Autoblogography.me

Fulfilling the Narrative Imperative
with Tales to be Told

Ned Buratovich taking a cellphone selfie in the mirror on his 68th birthday at his Sebastopol studio.

Vignettes
by Ned Buratovich,
Multimedia Memoirist

Thanksgiving Week Opening


Thanksgiving week, 2020, I begin my “Autoblogography.” Thanksgiving week, 2020, I laid my mother to rest. Needing a structure to get started storytelling while stuck in sadness, I used the days of Thanksgiving week as a trellis around which to intertwine my tales. Seven posts for seven days, I promised myself. Here they are:

Yellow orange Fall foliage of a pepper tree with berries going from green to red against a pale azure blue sky

Today is Thursday, November 26, 2020. Today I start my storytelling. On this Thanksgiving day, I am most thankful for having my mom’s company on this earth for all my 71 years. I buried mom on Monday.

Frances and Ned Buratovich, wearing Story Teller T-shirt, seated on couch.
“I remember stories she has forgotten, and I tell them to her, so she can relive them once again.”
Frances and Ned, June 30, 2018

For the last three years I cared for my mom, night and day. It was not even a choice; it was my sacred mission.

Before that, when she could still leave the house, though her gait and mind were faltering, I was constantly by her side. Everywhere we went, I held her hand. I told her I would not let her be embarrassed in public about her decline. I said, “Don’t you worry, mom, I will be your cane and I will be your brain.”

While sweeping leaves from mom’s front patio, I looked up at the clear blue Sebastopol sky through the yellow-orange fall foliage of the patio’s pepper tree, berries going from green to red and thought to myself…

Close up of two clusters of pepper tree berries
Pepper Tree Berries, Nov. 26, 2020

We are all like these berries:
Clustered in our communities
Individually
Going from green to red,
From alive to dead,
In the fullness of our own time.

Mom had a good run, a long, full life of 99 lovely years. She was a spirited, joyous and amazingly vibrant woman. Find tributes to her and stories about her at her memorial page: https://nedburatovich.com/frances-buratovich-memorial/

A green lawn strewn with a multitude of fallen leaves

On Black Friday, my story darkens. In my announcements of mom’s passing, which I began broadcasting today to family and friends, long uncontacted, I made mention of my mental health issues.

If you came here because of that email, you might be thinking:

“Wait, he can compose a cogent paragraph, take a nuanced photograph, how could he possibly be mentally ill?”

I was wondering the same thing. But four visits in the last year (two in the last month) by Sebastopol PD to my abode to perform a “Wellness Check,” i.e. assess “whether I might harm myself or another,” i.e. suicide intervention. I kept breaking down from the relentless grief and stress day in and day out for years. My God, who wouldn’t? Every visit, the cops eventually agreed, under so much pressure, something had to pop – natural, not crazy… but still.

File box with about two dozen file folders of business records

For years, I’ve managed the small business of mom’s household administration. I continue today with the business of sorting through mom’s records, preparing the paperwork required when someone passes.

Mom was meticulous with her money management, she budgeted, saved receipts and balanced her checkbook to the penny. She worked 26 years for Safeway as a grocery clerk. She was rightfully proud that, at the end of the day, her cash register drawer balanced out to the penny, every single day! Almost. Some days she would be off by a few cents and that bothered her, visibly.

Mom was 93 or 94 when she started asking me to check her math on her checkbook.

Continuation Coming Soon

River rock veneer building wall painted yellow

What’s up with identifying the days by their retailing monikers? Black Friday? Small Business Saturday? Sofa Sunday today, Cyber Monday tomorrow, Giving Tuesday the day after that?

Monikers make good mnemonic devices. They help you remember, when you read this many months from now, what you were doing on that day. What were you doing on November 27, 2020? You have to check your appointment calendar. If I ask what were you doing on Black Friday, 2020, I suspect you won’t need to check your calendar.

What the heck is “Sofa Sunday?” I had to look it up: something about sitting on the sofa strategizing what deals you’re going to get on Cyber Monday.

Nah, not for me; for me, sitting on the sofa idly surfing the web means I’m depressed. For me, SOFA stands for So Overly Fucking Apathetic. As my brother, Nick, will say, “I got shit to do, but I don’t feel like doing shit.”

Depression has degrees. Let me illustrate using the river-rock wall of Pacific Market, right around the corner from mom’s condo.

Rock
Wall

River rock veneer building wall painted yellow
10:40 AM, Nov. 27, 2020

Healthy
Mood

Section of river-rock wall, stones all nicely sunning themselves on the surface

Depressed
Mood

Section of river-rock wall, stones have sunk beneath the mortar, as if in quicksand

Suicidal
Mood

Section of river-rock wall, faded color, one stone ripped away, leaving hole in mortar

Over these last years, I have resided largely in the depressed or suicidal regions, all too rarely in the healthier frames of mind. I couldn’t tell anyone, ANYONE, how bleakly I truly felt. If I had, I feared it would result in my being medically incarcerated against my will. I couldn’t let that happen, I wouldn’t be able to take care of mom. There were some close calls:

I sent out the email above over a year ago.
I sent out the email below this evening.
Same recipients, same content, pretty much.
It’s got to get better from here on out.

The internet is littered with cyber sale sites that failed to make money, many of mine among them. Evidently, I’m not that good a businessman.

I like to think of myself as an artist (like who doesn’t?) and despite mental issues, I’m not delusional enough to imagine my creative work is saleable. But, I want to get it out there, so I give it away in the vain hope that one piece or another will go viral and validate to the multitudes my inborn brilliancy.

So here’s my unbeatable Cyber Monday deal: craft items SO FREE, I can’t even give them away! You have to go get them yourself. Here’s how you do that:

The links below will take you to my imagiNed.com “Conceptual Artistry” website, where you can scoop up Cyber-Monday-SO-FREE-I-can’t-even-give-them-away deals ALL YEAR LONG (which defeats the urgency premise of Cyber Monday, but, as noted, I’m not that good a businessman.)

Beautiful Flower Photos

Thumbnail grid of flower photos

My favorite flower photos, collected in a gallery to give to friends and family as a thank you for their support.

Quirky Clever Quips

Collection of Quipsy-Quote cards laid out on a table

Original pithy witticisms, paired with an image of Ned delivering them, in 4×6 postcard format

Smartsy-Artsy Postcards

Thumbnail grid of art postcards

Engaging visual design and cleverly conceived conceptual commentary, in a 4×6 postcard format, suitable for photo reprints

As Cyber Monday closes, I move on from my cyber-hucksterism to more meaningful matters. Take a deep breath. OK. Up next, Giving Tuesday:

Content Coming Soon

Sad doggie, waiting at the window

Stuffed animal dog perched on couch, looking out of window wistfully, with his face reflected back to him in the window glass.

for a mom who will never come home again.

That’s all I can manage to write today. Accept this picture as worth a thousand words.

Two Weeks after Thanksgiving Week Opening


Taking some time away from my “life story” to work on other creative pieces and projects. Here’s one example, a note to my neighbors.