Sunday, May 8, 2011

To my mother.

Welcome to the Mother's Day edition of my blog! I've been pondering all week what I'd be posting about today and I was drawing a lot of blanks. Then a few days ago people started changing their facebook profile pictures to shots of them and their mom's. I thought this was a nice gesture, and it got me thinking about how legitimately bummed I am that I'm away from my mom today. I sent her a card (hope it got there on time!), but that really doesn't feel like enough. 'What can I do?' I asked myself, and then (as a bit of an inspiration from the facebook thing) it occurred to me that I could dedicate today's blog to my amazing mom. I set out on the town yesterday with the intention of capturing images of the things I see here everyday that remind me of her, just to let her know that even though I'm half a world away, I am still thinking about her all the time.

My beautiful mother.

So, without further ado, I present: things around Galway that remind me of my mom!

The first thought in my mind was flowers. My sister and I usually buy flowers for our mom. If I remember correctly, she really likes white roses and lilies. I had hopes of finding a flower shop or patches of blooms around town. I was met with severe disappointment. There's a low brick wall down from my house, and every seven feet or so there's a square section filled with dirt and a small flower. So, sorry mom. No nice flower pictures for you. I hope you can accept this mediocre thing instead.

Fortunately, I believe that the rest of the blog will more than make up for it :)

While I was bending down to these flowers, attempting to capture something nice in the harsh light, I was accosted (in a friendly manner) by the most gregarious stranger-cat that I've ever met.

At first I was apprehensive, I don't know for sure that he's owned by someone else and I'm not too keen on fleas and rabid strays (ha). I see him in the backyard all the time and he likes to meow at the sliding glass door. It's tempting to let him in, but I never have.

After he proved to be a big softie who just wanted to love me, I decided that he definitely reminded me of my mom. She is, after all, practically a crazy cat lady <3

It's really hard to take pictures of cats that stay within a foot of you.

Guess I'm his property now.

Looooove meeeeeeeee.

Shortly after I took this he actually ran *into* my lens.

He heard a noise. Or perhaps he saw a bird. Either way, this is about the time he lost interest in me.

I had a really nice time snapping away at this pleasant feline. I bid him a good day and, with renewed spirits after the flower let down, continued on toward town. The flowers were really just a generic idea, because I had a few other things in mind as well that were a bit more personally relevant.

After a Friday night.

Just at the edge of my neighborhood I spied this. No other glasses. No alcohol containers. This thing didn't even appear to be broken in anyway. Wine glasses automatically make me think of my mom. She's an aficionado in my mind (but maybe that's because I know nothing about wine), but I'm pretty sure she'd never drink in the bushes on a patch of dirt. ...pretty sure

Only twenty feet away. Coincidence?

I paused in front of this laundromat. I wasn't sure why, really, because I haven't gone to one in a long time. And we have definitely had a washer and dryer at the house for as long as I can remember. I know that back in the 90s my mom (along with every other adult at that time) had a serious issue with shoulder pads and dry clean only fabrics. So she was frequently dropping in and out of the dry cleaner for her business clothing needs. There was a laundromat next door to it. 

That's when I realized why this building really made me think of my mom. It's story time!

When I was around... six or seven I got very sick and threw up all over the room that I shared with my sister. I mean, truly all over. Exorcist style. (fun fact: I still vomit this way :D) So obviously all of the blankets on our beds needed to be washed. The next day my mom and I went to the laundromat to get the washing all done at once. I still wasn't feeling well, and I remember falling asleep on the newly washed blankets that were folded up in one of those rolling baskets. :] It tickles me to think about being that tiny. Sorry about that mom, but it makes for a fairly nice memory for me, hehe.

Not just nationwide, but worldwide.

I'm pretty sure that no one actually enjoys Dominoes, but people certainly still eat it. I didn't know it was international, but there it is.

Anywho! When I was... I don't know, maybe twelve or thirteen my mom worked at Dominoes as a third job. That's right. Three jobs at once. She didn't do it for very long (that I remember, anyway), and she certainly used that time to beat (verbally, of course) into my sister and me the importance of tipping the delivery person.

One day my sister and I were home in the evening. There was a knock on the door and we asked who it was (because we knew not to open the door to unknown persons!). We hear a response, 'Pizza!', and we open the door to find our mom standing in her Dominoes finest holding pizza and soda. That memory always makes me smile.

Again, I had no idea this was international!

TJ Maxx, TK Maxx, different letter but totally the same company. Also, one of my mom's favorite places to shop! She is one high class lady, and, like all sensible humans, she loves a good bargain too! Family trips to TJ Maxx are always a lot of fun. My sister will invariably find a jock strap that has a picture of a man's ass on the back of the packaging (true story), my mom will look at the most hideous purses that I've ever seen and insist on asking for my feedback even though she knows I think they're ugly, and I will bemoan the fact that I can't buy fun cheap bras because no one ever has my size.

We always leave the store with a cart that is far fuller than it should be, and all of us eyeing the packages of Moose Munch that are in the impulse section.

I love family trips to TJ Maxx.

I've never ridden in a taxi as many times in my life as I have since being in Ireland. Now that I live in town I don't have need of them, but last summer I used them almost every weekend. It got expensive. 

But this isn't about Irish taxis. This is about Seattle taxis and their terrifying drivers.

In December 2006 my mom, sister and I spent a weekend in Victoria B.C., just us girls. We had a great weekend, and after riding the Clipper back down to Seattle we needed a taxi to take us to the ferry to get home.

Now, there are a lot of things that could have contributed to why this driver was so crazy, but the simple fact remains that he drove straight past the ferry terminal and when we pointed that fact out to him, he flipped a U turn and proceeded to drive straight past it again. My mom yelled at him to stop and he simply slammed on the breaks in the middle of the road. My sister and I sprang out of the car and grabbed our luggage from the trunk as fast as we possibly could. It was both terrifying and hilarious.

Brown Thomas

What we have here is an extremely expensive and high class department store. Even if I could afford something from in there, I still wouldn't buy it because none of it is my style. I went in there once while it was raining just to look around. Stuffy. Expensive. Maybe even pretentious. Brands that are exorbitantly over priced and popular. 

It's the kind of place that my mom would go into just for fun, just to look around. She'd think it was a good time to check out the Coach purses and admire the (fugly) shoes. And she's right, with her it would be fun :) She'd egg me to try and find something to try on, maybe even something to buy for me if she were feeling squirrely enough and we were on vacation.

I was confused the first time I saw this.

I don't wear Tommy Hilfiger, and (to my knowledge) have only once owned something from this company. That something was a pair of shoes.

It was Christmas when I was maybe... thirteen or so (somewhere between eleven and fourteen, I can't remember!). I unwrapped a package to reveal a Tommy Hilfiger shoe box. I stopped, concerned that I had accidentally opened someone else's gift. I looked up at my mom and said, 'Is this for me?' and I was completely serious! I didn't wear any big brands, not really. Turns out it was a pair of black and white shoes that looked very similar to Converse. They were indeed for me. Cracks me up every time I think about it.

 Expensive shoes and purses.

I'd never paid any mind to this store before yesterday. I was walking down Shop Street with hawk eyes, locking onto anything that immediately said, 'mom' to me. All it took was one glance at the leather purses and 115 euro shoes for me to stop and take a few pictures.

My mom is a classy lady. I don't think I'll ever subscribe to her taste in shoes and/or purses, but she certainly has a sophisticated style and taste all her own. Well, when she's not rocking band t-shirts and jeans, that is <3 Mom you are so diverse and awesome.

Last summer I was scouring the city to find a nice gift for my mom. I popped into every single shop in Galway (that may be a hyperbole) to find something for her. This shop had a lot of great things, but it was too expensive.

It was filled with all manner of lovely clothing, purses and shoes. Jewelry, dishes, glasses. Figurines and trinkets. I wished very badly that I could have bought something for her here, but most of the things that she would have loved were 70 euros or more, and I couldn't afford that. Still can't, actually :( But, when I pass this everyday, I think of how much she'll enjoy looking around in there when she and I get to be in Ireland together for a trip someday.

This one is pretty simple. Just a wine bar. It looks classy and almost dive-ish. It makes me remember when she briefly worked at that tiny wine bar in downtown Poulsbo. 

One time (was I in junior high or high school...?) my friends and I stopped in and visited her while she was working. We sat and chatted and drank soda. That little restaurant was right on the water in Poulsbo, and whenever I take the boardwalk for a stroll I pass it and remember that day. Mom, you are everywhere.

I will miss this food so much.

Alright, so this one is a little strange.

I don't think my mom is really that big of a fan of french fries (or 'chips' if you're not American), and even though she likes seafood I don't know how she feels about fish and chips. I should ask her. Mom, let me know, 'kay?

McDonagh's reminds me of my mom because of something that happened the first time I ate here last summer. I was on the hunt for delicious french fries, and a friend told me to go there and order fish and chips. I told him that I didn't like fish, and he informed me that they served chicken too.

Feeling positive and hungry, I marched into the famous McDonagh's. I was not prepared for what happened next.

Anyone that followed my blog during my stay in Ireland last summer will probably remember the first time I ate chicken at McDonagh's. I waited for my food in the crowded restaurant, looking around nervously at the tables overflowing with people and wondering where I would sit. My food was handed to me and I looked down in horror at the on-bone chicken on my plate. I don't do well with boned chicken. I prefer my chicken boneless. 

I edged onto a table bench and stared at my plate some more. I was hungry, alone and nervous, surrounded by strangers and completely clueless as to how I was going to eat my food. I thought of my mom and all the times she's helped my sister and me remove meat from the bone and how patient she's always been with our squeamish natures. I don't know how she's dealt with it for so long. I gathered that positive, motherly nature energy and began to hack away at my chicken, determinedly removing the uh-mazingly delicious chicken from the bone. I made a huge mess and I was so proud of myself.

So whenever I pass McDonagh's (or go in and eat) I think of how proud my mom would have been to watch me eating all by myself. I can't wait to take her there someday.

This one is pretty self-explanatory as well. I've already stated that my mom is a classy lady; she loves her some diamonds and gold. Although, I'm glad to say that she finally 100% migrated to platinum instead of hideous yellow gold. Bleagh.

There are a lot of fancy and expensive jewelry shops here and every single one makes me think of my mom wearing her jewelry, glinting in the sunlight and smiling. She worked hard for her pieces. It may just look like something expensive to other people, but I remember when her diamonds were tiny and clouded. I know their progression as we went from quite poor to the nice (but not extravagant or rich) life that we have now. They're a testament to how hard she works, how determined she is and how far she's come.

As far as wine goes I am just a lost cause. Mom loves wine (as previously stated), and whenever she gets something new she asks if I want to try. I pretty much always refuse. They all taste the same (horrible) and smell the same (gross). I know that they don't actually taste and smell the same, but they do to me. It's odd because I have a fairly keen sense of smell, so perhaps the delicate differences are lost in the general overpowering 'wine' scent. Either way, it's not an enjoyment for me.

Although, this brings me to another story that was scarring and could perhaps explain my disdain for wine scent.

This takes place when I was younger, probably sometime in junior high. My mom was enjoying a glass of wine in the evening and I was sitting with her. I complained that the wine smelled bad, and to demonstrate I decided to take a really deep inhale through my nose. She, on the other hand, chose that moment to give a tremendous exhale through her mouth to share the wine scent in all of its overpowering glory. For those that are paying attention, this means that I received a blast of wine breath into the vacuum that was my nose. 

It was horrible.

'XL' bag my ass. I already ate them all.

The last photo I have for today is a bag of Easter edition peanut M&Ms. My mom, well my whole family really, is a huge fan of M&Ms. They're in the house fairly often, and the frequency has increased ever since my sister had her son over three years ago. Elijah really loves them. However, they're most notable around the holidays. My mom seems to have a soft spot for the Christmas edition M&Ms, and our cup runneth over with them during the month of December.

While grocery shopping yesterday I was on the hunt for some M&Ms and I came across the last of the Easter bags. I smiled as I pulled a bag down, thinking about my mom excitedly coming home with holiday colors during various months of the year.

During my walk back to the house I tore open the bag and began popping them into my mouth. I smiled and thought about how much my mom loves them. And then I cried. And cried and cried. I must have been quite the sight, walking down the street with grocery bags, headphones, M&Ms and tears. Pretty sure if anyone had asked, a simple, 'I miss my mom' would have had them nodding and sending me on my way.

So, happy mother's day, mom. I hope you enjoyed the best gift I could come up with considering the ~4500 miles that are between us today. I love you!



Jennifer said...

Good golly, Miranda... left me in tears. I miss your momma, too. I wish we could all be sitting on her porch drinking Mimosa's today. Loved the blog-thank you for sharing.

MJ said...

Thanks for reading, Jennifer :) I had a nice time writing it, but I had to stop to cry a few times!!

Happy Mother's Day to you as well, and I hope we can all be drinking Mimosas on a porch someday soon :D

Cassidy said...

I might be the only one who didn't end up crying, but only because if I do anything that's remotely stronger than breathing, I'm sent into a violent coughing fit.

This was a fantastic read, Moe. And you know what? If all goes accordingly to plan, I wanted to go to TJ Maxx with mom today! How silly is that? Of course it won't be nearly what it would be if all three of us were together. I miss that.

Also, I've been so caught up in my own world of being a mom, so it was quite nice to read your blog and bring back the sister and daughter in me <3

MJ said...

A happy mother's day to you as well, Cass!

If you guys go to TJ Maxx then be sure to have a lot of fun! :)

Melanie Rowe said...

Oh, Miranda, this made me laugh and cry and blush and glow with pride. Thank you for an amazing tribute, my beautiful daughter. I wish we were together today! I can't wait to see you and make up for missing your birthday and Mother's Day. And Jennifer, we need to make a date for Mimosas!

MJ said...

It will truly be an epic day of celebrations, mom! I'm so glad that you liked it :3

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