Thrift stuff

The last time I went thrifting was July, the memorial thrift trip I made for the 3rd anniversary of Jerry ‘s passing. I hit a different store and remembered why I hadn’t been here. They were playing country. I put in my earbuds. 

I took pictures of my finds, they were not very good. I do not know how Instagram “models” do it, I admit I have more respect for their skills now. 

This store has half price tags and nearly everything was marked down. Total was less than ten bucks. 

Black top, I’m wanting something to wear to Depeche Mode next week. I already have several black tops but can always use another.

Another long sleeve black top. I might wear this to the concert or just to work. Can’t have too many black tops.

Blue linen shirt. It’s after Labor Day and though those archaic rules may not still apply, I will wait til next Memorial day to bring this out. Loose, comfortable and I like the detail. 

 
Pillow shams. They look 80’s and design is sort of Japanese, 99 cents for the pair. Doesn’t go with anything but I don’t care. 

Vera Bradley lunch bunch bag, Catalina Blue. Most expensive thing, 2.49, with 4.98 price tag. I have a Vera lunch bunch already, will hang onto it til my current lunch bag gets raggedy looking. 

Black skirt, maybe my best score. Fabric is patterned, thought it was burned out velvet but more like embroidery. Like the silver belt buckle, will wear to Mass. Almost too ladylike for me but 1.49,why not?

The pictures I took trying to model my stuff were blurry, didn’t show detail of the clothes but did show my dirty bathroom mirror and were sad.

I have not mastered contouring or highlighting either. 

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ANTICIPATION 

I am in a strange state of anticipation. It’s not a good place, anticipating something I want or to earn. Rather I am waiting, monitoring, the health of my mother-in-law and dad. Both are elderly, unhealthy and I am preparing myself for the inevitable. In other words, I am waiting for them to die.

I am not a vulture, ready to inherit money or their possessions. It’s likely I may have to contribute financially, especially for my mother-in-law who has no savings. What my dad leaves will be mostly memories and a lot of junk (sorry, dad) in the garage. I’m not rubbing my hands together in greedy anticipation. There will be stories, memories and pictures, those we will share and carry with us. I know this because I’ve been through this before. With Jerry and before with other relatives, I know what to expect and I want to be prepared, as much as it is possible to prepare.

I don’t mention this, of course. I look at my sisters and wonder what it will do to them when our dad goes. They were young when our mom died and it affected them for years after; they missed her when they graduated and got married, and when my nephew was born. Our dad was able to be there for those occasions at least y u how much longer? I know they think about this too.

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We all had lunch today with our dad; my sisters, their husbands, my nephew and me. It’s a rare thing for us all to be together but they made the effort because we all know our dad has one operating artery and there is nothing else the doctors can do but give him pills. He goes to his cardiologist on a monthly basis. He eats bacon and pork rinds without being scolded. While we were eating he casually mentioned the pastor he wants to do his funeral, he’s already asked him. I just swallowed some Diet Coke and choked a little. I know he’s made his arrangements, a military funeral and burial. I know, we all know, the funeral home handling the arrangements. He did this because he’s trying to be helpful, to make it easier on us when the time comes. My grandpa, my mom’s dad, did the same thing. Truly it did help but there are still details and hard moments, it isn’t easy. Grief is a layered business.

My mother-in-law is a contrast. She’s not planned for anything. Honestly I don’t blame her, denial is a pleasant place. She’s in Florida (God’s Waiting Room, she once called it) I talked to her and she was groggy on painkillers. She has heart problems too, but raises the stakes with a large blood clot in her left leg. She had surgery on her leg, the clot was bigger than they thought and now she’s recovering in a rehab facility. My brother-in-law is helpless and frankly useless. I ask him how she is, what the doctors said, what about her meds and treatment and he says she’s not good but that’s all the info he has. He’s never had to deal with stuff like this, I know he loves his mom but he isn’t a good advocate. Jerry did all that for them both, he was the steady and responsible one, taking care of them both from an early age. He’s not here now and neither of them seems to know how to cope, Ruth because she’s sick and weak and Mike because he never learned. Most of my info comes from Bear, who takes his dad’s role as protector seriously even when he’s 10,000 miles away. I dread getting a phone call from Bear about his grandma. I hope that when the time comes she isn’t hurting or alone and I hope someone is with my brother-in-law too. I am concerned that I may have to go to Florida, she once told us she was paying on a funeral plan with a funeral home but not sure she kept making payments and I don’t know its name.

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I don’t look forward to making arrangements, calling people, deciding whether to put it on Facebook (probably will for my dad), finding something to wear and dealing with the condolences, among other things. Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again but I know better.

Bear messaged me and said he is thinking of visiting soon. His wife’s Visa is still being processed and they don’t know when it will be ready. He says he might come anyway. He says he misses Fall but we both know the real reason; he wants to see them both and say goodbye.

I’m back

I spent an extra day and uncomfortable night at Inchon airport in Seoul because I missed my connection to home. I ‘m still wired, on Saigon time so here are some pictures.  My sister Kandi picked me up at the airport and I gave her some highlights. More highlights below

I got hooked watching this, it’s really commercials for designer clothes but has some great, off the wall “what the heck did I watch?” moments.

www.fashiontvplus.com 

click on “fashion films”

The dreaded black egg. It takes 4 months to do this, it’s a delicacy. It tastes like a gummy egg, but I didn’t go for seconds

This was my room, the first night. Upgrade

My real room. Ptetty good, it had a mini fridge

From breakfast buffet

Good but no syrup

What I really came for

Tiger and Bear, Korean version

I think that’s spam but don’t quote me

Don’t know what it says but looks impressive Inchon airport

Book store, that says it all. Unfortunately no English language books

Welcome home, cart rental $4. Free at every other airport I’ve seen but in OKC?  Nooo. I schlepped my bags instead

I’m here

I came to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) for my son’s wedding. It’s been worth it. I listened to my Wings lose to the Rangers, with ice cream flavored oreos in a nice hotel room instead of at home with plain oreos.

Traveling was rough, no matter how well planned when there’s a 13 hr nonstop flight in the mix. I have a flat Indian butt, like the Princess in Princess and the Pea, I can feel it no matter what. I squirmed and shifted in my seat over several countries and the International date line. It took me nearly 2 days to adjust to the time difference, climate and the idea my child was going to be somebody’s husband. 

There was a lot going on, manoeuvring not just me but his 3 friends from OK. 2 of them have never traveled outside the US and none of us speak Vietnamese. When he took us out for bun bo hue (like pho) we recreated the cover of the Abbey Road album, all in line following Bear across the streets. He looked like a mama duck with 4 confused and slightly terrified baby ducks behind.

Tokyo Narita airport 

Saigon jewelry store, took this before security told me I couldn’t take pictures 

Indoor market stalls. 

Oanh told me Bear got his hair cut here, blue sign with gold scissors.

The church Nha Tho Nguyen Duy Kang

Some of Bear’s friends, including the Oklahoma Three

On the road to the bride’s village 

Food was good 

Karaoke list. 

Views from rooftop cafe and from my balcony 

Getting ready 

I’m flying to Saigon in 2 days. I’ve planned for this, had those plans changed, thwarted and planned again. 

I’ve learned how much can be stuffed into a suitcase and been amazed. I learned that suitcase is heavy as heck and might need to be emptied a little so I can move it. The wheel really is the greatest human invention, especially those tiny ones. It’s up there with spandex. 

I’m going to see my son and attend his wedding. There’s a lot of emotion in that sentence. I know his dad would be proud and thrilled and anxious. Bear admitted he can hear his dad’s voice in his head sometimes, and remembers little things he used to say. He also admitted he doesn’t think about his dad every day like he used to, but he misses him especially now.

I’m bringing stuff from home, things Bear can’t find in Vietnam. Most of the stuff he asked for is American food like grits and my suitcase has a substantial grocery section. 

Family members are sending gifts, small ones fortunately. I’m also taking a few presents for my future in-laws. I was able to tuck most of them into the suitcase and make it fit somehow; it looks like Tetris.

My clothes and personal stuff are in the 2 carryons. It’s interesting how a pair of jeans can fold down to a tight little cube. Also how that cube can explode and nearly hit you in the eye when you open that bag to stuff in a pair of socks.

Since most of this stuff is staying there I’ll have room for souvenirs. A couple of co-workers collect shot glasses and I promised to bring some back. But the main space is going to be full of strawberry, blueberry and coconut oreos. 

There are a few things to do before I leave. I still have a load of laundry, a trip to the bank to let them know any charges coming from Vietnam will be legit and to let them go through. I also need to have at least one more diet cherry limeade from Sonic. My sister is going to look after Porkchop and the house, because Porkchop can’t open cans. Yet. 

Another thing I’m taking with me is family pictures, old ones I’ve found in photo albums and saved on my phone and a USB. 

Mawwage 

Last night about 11 pm local time my son called to tell me he was married. He and his fiancee signed the official papers at a government office about an hour ago and were now legally husband and wife.

I was expecting the call and even though I was still stunned hearing him say the words. He told me it was low-key, they were at her dad’s house and after eating lunch would be going back to Saigon. He to his apartment and she to her aunt’s house. They hadn’t told family because they didn’t want any fuss (translation:people in their business ). I told him his dad would be thrilled and happy for him. He didn’t say anything but he did send me a few pictures.

Government office where they signed the marriage papers. He said an official gave Oanh a hard time when he saw she was older than Bear, by 6 months, and that they might not be able to get married. Seriously, not kidding or joking. She gave him the stink eye and they both signed. So there.

Wedding rings. 

Bear’s father-in-law, with chicken. Chicken was lunch. 

Humility, or learning to stop

I went for a long walk today, I felt good , the weather was comfortable and I nearly passed out from heat stroke.

Hubris is the main reason. I was convinced I could keep going because I felt fine and because I had done it before, when I was in better condition. And I didn’t take any water because I am just an idiot.

I did accomplish a long walk, which was my goal. However I had to stop about 4 times because I could feel my heart rate was too high, I was weary and at one point I was barely sweating in 90 degree heat.

Stopping and taking breaks is almost against my religion. It smacks of laziness, weakness and I know I can keep going, power through and ride it out. I am stubborn and tenacious, I do not give up or give in, I will push my
self harder and go farther. These can be good qualities, in some cases. In others, stupid and potentially dangerous. Today was a stupid and dangerous day.

I did that, but forced myself to stop awhile and sit under a bridge for a few minutes. I tried not to think about the poor quality of Oklahoma ‘ s bridges and waited for the heavy breathing to stop and for my heart rate to slow. I forced myself to sit for 4 minutes before getting up. I took 4 breaks, not counting the time I spent at the most wonderful and beautiful convenience store in the world. Each break was like a tiny defeat, proof I was not the badass I thought I was. But my body knew it needed short rests and it humbled and saved me.

There is no shame in taking breaks or in slowing down. If you need to, do it.

This insight came to me while I was walking, trying to get to the bridge ahead. I was listening to Depeche Mode as is my habit; Dave, Martin and Fletch were out there with me. I realized that Dave took breaks during concerts, he would wipe his face with a towel between songs or take a swig of water. He would even let Martin sing a couple of songs while he had a cup of tea or just sat. If it was okay for Dave then it was okay for me too. Neither of us is as young as we used to be.

I took one break when my son called from Vietnam. I was breathing hard and he noticed, so it was a good time to stop. After that I had another break and told myself I would make it, only one more street left.

That’s when I knew I wouldn’t, not without some water. It was now in the 90’s and I hadn’t drunk anything since 8am and it was noon. Then I saw it, the most wonderful and beautiful convenience store in the world.

I could make it, I would make it there. It was an oasis, a paradise with water, food and most of all, air conditioning.

It exceeded my hopes. They had water, food and air conditioning. They also had bathrooms, with toilet paper and soap. I had made a necessary pit stop at the scary port-a-potty near the halfway point and this was almost enough to
make me weep.

AND THEY HAD TABLES AND CHAIRS.

I bought a liter of water and energy bar. I chugged the water, it was cold and I couldn’t help myself. I had to force myself to eat the energy bar, which told me I was most definitely in trouble, because eating has never been a problem. Stopping eating has, and my Indian name is “Yeah, I can eat.” It sounds all noble and impressive in Muscogee, trust me.

I sat there and recovered for awhile, even bought my first coconut water. An unusual taste but I drank about half. I finally got up and finished my walk.

I was so glad to see my car and just sat there for a moment, checking my pedometer. I felt better but was still thirsty. I started the long walk at 8:44 and it was 1:10 when I checked my phone in the car. The walk should have been over about noon. I am still a little worn out.
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