Blogging is hard!

August 16, 2013

Okie dokie, it’s time to try this “blogging” thing again. Just got a new Galaxy Note tablet that not only lets me write instead of type, but it actually recognizes cursive, so maybe I’ll use this tablet more than it’s Xoom predecessor. The Xoom has been passed along to my mom, much to her delight.  I’m really digging this tablet and am considering replacing my S4 with a Note when the time comes. (I think I’ve only got 648 months left on my contract, then I can upgrade.  Go me!)  I miss writing with a pen.  Fortunately for me, the tablet has some advanced software that can read my penmanship, despite the fact that I write like a second grader on his fifth Red Bull and Vodka.  Technology!

The situation with my mom was the last thing I posted about and I’m happy to report that things are going great on that front.  Mom is living in Tyler now and is adjusting as well as can be expected. The move to Texas has already proved to be practical several times just in the last month. She was hospitalized with pneumonia a few weeks ago, which may have ultimately been a good thing as I think she is FINALLY going to quit smoking!  (Yay, happy dance!)

Logan graduated from high school in June and has decided to attend UTD locally. (Yay, another happy dance!) He’ll stay at his Mom’s place during the week, so we’ll only see him on weekends. Bummer.

JT has decided to enlist in the Navy Reserves,which has garnered much pride from his Navy Grandma.  He has informed me that he’s expecting to go to boot camp in less than 2 weeks and I’m just not sure how I am going to cope when he’s gone.  For years and years I kept telling myself that I couldn’t wait to be an “empty nester,” but now, faced with the certain prospect of a quiet home, I’m seriously reevaluating my feelings on that subject.

Well that’s really all I can think of night now. I’m sure I’m forgetting dozens of equally fascinating things that have happened lately, but that’s all my poor mind can remember at the moment.

In the past 10 days I have:

  • Cremated a stranger
  • Hired a very expensive attorney
  • Hired a Realtor to sell a house that I don’t own
  • Walked in off the street and assumed financial control of someone else’s  life and finances
  • Coordinated several meetings with a medical team
  • Took a crash course in VA/DFAS/Social Security benefits
  • Discovered I already had Power of Attorney to perform all of the above actions (Surprise!)
  • Am coordinating the 800 mile interstate move of a family member from GA to TX
  • Completed a life insurance form
  • Finished my own taxes and managed to eek out a small refund (yeah, I’m a boss)
  • Managed to do all of the above without having a nervous breakdown

I’ve also learned a lot of life lessons this past week, among them:

  • Always be way over insured (Yes, pay for the life insurance on your loans)
  • You need a medical directive on file (tell your next of kin where it is)
  • You should name  your spouse as your Power of Attorney (both durable and healthcare) and name a contingent if they die
  • You need to have a will, tell people where it is, and name an executor (with a contingent if they die)
  • Be married to an exceptional person (this is very important)
  • Don’t live in Georgia
  • Save more than you think you’ll need in liquid assets
  • Have an understanding boss
  • Do only one thing at a time
  • Keep calm and well, just keep calm

Crazy list, I know, but it’s been a crazy week.  My step-father, who I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet in person yet (long story), had a stroke and passed away suddenly while my mother was in the hospital on an unrelated issue.  I discovered when I got here that I’m the only surviving family member for either of them and that my mother’s health had deteriorated to the point that she can’t live 100% independently any longer.  To compound matters, my deceased step-father had, within the past 30 days, managed to plunge both of them into a financial-hole that is so convoluted that, well let’s just say that it is unbelievably bad (hence, the attorney.)

I left Texas thinking, “Man, I’ve got to go figure out how to bury my mom’s husband,” I got to Chattanooga and discovered that that was going to be the easiest part of my trip.  Now I’m in Georgia trying to sell mom’s house (which is NOT in any shape to be sold at the moment,) trying to find a place in Texas for my mom to move to that she’s going to actually like (from Georgia,) trying to convince my mom that she’s really not able to drive or manage her own finances any longer (trying having THAT conversation with someone already in the grieving process,) trying to unravel the craziest financial imbroglio you can imagine (no, it’s actually worse than you can imagine, I just had to google “synonym for clusterfuck,”) and to top it off, I’m having to considerably dip into our family’s personal savings to manage this fiasco.  Hell, that’s not even all of it, that’s just the stuff I feel somewhat comfortable mentioning in a public forum, it’s actually much, much worse than all of that.  Heck, I’m not even including the stress of trying to manage my own household from 5 states away and figuring out how it’s all going to impact my job!

Oh yeah, then there is ‘the dog.’  Don’t even get me started on ‘the dog.’

The scary thing about all of this is that while I’m overwhelmed, I’m actually handling it pretty darn well.  I owe most of that to my brilliant, supportive husband who dropped everything to drive to Chattanooga and help me sort out the initial mess into something almost manageable.  (Being married to someone intimate with inheritance law was a great bonus!)  I’m also blessed to have a very amazing boss who has been instrumental in navigating the waters at work to help me get the time off necessary to devote to all these things.  I somehow managed to luck into my mother’s very competent medical team and was lucky enough to locate the one of the most experienced, if costly, law firms in the city (you really do get what you pay for, folks, I can’t stress that enough.)  Finally, I’m finding a wealth of information from multiple elder care facilities in Texas who are working with me to find the best place for my mom to relocate.

I still have a lot of work left to do, but I’ve already amassed a huge network of competent people who are helping me break things down into something that I can get my mind around.  I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Texas, but I’m hoping it will be before the summer.  In the meantime, I’m going to take a moment to reflect on the fact that I’m surrounded by the beautiful Appalachian mountains, a plentiful supply of obnoxiously inexpensive craft beer/tasty food, and an opportunity to consider myself a ‘real grown up’ when I’m done with it all.  I’m going to be one tough/well educated ‘adult’ by the time I go home, so watch out Texas.

So, Shakespeare Dallas is collaborating with the AT&T Performing Arts Center to perform all of William Shakespeare’s work, including every one of the plays and sonnets, over the next 5 years.  They will be presenting staged readings (actors acting the parts with few props, or costumes) at a rate of approximately 8 per year.   Hunter and I are both Shakespeare fans, so we have decided to attend as many of these as possible.  To date I have seen about 10 or so of Shakespeare’s plays performed, including (but not limited to) Julius Caesar, Othello, Hamlet, Richard III, Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Macbeth, The Tempest and, today, their first reading in this series, Much Ado About Nothing.  I may have seen others, that’s just what I remember at the moment.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, never having seen a ‘staged reading.’  I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it so thoroughly.  Yes, many of the actors read directly from their scripts and there were a couple of missed cues or line flubs, but it was much less distracting then you might think.  In fact, by the second or third act, I hardly noticed it.  The charismatic actor who played Beatrice, Allison Pistorius, was nothing short of brilliant and the chemistry between her and the gentleman who portrayed Benedict, Jeffrey Schmidt, was simply magnetic.  I could scarce believe that they only had 40 hours of practice!  Speaking of scarce believing, I was left wondering how the hell I’d missed this play!?!  I think that by dismissing Shakepeare’s comedies in favor of the tragedies I’ve done myself a great disservice.  I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so much!    Here is a picture of Hunter and I during intermission enjoying the beautiful afternoon.  As you can see, we were enjoying ourselves immensely.

Enjoying the beautiful day.

The prior evening’s viewing of Macbeth was unfortunately overshadowed by the tragic accident that occurred on our way home.  I did want to take a few moments to comment on it as well while I am on topic.  I will say that I enjoyed the Scottish Play much, much more than I had anticipated.  A previous reading and audio-performance left me unsure that I would find the play to my liking.   I am pleased to report that I was very, very wrong.  I really did find the play fascinating.  Though the actor playing Macbeth was nowhere near the powerhouse of Alex Organ’s Coriolanus, he was quiet good (and, per Tim, yummy.)  Lady Macbeth, equally, gave a fine performance.  Banquo, one of the most likable characters of the play,  tended toward overacting his part, which was unfortunate.  My favorite character, however, was Macbeth’s porter.  I could happily watch him play the “Knock, knock, knock…” scene a dozen times and never tire of it!

For future performances we’ll be attending soon,  I am excited to say that the Dallas Theater Center is performing the phenomenal King Lear early next year.  In addition, the reset of the lineup for the first round of readings in the “Complete Shakespeare Series” is as follows:

September 23-24: Much Ado about Nothing 
October 14-15: Othello 
November 25-26: The Taming of the Shrew
January 13-14: The Winter’s Tale 
February 17-18: Henry VI Part 1
March 10-11: Henry VI Part 2
April 14-15: Henry VI Part 3
May 19-20: Richard III

Mortality and morality

September 22, 2012

I saw a stranger die tonight in a horrific car accident while on the way home from seeing Macbeth. We stopped to render aid, and as Hunter was parking on the side of the road and calling 911, I ran to the scene of the accident found the body. It was about 30-40 feet from where the truck finally stopped. There was no pulse, no breath, and his clothes were torn half off his body. It was bad. For the rest of my life, I will regret that I didn’t have the presence of mind to administer CPR. It’s true, and I feel terrible. All of the blood, the horror of it all, it got to me and I blanked out. I thought I was stronger than that. I will be next time. I was told by several people that it wouldn’t have done any good, but that still doesn’t alleviate me from that guilt.

It was so surreal. We saw the truck flip about 4 times, coming down the hill straight at our truck. We pulled over immediately to assist, but there was nothing to be done. I make no judgements, but there were full bottles of cold Corona lying all around him (I had to move his hand off a full, capped bottle to get to his wrist to try to find a pulse when I couldn’t get one from his neck) and I can’t imagine how a man of his considerable size could have been thrown from the vehicle if he was wearing a seat belt. ::sigh:: I just keep thinking about the frailty of human life and how he’s never going to show up wherever he was going. HIs family has lost him, his friends have lost him, all in the space of a few seconds. Damn.

I was surprised when on of the Sheriffs that showed up said that most people don’t stop to render aid. How could you NOT? It was obvious that anyone in that truck was going to be in bad shape. The accident was like a movie, it flipped over several times, how could you NOT stop to assist? What the hell, people? Really? So you have to fill out an incident report. So you might have to be inconvenienced for an hour or so. It’s a damn person! UGH

So anyway. That’s my day. I come home from seeing Macbeth and witness this. Then I go all Lady Macbeth, washing my hands to get the dead man’s blood off and just not feeling like they’ll ever come clean. The irony is not lost on me. I don’t believe I’ll be watching the Scottish Play again. Bad memories.

As for me, it’s an Ambien and a prayer that I can sleep tonight.

Drawing is hard, folks. I suppose that if it was easy to do nobody would appreciate it.

Anyway…here’s another thing. If you wan to see stuff done with pencil and paper (which is much better, by the way) check out my facebook page under the “Crap I’ve Drawn” section of my photos.

This is hard!

December 26, 2010

Don’t let anybody fool you, kids. Digital drawing is hard as hell. At least this one took all of 10 minutes to do. Still getting used to the whole thing. Considering I’ve had maybe a total of two hours’ experience I’d say things are coming along nicely. Gimme a month.

Still working out the bugs.

This is just a test

December 19, 2010

This is just a test image of a VERY simple doodle I did. Trying to learn how to use this program to get a web comic up and running. Bear with me and be gentle…it’s my first time.

Trust me, folks...future images will be much better.