Dr. Dirt and Dr. Death

2 09 2008

I have two brothers: one is a soil scientist the other an infant mortality specialist with the CDC. So, it’s no huge leap that we refer to them- lovingly- as Dr. Dirt and Dr. Death.

They are so different and yet growing up they were best friends… as younger adults they took long motorcycle trips across the country sleeping under the stars and eating spam or tortillias. They are extreemely proud that they have swum across the border to Mexico… they made up songs about needing to have a “butt pad like a baboon” and they really enjoyed eachother’s company.

Then, the women in their lives started interfering in their relationship and now they only speak when there is a reason. They only see eachother when there is a reason. Those women are now gone but the closeness hasn’t returned.

They raise their children very differently. Dr. Dirt is much more like me– “I’m the parent that’s why!” Where as Dr. Death is of the school that allows their children to run the show.  That’s caused problems between them… and child rearing has caused issues with the rest of the family as well.

Dr. Dirt is my friend. He’s the guy I call to chit chat. He’s the one I call for advice on everything from gardening to computers. Dr. Death annoys me– I’ll just leave it at that.

My brothers are good men. They were raised in the same household by the same parents within three years of eachother. They are very different. I love them both.

Evil Step-Mothers

5 06 2008

Let me start off by saying that I don’t have a step-mother. My mom is alive and well and we had lunch together today.  My best friend since college (that’s almost two decades of huge phone bills) has an evil step-mother.  This woman is nasty.  She has managed to turn my friend (Chola) into a pariah within her family… she yelled at her at Disney World! How much worse can you get?

Let me back up a little. Chola’s mother passed away suddenly from complications after a minor surgery.  Mom Jones was a wonderful woman! She checked in on me from time to time just because I was Chola’s friend. She cried with me when I found out that J has autism. She was a surrogate mother when my own mom was overseas for most of the last 20 years.  I miss her and her daughter really misses her. 

Dad Jones is from that generation (or is it just a culture?) that expects men to be taken care of my the women in their lives… first his mother, then his wife.  So, when Mom Jones died he went lookin’ for a new caretaker within a couple of months.  So, he marries this woman who he really doesn’t know and who turns out to have lied to him up one side and down the other and pretty much cuts Chola out of the picture because Becky the queen B#@*! doesn’t like her. Ok. I’m over simplyfying but the whole thing was just so immature that it’s barely worth remembering let alone writing down. 

Chola has resigned herself to having a very superficial relationship with her father… she is resigned to her own daughter not having real grandparents… She is coming to my family reunion this year and I know her daughter will be spoiled and loved on and treated like one of our own by the whole clan.

Here is an article that Chola sent me with this note “I can’t tell you how many times I wish she’d go away or get hers but even when she does … it doesn’t change anything does it?”  http://www.teresastrasser.com/pages/syndicated_column_63.html

I pray that my Mom lives forever…

Thinking About Uncle Stan

18 03 2008

With Luke on American Idol (he was voted off last week… guess I didn’t vote enough while I had the flu…) I’ve been thinking about family members who I haven’t thought about very often or seen in many years. Uncle Stan in particular. He was my great uncle and passed away more than a decade ago.

Uncle Stan was a gentle, soft spoken man who gave great hugs and had a wonderful contagious smile.

One Spring Break in college, a friend and I drove to Florida and spent the week with my grandparents. My grandparents took us to Homossassa Springs attraction with my great uncle and aunt where they have a petting zoo and take you out to see the manatees.

I don’t remember a lot of details– it was many moons ago– but, I do remember sitting on a bench and talking to Uncle Stan.  He was genuinely interested in me. He wanted to know about my life and interests. He was a very kind man and I miss him.

There is a word in Portugues that just doesn’t transulate into English– Saudade. It means to miss someone/place but much more. Saudade doesn’t refer to a thing you’ve misplaced– it infers a longing, even an ache.  Saudade has a wish attached– I wish I could be there, see that person, return to that time. I feel Saudade for Uncle Stan. 

He would be so proud of his grandchildren and their accomplishments. I wish I’d known him better. I wish I still had that chance.