Tuesday, May 31, 2005

people are stupid, really...no, really...

People do not know how to handle themselves around death. It's the one thing we can't study and report back on firsthand. Even for those who have faith, we don't know what it looks like on the other side...it is the Great Mystery.

Another great mystery is why people don't keep their mouths shut when they are wigging out. Wigging Out=Shut Up. It's a simple formula.

Here's some folks who didn't understand the formula:

  • One of my best friends said to me at the funeral, "I'm sorry, dead people creep me out." Hmm, that dead person was my father. Thanks, next...

  • Another closely related bloke said at the funeral,"Well, it's done. It's over with now." OK, let's go have a pizza party...right after I poke your eyes out...

  • From the freakin' funeral director came a detailed account of how he was going to try to manipulate a deep crease in Daddy's face and try to get it to "pop" back out so we could have an open casket. He then went into a detailed explanation of how when the body cools the blood thickens and it's harder to manipulate the skin...etc. You. Stupid. Redneck. Fuckwad. Save it for the mortician's convention...you're talking about my Daddy.

  • From my own mother (I'll chalk it up to being crazy with grief)..."Well, that's what's left of him" (pointing at the casket while talking to a relative)...

  • While we were picking out a casket for Daddy, an unnamed relative thought it was funny when she asked my mother if she wanted to go ahead and pick out hers while she was there. Yeah, real funny. Now, where did I put that darn pipe wrench...?

    Then there's all the usual "oh, he looks so good," "they really did a good job on him..." Yeah, he looked even better when he was alive.

    Even worse, we had some folks throwing a family reunion at the funeral. I had to tune out the laughing and knee-slapping. I'm surprised they didn't bring popcorn. You know you can choke on popcorn...

    All the while, I was thinking if Daddy could, he would reach up and snap the lid closed and light up a cigarette while grumbling about the whole thing. Daddy was an extremely private man and to have all those people standing over him, staring at him, examining every hair on his head really, really disturbed me. I wanted to shoo them away like nasty flies.

    Shoo. Fly. Shoo.

  • Monday, May 30, 2005


    A couple of 12 x 12 folk art paintings for friends. Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas.

    I'm not sure my week of vacation was relaxing, but it did give me a much needed break from the office. I was contemplating applying for another position within the company, but I think I need to sit still--as hard as that is right now.

    The father's day commercials, signs, specials are driving me insane.

    p.s. Sadie finished her week-long mega-dosing of Lysodren and has had her post-test. We are awaiting results. Hopefully the treatment worked and we can manage her Cushing's Disease with a maintenance dose from now on.

    Monday, May 23, 2005


    I'm on vacation this week. Today was my Daddy's 70th birthday. I celebrated it with him at his grave...still covered with grassless clay dirt. It was a windy, warm day and the emptiness was beyond my comprehension. I placed new flowers in the vases and noodled with them for 30 minutes before I was satisfied. I love you Daddy. I know you can see me from where you are now. I just wish I could see you.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    what ding-a-ling thought of this?

    My husband was out on the job and took this picture. It's not a joke. It's a real ice cream truck. I'm not sure I want to lick any ding-a-ling desserts.

    Can you imagine it on your resume?
    1999-2005--Ding-a-ling Operator--Responsible for the regional dessimination of Ding-a-ling brand treats to children and adults. Daily reporting of Ding-a-Ling inventory and incoming cash for Ding-a-Ling services. Reported directly to Ding-a-Ling President. Created current slogan "Ding-a-Ling Ice Cream--we take a licking for less."

    Thanks to hubby for the funny pic.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    do I have to always have a title?

    Well. Happy Wednesday.


    About a week ago, my super-duper-fantastic hubby had this laying in my car seat when I headed out to work--a little music from the ever-so-weird Beck and a "Crazy Cat Lady" action figure. I let out a much-needed laugh. He knows me too well.

    And I've been painting a tad more. This kitty and bird (I seemed to be obsessed with the "bird on cat head" theme) is an experiment with an acrylic pumice goop to texturize a canvas board. I really like how it looks--sketchy, almost like pastel or a sidewalk chalk drawing. Boy does that texture eat up a lot of paint though. I'm glad I did something small.

    And another painting that is 10" x 18" (I think). It has a lot to do with Daddy. The little console table is a table in his house left to him by his own parents and the bird is picking at some potted chives that was sitting in his kitchen windowsill. The cactus was also sitting on that sill (though it was not the same kind of cactus). Dogs and cats are mandatory of course. I made three trees in the background and realized that was probably my thoughts of Daddy going toward God--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Daddy had a terrifying dream of his death that was frighteningly close to what actually happened to him. At the end of the dream he was sailing on a ship toward a beautiful bright place with rolling hills, so I suppose that's where the imagery came from. The painting isn't finished, but it's close.

    I can't tell you how healing making art has been for me. I don't know how I would be doing if I didn't have self-expressive outlets like these. I really wish I could make art and write for the rest of my life, but that might be a pipe dream. Don't know. I don't know a lot of things right now. And I guess that's okay.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005


    Well, I got bad news on Sadie's test for Cushing's Disease. She does have it. We start a "loading dose" of Lysodren tonight and stay on it for a week. From Kate Connick's site: "Lysodren selectively destroys adrenal cortex tissue, the cells that produce glucocorticoid hormones. An initial week or so of daily lysodren (a loading or induction phase) damages the adrenals enough to bring cortisol blood levels within normal ranges and make Cushingoid symptoms begin to abate." The drug is so strong she has to take a companion dose of prednisone. She will most likely feel pretty sick during this coming week. *tears*

    The day after we finish the loading dose, we will take her in for a ACTH stimulation test to see if enough tissue has been destroyed to bring the cortisol levels back down to normal. The danger is if too much of the adrenal tissue is destroyed then she could develop permanent Addison's Disease.

    If the treatment is effective (most of the time it is), she will take Lysodren once a week for the rest of her life.

    Think good doggie thoughts. I will keep you guys posted. Watch your older dogs for this disease. I didn't realize it was so common. Sadie's first sign was elevated liver enzymes.

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    ants in my pants...

    I've been a nervous wreck all day today...leg jitters, can't sit still, hating my job a whole lot worse than normal, no ability to concentrate, no motivation...

    I've hated my job for some time now and I'm thinking about applying for some other position within the company, but I haven't decided. You have to be very careful about making big changes during times of grief because many, including me, have an overwhelming urge to escape wherever they currently are. It's almost at a panic level for me. Before Daddy was killed, I could force my way through my assignments and do a pretty good job, but right now work feels like a good solid 8 hours of choking down broken glass. I really, really hate it. Or maybe I really, really hate the bone-crushing emotions I'm carrying around. Or maybe it's both. One thing is for sure...it's not "neither."

    Fuck. I'll try to be funny next time. Maybe. If I feel like it.


    Looks different here, eh? I am different so the blog has to look different. The picture in the header is really me at about 4 years old. I still stick my lip out at 40. I guess it's genetic. I really did get bubblegum in my hair shortly after that photograph was taken and had to get all my hair cut off. It immediately turned brown, went straight and stayed that way.

    My heart goes out to all of you guys who have lost your parents, especially at a young age; especially in an unexpected tragedy. I do have a much deeper sense of compassion for people who have lost loved ones.

    Grief takes a VERY long time and seems like a wound that couldn't possibly heal. There is no "getting over it." There's only managing it a bit better as time marches on. Two months seems only like two days since it happened, although I don't burst into tears in public anymore. There are times it aches as if I were sitting in that little folding chair listening to the honor guard firing their guns or reading my goodbye letter to Daddy at his casket then placing it inside his suit jacket. Sometimes it grabs me so hard I gasp out of the blue or just zone out for long periods of time.

    I will see him again, but the separation until then is so hard to endure.

    Shit. I was going to post a non-traumatic entry. I'll try to make good by the end of the day.

    Thanks for sharing your stories, your hearts, your tears.

    Thursday, May 12, 2005


    Daddy would have been 70 May 23. It's been 70 days since we buried him. It's been 74 days since I saw him removed from the wooded acreage behind his property in a black body bag. I squeezed the toe of his hiking boot that peeked through the last unzipped inches and told him goodbye. They wouldn't let me see him because he had died two days before. He had been pinned between a tree and his ATV on a steep hill. They said the wheels caught a root and toppled the vehicle on top of him, sending them both skidding down the steep ridge. His neck was bent down hard between the machine and a small tree. He had shot three times from a pistol to call for help. And there were places where he had struggled to dig out. Days before we had planned a trip to IOWA together. Our first real father-daughter trip. It was a huge antique radio auction and he seemed excited. It was three weeks before I got the death certificate that said the estimated time between the accident and onset of death was minutes. For three weeks I couldn't breathe and my chest hurt so bad I thought I might be having a heart attack. Daddy was as strong as a 40 year-old man, but he got the ATV to get around his property because he had a recurrent infection in his hip.

    Sometimes I still can't breathe. I can't stand the fact that he was hurting with no help; that he struggled to live, but died. God help me. I pray that every night.

    doggie, oh doggie...

    Why I am infested with such a long string of veterinary problems right now (of all times) is beyond me. Perhaps God is trying to provide me urgent distractions. Sadie is being tested for Cushing's disease today.

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    many thanks...

    Thanks a bunch for all the nice compliments on my little folk art paintings. I wasn't expecting such a reaction. It was a really nice boost for me whilst I am feeling rather lowly and such...

    Here's another--"Rush hour in Heaven"--6 x 6 in.

    p.s. the little yellow bird from the last posting was actually a shameless copy of a bird I saw painted on Ebay...just to let you know I was doing that for my own enjoyment--never to sell or anything like that. The artist is RCollins on Ebay...toodles and kisses for all you nice people out there. :-)

    Wednesday, May 04, 2005


    After Daddy died I couldn't go back to felting or dollmaking. I think it felt too much like I was just "going about my business." Instead, I took my obsessive doodling to canvas. The silly little paintings I've made are all sizes and have provided me with a calming escape during this awful time. In fact, it's been the only thing I've found that will calm me down enough to keep going. I'm self-taught, but I'm not trying to impress, just express. I'm sharing them here in any case...some of the photos suck, sorry.

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