Sunday, April 6, 2014


Hi Mom,

Your granddaughter is tearing it up. She's got the role of Feste in 12th Night. You'd about burst to see her onstage spouting the Bard. She's channeling Tim big-time. Tomorrow, she leaves for a college tour with Tris. They're visiting Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Oberlin, Kenyon, UC Santa Cruz and Mills. I simply cannot fathom that she is almost ready to go to college.

On top of that, she's directing a show for Drama Fest at school. She's got a cast of about 11 to wrangle, with dance and music in the show as well as acting. She's always been good at pushing people around when she needs to (and sometimes when she doesn't), and I think she'll be fine at it.

I'm knitting up a storm again. It sort of comes and goes with me. I should be blocking a shawl right now, but I know it's been a long time since I wrote, so I thought I'd just stop and take a minute.

Dad is really doing well. He's splitting time between Vegas and CA with Shirley. I am reinforcing what he already knows, that you'd want for him to be happy. He misses you terribly, though. That's as it should be. There's no reason that anyone's heart can't hold more than a single person at a time. I do wish he'd come here and see Marion before she floats away to school. I'd really like him to see her on stage, but I don't know if that will happen or not.

Haven't heard from da brudda in a while, but I haven't reached out, so that's on me, too.

Work is still work, I like it and I don't. I really don't want to do this any longer, but I'm really kind of in it for the health care coverage. I promised to support a family when I got one, and I really don't want to go back on my word. I just wish I could magically find something else that would pay and have the same or better benefits level. I'm too lazy to actually make it happen, so I guess everyone will just have to put up with my kvetching. Or not.

OK, no real news other than that of the amazing girlie. I love you, Mom. I'm holding onto the orange threads you left me--now I have orange clothes, an orange phone cover, and orange glasses. I'm glad you reintroduced me to this warm color before you left. It makes me think of you, and it makes me happy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feliz cumpleanos, mama!

Dad told me that you left a note for him with the lyrics to this song written out, so I  thought I'd share it here. I know you love Mama Cass, and I know that this is the version of the song that you must have meant.

I'm wishing that you were here, and since that can't be, I'll say that I'm glad that it's your birthday and that you had the time with us that you did.

LYMY, Mom.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Day

Hi Mom,

S and I have been married for 16 years today. Thanks for helping us to have the great party that we wanted. I'm sure it was very different from your wedding (though you never really talked much about it, and it took me FOREVER to see your wedding photo, but we had it just the way we wanted. You were a great help in the planning and helping us to be sure that Freddie Brown (remember "Consider It Done?") got it and made the day the wonderful celebration we intended.

I have a little something I've been rolling about in my head for some time, and I want to try to get it down for you today.


There's a bit of downtown that I pass on the bus each day, both on the way to work and at day's end. It takes up the entire block between 4th Ave & 5th Ave with Seneca and University streets acting as bookends on the north and south.

It's one enormous building that houses several different businesses, each of which seems to have been placed there specifically with my mom in mind.

The west side, seen in passing from my homeward bound bus, was the first to grab my eye. We start out with Shuckers, a seafood restaurant. I've no idea how the fare is, but I'll wager that they probably have something oceanic that would please herself. Next is a tiny patisserie, complete with wee table and ice cream parlor swirly wire chairs. The display cases are always empty, and the place is nearly always closed by the time I pass. Surely they'd have some macaroon or hazelnut delight to tempt her. Lux watch shop is next in line, and while I only recall seeing a Timex on her slender wrist, I did find lots of tiny ladies timepieces in Mom's jewelry box. Perhaps they do repairs?

There is a shop that sells all silver jewelry. Clutch, a handbag boutique with a window-full of kaleidoscopic bags and purses is the next shopportunity. Big totes, tiny evening bags all a-glitter and primary-colored leather bags with pockets and tassels and flaps abound.

Catch your breath, Luly Yang's designer showroom comes next. Robin's-egg blue is the color of her window box backings, and it seems to be the right foil for her creations, no matter their hue. She's had classic bridal wear, shimmery evening gowns, and sexy suits featured in these windows, and they all look right. She's also designed for the local "Dinner and a show" troupe, Teatro Zinzanni, and the costumes are occasionally in her shop; the monarch butterfly creation is amazing.

Turn the corner and head east and you're strolling by the main entry of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Presiding over this patch of downtown since 1924, it's the kind of classy place she'd love. Huge columns at the entry, a scrolling staircase-rail in a soft cream, and lots of windows to let in the rationed Seattle sunlight. It's what the old San Diego hotel was in it's heyday. Look to your left as you walk up the slight hill to see what Louis Vuitton has in his window--today it's a giant cupcake with a purse on top!

Hang a right and you'll pass the employee's entrance, a very busy bus stop, and you'll get a peek into the window of one of the hotel dining rooms. This is my view in the morning; lots of suits chatting over coffee and busily filling up plates from the silver-plattered buffet, bright chandeliers cheerfully attempting to cut the early morning gloom.

Last, but far from least, a right at the corner heads you west. This is the quiet side of the edifice. There is a door into the hotel and a shop display window. The single item on view sums up the fact that this building is all-around the right place for my mom. A name is written in wide, swooping calligraphy on the glass; Renee Bassetti". Encased within is a shirt. It's a confection of pink silk. I can't say for certain if Mom would wear it, but I know she'd stop in and see what this designer has to offer. It's just a classy-looking spot, and I know it'd suit her down to the ground.

Here ends our tour. It's an interesting piece of real estate, good from any approach. It's both wonderful and a little difficult to see it each day. I think I'd prefer to see it than not, but it makes me sad that I wasn't able to share it with my mom when she was here. I hope I've done a good enough job of sharing it with her now.

I love you, Mom.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

random things I know about you

You married once. You converted to do that. Your sibling situation mirrored mine--youngest daughter with an older brother and sister. New York native. Lived all over after marrying Dad; Hawaii, North Carolina, Virginia, New York again, California, Illinois, Japan, Arizona. Got your Master's in Library Science when I was in high school (made me very proud). Drove a huge, multi-ton bookmobile and had lots of fun helping kids find books and bringing requests to far-flung patrons.

Were a mere slip of a thing; I doubt you were ever over 120 unless you were pregnant. Told me your best feature was your feet. Loved dance, all kinds, ballet especially. Learned to tap dance with Dad. Acted in community theatre productions and reveled in it. Read constantly, did the NY Times crosswords as well as acrostics, which make my brain hurt.

I used to tease that you were part crow because you so loved shiny things. Sparkly clothes, glittery jewelry. You loved to dress up. Did your own nails and I don't often recall seeing your toes unpolished. We were told not to speak to you in the morning until you'd had coffee and breakfast. (Smart advice) Once went to your dentist feigning an emergency and scared him to bits with fake fangs in place.

Cooked wonderful pot roasts. You often told me that Thanksgiving dinner was your favorite meal to cook; it took all day, but you loved eating it and having the leftovers. Other than that, I know you loved to eat out (Welcome Home Mom, what's for dinner?). Really enjoyed the SD apartment--decorating "The Hideaway". The wall of tiny mirrors--I love those.

I'll make more notes soon. Love you, miss you! XXOO

Monday, February 14, 2011

when did this happen?

When did I get old enough to have a teenager?

Not only that, but a teenager who wants to put colorful stripes in her hair? And asks for my help buying the hair coloring agent? And then asks for my advice on where to put it? And looks up at me with her melty, chocolate eyes and beauuuutiful fringy lashes and says, "I really want to know your advice. I trust you."

I won the lottery here. I adore her, Mom. I know you do, too.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Hi Mom,

You left us a year ago yesterday. I don't like the way that sounds, it sort of implies that you went voluntarily, but I don't like the way "taken" or "died" sounds either. And while we "lost" you in some ways, that doesn't quite hit it either. It was a horrible day then, and I thought of you all day yesterday, but I was able to think of good things more than I expected to.

Last Christmas, you found such wonderful gifts for us. We're all still using them so much that it makes me really glad to have them; they're a link for me to you. I pulled out wrapping paper that we'd saved that has stickers on them with your writing. That makes me happy to have, too. I've always envied your penmanship. Lovely AND legible. I sign my name the same way you always have; first two initials and then last name. Brings you to mind each time I do, whether it's at work or signing a check. I like that connection.

I know that you're pleased that Dad is doing so well. He's traveling and continuing to be the social animal that he always has been. He's made a lady-friend in San Diego, and I know he's told you all about her, that she's kind and funny and reads the same books that you like. He took her to dine with Chuck and Muriel and they liked her, too. He misses you so much. I wish I could do more for him from here.

It was a nice, relaxed Christmas this year; I took off a whole week and really got to slow down and enjoy it. We had some snow which made things lovely, but not enough to cause any real problems getting around. Now we're back to rain; typical NW weather.

I miss hearing your voice on the phone. I miss your encouragement when I talk about work issues. I miss hearing you yell at Dad to turn the TV down when you get on the phone. I miss hearing all the redecorating plans for both houses. My mind's eye has you curled up on the couch, needlepointing away or working on acrostics or the NY Times crosswords. I have your Nintendo DS, and I love seeing your name in your writing each time I play with the Brain Age game. I wish that I'd kept your book list. I love you, Mom.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble gobble

I sense a theme here, holiday posts.

I remember that you always said that Thanksgiving dinner was the one meal you never minded cooking. Mostly I remember the ones in AZ, around the clawfoot table. That notwithstanding, the one in Japan with the pastel-colored marshmallows on the sweet-potato casserole was quite a memorable one.....

It's an odd day here, Mom, it's been snowing off and on this week, and we have about two to three inches on the ground, though it's warming up and supposed to rain today. I got stuck downtown Monday night and stayed in an old hotel that you and Dad would love, the Sorrento. Tiny old lift with a carpet that has the day of the week on it, nice cozy bed and a sitting room and a VERY COLD marble bathroom.

We're off to the Readers here in a minute, but I'm thinking of you and wishing I could give you a hug and kiss and cuddle up next to you on the couch while you do embroidery and I knit.