Thursday, May 8, 2008

Jacaranda!

The jacarandas have begun to jacarandize. I wait for this all year. It begins with the faintest of purple hazes in the jacaranda trees, and ends with all of them in full purple glory. Can you see the little bit of purple there?
Soon the whole tree will be covered with it. Along with trees all over our neighborhood. I can't wait. It's one of my favorite moments of spring in the southland, to see exuberantly purpling trees on every street.

Alas, I will have to wait, as we are leaving for the Bay Area tonight. We've been planning to go up to see Grandmom for a couple of weeks now, ever since we heard that she'd begun receiving hospice care at her assisted living facility. At this point, the hospice person only comes to check in on her every so often, but it's a sign of things to come, and we want to spend as much time as we can with her this summer. This morning we heard that she's had what appear to be a couple of mini-strokes in the past 24 hours, so I think that we're going none too soon. We'll spend the weekend there, and start looking for an opportunity to spend as much as a week up there this summer so that we can see her for short stints each day, which is all that she has the energy for any more.

It's hard to believe, though. I realize that it's been almost exactly 19 years since I met her. Rick and I had been dating for a few months, and had realized that we were getting to a place where our families were going to have to be involved at some point, and we'd better just get it over with. He came up to see me over summer break in Sacramento, and after a few days with my parents, we drove into the City to stay with Grandmom for a while. I remember so clearly driving up to her house in the Marina, and walking up to the front door to ring the doorbell, wondering what this first meeting with someone from Rick's family would be like. She flung the door open, took one look at this imposing 6' 6" man at my side, threw her arms open, and joyfully said, "Ricky!" I about died laughing. Ricky? Snortgiggle.

For all kinds of reasons, many having to do with proximity at the right age, I think that we're closer to Grandmom than either of us was with any of our other grandparents. We lived across the Bay from her for 10 years, and spent a lot of time with her during that period. We had our engagement pictures taken at a beach near her house. She took us on a tour of the Legion (where she docented) when I was hugely pregnant with Older Daughter. We cooked at her house, shared meals with her, and took long walks on the Marina green. She and I (along with Rick's mom and and aunt and my mom) went to France together for 10 days soon after Rick and I were married. She has always been stubbornly independent, and fiercely interested in everything that happens around her. It's hard to see her frail, blinded by macular degeneration, nearly deaf. But it's better to see her than not.

So I've been spending much of today getting things done around the house so that we can leave. I did take a much-needed break with a dear friend; good conversation and Indian food and a little bit of yarn shopping never hurt anyone, right? I picked up a little bit of yarn (in spite of the fact that we were ostensibly shopping for yarn for my friend to knit her very first sweater ever for her daughter; I figured that some sympathetic purchasing was in order, just to be encouraging, don't you know)...
The pink one (shades of dusty rose colors) will, I think, become the lace scarf that Older Daughter has been asking for. It's her kind of colors. I'm not sure about the other one, which has blues and browns and greens in it, but I'm pretty sure that I can think of something to do with it.

All right, I'm off to pack. If I don't manage to post this weekend (which is starting to look very full, between visits with Grandmom and Rick's aunt and uncle and cousin, and my parents who are kindly coming from Sacramento so I can take Mom out for Mother's day), I will most definitely be back on Monday. And with luck, I will come back with a completed stars shawl in hand; after all, 1,000 miles of driving in three days has to be good for something, right?

16 comments:

twinsetellen said...

I know how you feel about missing the jacarandas - I headed to Geneva just as leaves were breaking buds and I hate to miss that process. But you are going to be happier for visiting Grandmom.

I adored Wilson's grandmothers, and oddly enough, his paternal grandmother was the first of his family that I met, too. She was so fun and funny. When our kids were born and she became a great-grandmother everyone in the family just called her "Great" for short. I bet your Grandmom is Great, too.

Anne said...

The yarn picture didn't load so I can't rhapsodize over your choices, so I'll stick tot he trees. We're deep into the pink spectrum around here with all the various apple and cherry trees blooming like mad. The pollen from something or other is fierce, but it sure is pretty around here right now. Have a wonderful weekend! Sounds like a Very Good Thing.

Rachel said...

Grandmom sounds like a wonderful woman to me, you are lucky to have her in your life.

M-H said...

Of course you're six months off, but I love it when the jacarandas come out in the spring too. I've blogged them a few times over the years, but of course in October.

Bea said...

Have fun with Grandmom. Its lovely that you are close enough to spend good quality time with her.

Marianne said...

What a delightful woman, Grandmom, and I'm really glad you'll be spending time with her this weekend, and with your mom... life is short.
Give Grandmom some gentle love from me, honouring her and my own 'mom' (grandma), and Jocelyn? Happy Mother's Day!

gorgeous yarn!

KnitNana said...

So sorry to hear about Grandmom. These things are so hard...

If you're ever in my part of the world? Well, that Indian food and yarn shopping sound perfect to me, too!

Enjoy those 1000 miles of knitting on the shawl (cannot wait to see!).
(((Hugs)))

Rachael said...

Enjoy your time with Grandmom. I totally feel where you are coming from. My mom's mother also has macular degeneration and lost most of her hearing years ago, she is in assisted living right now and will be transitioned to a nursing home this summer.

It's hard to visit b/c it's so hard to see her that way, but I know it brings her so much happiness to see us.

Helen said...

Grandmom sounds like my aunt, my mother's older sister, down to the deafness and the MD. My mother's family all go deaf, so our family funerals are surprisingly noisy affairs, with the oldsters bellowing good will at one another. My aunt will be 90 this summer but is far too independent to allow us to make a fuss; she told me at length recently how much she hates being met off the train, for instance, so I think we'll take the hint. Enjoy her while you can.

woollies said...

Best of luck for your visit with Grandmom. I'm sure it'll be a bittersweet visit, but a rewarding one for all of you.

I don't know what a jaracanda looks like in full glory--it's lilac season here in upstate NY, and I've filled vases with cuttings of purple blooms to fill the house with scent. Lovely!

Carrie K said...

Possibly you'll get a lot of knitting done in the car - but it's so unpredictable.

Saintly you are! For the sympathetic purchasing.

Grandmom sounds wonderful.

EGunn said...

1000 miles of driving! Good luck with the trip, and I hope you get lots of knitting done on the way. Enjoy your visit with the family!

Willow said...

Treasure each and every moment and second. You will never regret it. I know. I've done it.

Your yarns definitely had to be bought together. They're a pair. You can tell from the photo that they're unseparable good buddies.

How can it be that our jacarandas are done blooming and yours are just starting when you live SOUTH of us?

anne said...

hope you are having a good visit!
i was really impressed with the jacaranda trees in san diego, which were in full bloom when i was there (but of course, did not take a photo; what's up with that?)

Stell said...

ooo spring stuff, I love that time of the year when the garden shows the promise of warmer weather with new growth. Any one who can call a 6ft male a name ending in -ie, well they get my vote. I'm glad you are taking the girls, they need to know some one like that, take care and have some quality time.

twinsetjan said...

Your thoughts about Grandmom make me think of our Grandma J. Her independence was a great example, but she died before our kids could know her. I'm glad your kids have the chance to know Grandmom. I'm betting you can tell lots of stories (without dropping a stitch!) over the course of 1,000 miles!