don't know. Were just moving forward.It may also be that I don't quite know how I should be doing otherwise, or even because I'm so jumbled and processed that I sometimes have trouble identifying feelings.
Ex. I went to take some things back to Michael's. Items I had taken my mother to procure, and the project never got started, One could say it was almost $20 worth of things I didn't want to throw away. And in retrospect one might say I didn't want the burden of finishing the project or even that it was at the time an unfriendly reminder. Anyway, Luke is with me and we wait in the line, I explain what happened and she says sorry, starts scanning the items, and then says, wait so you're not the card holder? I need the card and the card holder here. I couldn't quite understand how the sales lady didn't understand "passed away this week" and asked if I could have store credit. She said not without the cardholder and the card. I tactfully said loudly "Shes Dead." Took my things and left. Luke kindly followed me through this whole process and was there to hold me in the parking lot when the emotions took over. Like I said, I don't always know they're there but whamo they can hit you like a truck. He also let me stay in the car while he took the items back in to the sales lady per my request.  I realised I just didn't want them.
I think that responding to the death of a close loved one has got to be one of the steps of transitioning to womanhood. I would always glance weirdly at the woman crying in the weirdest place for no apparent reason. A good friend told me that one day you'll think you're fine. You've got it all under wraps, and then something random will set you off and it will twist up your whole day. It's like I need a sticker. I'm turning into a woman. I cry in random places.
There's also this weird sensation of being happy when you sad.
(Check out Tracy's blog here) I kind of wish it had been there earlier, she's a got a great metaphor and pearls of wisdom. Anyway, happy when you're sad is weird. At the service, when I'm seeing all these people I haven't seen in forever, we're celebrating mom's life, re connecting is it wrong that I'm excited and smiling and laughing. I figure not,  but it is a little weird when you're the loudest one in the room. :) I've also got this nice wedding shaped plant to put in the hole (seriously folks go read Tracy's blog) so I get to be excited about that, and have all the projects that mom and I hatched up to finish. I'm getting married in May! Mom died last week. Like I said, wierd sensation.