Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cup of coffee and a chat

My brother came over for some coffee and a chat. As I don't drink coffee, I bought this bag of it. We just casually talked about our, or mostly his, past. I knew highlights of his history, but not really how he got from here to there. Or there to here. It was a good talk and at the end he said we should do this once a week! I did not bring up my issue about the houses nor even ask him what he planned to do with two houses. He talks about all the fixing up he is doing in the old farmhouse, making a bedroom into a den and wanting a wall of bookcases to shelve all his books. Yet I know he wants to live here in Mom's house. So, will he live in two houses?? I have not approached this topic yet as I am not sure I can talk about it without losing my cool. Meanwhile, we will continue to chat and find out who the other is.

Blue Sky Dreaming posted her tea mug today and offered the challenge to us readers of posting their mugs. This originated at another blog but I couldnt access that blog so I'm sending you to Blue Sky. By coincidence I had planned to post this mug for this post.

It is made by a local potter. I have two. I use it almost every day. I drink green tea, kukicha tea and white tea. Occasionally I drink black tea with a spot of milk in it. Very occasionally I drink peppermint tea.

35 comments:

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

What a great beginning. You have all winter to get to know your Brother and you he. Good choice not to bring up the house issue yet. Let it evolve. Let him know what you are all about first. Sounds like he needs some company too. This might just work out for you if you give it the winter. Set that date up for that weekly coffee chat. :)

Lynn said...

I am still so incredulous (is that the word?) as to your brothers sense of fairness, or lack thereof.
Of course I have no idea what you inherited from your mother's estate, but the house issue burns me no end. (As I think it does you too). OY.

I have no special cup or mug, as I do not drink anything special on a daily basis. I could post my bowl of cereal I guess. LOL

It does sound like a good thing that your brother at least wants to open these talks, open himself to you in this way...I hope it turns into something good for you.

Lynn said...

Suki (this is instead of email as I do not have your email address/could not see it anywhere so no need to PUBLISH this either.

I am very touched that you thought of me in regards to Susan's book. I do happen to own that one. I got it in HER store in MN last year. It's a terrific book. She has another one coming out in MAY she told me, when I visited the store this time over Xmas. Thanks again for thinking of me. Hugs...Lynn

studio lolo said...

Suki, as I'm fairly new to you as a friend, I don't know your relationship issues with your brother. Had you been estranged for some years? I'm getting ( I think) that he owns your mom's house and this is why you're looking for housing. Would he just put you out without helping you settle into a new home? And why can't you stay there? It seems unreal to me that you are the one who cared for your mother in her final years, so isn't it fitting that you carry on caring for her home? Forgive me if I'm being nosey or if I'm way off base.
I love the idea of the "getting to know you better" chats. That sounds like a good and necessary beginning.
I hope he likes cats. Maybe they can work some magic on him with a few extra head-butts ;)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

A warm and friendly coffee chat with your brother and why not, you are the two children left, brother and sister...getting to know one another as adults...making new adult choices.
I repaired my link for the coffee cup sharing...sorry!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Chatting over a warm beverage opens hearts and stories fly free (for the first time maybe). What a blessed start. One step, one small step can be the start of a wonderful new journey.

I sit over tea or cocoa and while away time with my girls (my son is autistic and not a conversationalist -- he greets, hugs, and gets on with it . . . no pent up stuff with him). I have never found a time when quiet peaceful talking couldn't solve whatever issue arose.

You are in my prayers daily as you stretch and grow and wisely listen.

soulbrush said...

what a trial this all must be to you and your patience is neverending. i think we all secretly admire you for this. cute mug, i only drink water, but do have a nice mug i got for a present which i will post sometime. hugs.

~Babs said...

Yes, you are very patient, and I'm sure this will pay off for you in the long run.
Lots of issues can be settled over caffiene and conversation.
It's important to get to know one another, and I'm sure your patience can do nothing but help your position.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit" comes to mind.

Your cup puts me in mind of Chewy's painting on her blog.Very nice. I LOVE artist made cups and mugs. I have one made by my favorite artist with his handprints on it.
#:-)

sukipoet said...

Cris, yes I imagine my bro is pretty lonely over there in the farmhouse. I dont think these conversations are going to change anything re: the house. But I would like to understand his POV re: he gets two houses. That's all.

Lynn, I have the feeling my bro might let me rent one of these places. The rest of the estate was divided in half. Except, ironically, the interior furnishings at Mom's which is all mine to sort through and discard. I've never understood it all.

Lynn, I put my email address in the comment I wrote you. At this end, the comments are automatically posted. I dont purview them first. By the way my email address is in the right hand column of my blog at the bottom under "Can We Talk."

sukipoet said...

Actually my brother loves animals and was an abused animal rescue person for years up here. He isnt exactly kicking me out. He is giving me time to sort mom's stuff and find myself a place to be. There are two houses on this property my Dad originally bought. My bro purchased the farmhouse from Dad years ago, however the purchase price was "forgiven" I believe. Then, the bro asked to be left Mom's house, also years ago. Meanwhile I asked Mom if she could leave her house half to me half to my bro. She decided to leave it all to me. But my bro got furious and Mom backed down. Sort of in a nutshell scenario. I think I get in trouble when I think of my brother and all he owns for free. What i need to focus on is myself.

sukipoet said...

Oh Laurel the previous comment was for you. I forgot to write your name.

sukipoet said...

BSD, okay will try that link again. Thanks. Yes, good to come to know my brother as an adult.

Thanks Debbie. I am trying ot engage in these talks without expectation. Just to talk and as you say observe what happens.

Soulbrush, right now there is no benefit to getting upset. At some point in time I may address what I think and feel about the situation.

sukipoet said...

Babs. my patience is very self involved though in that for me to get upset now, he might hold back some of the inheritance I am due.

Kim said...

Suki, I am so glad you and your brother are breaking through some kind of barrier. I understand why you did not ask questions at this point...it is odd and does cause one to ponder his reasoning. I suppose I am much like Lynn in that regard, but like Babs the patience you show will prove to be the greatest benefit. You are a wise woman. I am glad you may continue these talks...in time, I am sure he will either get tired of talking about himself or become curious about your future.

Now I have always been a coffee drinker. Lately, however I have been converting to tea, though. I find tea more warming and gentle (a cleaner feeling after drinking it). I love your mug...it is so beautiful. There is something about using those handmade mugs, too...so often it is as though you can feel the potter's hands right where your hand fits. I had a special mug, however it was recently broken by mistake by the very person who gave it to me as a gift!

Thank You, Suki!

patti said...

Although none of it's fair, it is important not to allow things to get heated. Everyone's a loser then. The small baby steps you are taking - simply sharing a cup of coffee & a chat, make greater progress.

Focus on the love you have for your brother and everything will fall into place.

Dianne said...

Dear Suki, I love this mug! I think it is good for you and your brother to get together for these chats, hopefully, he might start seeing things from your perspective. At the moment he seems to be seeing everything from his point of view. It also sounds as if you are walking on egg-shells around him.
Good luck for the next coffee date!
Love Dianne x x

Teri C said...

Goodness, the house is really a problem and sounds like your brother is coming out on the winning end. I hope you are able to work things out.

Hugs

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, I forgot to comment on your cup...I like it. Beautiful shape and the green color..nice. I've never had Kukicha tea but now I'll look for it and give it a try!

sukipoet said...

Thanks Kim. Interesting that you are mainly a coffee drinker after having lived in england.! Tea feels more gentle to me. Too bad about your favorite mug. Maybe that person will find you another!

thanks Patti. I will try to do that. I just want to understand, not to pull the rug out from under him.

Thanks for being so insightful Dianne. My whole family has a tendency to walk on eggshells. That's the way mom brought me up re: my Dad who needs his sleep so be quiet kind of thing. Walking on eggshells meaning to me to be hypersensitive.

sukipoet said...

Teri, I suppose the house is only a problem due to the fact that I dont understand and plus I too would like a house. If I just said to myself, well it doesnt matter and went about my business of taking care of myself then the problem would disappear.

sukipoet said...

BSD, I do love the shape of that mug too. This potter has now stared doing differently shaped mugs that I dont like at all. Potters seem to have a tendency to want to change their vessels shapes when they are so great in the original form. Kukicha tea is a sort of dense tea with a little bit of caffeine in it. It is made from twigs. At one time i bought the twigs at a health food store and brewed up my own tea. I havent seen the tea in that form for years now though. Only in bags.

Elizabeth said...

WOW! I am completely speechless at your brother... totally unbelievable and very bad karma I should imagine. Would like to reiterate much said by others already, but realise your hands are tied to a certain extent. I admire your wise patience. I'd like to fly over there and kick his ass.

Meanwhile..... sending you enormous amounts of LOVE, LIGHT, PEACE and BLESSINGS. May all GOOD things come your way and ALL matters be resolved for the highest good of all concerned.
MASSIVE HUGS to you, dear Suki.
Lizzi
xxx

Elizabeth said...

PS
Have you consulted a good lawyer?

PPS
Thank you for your kind comments. How amazing that you (used to) make Waldorf Crafts too, such great syncronicity! Cool!

PPPS
Keep smiling, it confuses the heck out of people ;-)

katie jane said...

Sounds like maybe your brother is offering you an olive branch? You know how difficult it is for men to approach a subject. They always use the back door. Maybe this is a beginning. I think perhaps he is lonely, too, and is reassessing this situation. Hope you work things out in a pleasant way.

Your mug looks very comfortable and inviting. Don't you love handmade pottery?

sukipoet said...

Thank you Lizzie. For the highest good of all concerned, yes. What I think the bro has in mind is offering for me to rent one of the houses for $600 a month which is a reasonable rent but it would probably gall me to pay it to him. He hinted at this. I would never consult a lawyer. I would rely on my bro's sense of fairness and if that does not exist then I feel it is up to me to let it all go and find another way to make my way in the world.

Katie Jane, I have a big weakness for handmade pottery. Perhaps an olive branch. For sure I think he's lonely. I will just have to wait and see.

Teri said...

Suki,

I haven't commented of late, a little down trying to decide on what direction to take this next year. But even if I took no direction or more like no change, at least I don't have to think about being uprooted and trying to put down new roots. Oh, people say that thing about one door closing and a new one opening, but that doesn't really make those decisions any easier.

Reading your post, I wonder again what would happen to my mom's place in Oregon when she passes. All the family vacation there and only me and one of my brothers are currently single and kidless, and I would hope one of us would be able to settle there. But with a big family (or small, as you find) I wonder if selling the house and splitting the proceeds evenly would leave less disgruntlement in the end. I used to worry about stuff that might happen in the future and since Mike died, I find myself not doing that so much as his passing taught me something about assumptive futures (something my friend/therapist explained to me). I am sure whatever happens, you will find peace and happiness where ever you are able to settle, because it's in you already.

Love the mug--so east coast and woodsy, and makes me want to go up and take some photos of my favorite mug, to follow the trail...

Kim said...

Suki,

I think it was England which turned my head to tea. I never realized how flavorful real black tea could be...as you probably know English tea is a lot more flavorful than what we normally drink here in the US. I now buy the English everyday brands of PG Tips, Yorkshire, Twinings, etc. I now mainly drink that (and a lot, although not as much as the English.)

I think the person (my husband) who broke that mug will not be able to replace it as the potters are not producing any longer...he will have to find someone else. :)

Cestandrea said...

Suki, Hi, I too admire you wise and cautious attitude, I guess that I too would want to live in one of those houses. We have a saying: "you can't bring anything!" which means you can't bring any of these things (houses, land, wealth in general) into your grave or whereever it is where we go, when we have to leave this earth. Makes me think of Ebenezer Scrooge. So why the heck not share? Maybe he'll get this thought after a while? How wonderful that would be for both of you. Maybe....
Sending you love for the weekend:)
Andrea

sukipoet said...

Teri, sorry to hear you are a little down about your immediate future and direction. It is hard to know re: disposition of a home upon the death of the parent. But one thing that would have, I think, made me feel more at ease would be if we had had a family discussion with all family members present. And talked about it together. Instead of pronouncements being handed down to me already decided. Also, I feel my family didnt keep in mind the fact that you can make a plan in 1985 and that's fine, but the plan needs to be revisited from time to time to accomodate those unforseen changes that life presents. Adjustments might need to be made. My family of 5 (as then my bro's wife was alive) did not do this. My family never discussed things with me or rarely. No matter what the outcome, I think I would feel better right now had some discussions taken place in the past.

"Assmuptive futures." Teri, that is such an interesting term. I suppose we all think in that way, we assume our loved ones will age with us and we will sit in our rockers together and reminsice on the past or whatever. My brother and his wife had an assumptive future that included ownership of this second home which was Mom's and Dad's. They already own the old farmhouse on the property. But then, Nora died last August and my brother's assumptive future shattered. All those plans, and he has mentioned this, that Nora and he would take care of Nora's paraplegic brother etc etc (who is very rich--a lawyer but of course will need more and more help as he ages). Whatever their dreams and plans involved, now there is just my brother alone or at least for the present moment.

As for myself, I am not sure that I had an assumptive future. But then, I have had no partner to plan a future with for many years. Just myself. And I find it hard to project myself into the future. But as I age, I think I want some sort of secure place to live. I certainly dont want to move every year at the whim of a landlord which is what I have had to do in the last 5 years. It is an interesting topic, Teri and thanks for mentioning it.

Thank you too for your blessings.

sukipoet said...

Kim, re: tea. In the past i have drunk so much lipton's tea that I got tanine poisoning and had to stop for awhile. I love the better teas like Twinings. But also love to buy the tea leaves. In Chatham there is/was an entire shop full of teas of every kind you could imagine, in the leaf form. Too bad abt the mug. I had a favorite mug made by a Cape cod potter that the handle came off of. I tried to get another from her but she had changed her style/. I can still use the mug to hold watercolor water. :)

sukipoet said...

Hi Andrea, at the present moment, yes, I am being cautious. As i do have a flaring temper at times and I dont want to jeopardize anything by that temper. i too believe in sharing, or at least I think I do and hope I carry that belief out in my life. We are all renters on this earth(whether we "own" our home or not) for 100 years or so more or less. Right, we cant take anything with us (though we can hand it down to others I guess). My brother, as my Father before him, seems very tight fisted. But here is hope of something....he says he is going to take ballroom dancing lessons!!! Now there is a bit of flare that gives hope of a loosening up. He says he wants to get to know himself, who he is, (as of course separate from his now deceased wife). This sounds good too. Thanks for your support and insights.

Mary said...

your story made me smile since i just had a half day with one of my step sisters and we talked all around the big elephant in the room, too....only you can know what path you want to take with your brother. the real question may be how do feel about just up and walking away from the family home....

Mary said...

i just read all the comments and your responses--i initially just responded to the original post.

many people do not understand the things that go on in estates and wills. many, many families are treated unfairly and the stories are endless. in our own case there were three parental estates--two went to step sisters and brothers (completely!) and one went to a girlfriend of less than a year....sometimes you can only walk away. not that you don't have anger and resentment because that's just human nature, i think. but dwelling on unfairness never changes anyone's mind as far as i can see....it just makes the other person hold on even more tightly to defending themselves....

it's hard, but sometimes walking away is the only thing that will clear your heart. and the walking away doesn't have to be literal. it can all be in your mind even as he talks.....

good luck with this. it is very difficult. i know....

Cestandrea said...

Suki, yes, indeed, we can hand our wealth down to others. Which in many families causes so much confusion and conflict, isn't that weird?
But what you say about your brother gives much hope, ballroom dancing lessons! And he's curious to find out about his "self". But with what you said in your today's post, I doubt a little that you would be happy there, I don't know. I see you in a more populated aerea, where you can go and get in touch with others without having to drive for hours. Cause that is what is eating away our time too, isn't it. And the health care perspective for elderly, it's frightening to imagine to live at a place where there is little. I have no children and sometimes think about what I would do, if I weren't with my husband. The assumptive (was that the name) future...We never know. So, I guess I would like nature and wildness and privacy and have the town just right around the corner, with great cultural options and things like that. I can feel that you'd like that too, wouldn't you?:) But where oh where is such a place? Cape cod sounds like that, no? I would think that it is easier to manage a little condo when getting older, if I imagine myself in a house, I don't see myself alone. If I imagine myself alone, it's in an appartment rather than a house, cause I wouldn't want to take up with all the stuff /work a house brings...
Oh these are just thoughts, Thanks so much for thinking all these wonderful thoughts and give us the occasion to project ourselves into the future too.
love
Andrea

sukipoet said...

Hi Mary. Thanks for your thoughts. I guess I view it (the walking away part) as not comparing myself and what I "got" to him and what he "got." But rather focusing on what I need to do to create a living spot for myself. However, sometimes I weaken and do compare and that is what gets me in trouble. Hope you can work things out with your step sister and thanks for the kind words and good luck wishes.

Andrea, I think what you say is true about living in a manageable apartment vs a house esp at my age (I am not going to be raising a family) and being alone. I think my problem is I endlessly go back and forth on my options, and have been doing this for years as regards a home of some permanence, and I never choose. Maybe it doesnt matter so much what I choose but more that I DO chose. Something. Anything.

What you say Andrea about nature and privacy but with the town right nearby sounds good to me. I do like those qualities and always thought that if I were rich i'd have an apartment in a city and a little cabin in the country to indulge in both culture and nature. :) But not being rich I will have to make another choice. It is so hard for me to project into a what might make me happy vs what might not as I tend to be happy most beautiful places and also once ensconced in a place I dont want to move. Still until I started meeting people this up country place is pretty lonely. I am taking two workshops this month and hope to meet some people there. thanks for your insights. It is interesting to think about the future and attempt to work some things out about it, yet it is such an unknown quantity.