The following are notes, mostly written by my mom. She was articulate and funny. Sometimes she made up words, sometimes I do too. You have to read closely because even the most mundane sentences end with zingers that make me laugh out loud. I hope you enjoy them.
(I’m not sure the bolds and underlines will appear on the screen. If it looks bad, check back later. Andy, the computer god, will fix it.)
In 1995 or so, my sister was living with her cat, Eddie at my mom’s house. There was an ongoing power struggle about this animal and who would feed and care for him. Erin didn’t always remember to get food before she ran out, and so my mom would nag. Then Erin would get mad at the nagging. What happened in real life wasn’t always funny, but the notes they exchanged still make me laugh:
Do not feed Eddie. He jumped on the counter, got his treats from the cupboard- ate them, knocked over and ripped open his cat food bag. Do not feed him tomorrow either.
If you choose to punish Eddie, then you need to choose to stay home and follow through. I tried to ‘splain to Eddie why I wouldn’t feed him. He went for the paint stripper in the basement—Sos I had to feed him—but I only gave him a miniscule portion (I’m the gramma and I don’t want him to hate me)
Buy CAT FOOD!
Eddie ate—Engorged himself, rather. If he bitches kick him. No don’t do that. Give him a treat and don’t let him out. I bring him his food tomorrow morning before I work.
Erin, The cat needs food. Please don’t lets get into a fight over this—just get the f’ing food. Love Mom
Don’t nag and we won’t fight
Erin, Were you here when PaT sHowEd up? I’m just Curious if you tAlked wiTh him. They took some stuff. Not that I carE. ThEy can take all their stuff anD I’ll be ecStatic—I mean it. I’m not Fooling. Oh Oh, I’m not kiDding!
(For the secret message string all the underlined letters)
At a certain point in the 90s, there were 3 adult kids or kids-in-law living at my mom’s house. It didn’t last all that long, but it sparked some great notes:
Suzers went into a fragmented state (formerly known as “vapor lock”), A fugue state, so to speak. She went to bed. Her only hope of recovery is that she will be Alone tomorrow. 1)do not sit on the newspapers. 2) do not leave dishes from a meal that she did not participate in. 3) do not leave recycling. 4) do not pass go.
If cleanliness is next to godliness, we are all going to perish in the flames of hell.
PS save this note because I’m so goddamned funny when I’m mad. Lisa’s writing a book about my notes!!
To Whom It May Concern::
My green brush is imperative to my good mental health (or at least the maintenance of my current ambiguous mental health) please return it forthwith to the area of the bathroom.
New Years 95 on small blue stationery, my mom asked everyone to write down their wishes for the new year. She kept all the wishes, too.
This is New Year and if your wish for the new Year was that Suzers wouldn’t be a goon—You lose. If your wish was more laudable, we’d like to hear it. If it isn’t laudable it’s probably a facsimile of what we all wish so go ahead and make us feel good (that in itself is laudable). The whole point here is to say what you hope not what you will actually do.
If we all did what we hoped we’d do, there would be no sadness outside of what nature and/ or God ordained.
So go for it and be brutal- we like tears (we also like to laugh, so Patrick you don’t have to be poignant, you either Andy).
I have no idea when this was written it was just stuck in a notebook somewhere:
Lisa is a gritty writer. Nothing lyrical or soft in her prose. Terse and to the point. Poignant without the need for pathos or bathos. Even when trying to be complacent the edge is there. Even when trying to be kind there is an (aura is too soft a word) a hard little nub. Sometimes supposedly all fuzzy of meaning but the (even essence is too soft) inner core is very cohesive.
The following note was probably directed to my brother while he was living at home:
28 down – Used a check improperly- this is a “past tense” it should end in a “D”- Forge isn’t right “kited” is the word
35 down Knight’s weapon- remember “sir Lancelot= not “sir swordalot”.
56 across – exchange tennis shots-“volley” is correct.
10 across “lapp” (easy); famed Australian Horse- correct.
So- out of the four you did (we don’t know how many you tried to do) you got two correct. You also created mayhem for me (which may have been your goal) I’d give you an “A”if mayhem was your goal, a “D” if reality was it.
I actually think you get an “A” because you know it Pisses me off that someone would touch my crossword.
This one was one of a series of naggy notes my mom addressed towards my sister and brother, both adults living at home:
I have a great biblical quote:
“As you find the kitchen, so shall ye leave the kitchen” Gen1:2
I figure this means if the kitchen is clean when I go to bed, it will be clean upon my arisal.
Chicken and BBQ sauce
Home grown raspberries
I’ve checked, there are no quotes about “As the mother cleanest, so shall she reap the rewards of heaven”.
This was an email in the early phase of my mom’s relationship with her computer:
I cannot type fast enough to tell you how much I hate this fucking piece of shit
computer. It kicked off my whimsical prose and raped me of my lyrical thoughts. Goddamn bastard stupid diabolical thoughtless egotistical piranha. (“My mother was a lady” will not be a layer of the your lore when you speak about me after the Rapture). I asked after Jasper, I waxed philosophical about sickness and children. Potty and children. I segued into something else quite brilliantly. (I believe in transitional phrases and I think I do them with aplomb). I touched upon all manner of living and this stupid conveyer of messages fucked me.
I am now spent and must regroup. Love mom
My mom kept a log of every Christmas and new years get-together. They are notes to herself with a guest list and menu.
Christmas 2002 36 people
Ham from Kocian’s was plenty enough and easy. Slice ahead 2-3 days ahead and warm up in a roasting pan.
Shredded Beef Get a grip on this one—do not panic at last minute. 20 pounds of meat is way too much. 10 pounds is really quite enough—REALLY! There was too much left over. Made one week before Christmas and Froze. Perfect.
Rolls—Three 3 cup batch of white is plenty—don’t PANIC! 2 Three cup of rye and wheat- plenty!!!Please listen to yourself. We (Jenny Brace) made small buns and that was perfect. Make the Day of.
Cole Slaw Oh boy. One head is enough. Maybe 1 ½ heads. Don’t Panic! Too much left over! Make night or two before.
Veggie Platter Too much. Ramon did all the work on this—could make (at least peel and chop) two –three days before. Part of the problem is storage. With people in the basement using the extra fridge there was very limited storage. The van was OK for frozen stuff. It was even OK as a fridge the day of. Because it was so darn nice out. 30degrees or so. (Christmas Eve was beautiful—nice and cloudy with big fluffy flakes falling).
Punch 2 cans of each, 2 bottles of pop perfect. Try to make punch rings ahead of time (Try just to make them, period).
Pies 2 pecan good 1 chocolate 1 banana cream (forget that. It looked like pus for some reason) Made up leftover pie dough which everyone seemed to enjoy.
I have many more, but not enough. This is the woman I miss. The one who was reduced to a skeleton, unable to do anything but feel pain and breath. She was really, really alive, and funny and I miss her.