Back in Black

Hey everyone. Thanks for the sympathy and thoughts. Sorry I didn’t get back to anyone, it’s been a pretty intense month.

To be brutally honest, my mom was supposed to die first. She’s always been the sick one, both physically and mentally, and it’s what she always wanted. Financially, practically, emotionally, everything would have been simpler and smoother if mom had gone first. But life seldom goes the way we want it, so the sadness of Dad’s sudden death came with a hefty side order of financial trouble and uncomfortable questions about Mom’s delicate mental health.

All of that, along with two road trips to Tucson (about 12 hours drive time each way from our town) in the last month, has taken all my time and energy. But things are reaching a stable place at last. At least, as stable as things with my mom have ever been. And I’m finally feeling up to chatting with friends, blogging, having the occasional bit of fun. It feels good.

So, obviously everything has been sad and horrible, but my dad’s funeral was about as lovely as these things get. It was as close to what Dad would have wanted as we could do on short notice–simple, in line with his religion, and fairly ecologically friendly. He’s buried in Tucson’s Binghampton Cemetery, a small and informal desert cemetery where everyone decorates the graves with personal touches–benches, statuary, all sorts of rock and glass and the occasional cactus. Plus, it turns out the first person buried in the cemetery was John Harris, an ancestor of my mother’s. Dad would have been tickled by the natural setting and the personal connection to history.

I didn’t bring the kids to the actual funeral, but I brought them on the second trip, and they added glass beads and some personal offerings to help decorate the plot. It was a nice moment of closure.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Summer always puts me in a Southern Gothic mood. Southern Gothic isn’t exactly goth, but the American deep south is full of beautiful cemetaries, haunted plantation houses, and its own special brand of spooky horror. In all this heat, it’s just hard to concentrate on windswept moors and drafty castles. For summer, give me overgrown cemeteries, farmhouses full of tragic ghosts, and Southern belles wilting in the sultry August evening.

I finished Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil a few weeks ago. (There’s also a movie version I saw long ago in my Kevin Spacey phase.) It’s sort of a “Southern gothic meets true crime” thing and it’s not written by a southerner so it didn’t quite work for me. But it did make me really want to see Savannah, Georgia. Next time I have money I just might take a long weekend, tour Mercer House, stroll through Bonaventure Cemetery, and read my next gothic novel under a tree in one of Savannah’s beautiful squares.


Room 1408

Hi, I’m still alive. First I was traveling, then I was hosting family, and now I’m finally getting back to my normal routine. My travels weren’t very spooky, but I did stay in a c1408movieursed hotel room for three nights.

Ever seen the movie 1408? I did, years ago. It’s based on a Stephen King story about a haunted hotel room. It was an okay movie, as I recall. Anyhow, my son and I went to Detroit for a tournament and stayed at the MGM Grand, in room 1408. Something about the number rang a bell, but I didn’t connect it until the morning we left. Now, I’m not saying I believe in curses, but a number of stange things did happen . . . our key refused to work, someone tried to break into our room at midnight (they were given room 1403, according to the desk, but their card clearly said 1408), they checked us out a day early and almost threw all our stuff away, and the staff was very unfriendly about most of this. It’s almost as if they knew the room was cursed and were trying to warn us off.

Or maybe they’re just bad at their jobs. Either way, I’m playing it safe and avoiding that hotel forever.

And now that I’ve either properly spooked you or made you sad about bad hotel service, I’ll give you a couple pictures of my and the same son visiting family in Baltimore. I look fat and sweaty and I didn’t even bother with makeup in that heat but my hair is a wonderful Nuclear Red, so that’s nice. Now that I’m back, I really need to redo my color and maybe bother to look nice once in a while, but all I’ve really done so far is clean house and start a new crochet project. I’ll try to be more interesting next time. Maybe.