Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

In about 10 minutes we're leaving to go pick up Lindsay and Kyle from LAX. Spiral will be glad to see his daddy.

Oops, Jim says we need to leave now. See y'all later! Tonight we're going to Kevin and Mary's for nosh and music. Later we'll probably goto Ken's. Don't know about that one yet.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Ah, the day has finally arrived! Tree season is over! Oh yeah, Christmas is here, too. Hey, Christmas.

Didn't get all the shopping done but I just couldn't allow myself to get uptight about it. Staying away from the shopping madness was my way of being kind to myself. I'm really hoping that one day I'll be able to enjoy the whole Christmas scene again. If I'm selling trees next year someone please shoot me.

Today we drove to LAX and dropped off Lindsay and Kyle. Tuesday Paige leaves for Paris and Jim and I drive up to the Leece's. I do enjoy that part of Christmas. Hanging out with the sibs in SLO is always enjoyable and the post-holiday shopping is fun.

Lindsay and Kyle get back on the 31st and Paige comes back on Jan 2nd. After that I'll settle into my usual post-holiday happy time. I can't wait! I'm going to set up the painting studio and get to work.

It's nice to have somethign to look forward to!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A quick one

The Trucker show was really great last night. We took them a Christmas tree which we decorated with Trucker-esque trinkets. There were official Naked Trucker And T-Bones paint sticks, blue balls, American flags, snakes on a tree, toy trucks (one of them had a trailer that was "haulin' wood") and some large fake money. I made a star out of paint sticks and tinsel pipe cleaners. It was pretty cool and they all loved it. Andy took it home!

Stacey just called and filled me in on the happenings of last night's Dad fiasco. Hoo boy. She said he was in full form. He had just eaten so it wasn't ablut his blood sugar being low. Too high, maybe? She thinks he was showing off for Aaron. He just got here yesterday. I think she could be right about that. He has to show Aaron he's still in charge around here. She said Dad and Scotty drove up to the top of the hill and parked for a while. Dad was totally out of control and went off about all kinds of things like how none of us has any business sense, that Jim and I are evil, stuff like that.

So, it looks like we've reached the point of random triggers for crazy behavior. He goes off on a ragefest and there's no good way to predict it or abate it. I'm just glad none of us has to handle it alone. Much of it will probably go away once tree season is over but that might be a short reprieve. If he finds something to get mad about he'll get mad and it'll be out of proportion and hard to stop.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Congratulations, it's a Kyle!

Our dear boy got hisself eeevicted the other day. Not his fault. The landlady, who lives next door to the house where he was renting a room, just noticed that Kyle was living there after 4 years and decided she didn't want him there. So, she got her lawyer to write a letter wishing Kyle a Merry Christmas and oh by the way, get your ass outta there.

Sunday we drove to Van Nuys and moved him out. We have his stuff stored in the Timio apartment. Lindsay is working on getting some of her stuff moved out of her room so they can cozy up in there. We don't know how long Kyle will be with us. Right now he works in Calabasas, which is a 2 1/2 hour drive (a completely shitty commute). He'll try to find a job a bit closer to Riverside.

So that's where it stands for now. We're happy to have Kyle and his kitty with us. They're fairly low impact/high entertainment roomies. Now that Spiral is living here full time he just might get Katie to warm up to him. Not.

By the way, don't tell Dad that Kyle is living here.

I got some fresh inspiration last night. I made Jim wake up so I could tell him about it. I'm going to set up a big easel in one room of the apartment and start painting. I'm also going to add my portfolio to the Rancho Curioso website and put it on disc so I can easily hand it out to people. I want to start painting wall murals in people's homes (already have a customer for that one). After Christmas we're going to redo the front bathroom. The floor is badly damaged and needs to be repaired before the toilet falls through. I'm going to paint it ultra cool and add that to the portfolio. Tra-la-la! I'm ready to get to work! Oh yeah, I'm also going to start painting furniture again. These pieces will be sold through the Rancho Curioso website.

This morning Dad was pretty foggy. The only thing he had available for breakfast was some leftover potatoes and a piece of cake. I came back home and made him some eggs. I think I'll add that to the morning routine. Make him a couple eggs and take them over so he has some protein for breakfast.

Naked Trucker and T-Bones on Wednesday. This time we're dragging Paige and Ben along.

Man, it's cold!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh boy...

Dad really went off tonight. Really, like, off.

Stacey and Drew were here. When Dad was in the sales shed Stacey noticed that he was wearing her glasses. She said, "Dad you're wearing my glasses! No wonder I couldn't find them at home." He insisted they were his glasses, that he'd had them for two years. Now, I saw him wearing them a few days ago and I knew they weren't the ones he had gotten after his cataract surgery. I thought it was an old pair. They just looked wrong on him. Stacey figured out that he had been at their house a couple weeks ago watching a game. He must have picked them up and put them on and then wore them home. After a brief argument she took them back from him.

This conversation took place just after Drew and Dad had come back from getting everyone dinner at Taco Bell. He took his burrito up to the house. After a while he came back down and started griping at ME about his glasses. He said (to me), "Those are my glasses and I want them back!" We tried to explain it to him again but he just got more agitated. There were customers around so Stacey took him out to her car so they could talk about it. After a few minutes I went out there.!

Dad's eyes were wild and vacant. She kept trying to explain about the glasses and I was trying to help her. He would have none of it. He was seriously out of control. It was the weirdest thing! He started making wild accusations, mostly about me. Like, I'm in his house all the time and I'm taking things and messing with his mind because I want him to die so I'll get three million dollars and blah, blah, blah! He was over the edge.

I went to the sales shed and called Jim and told him to bring a pair of my glasses down. I figured he could use them until we found his. Earlier Dad had been complaining about his glasses not being good enough. Of course they weren't! They weren't his! My glasses are a bit stronger than Stacey's so I figured they'd work better for him. I took them over to Stacey's car. Dad was still wild-eyed, still spewing venom, aimed mostly at me.

After a while I couldn't deal with it anymore and walked up to our house where I unloaded the story on Jim. I stayed about 10 minutes and then went back down. While I was gone Stacey had tried to get Dad to go back to his house. He refused to go and actually hit her on the arm! Then he wanted to drive his car back but Drew didn't let him. Drew drove the car up to Dad's house and went inside with him to look for his glasses. Dad's burrito was sitting untouched on the table! We thought he had eaten! What happened was he had gone up to the house to eat, started looking for his glasses, got pissed off and came back down without eating his dinner. So this whole thing was a big, fat, fucked-up, low blood sugar moment. Man, it was awful.

Drew made sure Dad ate his dinner. He looked on Dad's nightstand and his glasses were right there. While Drew was up there I asked Stacey to call him and tell him to make sure Dad took his evening meds. Dad had calmed down by then and asked Stacey to come up to the house so he could apologize.

Ok. I said in an earlier post that I don't like Dad being in the sales shed even when he's in a good mood. One reason is he snacks on candy canes way more than he should. He gets all cute about it (which makes my skin crawl) saying, "Oh here's a BROKEN one, better get rid of it!" and pops it down. He does this a lot and usually in front of customers so you can't tell him to stop. I think today he was riding on a cheap sugar high and then crashed. I'll have to ask David about that.

This was the worst episode I've seen so far. Dad seemed completely insane. Last year his doctor prescribed an anti-anxiety drug that we decided not to give to him because it has some nasty possible side effects. Jim thinks maybe we should start him on it. Oh yeah, that'll go over just great. Dad already thinks I'm out to get him. Introducing a new pill isn't at all suspicious, eh?

Eleven days to go.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lunch with SpongeBob

On Sunday Lindsay, Kyle, Jim and I went to a book store in LA to see a... kind of a show, I guess. It was Tom Kenny and Andy Paley with Jillinda and Ben and a bass player, who's name I can't remember. They were playing songs from the Best Day Ever album. Tom was singing as SpongeBob. There were about 30 to 40 kids there. It was pretty cute. The kids had a great time. Afterward Tom sat at a table and signed autographs. I bought 3 copies of the cd and had him sign them.

Tom invited us to go out to lunch with the crew. His wife, Jill Talley (another voice actor, got started with Second City), and their 2 kids were also there. Cute kids! We all walked down the street to Art's Deli (the best pastrami I've ever had). Jim and I sat right across from Tom. He was very nice and we had a good time talking with him but I couldn't help thinking we were maybe boring him just a little. I felt like maybe we really didn't belong there. We really didn't have much to offer the guy. We talked about living in Sonoma County. He had performed in Santa Rosa and Petaluma a few times so he was familiar with the area. I remember seeing him on tv in the 80's. He had awesome 80's hair.

Anyway, my discomfort was entirely mine and had nothing to do with Tom. He couldn't have been nicer. I think eventually we'll get to know him a little better since it looks like Kyle will be working with him from time to time.

It's always fun being with Andy and Jillinda and Ben. I hope the TV's Kyle band can get together with Ben for band practice soon. I want to hear what we sound like with a good drummer!

In my last post I said I'm not going nuts yet. Scratch that. Dad is back and in full meddling mode. Last night he was at the sales shed telling Jim how to handle every transaction. I had to run around with customers so I couldn't rescue him. Towards the end of the night Dad got into an argument with Drew about closing at 7. He wanted us to stay open until 10! Drew told him no, we close at 7. Dad said he'd stay there by himself and sell trees. Drew said ok but the gate will be shut and the lights will be off. (heh!) Anyway, Dad gave up the argument after a while. I think it's because he was hungry and Drew and Mindy were taking him out to dinner.

Stacey is giving us a little break this afternoon. I don't know if Dad is down at the shed. We'll be heading down there in a little while. Man, I'll be so glad when this is over.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Not going crazy... yet

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting any entries about wanting to tear out all my hair or getting the urge to start cutting myself. Well, so far, this tree season ain't so bad, thanks mostly to the presence of the awesome and brave Dede who spent last week down here living with Dad. She kept him company and kept him busy and kept him out of our hair. There were just a couple of minor incidents where it looked like he was going to stir up some trouble in the sales shed but nothing spectacular happened. Not like last year.

But towards the end she started showing signs of wear. Yesterday she left and took Dad with her back to San Luis. David and the boys will help dilute the Dad energy. He's coming back on Sunday. Thank you, Dede! Your being here really made a difference.

Another thing keeping me sane has been going to LA for some live entertainment. We saw Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobule, Tally Hall and we went to the taping of Comedy Central's Last Laugh. This Sunday we're going to a live SpongeBob show. Andy Paley and Tom Kenny will be performing songs from the SpongeBob album (in a book store or a music store..?..). A pretty mellow show, I think. It's always fun seeing Andy and we'll finally get to meet Tom (the voice of SpongeBob and many other cartoon characters).

Aaron is arriving on the 20th. It'll be great seeing him AND he'll help out with Dad. OH, this year is soooo much better! Even if we do have to handle some Dad blow ups I think it'll be easier to deal with. He still throws his weight around but he seems to know on some deep level that he doesn't really have it together anymore. He's quicker to give up a fight. Also, we're getting better at recognizing his low blood sugar moments. Give him a snack and he usually calms down.

Last night we went to a Paris meeting at Ramona. Woosh! That's coming up soon! Lindsay and Kyle are going to New York just before Christmas. So much shoppinbg to do just for those two trips! We'll be taking care of Spiral so I'm not sure if I want to get a Christmas tree. Our pretty glass ornaments will be way too tempting for him to resist. I have an idea for that. I'm going to set a dead branch into some plaster of paris, paint it silver and decorate it with paper ornaments. It'll be a fun change and it won't matter if the kitty kills it.

Today Jim has an interview with job placement company. We bought him a suit and everything. He looked pretty good this morning! Gotta get that boy some more snazzy clothes.

So yeah, I'm doing so much better this year.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Open mike

Ah, a performance we can be happy about. We played two of Kyle's Christmas songs- Socks And Underpants and Snooping For Presents. I had a hard time hearing myself which makes it hard to be "in the moment" with the performance, so I didn't really see how the audience was responding. I also couldn't see what Kyle and Lindsay and Jim were doing. Anyway, it went well and the audience seemed to really enjoy it.

Kyle was very pleased and encouraged. He wants us to start opening for other bands so he's going to try to find us a show. We went out for dinner after open mike. It was good to see him so animated and happy (it's been a rough couple of weeks for him).

It was a good open mike. The Odien men were there. Jeff did a sweet song about Buster Keaton and tried his hand at plucking his uke instead of strumming. He did very well. Bill did a Merle Haggard song. Quite un-Merle Haggardish when performed on a ukulele and sung with Bill's well-trained, sweet voice. Very nice. Liam did his usual Dylan thing. His guitar playing has improved and he's looking more comfortable on stage. Gotta wean him off the Dylan. There are vast musical worlds to be explored and the boy certainly has the pipes to be able to pull off some more challenging stuff. He'll get there.

This morning we're off and running with farm concerns. The tree service guys are here to chip the dead Christmas trees and Dad's freaking out about the cost and about them working in the rain. The phone calls have begun. I love the fact that I can pass the buck about that stuff. I didn't set it up, I didn't write the check, it has nothing to do with me. All I have to say is, "Call David". We're supposed to open at 2. It's raining toady and it's still very early in the season so I doubt we'll have any customers. I'm going to take our bills down to the shed and get that done while I'm hanging out there doing nothing and being cold.

Got some fun shows coming up. First Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobule, then Tally Hall and then a taping of Comedy Central's Last Laugh. These are sanity breaks from selling christmas trees.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Opening day

Not too bad. Everybody was here to help. David left for a while to run some errands and he took Dad with him. We got a lot done while they were gone. My only tense Dad moment happened when I was covering the countertops with butcher paper and he wanted to help. Covering a countertop isn't rocket science but he seemed to think I couldn't handle such a complex task as stapling a sheet of paper to some wood. He kept giving me instructions and pulling at the paper. I just let him do what he wanted to do. I knew we'd get the paper affixed eventually. I was a little surprised to see that he didn't have enough strength in his hand to work the staple gun. We're talkin' about a very girlie staple gun here, very easy to operate. His mood was pretty good today. I know he really enjoyed having his kids working together on the farm and his grandkids running all over the place.

It was a long day but not a hard day. Paige came down to work and almost immediately burned her hand on a pitchfork that Scotty had been using to stir the fire. That pretty much put her out of commission for the day. It was painful but not serious.

We sold seven trees. Good thing we're workin' for free.

We closed up early and headed over to the Brown's for dinner. Again we stuffed ourselves to the point of pain. Ok, that's it. Tomorrow it's back on the straight and narrow. The carb orgy is over.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I really should be cooking right now. I could make the stuffing today. Maybe I will.

Tomorrow we're having a small, family Thanksgiving. Friday we'll be at Stacey's in the evening after we close the farm. We're having a non-traditional Thanksgiving barbeque. Keeping it simple for sanity's sake.

Tree season starts on Friday. The Leeces will all be here so we'll have lots of help. There's some clean up work to do in and around the sales shed. We don't think it will be very busy on the first day so we can work as we sell trees. Saturday we'll meet with the kids and their parents and get the schedules set up. Off we go.

We've already had a few unpleasant incidents with Dad. He was over here the other day demanding keys. If you give him keys he loses them right away. I always mark them with nail polish and put them on brightly colored, labeled rings but he still manages to confuse them and lose them. And then he gets mad at us about it.

Lindsay, Kyle and I went to a Jill Sobule show last night at the Largo. Last night's show was special because she was playing with the coolest back-up band in Hollywood. Ben (drums), Andy (bass), Tommy (guitar) and Gruber (piano). Gruber sang with Jill on some songs and sometimes he rapped the verses. Pretty funny coming from a tall, thin, scruffy-looking hippie with glasses. Gruber did a kind of stand-up opening before Jill came out. He was his usual awesome Gruberness. Jill is just great. Her songs are funny and poignant. Her voice can go from little girl sweet to a ballsy wail. And she effing rocks on that guitar.

After the show I gave Gruber and Andy some giftwrap. They dug it.

Ugh! Moving too slow today. Jim and I have been working on the studio, cleaning and caulking the windows. They rattled when we played music with low bass tones. I rearranged some of my storage and took out a table. Now there's more room but it's still pretty much a mess. Really, I'd like to move everything out of here and start over.

I should get up Mt. Rubidoux today but all I want to do right now is take a nap.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It hasn't sunk in yet

I thought I'd be jumping and screaming or at least weeping tears of joy. I really thought they'd steal this one, too. Not that they didn't try. Those last-minute robo calls probably hurt more than helped. Anyway, today I'm happy. Thank you, America. I can't wait to see how this plays out. Bush was a big baby when he had all the power. It'll be fun to watch the meltdown.

Yes, America, thank you very much!

I've been told I must blog about our El Serape dinner experience. Last Friday we went out to dinner with Kevin and Mary. Lindsay went with us and Kevin and Mary brought their friend, Sue, and her little granddaughter. We hadn't been to El Serape in years and years. I remembered it as being a pretty good restaurant. So much for that.

Things started going wrong as soon as we sat down. There was only one menu on the table and it was covered with some crusty, dried up sauce. When Jim was pouring sugar into his iced tea a big shard of glass fell out of the container and into his tea. Jim had the waitress take it away and bring him another glass of tea and a different sugar container (which took forever). In the meantime, everyone got their food but me. Mary took a bite of her taco and said the meat tasted weird. Jim tasted his and figured out that the meat was burnt. Not nicely charred like a good steak, but BURNED like they scraped the bottom of the pot and slopped it into a taco shell and served it. (Jim still doesn't have anything to drink to wash the nasty flavor away. I still have no food) When they complained to the waitress about it she said, "Oh yeah, they burned it a little". She KNEW it was burnt and she served it anyway?!?

Seriously, I wish I'd had a video camera to film the whole evening. It was amazingly bad. Kevin had ordered all beans, no rice. She brought him beans and rice. he sent it back where it got lost in that black hole they call a kitchen. When he finally did get it back his cheese enchilada was filled with that same burnt meat. He had to send that plate back. He was pretty mad at that point.

Everything had come except my plate and Lindsay's taco. We told the waitress to cancel the beef taco order and bring us chicken tacos. Jim was afraid of meat at this point so he opted for a bean burrito. He thought it would be covered with sauce and cheese. It was beans wrapped in a tortilla. Worst than anything you'd get at Del Taco #1. I still have no food.

Finally she brought my plate. I was afraid to eat it! I had asked for sour cream. When it finally arrived it was about a level teaspoon. Later I asked for more and she brought me almost half a cup! For most of the night we had so forks, no beverages, late food, wrong food, inedible food. At the end the "manager" came over and told us they were knocking $10 off the bill. Kevin very strongly stated that was not acceptable. This "manager"girl got all street snotty. "We're trying to make it ok for you. What do you want me to do?" Kevin said, "How 'bout half?!?" She said, "Well, you did eat your dinners..." That's as far as she got. Mary went off, like kaboom.

Now, Mary is a very sweet, kinda quiet lady. But this girly really set her off. She immediately put that snotty bint in her place. It was pretty cool. Jim told her no, we didn't eat our dinners, we sent them back SEVERAL times. We demanded to see the manager, the REAL manager. At first she got all smug and said she was it. We demanded to see the owner. At first she said she was the of.... Yeah, right, you're the owner? She said, "Well, my mom doesn't speak english". The waitress, who was now crying, turned to a woman across the room and spoke to her in spanish. The woman yelled back something that sounded like yeah, yeah, it's ok. Both girls turned to us and said, "Ok, half!" at the same time.

What bullshit! What a stupid scene. We wanted to be nice to the waitress because the crappy food wasn't her fault but she was kind of lazy and stupid. They were going to give us a $10 discount on a shitty evening? The manager girl was going to stand there and effing LIE to us about who was really in charge? They were lucky we didn't start throwing things.

So, we won't be going back there any time soon. The next time Kevin and Mary want to go out for Mexican food I'll suggest Olivia's.


Some more election thoughts. I sent this to some people today.

I haven't been able to allow myself to get excited about this election. I think I stifled myself so much before the election that I'm still not letting myself enjoy the results (yet). But little bits of joy are squeaking out. Right now we're listening to the news that Rumsfeld is resigning. A few tears there. Now we've just heard that Tester won Montana. My throat is getting a little tight. Even the newscasters seem happy! It looks pretty certain that we'll be saying goodbye to Senator Macacawitz.

I'm going to enjoy watching the meltdown. Cheney's snarl will completely take over his face. Bush will get even more retarded.

Let the investigations begin! May the subpoenas flow like wine!

I finally feel like a citizen again. I'm going to finally fly that flag I bought after 9-11. Remember after 9-11 when you couldn't find an American flag in any of the stores because they were completely sold out? You couldn't find a flag or a pole or a bracket anywhere. The best we could do was stick a couple of tiny flags in a flower pot by our front door. By the time we finally found a flag, pole and bracket Bush had pissed away our good will and I didn't feel right about displaying this symbol of patriotism. I wanted to burn the fucker. Instead I just put it away. Now that cheap-ass, polyester, Home Depot flag will fly.

Yep, It's a pretty good day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Two Halloweens (and a scary Christmas)

That's what it feels like. First the party and then Halloween night. I don't even want to think about tree season.

The party was a great success. Everybody had a good time and there were only a few minor glitches. The yard looked fab-u-lous! We certainly worked hard to get it that way.

I spent so much time on stage that at times I felt like I was watching someone's party video. I barely got to talk to anyone. The artichoke dip I made didn't get baked. That's ok because I brought it home and put it in the freezer. It was delicious last night.

The costumes were great! Stacey was some kind of hot, witchy mama. Scotty was a devil in a Hawaiian shirt, Drew was a monster thingy and Mindy was a pirate. Lordy, it was the night of the pirates! We had at least 5 of them, maybe more. Dede and David came as a suit. She was the pants and David was the jacket. Great costumes.

It took a couple days to take all the decorations down. We packed them up and took them straight to Kevin's. Since we were setting things up in his back yard this time we could leave stuff there and not worry about it getting stolen. That made things much easier.

It also meant we could take our sweet time setting it all up again. Usually we're trying to get it all done in one day. It's just too exhausting to do it that way and we never have the time to do it the way we'd like. This time we spent 3 days setting it up. It was the best display we've ever done.

Too bad we didn't have much of an audience. We were light on trick-or-treaters this year. Oh well. The people that did show up really enjoyed it. I'll post the photos later.

Another thing that was so nice about doing it in the back yard is when the evening was over we just unplugged everything and went home. Usually we take everything down that night and throw it in the van and the truck. That's a huge amount of work to do after an exhausting day. Later today we'll go over and start packing up. We're pretty wiped out. Not in much of a hurry to get over there.

A little while ago Dad called about getting ready for tree season. He's in mean-old-bastard mode. He went on and on about how he can't depend on his family to help him, how Drew and Stacey weren't there much last year (then who WERE those people?), how he thinks one of us might get mad and just not show up for work (!), and he wants to hire Dusty because she knows everything about how to run the business. I reminded him that she was taking money and paperwork home with her at the end of the day. I told him not to hire anybody until he talks to Bud and David. He said, "WHY? What does David have to say about it?" I told him that David knows what the financial situation is. Dad said HE knows what the financial situation is better than David.

So, here we go. Dad's throwing his weight around, making accusations and being a jerk. Happy November First. I really don't want to do this. Last year I swore I'd never do it again. But the land still hasn't sold and Bud is keeping the farm going so we have to have another tree season. Jim said the other day Dad was mad because they haven't planted any new seedlings. Last year he ordered a truckload of Oregon trees. Is he going to order seedlings this year? He said he needs to hire people he knows he can depend on. Yeah, like all those good people who were ripping him off?

I've said this before, I know a lot of his behavior is because of the Alzheimer's, but a lot of it is his true personality. He could be a nasty bastard before Alzheimer's ever showed up. All this just jams me right back into the worst of my childhood memories and it makes me feel sick. And trapped. Please, somebody!, buy this property so we can be finished with this.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Getting ready for this party

I'm a mad, shopping fool. I haven't shopped like this in ages. Food, decorations, art supplies, STUFF! As I go along I'm getting more ideas. I think this party is gonna look so cool.

I'm trying to do as much as I can ahead of time so I won't be running like a crazy person trying to pull it all together at the last minute. But you know that's going to happen anyway. Still, I think I'm in pretty good shape. Today I made a freakin' VAT of chili. Tomorrow I'll make the artichoke dip and freeze it. I'll do as much as I can but some things you just can't do ahead. Like chop cilantro. It just won't keep.

Tomorrow (today!) I'll take a load over to Stacey's and get started decorating. I guess I'll start with the garage. We're fixing it up to be the kid's party place. This will be black light decorating. I'm going to line two walls with black paper and paint day-glo monster type stuff on it. The other half of the garage will be separated by a large piece of fabric that I've had for YEARS. It's a giant piece of light orange polyester that I've painted with black, spooky shapes. We used to use it to enclose our patio in Santa Rosa. I've gotten sooo much use out of that piece of fabric. I also have a lot of black light stuff that I'll stick up here and there. If I have enough paper I'll cover the ceiling.

Gotta set up the band area. Drew's going to assemble a platform for the drummer. We're going to be performing on the grass so he'll need something to set the drums on or everything will fall over. I'm going to hang our spinning light balls from the beams over Scotty's barbeque area. That's going to be the dance floor.

Oh man, so much to do! There will be spooky displays everywhere. Gotta set up lighting. I have ideas for the food tables. I'm even going to decorate the bathroom.

But not tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Things go missing

Dad thinks people are breaking into his house and stealing things. His keys have been missing for a while, his wallet and the cash we got out of the bank a couple weeks ago are also missing. Last night he called when we weren't home and told Lindsay he thinks Paige's friends are getting into his house. I called him back and talked to him about it. Hoo boy.

I reminded him that he does have Alzheimer's and that's why he loses things. He kept talking about how he's done things the same way for years. I told him that one thing AD does is rob you of your habits. So even though he's always kept track of his keys and wallet things are different now. He still insisted he has his habits and there's no other explanation for the missing items. The last time he got a key from me I put it on a bright blue lanyard to make it harder for him to lose. Well, he lost it almost immediately. Now he says he wants to change the locks again. Nooooooo....

Part of the problem was he hadn't eaten in a while. If his blood sugar is low his thinking is foggier and he gets nasty crazy.

He's very suspicious of Paige's friend, Ben. He really doesn't like the way he looks. Sigh. Ben is one of the nicest kids I know. I'd better warn him about Dad.

I really wonder how tree season is going to go. Bud Lyon is running things this year. I really hope that Dad will stay away from the sales shed. He can get so nasty with people and he'll probably think Bud's people are working for HIM. If last year is any indication we're going to have trouble with him.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Taking Timio's

Paige's fledgling band needs a place to practice. I asked Dad if she could Timio's empty apartment as a practice room and he said ok. Yesterday five of her friends came over to help clean the place. We need to make it secure so they can store their instruments there. Lots of holes to plug. We're going to seal most of the doors shut and board up the windows. One of the bathrooms seems to work pretty well and there are two extra rooms that can be used for storage. The kitchen is unusable but we don't really need it. I think it's going to work out pretty well.

Those kids are so excited about having their own space. They had been practicing at one kid's house but his dad didn't like it eating into his tv time (!) so they had to come up with something else. I don't get that attitude. You've got a great group of kids who want to do a cool, fun thing and you don't want to open up your home to them because it interferes with TV TIME??? Puh-leeez! I'm just glad we have something to offer them. I would have moved my living room furniture out of the way and let them practice in there. Fortunately, we gots barns.

And it's quite likely us adults will be needing that space, too. Casual Sunday is breaking up and will probably reform as a new band minus Ken. He's just not happy doing what we've been doing and wants to get back to playing with the Klones. That's the short version of the story and it's all I'm going to write about here. One reason is we don't really know what the whole story is yet. Certain conversations have not yet occurred. I'm sure it will all get resolved.

We have to hold it together until the party on the 21st. But if we don't we still have the TV's Kyle band, Paige's band and the Canaries. We can make cds for dancing. I'm just not going to get worked up about it. Not anymore.

So! Lots of work to do. We have to get the room together and I need to work on Halloween decorations and costumes. I can already see time slipping away. Typical.

So I'd better stop doing this and work on the party invitation!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The last taping

For a while. The show debuts January 17th. If it gets picked up (and I don't see why it wouldn't) tapings will resume. Last night's show was the best yet. I can't wait to see it.

Kyle had to work again so it was Lindsay, Jim and me. We got there early enough to get great seats. The best seats, really. Right in front of the band. The energy in the room was up, probably because it was the last taping and people were looking forward to the wrap party.

We didn't know if we would be able to go to the party because Jillinda said they were being sticky about having only the cast and crew attend. But at the end of the taping they said everyone with a black wrist band should stick around. We were on the guest list, we had black wrist bands. Far out. Now we just needed to get Kyle in.

They had the party set up in an empty soundstage. It was basically like a big warehouse with soundproof walls. They had decorated it with Trucker set pieces, including the truck. The catering was appropriately Trucker-esque; In-N-Out Burgers, corndogs, popcorn, chocolate bananas and sodas. And a bar. Gotta have a bar.

Jim asked around about getting Kyle into the party. Turns out there was no problem at all getting him in. Lindsay was much relieved.

They raffled off some of the props from the show. When they brought in the box of props there was a guitar sticking out the top. I said ooh, I want that guitar. It was the first thing they raffled and we won! It had been used in one of the shows that we missed (look for the Civil War Dream sketch). It's a small, black guitar with a bullet hole in the front. Gruber and Koechner signed it. It shall occupy a place of honor in our studio. They also had paint buckets (with custom Trucker labels) filled with paint stirring sticks that had The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show and the Comedy Central logo printed on them (another joke from a sketch. "It's a found object."). We brought home a bucket and a bunch of paint sticks.

At one end of the room they set up a photo booth where you could get a picture with a cut-out of T-Bones and Trucker. Later in the evening I went up to Koechner to shake his hand and tell him how much we've enjoyed the tapings. I know Gruber but this is the first time I've talked to David Koechner. Well, he couldn't have been nicer. He said, "Hey, let's grab a picture!" and dragged Jim and me over to the photo booth. Way cool! Kyle and Lindsay also got a picture with him.

Outside we talked to Gruber. He was happy we're the ones who ended up with the guitar. He said it couldn't have gone to a nicer family.

The whole night was great fun. I had three people come up to tell me how much they enjoyed my song. Yay!

Oh no! No more tapings! Trucker withdrawal!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

My Hollywood debut

We went to the Trucker taping last night. Kyle had to work and Paige had band practice so it was Lindsay, Jim and me. We got there early enough to get good seats this time. The show was its usual fabulous fun.

During a break the Steve, warm-up comedian, asked if anyone wanted to sing a song with the band. Jim was poking at me to volunteer but I didn't feel quite right about it and I couldn't think of a song anyway. But the band went on break along with everyone else so Steve started asking for volunteers to sing a capella. It seemed like no one was raising their hands, although there were a lot of people volunteering their friends. One guy got up and sang By The Rivers Of Babylon and he was very good. Then Steve asked for more singers so I made a snap decision and said, "Ok, I'll do one!" EEK!

He handed me the mike and asked what song I was going to do. I told him I was going to do a song I wrote. From the look on his face I could tell he was thinking oh yeah, this is going to be lame. I sang the Bosom song. When I got to the end of the first verse people started laughing and Steve's expression changed. He was impressed! Good GAWD, I was nervous! My hands were shaking so much the microphone was waving around like crazy. I had to hold it with both hands to keep from looking like a total geriatric case. My voice was shaky. I was a little surprised. I'm not usually nervous about performing but hey, this was a Comedy Central studio audience!

The whole thing is kind of a blur. Maybe Jim and Lindsay will post their impressions here. But I do remember that people were laughing and enjoying my song and THAT was a total gas! I had fun goofing around with Steve. And the applause was huge. If I had sung some other song and performed that badly I would have been hugely embarrassed. But the audience liked my song (MY song!) so I'm very happy. Big ego feed!

Friday's taping will be the last one for a while. If the show gets picked up there will be many more. I hope it will! It debuts on January 17th. Gruber and Koechner have been doing this show on stage for years. Koechner's career has really taken off but Gruber hasn't done as well. If the Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show is a hit then Gruber can reap the rewards of all his years of hard work. He deserves it.

Man, that was fun! But good golly, I've got to get my nerves under control!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Lake Mojave

Ahhhh, nice weekend.

Adults only. This time we had Stacey and Scotty, Drew and Mindy, Sean and his new girlfriend Roxanna, Lindsay and Kyle and Jim and me. Good group. It was fun having Lindsay and Kyle along. Paige couldn't go because Ramona's homecoming game was Friday night and she had to play with the band. She stayed with a friend for the weekend. Dede came to Riverside and stayed with Dad.

We got out there late morning on Friday. We found a cove and set up camp and then went back to the marina for lunch. Since we were such a small group we had almost all of our meals at the marina. Much easier than cooking in camp but dang, the food was kinda crummy. Didn't get a good cook this weekend, I guess. I tried to sort of stick to the low carb stuff for the most part. I did pretty well and didn't totally blow it carb-wise.

In the afternoon we kicked back on the beach. The water was too cold for me to swim in but Lindsay, Kyle and Jim went in. I'm a cold water sissy. Stacey had pre-mixed some Bloody Marys but she didn't add much alcohol. I had three of them in a row and didn't feel a thing. Then Scotty mixed up a batch of Margaritas. Holy crap.

I had one just before we went to dinner and another one on the boat on the way to the marina. They went down just like punch and punch me they did! It didn't really start to bother me until we sat down. Then it was ohnowhathaveidoneiamsoooooeffedup. Of course Jim thought that was the perfect opportunity to mess with me. He kept making faces at me which caused a major sensory overload. Funny Jim. I barely got through dinner. Getting back on the boat was a project.

After we got back to camp I downed a lot of water which helped quite a lot. After about an hour I felt much better. Scotty and Sean built a fire. We performed the Kyle songs for everybody. Jim and I made a lot of mistakes. He was playing a mini keyboard in the dark and I was still pretty drunk.

I don't think we stayed up very late. I was uncomfortable trying to sleep because it was kind of cold. I had come prepared for it to be warm at night and only had a light blanket. I was glad to see the dawn. I wasn't hung over, which surprised me.

Drew and Mindy showed up in the morning. The day was very relaxing. I made sure I paced myself with the alcohol. We mostly sat around reading and chatting. Lindsay and Kyle drew cartoons.

After dinner we built a fire. Drew and MIndy had missed the previous evening's performance of the Kyle songs so we performed them again. Much better this time! The Scottyritas were flowing (this time I diluted mine with Crystal Light which I was told was a "party foul" but I didn't care). The party was on. Sometimes that fire got pretty big. Drew and Sean and Scotty kept finding dead bushes to drag to the fire. Stacey had happy feet. Everyone was telling jokes (drunkenly) and since Kyle isn't a drinker he stayed sharp and inserted his Kyle-isms into the conversation which was, of course, freakin' hilarious. I was laughing so hard my face hurt. It was great!

We stayed up pretty late. The temperature was much more pleasant the second night and I slept pretty comfortably. After breakfast we hung out for a while and then packed up. We left for home around 2:15. We had dinner on the way and later hit some slow traffic so we didn't get home until 8:30.

A fun, fun weekend. Lindsay and Kyle even got to drive the boat (thanks, Drew!). I enjoyed meeting Roxanna. It was her first time meeting any of us and I think she had a good time. It's always fun talking to Sean. He has good stories. And hanging out with my sibs is just the best.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Yep, it's a disaster

Turns out the leak wasn't in an irrigation line. The main pipe that feeds both houses finally rotted enough to burst. It took all friggin' day to fix. Except it isn't fixed!

Drew came over this morning (Sunday) and got started trying to figure out where the leak was coming from. Jim went to Palm Desert to visit Kenny and (urp!) Bernie so he wasn't here to share in the joy. I went out to offer my meager assistance. Dad was out there "helping".

Having Dad be involved in these kinds of projects is a bit of a nightmare, especially when his blood sugar takes a dip. You can't explain things to him because he either doesn't get it or he forgets what you just told him. He was getting agitated and argumentative and Drew was getting pretty impatient with him. I sent Lindsay to Subway for some sandwiches. Dad needed lunch.

After a lot of arguing and fruitless digging they decided to go rent a mini backhoe. Good decision. It took a while but they finally found the leaker. Jim arrived home just in time to be sent to Home Depot for some pvc pipe. It didn't take long for Drew to splice everything together. It was getting late and he had to leave before the glue on the pipes was ready to be tested. After a couple hours Jim and I turned the water back on. The big hole we dug filled up with water almost immediately. Oh well. Jim will try to fix it in the morning. If he can't then Drew can take another stab at when he comes back. In the meantime, we have no water.

Bleah! This took up the whole day and it looks like we're going to be devoting a good chunk of tomorrow to the pipe project. I wish Dad would find someplace to go. When I called him and told him the fix didn't hold he bitched at me about turning the water back on. He said, "You've undone all that work we did!" I said no, the directions said we could turn the water back on after 2 hours and NO we did NOT undo all that work. Anything that was undone will take just a few minutes to fix. It's not like all that dirt fell back into the hole!

If he's nasty to me tomorrow he may find himself in that muddy hole.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not much happening

But I'm getting nagged to post.

I exercised five days in a row this week. I still don't feel great but I'm not dragging myself up the hill so I'll count that as progress. Cutting the carbs, too. Still, I could do better.

Monday is the big day. For being such an important day it's going to be pretty mellow. Maybe we'll go to dinner or something. I'm looking forward to the big bash in October. Today is Mom's birthday. Here's to you, Mom.

We had band practice last night. We pretty much sucked but it was still good because we had a drummer, a real one. I don't think he'll want to commit to being in the band but he seemed to enjoy playing with us. His name is Jim.

River trip next weekend! I've been looking forward to this one. I want to get goofy in the desert.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What a weakling!!!

I just got back from a Mt. Rubidoux walk. Crapola, I was slow! On the way down I felt so weak and tired. This is not good.

When I got back from tour I was exhausted. Like, truly exhausted. So, I kicked back for a week. Then I got sick with a cold. Not a bad one but it did sap my energy. After that the weather was pretty hot and we were busy doing stuff. That's a long time to go without exercising. Plus, I haven't been curbing the carbs. Ok, vacation's over.

If I knock back the carbs and caffeine and if I get my ass up the mountain I'll bet it won't take me too long to bounce back. Also, I've neglected the weight loss blog. I need to reconnect there. And it's just about time for a complete physical. This body is screaming for help. My fingers are still numb (although they're better today), my heel still has that annoying sore spot, I need to know what my diabetes status is (time for some blood work) and I need a mammogram.

In two weeks I'll be 50. Oh, jeez.....!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This is getting to be a habit

We went to two Trucker tapings this week. Both times we were on the guest list. Guest list good.

Wednesday night Lindsay and Kyle were with us. We sat at the tables in the front. Much more comfortable than being squished in the rows of chairs in the back. Another great show. I think they're hitting their stride. The shows seem to be getting better and better. Wednesday's show included an animated sequence that was hilarious. It was a Bulgarian Sesame Street thing that depicted T-Bones as a trim, well-muscled superhero type and the Naked Trucker as a short, hairy, grunting hobbit with a guitar. The Hitchiker(s) Of The Week were Tenacious D. Another great segment.

Last night Lindsay and Kyle went to a Breakups show so Jim and I went to the Trucker taping on our own. We left the house a little late and hit some nasty traffic. It didn't help that we got off at the wrong exit either. We arrived in time for the show but too late to get one of the table seats. Still, it was pretty fun. The guys were really "on", very high energy. This time they added a big production number with dancing girls. Very silly. There was also a very funny pre-taped scene where T-Bones takes peyote (dipped in Ranch dressing) with his guru/shaman/spritual adviser who was basically a grungy slacker. They tripped out in a gas station bathroom/sweat lodge.

There will be two more tapings in October and I hope we can go to both of them. It's a great way to spend a fun evening in LA and the show is free. We also want to go to some Craig Ferguson tapings. Jim, Lindsay and Kyle had a real good time when they went. Virginia and Bill liked it, too.


The weather seems to be cooling down. Gotta get back up Rubidoux. I've been majorly slacking off on the exercise and I'm feeling blobby. I've got a lot to do this fall and I've got to get my energy up.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dean! (Halloween's a-comin'!)

How does it feel to be plummeting towards oblivion? I'll join you in a few weeks.

Lots of family and friends having milestone birthdays this year. Let's see, Dean, Nancy, Mary, Jim, Lorraine and I are all 50, Stacey turned 40, Lindsay turned 21, Amelia and Rory are 18, Paige turned 16. Am I missing anyone?

We're going to have a party at Stacey's on October 21st. A birthday/Halloween party. A milestone/headstone party. Maybe now I can get the guys in the band to learn some Halloween songs. We'll see if the Canaries want to perform, and of course we'll have the TV's Kyle Band. I'm thinking we'll start early with stuff for the kids and then have the adults only party later. Damn, I'm turning 50. I've got to have a bash.

I'm looking forward to decorating Stacey and Scotty's house. I think the kids will have fun helping.

This year on Halloween we're going to have our display set up in Kevin's back yard. We'll do a cool walk-through display. I for sure want to have a bone band right in the middle of it. Since we're doing it in the back yard we can start setting things up several days ahead. We're usually so rushed trying to get things set up that we don't have time to do everything we'd like to do. We usually use only half of our stuff. It'll be fun to do a really great display.

So cool, I have two fun events to look forward to. Wait, three! We're going to the river this month.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Naked Trucker and Meeting the Carrozzas

Hey, hey, we met the in-laws last night! Carl, Anne (Kyle's parents) and sister Laura. Such nice people! No surprise there because Kyle's such a great guy. It was fun seeing them all interact with each other.

We all went to the second Naked Trucker and T-Bones taping. The studio was in a non-descript clump of buildings in Hollywood. The set reminded me of the Red Green set. Lots of rustic junk and road signs. The special guest seating was at tables down in front. We were at the back behind the cameras. I just reaized we had a totally different experience from the people seated in front. What they saw was more like a stage show while we saw a television taping. It was pretty entertaining seeing the crew do their work.

They pretty much ran the show all the way through and then did the retakes at the end. They were filming the live portions that will be interspersed with the pre-recorded scenes, some of which take place in the Trucker's truck. There's one very funny scene where T-Bones breaks into a record executive's house and takes a bath while the Trucker (naked) waits on the front porch. There's also a segment that features the Hitchhiker of the Week. This time it was Will Farrell.

At the end it got pretty long with all the retakes they had to do. It was pretty uncomfortable sitting for that long and since we had already seen all the jokes the laughter was less fresh (they were also recording the audience's response). At the very end they had a big birthday celebration for David Koechner (T-Bones) and one of the crew guys. They brought out a couple of huge cakes. After we sang Happy Birthday and they blew out the candles they released the audience and ushered us out! Har! They teased us with cake and then kicked us out!

Afterward we went to the House Of Pies and had dinner. After about an hour and a half Gruber (Trucker) showed up with Tommy, the guitarist for the band. We had a nice chat with them. It's always nice talking to Gruber. He's always enthusiastic and interested in everything. I'm glad the Carrozza's got to meet him. Afterward he hugged everyone goodbye. Kinda funny since he's about 6'4 and Anne's 4'11! He also gave us some info on how we can get guest tickets. Next time we'll be at the tables in front! Woo-hoo!

Sunday Carl, Anne and Laura are coming over for lunch and a TV's Kyle Band jam. It'll be fun showing them the stuff we've been working on. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Snakes on a plane!!!!

We saw it this afternoon. It's a silly romp. Man, them snakes is crazy!

Dad's home. He and Dede came over just after we got home from the movie. They said Ruth is doing well and has adjusted to her new life in the residential care facility. They said it was a real good trip.

So, we're all home now. Back to life as we know it. Time to get back on the diet and start walking Rubidoux again. The tour left me with a few physical concerns that I'll get checked out later. I want to see if they'll heal on their own.

Lots of work to do around here. The yards and front porch need cleaning. Lots of tour laundry to do. General cleaning. Kyle's parents and sister are coming out from New York so I'd like to get the place clean before they come over. I'll attack that tomorrow.

I felt that end-of-summer change in the air. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

We're home!

Tired and wiped out. Everything hurts. Let the healing begin.

Our plane was delayed 5 hours. That's 8 hours hanging out at O'Hare plus 2 more on the plane waiting for them to install a part and do the paper work. The inflight movie was RV with Robin Williams. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It's good to be home. Yesterday I went to my chiropractor, gonna go again tomorrow. My back is whacked. The fingers on my fight hand are still numb but it's getting better. It's hard to type.

Good gawd, that was a lot of work! We had a good kitchen crew but things started to go south at the end. Liz got lazier and lazier as time went on and at the end she wasn't doing much of anything. The rest of us had to work much harder to keep things going and since the guys were doing a bit too much socializing that meant I was doing most of the work.

The banquet went well. We served roasted pork loin, shrimp skewers, steamed rice, fried rice, apple sauce, watermelon, green salad with Nutella croissants and cake for dessert. They gave out awards and showed videos. Afterward Eddie-san gathered everyone back together for announcements. Then he had me come up to perform my song. I wasn't sure if I should do it since we were ending on a feel-good moment and I thought it might piss everyone off, but since he announced it I figured what the hell. I accompanied myself on the uke. Here it is.

Who stole Aleric's wallet?
Who stole Aleric's wallet?
He's a real sweet guy, doesn't deserve the hassle
If you're the one who took it
You're the world's biggest asshole

He needs his ID to get his butt on the jet
If you just give it back
We'll all forgive and forget
(Except probably not at this point since it's gone on way too long. I just wrote it that way because I couldn't come up with a rhyme for "lying, thieving, heartless bastard")
So, if you took Alaric's wallet
Give it back and it'll all be ok
(Remember karma's a bitch)
Give it back and it'll all be ok!

Oh my god, they went NUTS! When I sang the first line they got a little quiet but then one by one they started laughing. When I sang "world's biggest asshole" they cheered! When I spoke the part about not being able to rhyme "lying, thieving, heartless bastard" they cheered again. When I sang "remember karma's a bitch" they leapt to their feet. I couldn't hardly finish the song! They really loved it! I was so glad they went along with me on it.

At the beginning of the tour I kept a journal but as time went on I just couldn't keep up with it. Thank you, Jim, for guest blogging for me. I'll be posting stories as I remember them. They probably won't be in chronological order. So much happened on this trip.

The kids were awesome, most of the adults were pretty cool. We had some major breakdowns. Physically, I was way over taxed. I'm sooooo glad I exercised and lost some weight before I did this.

I hardly saw Paige most days. I'd see her in the food line or here and there for a few minutes. But we had some good, close times. I'm glad I got to share this with her. She was transformed by this experience. You can see it in her face. And MAN! She's a kick-ass mallet player now. I asked her if she's going to do this next year. She said yeah, but maybe she'll try for a Division 2 group. Her ultimate goal is to join the Blue Devils, a Division 1 group. That's my baby!

Yamato is a Division 3 group which is pretty small. They basically perform between the 30 yard lines. Div 1 groups cover the whole field and the sound they produce is massive. They're the top dawgs.

I guess that's all I'll write for now. Blogger seems to be having some problems this morning.

I'm glad I did this. It's an experience that will stay with me for a long time.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

At the Police Station

Donita called again this morning; she'd just spent several hours at the police station filing a police report on a student's stolen wallet. She's pretty sure one of about three or so kids did it, and it was a prank that got out of hand, ending with the wallet probably thrown in the trash and hence becoming almost unrecoverable. His folks faxed an ID to him, and he should be able to fly home, but the American Yamato kids have been behaving quite dishonorably, trashing the elementary school they're staying in and getting in fights and stuff with each other.

Today is the "free day" in Milwaukee, but Doni stayed and filed the report with the police. Besides, she said, the kitchen staff has to stay and prepare tonight's banquet. She wrote a song about the wallet theft that she might perform tonight at the banquet. So no look at the city's longest street.

They have figured out the carry-on situation; anything that they couldn't take on carry-on will ride the RV home and she'll pick it up later this week.

Kind of a down end to a mostly good tour; i'll be glad to give them both hugs tomorrow after they get to LAX.
This is probably my last tour update, and tomorrow or the next day Doni can log on herself.

So, that's all from me at home base,

- Jim

Saturday, August 12, 2006

At (but not in) The Finals

Howdy, 'tis Jim. I just talked to Doni again; Unfortunately, Yamato didn't make it into the finals. Doni suspects that the judges may have ganged up on Yamato a bit, and also the head of the color guard hurt (sprained? broke?) her ankle, and so there was a major gap in the color guard formation.

They watched the DCI Division 1 finals last night, and Doni said that they were really great. Division 1 consists of the largest bands. There was also an "aging out" performance by the group of people who will turn 21 in the next year; Doni said they were all amazing players, but the selected song was dumb.

Doni's body continues to adapt to her schedule; now just 2 fingers on one hand are numb at times; her back is really stiff, though, so she plans on going to her chiropracter as soon as she can after she gets home.

Paige is still doing great, and wants to move up to Division 1, with her ultimate goal the Blue Devils. So she'd be in a different corps next year; I hope we can somehow afford it; she has six years until she "ages out".

I'm really looking forward to seeing them both again; Monday Lindsay, Rory, Ben, Me and maybe Mary or Kyle will drive to LAX to pick them up at their scheduled time of 5:02. We'll see if there are delays etc then, of course.

Dede just got here; tomorrow early morning she and Stan are flying to San Antonio, TX for a week. That'll be good for him, he'll get to see his sister Ruth again while she's still around, and I'll be glad to get a break. Stan's been mostly fine; I think he's really been trying to be good to me during Doni's absence, which I'm grateful for.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wisconsin update

Howdy, Jim here again.. Doni called last night, and all is basically well. Doni's getting pretty fed up with a few co-workers, but I'll let her talk about that later if she wants. They're done with traveling and are sleeping in a Wisconsin school for the rest of the tour, and she's really glad about that. No more teardown/setup. Her hands are doing better, and Paige is still doing great.
Since the kitchen staff has moved out of the RV, they didn't really know what was going on there Monday night, but found out Tuesday morning that a driver and a couple other staff folks had had a, um, "party" in there, and not cleaned up after puking in the bathroom. Booze bottles everywhere, and quite stinky. Apparently the perps got to do some mopping yesterday! Hmmm...
Not very good role modeling, I'd say. Anyway, everyone's fine.

The band gets to do laundry today, and tomorrow the national finals begin, with the quarter-finals and semi-finals tomorrow and Friday, and then finals and awards on Saturday. Go Yamato!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Enroute to Iowa

Jim here, I just talked to Doni. I'm going to keep this short because I'm tired.

Paige is still doing great, and Doni's doing well, but her hands, legs and feet are hurting. We're hoping she'll be able to recover once she gets home next week.

The missing RV returned, and they're altogether together again, so that's good. They've traveling a long way the last two days, but now they're going to settle down around Wisconsin for the next week before returning to Riverside.

The band moved down to 4th place, and then back up to 3rd. They've been rewriting the show, and everyone says the band is doing great, but they just didn't quite get the points a couple of times. As you can see below, the scores are very close. From the Yamato site:

Score Track
August 6th, 2006
Michigan City, IN


August 5th, 2006
Dubuque, IA


August 3rd, 2006
Jackson, TN


August 2nd, 2006
Van Buren, AR


(I think it would probably be insensitive to go into details here, but three people who are close to the Lang family (but not in the Lang family itself) have died in the last week, all traffic fatalities. We just heard about the last two tonight, and are still pretty much in shock. I called Doni tonight to let her know; we're all handling it okay so far. Doni's sister-in-law Mindy is coming by tomorrow morning to let Stan know and be there with/for him. Thank you, Mindy.)

That's all for now,

- Jim

Friday, August 04, 2006

Doni checks in from Tennessee

(Sweet Sixteen Paige with her birthday crepe at rehearsals in the heat in MoVal a couple of weeks back)

Howdy folks, Jim here again...

Paige's boyfriend Rory called yesterday asking what I'd heard about Paige, and since I'd heard no news for days, I decided to bite the wax tadpole and call Eddie the Yamato director. He answered right away, and I asked him to let Doni know I'd like her to call me. (Gee that was easy, why didn't I think of that before?) About twenty minutes later, Doni called. She said that she hadn't called because her cell phone had been out of range a lot, and had tried to call but it wouldn't work, but it was okay then.

Doni just called again with an update. She and Paige and the show overall are doing fine. They're a little bit behind today's schedule, still enroute to Ottawa, IL for a day of rehearsal and laundry. The band had (gasp!) McDonald's for breakfast, because of the messed-up schedule.

Here's the main reason the schedule is tweaked today, as I understand it: Yesterday (or the day before?), the generator in the "rock star" RV (for Yamato's directorial and musical staff) broke down, which meant that they had no power for air conditioning, refrigeration, laptop and phone charging, etc. When they got to last night's destination, the folks coming off that RV were pretty messed up from the heat and humidity. They thought that the generator could be fixed in Nashville, which they were headed for, so folks got what they needed for that afternoon off the RV and sent the driver (who is from Nashville) ahead to fix it.

They haven't heard from the driver since. What was supposed to be a short trip has turned into two days without that RV. So now they had a bigger problem; how to get the full staff from point to point! They all took the short trip to the stadium together in the kitchen RV, and dt one point, they planned for all 19 (?!) of them to ride in the meal staff's RV, for the next big arm the next day, which would have been pretty cramped, but instead they rented another RV, which the Yamato staff are now using. I hope it's just some mixup which has left the driver incommunicado for the moment, but I'm somewhat concerned because most of the Staff's stuff like laptops (which they need) are on that RV (along with Doni's uke!!).

Yamato staff members keep praising Paige to Doni, which naturally causes Doni to cry (she's an easy crier), but it's great. They're all saying how much they respect Paige, how Paige keeps working hard to figure out how to make everything work better and make people's performance tasks easier (the directors are continually revising the show) and how big an asset she is to the band. Paige is awesome, they say! She's doing great, and Doni says Paige is just having a wonderful time.

Yamato came in second (instead of first) for the first time since Riverside yesterday, and Doni thinks that maybe that's a good thing, to keep them on their toes. Doni saw a little bit of their performance, and she thought they were really good and tight.
They are, after all, headed to a national competition next week.

Doni's hands are doing better. It started as full numbness upon waking, then became soreness upon waking, and now it's occasional tingling fingertips upon waking, so we think her body is getting used to her current change in lifestyle. Worrier that I can be, I'm quite relieved to hear that it's getting better. Her legs and feet aren't aching much anymore either, and overall she sounds quite happy to me. The more she learns about her management, the more she thinks that they have problems (I'll not name names; maybe she will when she gets back), but so far nothing really dire has happened, and she really likes her co-workers.

It turns out that Isaac (the band's chef's) folks had a cabin in Berry Creek, CA when he was a kid (that would be about ten or so years ago), which is where my brother and I went for several summers when we were teens, and where our favorite water haunt (Milsap Bar) is! So Doni's enjoying talking about that with him.

Hopefully the RV driver will show back up with everyone's gear, but regardless Paige and Doni are doing pretty dang well.

Meanwhile, Lindsay, Kyle and I have been having a blast seeing Tally Hall at the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Wednesday and then at Spaceland, a club in LA last night. I wrote a lot about that on my own blog here. Be sure and check it out! (Doni's jealous of us getting to do that while she's having a very different experience, but we consoled her by telling her that we are all going to go see the television taping of the new "Naked Trucker and T-Bones" show for Comedy Central when she gets back.)

That's all for now,

- Jim

Monday, July 31, 2006

Audio blogging is enabled

I just signed up and tested the "audio blogging" feature of, and it seems to work. You should be able to listen to the post immediately below this one; it works for me, so let me know if you have problems. I will give Donita all of the particulars about this when I next call her, so that she can blog from the road if she wants to.

That's all for now, Jim signing out...

Jim's Audioblog Test

this is an audio post - click to play

audio transcription:
Hello, this is Jim testing out the audio blogging feature of, as per Billy Canary's suggestion. This should show up on the blog if I'm successful, and I will at the next phone call tell Doni how to do this from her cellphone. So, here we go. That's all for now, Jim signing out.

Heading for Odessa

Jim here (still). I just got off the phone with Doni; things are going pretty well. Her hands now hurt some instead of feeling numb. Not that that's an improvement, but it's a change. She talked with her doctor brother Dave, and he said it sounds like Carpal Tunnel. She's going to try to get some braces for them, and work out a painkiller/anti-inflammatory regimen.
The RV is still towing the kitchen trailer, but that's working out OK so far; she thinks they're working on getting another truck at some point.

There was no performance yesterday, and today they're also not performing, but they'll be going swimming. Regardless, of course, the meal staff works hard. Doni's having a blast, though, and really likes the people she's with. They're currently driving through Texas, enroute to Odessa, where they'll spend tonight. Tomorrow they'll perform.

That's it on the Doni/Paige front. Around here, everything is copacetic. Lindsay and Kyle saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" in a drive-in last night, and today they're in LA so that Kyle can go in for an interview with the company that makes pins based on cartoon characters. He'd be a pin designer, which would be a good interim job for him. This afternoon we hope his car will be done. Wednesday and Thursday we go to see Tally Hall!

Stan's doing well, his elbow is all cleared up and he'll be done with his antibiotics course for it tomorrow. The VA had scheduled another checkup for tomorrow, but I cancelled it since he's seeing his primary doctor in a week. We went to Coco's for breakfast, and it was a nice time.

I'll say more when there's more to say! - Jim

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Win in Arizona, breakdown in New Mexico

(Pic: Yamato rehearsing in Mo Val last week)
Hi, Jim here again. Doni called me this morning for an update. I miss her, but as long as I get daily updates it's good. Doni had some good news, and some not-so-good news. First the not-so-good news. In New Mexico in the middle of the night, about 200 miles west of El Paso Texas, the biggish truck that was pulling the kitchen trailer (a dang big trailer) suffered a major breakdown. In the rain. Eddie-san, the director of eveything besides music, and Doni's boss, was driving it. They couldn't repair it there and then, so they hitched the kitchen to the RV that Doni and the rest of the kitchen staff are living in, and drove on, down one truck. This had two effects: it really stressed out Eddie-san, and really smoothed out the ride in the very back of the RV, where Donita and her co-worker and new friend Liz sleep. So they got a really long and exceptionally deep night's sleep. Sleep is good. The other bit of not-so-good news is that Doni has been waking up with numb hands. We think it must have something to do with the amount of work she's been doing with her hands, but are concerned about them. Hopefully no permanent damage, etc. Doni was going to put a call into David Leece, her brother in law who is a doctor. I hope he can tell her what to do to alleviate the situation and make sure it gets no worse.

On the good news front, Yamato came in 1ST PLACE at the Glendale Arizona Show!

I'll update again after I hear from Donita again. - Jim

RCC show

This is what the band looked like while performing their show on Friday night. Paige is playing mallets near the center front, third from the left in front of the beefy judge-guy. Click on the picture for a larger version. (I edited the picture to get rid of the obnoxious back of a head that was in the bottom middle of the picture, but the band is outside of the edited area.) They are performing "The Elements," a four-part piece based on air, water, earth, and fire. Very cool and lots of neat mallet playing. But everything sounds great! They are very precise and the horns are very in tune, and it's got great energy. They came in third in their "class" at this show. Just an awesome show.

I want to once again thank the friends and family who came to see the show including Stacey and Scotty and their kids, and Drew and Mindy and their kids, and Stan, Rory, Kyle, and Lindsay. I know that it meant a lot to Paige to have you there while she performed the best she ever has.

You might be able to watch this film clip. I apologize if it is unviewable on your computer. It is a 25 MegaByte short Quicktime clip of the pit section rehearsing at Moreno Valley: Click here for video clip.
(I hope to be able to post a few more videos once I figure out how to handle some of video's idiosyncrasies.)

Next: update on the Arizona and New Mexico legs of the tour; Stuff happened!

Pix from Paige's BDay

Hi, Jim here again...

Here are some photos from around lunchtime on July 24th, Paige's birthday, at Valley View High School during lunch at a Yamato rehearsal.

Here are some of the female Japanese band members mugging for the camera while waiting for their lunch. They are so cute!

This is Isaac, the chef, and Uniko (sp?), a Japanese girl who, although she's a band musician, is part of the kitchen staff this year. Isaac is 24 years old, and a very good, creative chef. When he cooks for Yamato on tour, other bands come by and ask to eat with them. The other bands tend to have more mundane food on their tours. Doni said that Yamato would like to have the Food Network do a Drum Corps Cookoff show next year, and thinks Yamato would win it.

Here is Paige with a new friend. I think it was her birthday, too. The little festivity at the bottom of the shot is on a crepe that they birthdayified for Paige.

Shots from the Riverside show next...

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Big Show Is Tonight!

Hi, Jim here again (that last post was Donita, in case you didn't notice).

The big show at RCC is tonight! Donita says both Yamato and Paige are fantastic in their show, so I hope many of you can make it! The details are here.

It was really nice visiting with Doni yesterday. I was already missing her, and the next two weeks I'm really going to miss her. But the outlook for the tour is good; she's having a good time, and working her butt off, literally!
I just talked to Doni; she's enroute to RCC. I'm going over there to drop off a few more things for her. She says it's still going well.

Good news about Kyle's car, it looks like it'll only cost him around $750 to replace the head gasket. It'll be done tonight or Monday.

I hope to see you all at the show; box office opens at 4:30, gates open at 5:30, show starts at 6:30, and Paige's group is on at 8:30.
See You There!!!!

- Jim

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Home for the night

I'm home right now and I'm exhausted. I've never worked so hard in my life! It's almost non-stop. We get up at 6am and head down to the "kitchen" (which is the snack bar next to the football field at the highschool) and fix breakfast. This is breakfast for 60 people. Then we clean up and if we're lucky we'll get about an hour break. Then back to the kitchen to fix lunch. Then (maybe) break and then dinner. Then break (maybe) and then snack. Isaac, our chef, is young, energetic and creative. Damn, the food is good! But it's also labor intensive and creates a LOT of pots to wash. I'm the slavey. I do most of the cleaning. There's also another cook, Liz, who is Isaac's friend. She and I got off on the wrong foot but now things are pretty good. She's a Mojave indian. She's kind of like the indian Rosie O'Donnell. She's pretty bossy and crude but she can be pretty funny and she has good intentions. She and I work well together.

Ah yes, the heat! Holy shit! We've had several kids come to the kitchen with heat related problems. Yesterday on of our favorite boys came to us and said he had stopped sweating. We whisked him off to the band room, which is very well air conditioned. We put ice packs on his neck, head and under both armpits. We put wet towels on his legs and set up a fan to blast his with air. He cooled down pretty quick but it was a scary situation.

Keeping the ice chests stocked is a difficult task. There's a lot going on at the school with painters, testing, cheerleading practice and public swimming. Doors that are supposed to be unlocked are frequently locked. Policies change with every custodian you meet. I'm telling you, it sucks. Especially since we need ice so badly. Our kids are working very hard and it's been ridiculously hot. Yesterday I was ready to kill somebody if we didn't get ice soon. Finally a couple of the cooking staff went to buy some. We have to be able to cool the kids down when they get too hot.

They're doing full run-throughs now and the show looks great! Paige is an absolute demon on those mallet instruments now. Those of you who come to the show on Friday will get to see how amazing she is.

That's it for now. You probably won't hear from me until after the tour. I'm soooo tired and my feet hurt but I'm having a great time.

prskml- a rhythmic passage, kind of like a paradiddle but more chaotic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Less heat and getting ready for visit with Doni

Hi, Jim here again.
It's about 99 degrees on our back porch by our thermometer at the moment. This is cooler than it's been in about a week. It'll probably clear 100 today, but not by much. I'm sure that this is good for Paige and Doni.

Tonight is a "free night" for Yamato staff, Donita tells me, so she gets to come home for the evening. I'm planning to pick her up at 5:30, take her out to the restaurant of her choice (probably BJ's, she said) and bring her home to do laundry, shower, and sleep in her own bed. I imagine she'll check her email and perhaps blog a little. This is all good. Today I'm handling a few things, including getting our powerful "air mover"-type fan working (the switch had asploded) for the Yamato kitchen trailer, re-recording some CDs that turned out too soft (???) for her trip, and clearing the laundry area so she can easily do laundry when she gets here (I need to buy some bleach). It'll really be nice to have Doni around. And I'm sure it'll be nicer for Doni! She's been living a somewhat acetic life, working, napping, working, napping, sleeping in group on the floor, etc. We both think it's a really cool thing she's doing for both herself and Paige, but I'm absolutely sure she'll have had way more than enough of it by the end of the tour.

Stan called me at eight this morning, and said, "could you do me a favor?" to which I foolishly replied, "sure, what?" Never do that. Find out what the favor is to be first. He wanted me to accompany him to the front of the farm and count bugs in a trap, because he feels that Bud's people under-counted. Luckily, Bud called just after we finished his morning meds and convinced Stan that the numbers he has are reasonable. Stan trusts Bud, but doesn't trust Bud's people to do a reasonable job. Doni has warned me repeatedly to not get involved in farm-related tasks, so I'm glad I dodged that one. Bud's coming out to spray for bugs tomorrow. (By "bugs" I suspect Stan means pine-tip moth, but he never used any term but "bug".)

Kyle and Lindsay visited yesterday, and we did a lot of calling around to find a semi-trustworthy mechanic to look at Kyle's car, which probably has a blown head gasket. After numerous phone calls (Kyle's dad even interviewed a couple of mechanics, which I'm really thankful for, because it was a lot on my shoulders; this repair is certain to be upwards of $1000 and Kyle has about a month's worth of savings before he may be forced to get a job as a medical file clerk, which could alter the arc of his life; I sure don't want to do anything to bring that event closer to occurance! However, I think that Kyle's dad will take up a substantial portion if not all of the cost, whew.) Kyle and his dad and I all agreed on a mechanic about 10 miles from here (in MoVal) who seemed to be knowledgeable about such matters as well as being honest. We called the tow truck, and led him out to the shop ("The Honda Shoppe," heh), talked with the mechanic (he seems like an aging hippie type, sharing his business with his son; kinda cool), and then came home. Stan had left a message that he urgently needed to fax some EDD state tax form to his tax guy; I'm pretty sure it could have waited, but I couldn't convince him of that, and he wanted to go with me (to get out of the house and the heat) to fax it. So I took him to Kinko's and battled fax technology there for about a half hour ("don't you have all this at your house?" "No, I don't have faxes from home set up." "Oh, well I do.." ahem... "what do you do when you have to fax something?" "I almost never do, but I use Kinko's". "Oh.") then dropped off Stan, called our mechanic who had been replacing the front brake pads (and rotors; I waited too long to have 'em serviced), so now the van works good again, which helps. Then I got Round Table pizza for Kyle, Lindsay and I and then they left for Kyle's house and I went to bed. Fretful night; I just didn't feel comfortable, so I didn't sleep much. But I'm doing okay today.

Anyway, maybe Doni will post here tonight, and I'll post tomorrow for sure. Ta ta...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yamato blog

Hi, Jim here again.
Yamato's director, Eddie, seems to be keeping a blog here.
I don't know if he'll keep it up once the tour is underway, but he is adding to it this week, anyway.

Today's report reads:

"As members of Yamato moved into their camp facility, you could sense the excitement by both members and staff to get on with the camp and finish the show before the first competition. Day 1 of the camp started at 9 am with the visual block to learn the closer drill followed by the afternoon music block and ended with the evening's ensemble block. Unlike most years, Yamato's staff decided to work their way back from the closer to the opener. Commenting on his first impression of this year's corps, music coordinator Tony Lanzino said, "this is the most talented group of kids we've had in the six years I've been with Yamato. Its going to be an exciting season.""

Paige's big Yamato show this Friday

Paige's only performance with Yamato in Riverside is this Friday.
Having heard what she's doing and knowing the group she's in, this is sure to be an amazing show.
If you want to see it, here are the details.

The show is Drum Corps International's Western Corps Connection II.
It is this Friday, July 28 at
Riverside Community College WHEELOCK STADIUM
(that's their newly-renovated football stadium on the northwest corner of the RCC campus
at 4800 Magnolia Ave., Riverside, CA)

At 4:30 pm the Ticket Booth Opens, and at 5:30 pm the Stadium Gate Opens.
Paige's corps, Yamato, is scheduled to perform from 8:45 to 9:00, and perform an encore at 9:30.

The show is $10/person, and you're supposed to be able to order tickets by calling (951) 924-9215, but there seems to be a modem or fax machine attached to that line. You're also supposed to be able to get tickets on the web here:
yamato Riverside show tickets page
but I don't think that they tested their interface. I told Doni to tell the Yamato director, but I think I'll just get tickets at the door.

The web page for this event is here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday intense weather and a visit to Doni.

Holey Moley it's hot!

Wow! What was that???

At 7:30 this morning, the thermometer read 90 degrees.
By around four, it was 112 degrees at my back porch.
Donita had called earlier in the day with a list of stuff for me to buy or bring from home for Paige and her, and I was going to take it to her in MoVal. I had said that I was planning to be there around 2:30, but I also tried some repairs on the big fan she wanted. Anyway, just before I was going to get in the car, the thunder started. I had been considering what to do with the dogs. Once I heard the thunder, I decided I couldn't leave them out alone in the heat with thunder, so I put them in the relatively-cool studio with the A.C. on a little bit. When I went out to get in the car, the thermometer read 115. Never in my 20 years in Riverside do I recall it reaching 115. I'd be curious about record highs, here, I guess. As I got in the car, I heard thunder and saw occasional lightning. As I drove by the Plaza, huge raindrops started to occasionally fall, muddying the car, and the lightning and thunder intensified. When I passed Chicago and Central became Alessandro, the sky started turning intense yellow. Then the wind got stronger, and all of a sudden several tumbeweeds flew by the car. Then the road got really yellow-dusty, diffusing the landscape. As I got to Mission Grove, the wind really kicked up, and the van was swaying. Then that calmed down as the T&L started going off all around me; the thunder sounded like the really loud fireworks booms from a mile or two away, I'd guess. Then it really started pouring; rivulets were running down the road. The temperature suddenly dropped from 115 to probably 95. Being up on the MoVal plain made the lightning a bit more... ...thrilling. Anyway, when I got to the school, it was probably 90 degrees there by then because of the weird storm.

I talked to Doni for about 10 or 15 minutes. It's mostly going good; some painters that are painting rooms they use are messing with them by locking doors and gates to make it impossible to get to places like their sleeping quarters. But it's getting handled. Doni's keeping a journal, I'll let her fill in details when she gets back. Mostly, she thinks it's going to be a really good experience. Today was so hot that the meal crew almost couldn't handle it. Doni helped herself and a few other people by making neck coolers for them. I took her a box fan and Paige two battery fans. It was cooling down and breezy as I left. I think they missed most of the storm, but it was moist, windy, cooling and weird there too.

When I got home the thermometer read 100, the pets were fine (Katie was in the studio too). There is debris everywhere, but it's mostly small stuff. The air smells like a musky pine forest in a thunderstorm, which I really like.

It was a long hot day. I'll probably go out there again Monday, Paige's Birthday (sweet sixteen!). Goodnight,

- Jim

Friday, July 21, 2006

Donita incommunicado and general update.

Hi, Jim here. Donita is now officially "on tour" with Paige, although they are actually residing at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley until next week. Doni and I decided that I'll blog to her blog about topics usual for this blog in her absence. I'm a "guest blogger," I suppose.

Yesterday morning, we dropped Paige off at RCC so that she could go with the drum corps and welcome the Japanese musicians at LAX as they arrived. Then we took Doni's dad to the Loma Linda VA hospital for a foot checkup with a podiatrist. In the VA parking lot, a guy with cerebral palsy lost control of his electric trike, and Doni rescued him. She might have more to say about that when she returns. Anyway, Stan's feet are okay, no diabetic neuropathy evident, and they asked him to come back in a year.

We dropped Stan off at his home, and then Doni and I went out to BJ's for lunch on the way to dropping her off at Valley View HS. It was a very nice moment alone for us. Then I dropped her off.

Donita left a message this morning (while I was at a restaurant with Stan) and said everything's going fine.

Lindsay and Kyle just returned from the San Diego Comic Convention, where most everything went well for them.
Kyle started for home, but his car is having coolant problems, so he's on his way back.

Stan is watering the Christmas trees, which is supposed to be handled by Bud Lyons, the Christmas tree farmer who is working with him this year. I'm not about to tell Stan what to do in that regard, but his water bills for the last two months were both around $1000 (mostly due to plumbing leaks which have been fixed). I understand that Bud feels the trees only need watering a couple of times a week, and Stan feels that they need watering almost continuousuly in warm weather.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yamato tour schedule

Thursday the Japanese kids arrive. Then we start a week of "Fun Camp". Gonna be intense. Then...

Friday, July 28- RCC show (A on map). Yamato is hosting the Western Corps Connection event. Eight bands will be performing. Immediately after the show at 11:30 pm we'll head out for Glendale, Arizona (B on map). And away we go!

Saturday, July 29- Arrive in Glendale 5:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, go to stadium, do a show, 11:00 pm depart for El Paso, TX (C).

Sunday, July 30- Arrive El Paso 5:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, pack and load, depart for Odessa TX (D).

Monday, July 31- Arrive in Odessa at 1:00 am. We don't know where we're sleeping yet. Get up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, POOL PARTY, lunch and dinner in there somewhere, 10:00 pm depart for Frisco, TX (E).

Tuesday, August 1- Hmmm, arrival time at Frisco not on the schedule. Get up at 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, head for stadium, show at 7:00, dinner, depart for Van Buren AK (F) at 11:30 pm.

Wednesday, August 2- Arrive Van Buren, AK (F) at 4:00 am, University of AK Fort Smith, wake up at 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load. head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Jackson TN (G) at 11:00 pm.

Thursday, Aug 3- Arrive in Jackson (G) at 6:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Ottawa IL (H) at 10:00 pm.

Friday, August 4- Arrive in Ottowa (H) at 6:00 am. Breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, dinner, LAUNDRY! Depart for Dubuque IA (I) at 10:00 pm

Saturday, August 5- Arrive in Dubuque (I) at 12:30 am, sleep in an elementary school. Get up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, snack, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, depart for Michigan City IN (J) at 10:00 pm.

Sunday, August 6- Arrive in Michigan City (J) 2:30 am, sleep in another elementary school. Wake up at 9, breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, lunch, head for stadium, show, dinner, head back to elementary school at 11:00 pm.

Monday, August 7- Wake up 8:00, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, dinner, depart for Reedsburg WI (2nd A) at 7:00 pm, arrive at 11:00 pm. Go to bed.

Tuesday, August 8- Wake up at 7, breakfast, rehearsal, pack and load, head for stadium, lunch on bus, show, go back to housing, dinner, rehearsal, go to bed.

Wednesday, August 9- Wake up at 8, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, head to Madison (B), competition, LAUNDRY AGAIN, pizza for dinner, go back to housing, go to bed.

Thursday, Aug 10- Wake up at 6:30, breakfast, head to stadium, Semi-Finals, lunch, Quarter Finals, dinner in there somewhere, back to housing, go to bed.

Friday, August 11- Wake up at 9, breakfast, rehearsal, lunch, rehearsal, pack and load, dinner, head to stadium, Semi Finals, dinner, Go back to housing and go to bed.

Saturday, August 12- Wake up at 8, breakfast, head to stadium, Finals, lunch, finale and awards, dinner, depart for Foxboro, MA (it says this in the schedule but it CAN'T be right; probably Foxboro Wi (C)), DCI World Championships at 6:00, go back to housing. Ok, this is screwed up.

Sunday, August 13- Yamato Banquet and free day in Milwaukee. Um, what do I reeeeally want to see in Milwaukee? Go to a beer and cheese museum? I'll be in Wisconsin, home of James Sensenbrenner and Bernie Griffin (Jim's dad's mega-bitch girlfriend). Two people who should never have been born. Just hearing that accent makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

Monday, August 14- FLY HOME!

Tuesday, August 15- Crawl into bed in my darkened bedroom (A) and sleep forever.

(Jim here; I added references to the map points on July 31. I hope they help.)