Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Democratic National Convention

Well, THAT was pretty fuckin' cool.

What did you think?

That stadium was amazing. McCain should give his acceptance speech in Sturgis so he can draw a crowd.

Jeff said we should volunteer to play at Obama events. Hell, yes!

Anyway, it's late and I have to get up early. Comments, please.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


He was pretty out of it yesterday. He didn't sing along with me on the old songs like he usually does. He fell asleep several times and his aphasia was the worst I've seen since the stroke. When they brought him his dinner he kept trying to eat with his hands, even when I had a fork full of food right in front of his face. He tried to eat his napkin. He was doing that fretting over edges thing.

I don't know if it was because of the time of day or a dip in his meds or what. Another little stroke, maybe? Or is it the AD just progressing? A couple times he yelled for Dede and Stacey while I was sitting right next to him. Still, he was able to crack a couple little jokes. I was scooping up a bite of food for him when he reached for the mashed potatoes. I said, "Wait, Dad. I'm getting a bite ready for you." He said, "I want the other." I said, "Ok, but let's use the fork instead of your fingers." He said, "You don't love me anymore" and smiled. That was a joke.

He was sleepy but also on edge. He said he needed to go to the bathroom. When I left I let the staff know that they'd need to attend to him soon. It was kind of a crummy visit. He's been looking so good lately. Yesterday, not so much.

Wow. A year ago he still living in his house and still doing kind of ok on his own. Wasn't it a year ago that we first started cleaning up the farm? Jim's been gone 19 months. We've been in this house 8 months. Sometimes all of this makes me feel a little crazy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogging from work

I'm subbing across the hall for a couple hours. I am alone, alone, alone. So, I blog.

Yesterday's show rehearsal was a bit strange. Drama lawyer decided to be nice to me. I guess we're buddies now. I wonder what clicked in her head?

I'm still really enjoying my kittens. They're a constant source of entertainment. Lio is a total love monster. I've never had such an affectionate cat. Ivy is getting more friendly. Last night I had both of them curled up next to me, which is unusual for Ivy. It's fun to watch her play. She moves more like a monkey than a cat.

I have to take Gracie to the vet tomorrow morning. We had all the dogs shaved at the beginning of the summer. Boz and Lady are starting to look wooly but Gracie's hair doesn't seem to be growing back. The fur on her head and neck is, and she has some goofy-looking patches of longer hair on her body, but for the most part she is still pretty bald. Otherwise, she seems ok.

I've upped the dose of my antidepressant to two pills a day. I was told the appetite suppressant affect would probably wear off after a few weeks, and that is what has happened. I seem to be doing ok on the bigger dose, ecxept it does mess with my sleep pattern. Lio's no help there. He thinks four in the morning is the perfect time for a cuddle. At the end of September I'm starting on a six month long, medically supervised, weight-loss program. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I worry about failure. I do like the idea of getting through Thansgiving and Christmas without gaining weight.

Gonna go see Dad after work. After that I'll hit the Rube.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My face hurts...

...from laughing. Lindsay and I just saw Tropic Thunder. I laughed and laughed hard. The best laughs are in the beginning of the movie and it wraps up nicely at the end. The middle part where all the action is kind of levels off the funny, but there are still some good moments. Quite a good cast.

Tomorrow is my last Friday off. Next week we go back to the regular schedule. Bummer. I reeeally liked having Fridays off.

On Tuesday I had another show rehearsal. Some changes have been made. Instead of having almost every song done ensemble style with everyone singing different lines, the director assigned everyone their own song. There's still a chorus and some trading of lines but I think the whole thing will work much better. And now there's a whole bunch of stuff I won't have to memorize. I think I got one of the best songs. It's Oom-pah-pah from Oliver.

Drama lawyer got all offended again. This woman is sensitive to the point of ridiculous. We were all in a line on stage when someone noticed a spider crawling across the floor in front of us. We had a short discussion about whether or not we should let it live. Then someone said, "It's a black widow!" and so the decision was made. One of the guys stepped on it and left it twitching. I leaned forward and said to the spider, "Do you need representation?" Drama lawyer said, "Hey!" I said, "Really? You thought I was making a derogatory lawyer joke?" She said, "Everyone hates lawyers until they need one!" I was keeping it light but she was serious. Now I'm tempted to make lawyer jokes until her head explodes.

Before that happened I heard her mention a couple of times to different people that she's a lawyer. She reminds me of Tracy Morgan's imitation of Star Jones on SNL (which ALWAYS cracked me up!).

So, all you locals, save this date- Saturday, September 20th. It's going to be a dinner theater thing. I'll post more info when I get it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bringing up the GPA

I got an A in Health Science. I really thought I'd end up with a B. I did poorly on one of the tests and I missed an assignment. I guess I did really well on the final. It was NOT a hard class. Ok, another one crossed off the list. On September 2nd I start History 6- History of the United States from colonial times to 1877. I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Something's wrong with this computer! It has a hum and the screen is 50% darker. Rats!!!! The last time I had it fixed it cost big bucks. Crap, crap, crap!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A full weekend

Thursday after work I picked up Lindsay and we drove to LA so see the Dodgers game with the Carrozza's. I hadn't been to a baseball game in thirty-something years. It was really fun. It was nice to just hang out with them in the stands. And hey, bonus, the Dodgers won. Getting out of the parking lot after the game took about a year.

On Friday I drove down to Laguna to see Lorraine and her mom. They had come down for a wedding. We met at their hotel and went into town and knocked around the shops. I hadn't been to Laguna Beach in a very long time. It was so cool to see what other artists are doing. Lots of inspiration in those gallery shops. Lorraine's friend, Joanne, and Joanne's daughter were also along for this jaunt. I guess it was too much Philly all in one place because things were a bit tense between them. Lorraine and Louise said they were VERY glad to see me because I'm such a calming influence. I know what they meant. I like Joanne, but she can be a bit much. We had a reeeeally good lunch and one of the trendy Laguna restaurants, did a little more shopping and then I came home.

Jeff, Bill and I were playing at Maui Wowie that night. They were having a Hawaii Statehood celebration event. We were playing for pay this time. I got there pretty early so I went to the crappy Chinese place next door and got a crappy fried rice thing. I ate about 4 bites of it and threw the rest away. Then I went next door and met the guys.

We played for about an hour. Then it was time for us to take a break and some hula dancers came on. While they were setting up I sat on the sofa with Zoey and talked to Virginia, who was sitting in a chair next to us. Some old guy (asshole) came in and asked us if we were going to hog the seating area. It was one of those stupid things where you're not sure if someone is kidding or serious or what. We were just sitting down. Hogging the seating area? WTF? We kind of went back and forth with him, making silly comments, trying to keep it light. Then I guess he got disgusted and turned to leave. I said, "Hey, there's room for one more on the sofa here." He said, "I'm here to see hula dancing, not belly dancing" and walked out. I turned to Zoey and said, "Wow, did you hear what he just said?" The three of us were a bit stunned.

I don't know how that whole thing was for Virginia and Zoey, but for me it was one of those things were it took me a while to figure out what had just happened. I always expect people to behave in a normal and generally friendly way, so when someone is intentionally cruel it always floors me. It took me a while to really clue in. I finally did and spent the next hour fighting tears. What a fucker. He and his family sat at a table outside the door. I took a good look at him. He was an ugly, old sonofabitch who was sporting a beer gut. I didn't know if he was someone who was connected to the shop in some way. He might have been a relative of the owners, I just didn't know. But I don't think he was. I think what he really wanted was a place for his mother/wife/old-woman-family-member to sit down. If he had said, "Is it alright if my old-woman-family-member sits down here?" we would have been happy to accommodate him. Hell, we would have moved and let his whole family sit there. But what are you supposed to do when someone walks up from nowhere and asks if you're hogging the seating area? Like he had some special right to it. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to throw a smoothie in his face.

Actually, what I really wanted to do was confront him in front of his family. But that day we were the hired entertainment and it would have been inappropriate to pick a fight with one of the customers.

Ok, Mindy just called. I gotta go. We're having dinner with the Butchers. I'll finish this later.

12:17am. I'm back.

Anyway, I held it together and didn't give in to the tears. Just before we were to start playing again Molly and Joe showed up with Mindy and Ty. Drew wandered in a few minutes later. Ah! People who love me! I hadn't expected to see them that night. We started playing and ended up having a really good time. We even played for almost an hour longer than we were supposed to. I'm glad we were able to end the evening on a high note.

On Saturday I hung around here for most of the day. That afternoon I headed up to Stacey's and hung out there for a little while. Then I went to Maui Wowie for the second night of our world tour. No hula dancers this time. No assholes, everyone was nice. Got paid. I do enjoy playing with Jeff and Bill.

Today I had show rehearsal. I'm starting to get to know these people and I must say I don't like most of them. I don't like it when people waste time screwing around or chatting. One woman was being pretty bitchy and at one point covered her ears in a dramatically obvious way because she thought I was singing too loud. Really, I wasn't, but because she can't read music she was having trouble learning her part. Later she took offense at a lawyer joke that was in one of the songs. I guess that means she's a lawyer. The song was A Little Priest from Sweeney Todd. It mentions lots of different kinds of professions and describes how they might taste in a meat pie. As soon as she heard the word lawyer she said, "Hey!" and gave the director a dirty look. Then later she got all bothered about a stage direction he gave her. Jeez, what bullshit.

After that I met the family at a Korean restaurant. I walked in just as Joe was chatting with the waitress and ordering the meal for all of us in Korean. That was pretty cool. Joe was stationed in Korea for several years and speaks Korean fluently. I could tell he was having the time of his life talking with the staff. And the meal was reeeally good. Every table has a grill set in the middle so you cook the meat yourself. We had a really good time. After that we went back to Stacey's for dessert and to watch the Olympics on Tivo. Dede showed pictures of their Alaska trip. Another fun evening with my awesome family.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


...was just one of those days. The universe was conspiring against me.

I got up early so I could go to RCC and take the assessment test for English, math and reading. Right off the bat I was already in a bad mood. I was messing around with the usual worries, company was coming and the house was nowhere near ready. My plan was to go to RCC, take the test, go to the library and go buy a parking permit. When I got to RCC my current parking permit wasn't in my car. I have no idea where it went. Ok, so I'll just get one from the machine. I screwed it up. I didn't punch in how much time I wanted. It sucked my dollar in and gave me a permit for 30 minutes. Crap! Ok, so I'll go to the library and get what I need from there. That should take half an hour and then I'll just go back to the machine and get a permit that will give me enough time to take the test.

When I got to the library door there was a sign outside saying their hours had been cut back for the month of August and they wouldn't be open until the afternoon. Grrrr... So I went back to my car and bought another permit. So, what's a couple bucks in the grand scheme?

I went to the Assessment Center. They wouldn't let me take the test because I have a hold on my record because of my shitty grades from 33 years ago. The hold will be lifted once I finish with this Health Science class, but that didn't help me on Monday. So I left. The girl at the Assessment Center said I could go to the counseling office and get a Matriculation Appeal and then I'd be able to go back and take the test. Yeah, right. By that time I was on the verge of tears. There was no way in HELL I was going to go to any office and try to talk to anyone. I found a quiet corner behind the auditorium and sat down and tried to collect myself. After I was sure I wouldn't burst into tears if someone said boo to me I went to the cashier and bought my yearly staff parking permit. At least that went smoothly.

I had three hours to kill before going to work and I didn't feel like going home. I went downtown to Back To The Grind to get some coffee and read for a while. I parked in the back, just like I always do when I go there for uke circle...on Sundays...for free. When I came back out I had a parking ticket on my windshield. My brain was NOT working that morning. It really is a good thing I didn't take that assessment test.

I went to Applebee's for lunch. I took a notebook in with me so I could do some writing. When I'm stuck in a thought vortex it really helps to write about it. I was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I was thinking about my being alone and what that means. The problem isn't so much being alone or being lonely. It's going through life without a committed partner to share and help handle all the details. If we had been living together in this house for several years everything would already be settled and in place. When we first moved into the house on Sunny Manor we did SO much work. All the repairs and major issues were handled right away and we did them together. I'm thinking about all of my married friends and siblings who have been living in their houses for a long time. If any of them lost their spouse they'd be dealing with their grief and everything else in the same home they've been living in for years. Yes, it would be hard because that home would be full of memories, but at least there wouldn't be any surprises. Part of my problem is there's so much that needs to be done and my brain can't hold it all. It's that half-a-brain problem again.

Yesterday I was really missing Jim. I just want to talk to him. We talked a lot. Talking was a big part of our relationship. I miss his point of view. It still kind of baffles me that he's gone. Yesterday I realized that I really am incomplete. I'm out of balance. It's like I have to now regenerate a lost appendage. I don't have him so I have to grow more of me. Weird.

See, this is why I need kittens.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I have a lot to catch up on

Maybe Friday I can sit and blog for a good long stretch.

The Carrozza's came to visit last night. They're out for their annual trek to CA to visit their Kyle. Last night they were here for dinner. Thursday after work Lindsay and I are going to meet them at a Dodgers game. That's baseball, right? I haven't been to one of those in decades.

Work was BORING today. I did five hours of data entry and all of it was the same set of strokes.

Oh jeez, one of the kittens is playing in the shower. I can hear the door banging. Yes, I said kittens, plural. On Saturday Paige and I went to Petco and got a playmate for Ivy. He's all black, about 19 weeks old so he's twice as big as she is, and he's a smoochin' fool. We're talkin' sooooper affectionate. We named him Leo, except Paige wants it to be spelled Lio. But call him Leo. Ivy is over the moon. For the first two day she did nothing but attack him ferociously. I was calling her Ivy the Terrible. He's so patient and tolerant. He'll just sit there while she chews on his neck and kicks at him. But he's not a blob. He'll give as good as he gets. So now I have a couple of black kittens that are hard to find if they're sitting on the furniture or my ukulele case.

I know I didn't need any more pets but it's nice having friendly critters in the house when I'm alone here. And this is it. No more. All full here.

That's all I'll write for now. Later I'll write about my shitty Monday.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A date with myself

I took myself out for dinner and a movie tonight. First I went to Borders and bought a book. I didn't know anything about this book. I wanted something to read, it was there on the shelf, it had an interesting cover and it said it was on the NYT bestseller list, so I grabbed it. It's called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. I took it to Coffee Depot, got myself an iced coffee drink and sat on the sofa for a nice, relaxing read. The beginning of the book has a long set-up but it made me laugh at the end of the first chapter, so I think it's going to be good.

While I was enjoying my book a woman from uke circle came in with her boyfriend. We had a nice chat until it was time for me to leave and go see The Pineapple Express. I laughed much. That movie has some great moments. Afterward I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. I really wanted another one of them Miso Seafood salads. I got a table on the patio. Just before I was ready to order Bill came walking through the gate. I swear, I just about can't go anywhere in Riverside without running into Bill. He joined me at my table. Pretty soon Zoey came walking up with a friend. My table for one instantly became a table for four, but I was the only one ordering food. They got to have the delightful experience of watching me eat a salad.

It was a nice night.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's all just a little weird

Ok. I've been back and forth about whether or not to share this on me bloggy. But it's something that's influencing my life right now and I want to write about it. Last week I went to the doctor to discuss a few health concerns, mainly my weight and what I could do to get rid of some of it. Now, when I go to the doctor I cry. I always cry. I've been that way for years. I'm not afraid to go to the doctor, but once I'm there fear creeps in and takes hold. And that makes me cry. I fucking hate it.

Of course, it's worse since Jim died. So, I'm there and I can't talk because my throat is clenched tight. She asked me how long I've been depressed. I didn't really think I was depressed. Still grieving some, overwhelmed by my new life, worried about my future, but depressed? Well, ok, maybe I was. She told me about an anti-depressant that in addition to helping me feel better, would kick up my metabolism and suppress my appetite. Dude, sign me up!

Actually, it wasn't like that. We talked about it for a long time. I had taken Xanax for a while after Jim died but I wasn't consistent about it and when I felt I didn't need it anymore, I stopped. I didn't know if I really wanted to commit to taking an anti-depressant for a long period of time. This stuff is called bupropion, which is the generic version of Wellbutrin. It's mostly prescribed to help people quit smoking. I think Dad was taking it for a while, which also felt a little weird to me. But I decided to give it a try.

It's supposed to take a couple weeks before it kicks in but I felt a difference right away. Could be a placebo effect. It's a good thing I'm back on my regular work schedule because it does indeed make me pretty speedy. At first I was having a lot of trouble falling asleep, but that seems to have calmed down. It does suppress the appetite. I love that part of it. I'm losing weight.

I don't trust my emotions right now. Mostly I'm pretty evened out but there are times when I feel a little nutty. If I get angry or frustrated about something I have to let it go because I can't tell if it's the drug or my normal reaction. But mostly I feel pretty good and quite clear-headed. I feel more motivated to do things. Normally, I'm a master procrastinator but lately I'm handling things as they come up. I have lots of energy. And still it's all just a little weird.

I hope this works out. I hope it maintains its effectiveness. I hope I don't develop any nasty side effects. Goofing around with brain chemistry is risky but this stuff has been around for a long time and they pretty much know all of its quirks. So far the lowest dose is working just fine for me. I like that.

So, here we go. Better living through chemicals.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Gonna do a show

Well, it's a sort of a show. It's show-like.

One of the guys I know from uke circle, name's Terry, invited me to participate in his church's annual Broadway in the Basement musical revue thingy. He said they didn't have enough women (an unusual occurrence) and asked if I'd like to come to a rehearsal and see what it's about. I'm not a churchy kind of gal but I had heard that this particular church is very liberal and accepting of all types of humans. So, yesterday I went to their rehearsal.

I showed up early and got a tour of the whole facility. It's quite large and pretty old (built in 1910). The basement is really cool. It's pretty big and it has a stage. On our way back to the music room Terry showed me the main sanctuary. They were in the middle of tranny Sunday service. Yep, this place is very broad-minded.

It looks like there will be five men and four or five women in this thing. Two of the women were absent. We'll be doing songs from My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd and Oliver. The director seems to know what he's doing. At first he told me that he hadn't assigned all the solos yet and that he was going to wait until he was more familiar with everyone's voices. I think that was his polite way of saying, "I don't know you. You're someone that Terry dragged in. You might suck." He handed me the song sheets and we started in on the first number. After he heard me sing he said, "Ok, Donita, we'll have you sing this...and this...and this....and this...and this..." Like that. Heh, heh!

I think it's going to be fun. Everyone seems pretty nice and they're all good singers. I like the director. He's going to stage it with some movement and light choreography. It'll be fun to do that kind of singing again.

After the rehearsal Terry and I walked over to the uke circle meeting. Wow! The place was packed! That's the biggest turnout so far. I hope they keep coming back.

After that I went to the brewery and had a salad. Pretty boring. The brewery has great burgers. Next time I'll stick to the tried and true. I was going to meet Bill and Jeff at the Royal Falconer later to see this Irish band so I had a couple of hours to kill. I went to Fairmount Park to sit in the shade and play my uke for a while. The park was pretty full. Lots of families, lots of barbeque. There were a couple of guys doing some African drumming. One of them came up to me and invited me to come play with them. I didn't think my uke-ing would mesh all that well with their drumming but I wasn't going to turn down such a kind invitation. It took a while to find some songs that would work. Sway and I Saw The Light worked really well. I feel so cool and hip. I was jammin' with the bruhthas in Fairmont Park.

Then I headed over to the Falconer. Again I was early. I sat at the bar and had a not quite cold enough Smithwick's. When the band started to set up I grabbed a table. Bill showed up soon after. I think Jeff showed up about an hour after that. Man the band was good! The only amplification was on the mandolin. The place was pretty noisy so it would have been nice if they had had at least some sound equipment. But since they were all Ren Faire veterans they all had big voices that cut through the din of the room.

It was a very good weekend. On Friday I cleaned and got rid of a truckload of stuff. On Saturday I replaced a faucet and on Sunday I was immersed in music. Today was pretty great too. I got a raise!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Dark Knight

I took myself to a movie tonight. I dunno, I wasn't that thrilled with it. I enjoyed some of the jokes (there weren't enough of them) but the whole thing was too flashy and jiggly, too much of a visual onslaught. I wonder how many Heath Ledger Jokers will be prowling the streets of America this Halloween? Too many, I'm sure. It'll be like, oh look, another one.

After the movie I went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. I can enthusiastically recommend their new Miso Seafood salad. I got a half order and it was still pretty huge. Man, it was good.

Getting things done

Ah! A very productive day today. I made a lot of room in the garage and filled up the truck with thrift store donations. I made a ton of phone calls and got business-type crap handled. I'm going to continue the process tomorrow. It felt so good to be able to devote a whole day to working on the house. And tomorrow I get to do the same thing! Really, this does make me very happy.

Tonight I met Bill and Virginia and a bunch of their friends at Coco's. Their daughter, Zoey, is doing Beauty and the Beast at RCC so they all went out for an after-show snack. It was a nice way to wrap up the day. I saw the show on Wednesday, which was their last rehearsal. I had been at Health Science class and had just taken a test. I was sitting in my car going over my notes basically just to see how badly I had done. Suddenly I saw Virginia's face in my window. Scared the crap out of me! She told me that the director was letting the parents go to that last rehearsal so they could take pictures. She invited me to come along. I had already bought my ticket for Thursday's show, but hey, what the hell. I enjoyed watching it but the show had a lot of flaws. It was like watching a stage show at Disneyland. Tonight I found out that the recorded music was sweetened with recorded vocals. I mean, come on! Oh well, it was still fun to see Zoey on stage.

I'm pretty sure I've dropped a few pounds. My clothes are fitting looser. Happy dance. Last night I zoomed up Mt. Rubidoux. Keep going, keep going. I'll write more about that in a later post.

Ivy is growing like a weed. She's at that gawky kitten stage. She's still a little cuddle buddy but she won't hold still for a hug until after you've worn her out with some rough play. Sometimes while I'm sleeping she'll lick me on the nose. It's a bit of a shock feeling that rough tongue when I'm in the middle of a dream. I sure do like her.

It's late but I can't sleep.