Sunday, March 22, 2009

Friday in Austin

We got up early on Friday morning and went to Barton Springs, which is where Dean takes her morning swim. It's a place where a natural spring wells up and they've enclosed the stream bed to make a giant swimming pool. There's a constant flow of clean water running through it so there's no need to use any chemicals. It's a wonderful place to swim but that water is COLD. I can barely handle it on a hot day. Dean swims pretty much year-round in the early morning. Not for Donita.

But the reason I went there was to serenade the swimmers. Kind of silly since the pool is huge and people pretty much had their heads under water but it was still pretty fun. KC was there so I mostly sang for her. We chatted with a few people. It was pleasant.

After that Dean went to work and KC and I went out for breakfast. Then I came home and crashed. I slept good and hard until 1:00. Then I got up and did some homework. Dean came home at 3:30.

A friend of Greg's got us in at one of the venues. Another free event for us. The show was Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele. It was a fun show. I bought his cd but he was really better live. After that we went to The Belmont and had drinks and listened to the bands. Then we went back to Dean's and lounged on the patio until the wee hours.

My back still hurts. It must be a little better since I can tolerate the pain without taking a T3. I'm going to tough it out so I can give my liver a break. We're leaving soon to go to a poster show. Gonna try to score some free stuff. Then I'll try my hand at busking. I'll for sure be taking a pain pill before I do that.

Ooh, it's pretty breezy right now. Hmmm...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I'm in Texas.

And having a great time. All except for one little glitch. I put my back out today. Spasm city. The rest of my trip may suck a bit. I'm hoping it'll be better tomorrow.

Today was the Million Musician March that began at the Capitol steps and went down to City Hall. They really shouldn't have called it that. When we first got there it was more like the Several Musician March. Eventually it swelled to a Smattering of Musicians March. Still, it was pretty cool. Very much a hippie scene. Dean had brought Nancy along. Nancy is her little tri-colored Chihuahua. She figured it would be good for Nancy to have the experience and it would get her some exercise. Nancy was a good girl.

We hung around and listened to the bands. I played along with some of them while I was standing around in the audience. After a while we sat on the grass. Dean suggested that I use the bathroom before we left for the walk. When I stood up I must have turned funny because I really wrenched my back. Man, it hurt like a mo-fo. As I walked to the rest room it was pretty clear that there was no way I was going to be able to go on that march. Dean called Greg and he picked us up. When we got back to Dean's I took a Tylenol with codeine. Throw in a couple of screwdrivers and I'm doin' ok.

Tonight Dean and Greg fixed a nice dinner. KC and Dean's next-door neighbors came over. So, that's today.

I got in very late on Wednesday night. Dean and I stayed up until 4:00 just having a good cackle. I played some songs for her. Man, Dean is the best audience I've ever had. It was really fun playing for her. At one point she jumped up and hugged and smooched me real hard. That was pretty funny. Dean is not usually that demonstrative.

On Thursday Dean, KC and I went to an exhibit called Birth of the Cool. It's all mid-century modern stuff. I'll take one of each, please. The exhibit was actually kind of small. We explored the rest of the museum and then went to The Belmont for drinks and to listen to whatever band was playing. The Belmont was one of the free venues. At the museum they gave us a coupon for one free appetizer at The Belmont. We were diggin' the free.

The bands were ok but we were hungry and thirsty and The Belmont serves good food. We enjoyed the scallops and the mussels but the calamari was the best that any of us had ever had. We were there for about an hour and a half. Then we walked down the street a little and listened to another (very loud) band. Then we came home. Dean roasted some chickens and grilled some veggies. We had this reeeeaaally good coconut cake for dessert. I made the mistake of buying a whole cake. I think I had cake with every meal until it ran out. There was no resisting it.

That's all I'll write for now. This post is long. I'm having a very good time. This trip was the exact right thing to do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Me sicko

Man, being sick is a drag. Even if it's just a wimpy cold it still sucks. Right now my chest is congested and my head is completely clogged. It's pissing me off because I don't have time for this. I'm leaving for Texas on Wednesday and when I get back I'll be joining the flurry of funeral preparations. Family members are flying in. Lots of them. All I want to do right now is clean my house and I can't do it. After about five minutes of picking up I get completely worn out. Man, I hope this gets better tomorrow.

I'm not going to go back to work until after it's all over. I'll take a bit of a financial hit but it's not like I was really raking it in to begin with. Missing a few days won't make that much difference and I can make it up in April.

What I wouldn't give for one clear nostril.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Bye, Dad

Dad died yesterday. The long struggle is over.

On Saturday afternoon David called and said Dad's blood pressure had dropped significantly and he was unresponsive. He thought Dad would probably die within 72 hours. Man. Everything kind of shifted and my thoughts were all over the place. I had been working on the garage. Since there was no need to rush right over there I went back to what I was doing. I was the only one in town. Stacey and her family were in Orange County at Audra's game and Drew and his family were in San Diego for Tori's volleyball tournament. Then a little while later David called back. Dad's blood pressure had dropped again and he felt cold. He probably wouldn't last the night. It was time to get over there.

When I saw Dad it was quite a shock. He was not sleeping peacefully like you see in the movies. He looked like a breathing corpse. His head was pulled back. His mouth was wide open and his lips were curled up over his teeth. His eyes were half open, staring but with no life behind them and sunk deep in their sockets. His breathing was labored. He had lost 25 pounds in the last week, which was no surprise. He had pretty much stopped eating.

I closed his eyes but they popped right back open. That was one of the things we did with him all night long. We'd close his eyes so they wouldn't dry out. I doubt if it helped and I don't think he was feeling it. I sat down and talked to him for a little while, then I sang him some songs. I tried to think of some hymns but none came to mind. I went to the dining room and found an Armed Forces Hymnal. I took it back to his room and sang hymn after hymn for him. (Heh! There's a sentence.) I was surprised I could actually sing through tears.

Pretty soon Stacey poked her head around the curtain. She was also taken aback by Dad's appearance. She was concerned that B might find it too disturbing. There was no time to make a decision about it because Brendan came right in and sat down next to his Poppa and took his hand. He talked to him and closed his eyes for him. What a great kid.

Stacey and Scotty and I talked about what we need to do and who need to be contacted. I called Dede and Mindy to get the phone numbers of some of the people from church. I called Pastor Hewes. He got there about 40 minutes later. He talked to all of us for a little while and then sat down and talked to Dad. If Dad had been aware (and who's to say he wasn't) he would have loved what Pastor was saying to him. He hit all the right notes. He spoke to Dad in a way that none of us could. I really appreciated his visit. Scotty and B left a little after that.

Some of Dad's nurses came in to say goodbye. They all talked about how Dad would speak to them in Spanish, which was a bit of a surprise to us. We knew that Dad knew a smattering of Spanish but I guess it was more than we thought. They really liked him. The activity director and her daughter came to see him. She was really quite broken up. She hugged him and kissed him and called him Patron. I told her that I appreciated that she had that kind of relationship with him.

Stacey called John D and told him about Dad. He came right over. John's been a good friend of Stacey's and our family ever since junior high. He was one of the farm kids and had worked many days there. He loved Dad. Pretty soon Dede showed up and the four of us had a real nice time sharing farm stories. It was really wonderful. John left at around 11:30.

And then it was us three girls and Dad. The attendants came in and changed him and got him into a gown. We sat with him and talked and laughed and waited. Stacey was having trouble with allergies and was pretty uncomfortable. We decied that Stacey and I would go back to her house and get a little sleep and then come back to relieve Dede. Dad's breathing was stable and consistent and his blood pressure had come up a bit. It seemed like he could last for several more hours. Stacey and I left.

When I got to Stacey's I went to sleep pretty much right away. I found out in the morning that Dede had called at 4:30 and said that Dad had passed. She said he relaxed and his breathing slowed down. She had set him up with an iPod earlier in the evening and was playing Uncle Buddy's recordings of hymns for him. Dad took a few more breaths and that was it. We think it's pretty cool that Buddy's voice was the last one Dad heard.

I'll write more about the day later. I have to get ready for school.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I met people.

Tonight I went downtown to play music with Terry from uke circle. He plays with friends on Thursdays during Art Walk. They always play on the front steps of their church. This is the same church where I did those two shows. When I got there Terry was the only one there playing. He had invited a bunch of people and I was the only one who showed up. No big deal. Terry knows enough songs to be able to handle a show on his own and the scene was very informal. He and I goofed around for about an hour and a half, singing and playing for pretty much no one. There's not much Art Walk action on that corner. I considered this to be good practice for my upcoming busking adventure.

When I left I didn't really feel like going home. I remembered that they have open mike at Coffee Depot on Thursdays so I decided to see what was hoppin'. At least I could get a cup of coffee. When I got there it was pretty much the same as it was when Jeff and Bill and I went. Everyone in that room were all pretty young. It didn't look all that interesting to me so I got some coffee and sat down on one of the comfy sofas in the front room. A group of older guys (my age) were playing guitars. I was really enjoying listening to them. Then a guy came over and sat down on the sofa next to me. I mean, he sat on a different sofa that was next to the one I was sitting on. Almost immediately we started having a nice chat about music. He told me his band is playing at the Plaza on Saturday and gave me a flyer. Then another guy sat down on the sofa across from us. He was tuning an unusual looking tenor ukulele. Guy #1 (name's Jeff) and I started talking about ukes. Guy #2 (name's Tom) went to play with the guitar guys. I went out to the car and got my uke and book bag. Jeff and I continued with our conversation. Pretty soon Tom and one of the guitar guys came over and joined us. It was just a really nice conversation with a bunch of musicians I had never met before. That's unusual for me. I'm not shy about talking to people but usually I don't have all that much to contribute. This was different. I even sang a couple songs with Tom.

I stayed there until almost 11:30. I'll probably go see Jeff's band on Saturday. He also told me about some stuff that's happening on Friday night that I'm thinking of going to. I felt really good when I left the Coffee Depot. I'm not that good at meeting people and I felt really comfortable with those guys. They seemed to like me too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My first speech.

Yesterday we gave speeches in class. It was an introductory speech. We were supposed to bring in an object that represents who we are and tie it into the speech. I chose my Fire Monkey icon.

Last week we did an exercise where everyone shared what their greatest public speaking fear was. On the list were forgetting, sweating, fidgeting, rambling, giggling. My item was speaking on a subject that I'm too emotionally invested in. The solution for that is to pick a safe subject.

Most of my speech had to do with my creativity and my humor. I did mention a little bit about having a dad with Alzheimer's and the loss of my husband, but I made sure those points were only briefly touched on. I was safe.

Then this girl, who was three people ahead of me, got up and gave her speech about her best friend who was killed in a car accident a couple years ago. She went on and on about how she doesn't know who she is without this person, about how she sometimes thinks she can just pick up the phone and call her and how she longed for another hug. She was the SADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD.

After she sat down I started to tear up. I can't just be a little moved by something and shed a few tears and then move on. I sat at my desk and wept. I'm thinking, oh shit. Stop. Just stop. No good. After the next guy finished speaking I left the room. I went to the bathroom and worked like mad on pulling myself together. I know I still looked like a wreck when I went back to the room. And then it was my turn.

I had to open the speech by acknowledging the fact that Sad Girl's speech got to me. I did ok until I got to the part where I mentioned Jim. My throat closed up but I managed to fight through it. I felt like such a dope because the rest of the speech was about my sense of humor and playing the uke and writing songs. People did laugh at the funny parts but damn it, that girl fucked me up! Oh well, I think it went over ok.

Next time I'm going to demand to go first.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A quick one

I visited Dad yesterday. He was sound asleep when I got there and he stayed that way. Usually he catnaps and if I say hi to him he wakes up. This time he didn't. I got out the uke and played softly for him. After about 40 minutes I left. One thing I noticed-- Dad was very well-cushioned. Like, really well. Good thing somebody's listening.