Thursday, April 5, 2012

death, grandmother and gardening

I'm becoming one of "those" family people, who only hangs with my family at funerals and weddings. Or I would be, if I was even invited!

I talked to my grandmother a few days ago. My great aunt who my grandmother was close with (they lived down the block from each other) died last week. She went very suddenly, she basically was supposed to have lunch with a friend, talked to her friend that morning, and when her friend came to pick her up she found her dead in her apartment.

This was a lady whose husband had died when she was very young (Her husband was my grandfather's brother) and she had one kid (who was like 10 when her husband died) and no siblings, and so my grandmother "took her in" to our family, and whenever we had a family event with my grandparents and cousins, like Thanksgiving dinner or getting together for a Jewish holiday, this great aunt and her daughter were there too. So I saw her maybe 3-4 times a year growing up.

Last time I saw my great aunt was at my cousin's wedding 2 years ago where she was the one who kept staring at my wedding ring but never asked me about it, and I never got a chance to tell her I was married. I regret not telling her at the time. I think she would have been happy for me.

My dad didn't tell me about her dying until like 5 days later, and I partially suspect this is because he doesn't want me to show up family funerals since this is the 4th great aunt/uncle who has died in the past few years and who I haven't heard about dying until long after the funeral was over. My family was always close with our extended great aunts and uncles and second cousins growing up so I spent a lot of time with these people as a kid. Each time this happens I ask him to tell me about them dying BEFORE the funeral so that I can make it if I can- and I reminded him about this again when I heard about my great aunt, I was like "I realize I live very far away now so it's unlikely I'll make it to any of these funerals but I'd like to at least have the option!" I mean she died last week Tuesday, was buried Wednesday and my dad didn't bother emailing me until the following Sunday night! What the heck! Maybe he thinks that because I married a non jewish person I don't give a crap about my family anymore? That's certainly not the case...

Anyways when I heard about my great aunt dying, I called my grandmother to see how she was doing, actually talked to my jerkface grandfather for like all of 3 minutes cause he picked up the phone (last time I saw him- at that same wedding 2 years ago- he told me he hopes I find a non jewish man to marry, and I was all "Um, you know I'm married already" and he was all "Not according to me you're not!") anyways me and my grandmother talked for like half an hour and caught up since we haven't talked since last thanksgiving..I told her I'm getting white hairs and she asked if I'm going to dye them and I was like "NO! People might actually think I'm a grown up if I don't!" ha. She told me my dad grew a beard when he first got his degree because he thought none of his patients would think he was old enough to be a doctor.

She also told me my parents are driving down to florida again for pesach, but this time they have not offered to come visit and stop by on the way. I called my parent's house after I talked to my grandmother to try and talk to my own mother, as she was also close with my great aunt (and I figured this would be an excuse to talk to her since we haven't talked since that purim phone call.) No one answered the phone, and even though I know they have call waiting, no one has called me back either. I suppose it's the week before pesach and they are really busy (although erev peasch is one of they few times a year my dad used to consistently call me, let's see if he does tomorrow...).

Me and my grandmother also talked all about gardening, and my massive veggie/fruit/herb garden this year (already planted and growing: garlic, onions, strawberries, snap peas, carrots, basil, cilantro, leaf lettuce, bell peppers, rosemary, oregano, an artichoke plant, mint, lemons and blueberries, in the next few weeks will also be planting: asparagus, potatoes, thyme, corn, pumpkins, beans, dill and zucchini and hopefully eggplant) and apparently she used to grow asparagus too! She told me that her asparagus plants all died after like 20 years of growing them and she's too old and tired to do lots of gardening these days (she's in her late 80s) but I'm following a family tradition in gardening- my mom also had an awesome veggie garden growing up and I have vague memories of my grandmother's veggie garden from when I was a young kid- she lives in a house in NYC so doesn't have a huge backyard, but the whole thing is one big veggie garden, or at least it was when I was a kid (I haven't been to her house in probably 10-15 years, most family events took place at other people's houses).

She told me this story about how when she was first starting her veggie garden in like the 1950s she had lots of friends who had just come over to the United States from Europe, and they all were making fun of her because they had all worked so hard to get away from having to do the hard work of planting, and here she was doing it for fun! She asked me if I had off for "easter week" or something next week during Pesach and I had to explain that we don't get spring break that week (like they do in CUNY) becasue our semester ends a lot earlier than CUNY. Although we do have off tomorrow for good friday...what is it that people do on good friday that necessitates a day off? Not that I'm complaining, but I'm curious...

I also recently traveled to New Orleans for a work trip (my first trip there) and managed to got a lot of solo-tourism-ing in during my free time, hoping to post about that trip in the next few days once I have a chance to sort through my pictures. I also at some point want to post about Unorthodox and another atheist book with OTD content I read recently (by recently I mean like 6 months ago), "God, no!" by Penn Gillette from Penn and Teller. Of course it's the crazy part of the semester (You know, the crazy part...all of it) so who knows when I'll get around to that.

Oh and this morning me and B discussed celebrating pesach in our own apirkorsus way, by making bacon covered matza balls:

[hat tip to confessions of a koifer for finding this recipe]

Perhaps we'll make this an interfaith spring celebration and also make bacon covered cadbury eggs! :)


  1. I grew up Catholic and never understood why Good Friday was a day off. Most people don't even bother to go to church on that day, and it's not a holy day of obligation.

    It's a no-meat day, but that doesn't mean you can't go to work either. I think it's so people can have a day off around Easter because they don't get Easter off work. Unless they're me, and work at a place that's open Sundays and is open for Easter.

  2. If someone's love is contingent on following their religion, you're probably better off without them in your life.

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  4. JP you are the one projecting your own issues stemming from your parents onto everyone else. My parents called me today and I talked to them both. Turns out your parents are just extra shitty for keeping it up all those years. I'm sorry about that. But you can babble on about my life and what you think my parents would do all you want, cause clearly you have no love for reality.

  5. Laurie how am I acting like a petulant teenager about religion?

  6. you know most of my relatives have been accepting of me, so who said most of my relatives are jerks? it's only my parents who were not accepting, other relatives have invited both me and my husband over to family events (although we live like 12 hours away so can't get together much), my grandmother calls me, me and my aunt and some of my cousins email each other. It was only my parents who had a problem with it, and they called me last week.

    So again, stop projecting. And stop writing comment after comment after comment even when no one is answering you. You seem insane when you do that.

  7. oh and my grandfather I guess, but I talk to him as much now as I did when I was religious- he's a very reclusive guy and he never talks to anyone on the phone anyway unless I'm calling my grandmother and he picks up.

  8. most of my family is sincerely religious. In fact my mom is "OTD" in her own way because she's modern orthodox and not charedi, like most of my extended family is.

    Turns out that not all religious people are asshole!

    Stop projecting.


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