Saturday, April 18, 2009

"I got first"

That was the three-word text I received this morning from my niece. She's been away since Thursday, participating in a statewide culinary competition. It was exciting enough that my niece, a sophomore, was one of the few lower classmen invited to participate. But to get first place! I don't know all the details yet, but I'm as proud of her as she is excited.

"This means I'm old"

So said my mother. She's home. Not an assisted living facility, but her own home. Her bedroom is filled with oxygen tanks and there's a sign on her front door that forbids smoking. In the living room is a walker that she needs to go from room to room. Using the walker and having the oxygen nearby depresses her because, "This means I'm old."

I reassured her that if she takes care of herself, in a few weeks the oxygen and the walker will be gone. Her pneumonia isn't necessarily that serious, but it is tenacious, and will insidiously sap her strength if she's not careful. I hope she gets it.

She refused to go to the assisted living facility, but a nurse will visit her 2 or 3 times a week. I'm hopeful that the presence of the walker and the oxygen will rattle her and make her take all this more seriously. I'm encouraged by her new fiesty attitude. She's my mother and I love her and I want her to fight for herself and her independence and health.

I would have liked to have visited with her longer, but I hated sneezing and coughing around my mother when her resistance is low.

A Revelation

I'm watching HBO's Grey Gardens and am amazed by Drew Barrymore's performance as Little Edie. She's disappeared into this part.

Jessica Lange plays Big Edie. She's an actress I appreciate but don't like. (There's something too technical/theatrical about her.) Drew Barrymore is a star I've never even thought of as an actress. More the fluffy, goofy red carpet clothes horse. But here in Grey Gardens, she's eccentric and touching.

As a Kennedyphile, I've always been aware the Beales' story (they're Jackie's crazy, impoverished cousins). I wonder how explanatory this screenplay is to the uninitiated. But that aside, I'm really enjoying this.