May 15, 2018

Maga held the most recent set of pictures Sister J sent to her. She couldn’t get enough of the colors and smiles and asked me to go over the kids’ ages for her. I put on my aunt hat and recited them. She then asked me when my parents were next visiting. I put on my daughter hat, searched through my mental files of their upcoming trips, and figured out approximately when they’d next be in her neck of the woods.

“I hope we get to visit again soon,” Maga said.

“Me too.”

“I know I’m living in a good place, but it sure does get lonely.”

“Don’t I know it,” I agreed, wearing nothing but my Abby hat.

“Not much fun living by yourself, is it?”

“It has its perks, but, yes, it does get awfully lonely.”

“And you’ve got a good job and friends, so that’s a little bit of all right.”

As we talked, I’d been sitting next to a bouquet of flowers given to me as a (belated) housewarming present from two former coworkers. I had a belly full of food eaten during a night spent surrounded by my (winning) trivia team. And I had to admit Maga had a point. Things currently are a little bit of all right, even if only for this specific moment in time.



May 8, 2018

The first trivia game (What Do You Know Trivia) was full of lead changes and trick questions, but ultimately, got the best of my team.

The second trivia game (HQ) was glitching its way through two rounds while various family members texted their confusion and dismay and possible answers.

I limped out of one game and tumbled into another and after similar outcomes in both (failure), I called Maga. She was dismayed by the late arrival of her pill bearer and the pain in her knee and however was she going to be able to sleep?

“Your pill person often comes while we’re talking. I bet he’s working his way to you now,” I soothed.

“Why are you calling so late?”

“I couldn’t let a Tuesday go by without hearing your voice.”

“Last week you called on a different day.”

“Fair. The week before last, I called on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then last week, I called on a Monday. But still, if I can talk to you on a Tuesday, I do!”

The positivity in my voice fell as flat as the rest of the events tonight.

What’s a girl to do to combat all that negativity? Do something she knows she’ll succeed at. Me? I folded a fitted sheet. It’s complex and gets the best of most people, but it remains in my arsenal of skills (thank you, Mom), and hey, whatever gets the positivity flowing!

4.25.18 + 4.30.18

May 1, 2018

“You’re calling earlier than usual. Did you not go to your game night?” Maga asked of me both times I called. I’m such a creature of habit, she just assumed it was Tuesday. It wasn’t. Once it was Wednesday. Once it was Monday. I called Wednesday because Tuesday was so busy. I called Monday because Tuesday was shaping up to be as equally busy.

“Life is not as jolly as it could be,” Maga said. In a lot of ways, yes. In a lot of other ways, no. But a granddaughter learns to pick her battles.

“Have you got any trips planned,” Maga asked, and when the details were repeated to her, she said, “I wish I wasn’t 97 and could travel with you.” I reminded her of her prior travels so she could look back fondly and promised to send postcards and take lots of pictures so she could have something to look forward to.

“I’ve got to get up and get going early which is not the way I do things. I’m a slow starter.” Maga said it in relation to an upcoming doctor’s appointment and, I suppose, her current lifestyle. I heard it in relation to my writing and, I suppose, my current lifestyle.

The parallels and perpendiculars between our conversations and our lives are too numerous for me to be anything but angry with my high school math teacher who claimed I’d need this math in the “real world.”

I hate it when other people are right, particularly math teachers.


April 24, 2018

“Hi, Maga dear,” I said, trying out her term of endearment.

“Oh, Abby, hi.” Her tone was heavy with recognition and resignation. “I’m so lonely.”

I pushed down my guilt and pulled up my empathy. “Don’t I know.”

Maga’s silence left me questioning the tone of my statement. I meant that I could understand the feeling. Not that I knew she was. Before I could explain myself, Maga continued. “I’m so old.”

“But, it looks good on you.”

She chuckled, but her heart wasn’t in it. I promised to call another night this week when we had more time to chat because my trivia team obviously didn’t know Tuesday night was Our Night and they kept me out too late.

“Sounds fun,” Maga said, not meaning it at all, even though she was the one who posed the question about my Trivia Team’s standings. “Well, I’ll let you go. It’s late there and you have to get up and go to work tomorrow.”

I can take a hint even when it’s not served on a silver platter, and so I vowed to myself to call her on a less busy evening. Tuesdays may have started out as ladies night, but it’s been overrun by Trivia, and so we need to reclaim another evening. Two ladies, two time zones, one family history. It’s worth rescheduling for.


April 17, 2018

I was distracted by the lingering remnants of the conversation I had with my cab (Lyft) driver. Despite my giving him better directions than the GPS, being polite, and being a good listener, he felt the need to alert me that he’d be praying for my unmarried and childless soul. I’m not sure at which point those two factors were deemed more important than my ability to leave him with a clean car and pay with tip, but I know that at the top of my street, I’d heard enough of my alleged shortcomings and asked to be dropped off. Walking on the sidewalk in the exact same direction he had to drive (down the one way street) was less awkward than another minute in the car with him.

After reaching the safety (and non-judgmental walls) of my apartment, I quickly dialed my Tuesday night gal. Even though my call was later than I’d hoped (as has become the (unfortunate) norm), it’s tradition to talk to her. And I sure needed a kind word or two after that cab ride.

“Oh, hi, Abby dear. Where are you?”

“Home now. Sorry it’s so late.”

“It’s alright,” she said to me. To someone off camera, she said, “Right there. No, a little more to the right.”

Maga was distracted by her painful knees and the nighttime caregiver who was there to alleviate said pain with a mini massage and some ointment. Even though the rest of our conversation was never given more than 55% of her attention, it was still 100% better to cap off the evening with her in my heart than that cab driver in my ear.