I’ve read that the wealth disparity in America is greater than that in Egypt, where the masses just recently rose up and took back their country. Conventional wisdom seems to be that it can’t happen here, though. Americans, it’s thought, are a complacent bunch, as long as…
My Grandmother was the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She wasn’t amazing because we agreed on everything or because she always told me what I wanted to hear. She was amazing because she was kind, hard working and passionate about the things she loved. She was intelligent and always learning, always adjusting her view point based on new knowledge she would acquire. She stood firm on her ethics and belief system and she pulled that off without being petty, selfish, stubborn or unkind. She was beautiful and graceful and enjoyed carousels and puppies with a childlike enthusiasm.
When I was a very little girl I would spend weekends with her and my great grandmother on the family farm. I’m sure my love of animals was passed on to me from her. I saw countless puppies and kittens born. I was taught to treat them with as much respect as any other living creature. I watched as she made suitable homes for them outside so they could stay warm or cool off. She made sure every animal was better fed than most people I know. She treated them with compassion and a gentle hand when they were ill and her sadness could not be masked when inevitably their lives would end.
On Saturdays I would watch Hee Haw and the Muppet Show and eat popcorn and drink Tang. On Sundays I would get to dress up and go to church. The same church that still stands about a mile from the farm. The congregation has aged and lost enough followers that it stands empty now. I remember how it smells, like musty books and old ladies. I love that smell. I remember the smell of the tupperware cup my Grandmother would bring full of water to quench my ansty little girl thirst. I remember finding Trident in the bottom of her purse and chewing that to get through a few more minutes of the sermon. I remember how her purse smelled, like Trident and tupperware and paper napkins and Grandmother.
At one point I was having problems with some school work. She made it a point to start driving me to school in the morning and practicing math and vocabulary words along the way. She always made sure I had construction paper, crayons, pencils and scissors so I could make are projects. She even bought me books about drawing that still sit on her book shelf.
When I moved away at the age of 7 I would spend the summers with her and my great grandmother. She worked all day and I would hang out in the house with my great grandmother watching soap operas, eating apples and peanut butter, asking lots of questions about how it was when she was growing up and occasionally going outside where I wasn’t allowed to venture out of the yard. If I did you could hear my great grandmother calling for me from the outskirts of the farm. She also didn’t like it if I kissed the dogs, but I snuck and did it anyway. Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo and Reading Rainbow would come on around 3 and I knew when they were over my Grandmother would be home from work.
She would come through the door looking beautiful and full of energy. Carrying her work bag full of important papers and whatever was left from her lunch of a peanut butter sandwich and banana. Most of the time she was also carrying groceries that I would quickly look through for anything tasty. Mostly, though, I was just happy she was home. I waited for her all day, everyday when I was there during the summer. I don’t know how she still had the energy to talk with me and play with me but she did. We would change into our outside clothes and go outside to “take care of the pets”. At night she would fall asleep half way through reading me a bed time story and I would selfishly nudge her back awake so she could finish.
When I was away she would call every week to talk to me. When I was a teenager this annoyed me and sometimes I wouldn’t answer right away. I was busy doing important things you know. If she couldn’t reach me she always called back. As I grew older and was out on my own she still called every week and she still sent a letter with a sunday school lesson and funny comic or interesting article she found. When I was younger she would send letters with sunday school lessons and puzzles or stickers.
I was able to help my family take care of my Grandmother during her last days. I always promised her I would and I’m lucky I was in a situation where I could keep that promise. I stayed with her and did what I could to make her as comfortable as possible. It was not easy on her, she was very sick and I helped her in ways I know she hoped I would never have to. Through it all she was still beautiful and graceful and kind.
When my Grandmother found out she had colon cancer I told her how much I loved her, how much she meant to me, how much of an inspiration she was. I told her all of the things you just read and more. By this time we had gone through some tough times together and she said she knew I loved her. She said I was special. She said she was lucky to be in *my* life. She said that sometimes people don’t always agree but we had made enough love deposits that it didn’t change how much we loved each other.
This is what I wrote on her hospice quilt. I don’t think she was ever able to read it.
"You don’t pay back your parents. You can’t. The debt you owe them gets collected by your children, who hand it down in turn. It’s sort of entailment. Or if you don’t have children of the body, it’s left as a debt to your common humanity. Or to your God, if you possess or are possessed by one."
I wanted to do a quick summary of my experience on the master cleanse. The 10 day program is suppose to cleanse your colon and body of impurities. It is a fast, a diet consisting of a cayenne pepper/maple syrup and lemonade with a daily 30 oz warm salt water flush.
Day 1 went by without much to say. I saved the salt water flush for day 2. Tired.
Day 2 I was perpetually hungry and did the salt water flush with impressive results :P Tired.
Day 3 I was still hungry, did 2 unsuccessful salt water flushes. Tired.
Day 4 Not so hungry anymore. Added more salt to the flush with mediocre results. Tired.
Day 5 Not really hungry, but still incredibly tired. Salt water flush makes me sick to my stomach with only mediocre results.
I lost about 4 lbs on the cleanse which isn’t exciting, but I really didn’t expect to lose any impressive amount of weight. To be blunt, I wanted to see if I was still pooping after several days of not eating. From what I’ve read and hear first hand I should have still been pooping a normal amount with each salt water flush. I was not pooping anything significant after a couple of days and I was also completely exhausted and more useless than normal :P
I called it quits after 5 days.
Steak and an ice cream sandwich from Coolhaus was the first thing I ate (don’t judge me). Surprisingly it sat like a rock in my stomach. I actually ended up not eating for another day and a half and doing the salt water flush again. Since then I’ve eased up on my diet ;) and have lost a few more pounds.
Today marks the beginning of Funshine’s Fat Camp. Vu and I are going to kickstart this exercise/healthy lifestyle thing into gear (I may or may not have alterier motives behind having a exercise buddy. Mike is in Toronto and I need someone to help me fetch and carry the heavy things I find on Craigslist. I’m pretty sure I’m becoming a hoarder). Wish us luck, I’m sure we’ll be posting things along the way so you can laugh at us.
This article comes as Lent (the season before Easter) draws to a close, and I’m reminded of Merold Westphal’s recommendation that Christians should read atheists for Lent. He argues in Suspicion and Faith that Christians should take seriously the criticism of modern atheists—not to call core…