Friday, December 30, 2005

Which Day of Christmas is it Today, Anyway?

I'm forever confused about the whole Twelve Days of Christmas thing. Do you count Christmas Day as the first Day of Christmas? One would think so. But then, why is Epiphany when it is? I'm all confused. Some day I'd like to start hosting a yearly Feast of the, but I'd like to a) have a nicer setup here at my house and b) know and understand when one should have a Feast of the, and where it falls in the whole Twelve Days thing.

But enough about that.

I got to the Omaha area on time, and to Logan, IA about 30 minutes late, but it turned out I had the time wrong for some reason that makes no sense (it's all about my stupid brain, mostly), and was actually about 210 minutes late. But at least I got Say a gift she wanted, and one of the three things I got Jordan wasn't something she already had.

I met Carrie's current beau, and was surprised to see Wade & Dane there, because I didn't know they were going to be there--although it is apparently entirely possible I received e-mails explaining they would be there, as I received e-mails saying we were eating at 4:00 at the latest.
Peggy was there, and seemed to be adapting to life in this part of the country, although some of her drawl came with her from whichever Virginia it was she'd been living in. This reminds me, I need to update a lot of people's info on my website. But I digress...

I slept on the floor in the spare bedroom (Dane got the bed), and I now know for sure that I am too old to be sleeping on the floor. I must invest in a good air-mattress (preferably one of those tall ones).

Jordan unwrapped her stuff from Santa the following morning, and our caravan of four vehicles was on the road by 8:00 or so. Wade and Dane took the lead, followed by me, then Leslie & Jordan, then Ruth. Apparently my speedometer is off, so after stopping at a nearby Kum & Go (where I realized I forgot to get Adam and Allison gifts), it was decided I would follow Leslie, keeping up with her.

Wade called several Wal-Marts to see if any were open and on our way to Center, but no such luck. So Adam and Allison received gifts from either a Stuckey's or an analog of Stuckey's. As it turned out, they were good choices, albeit not books, which I prefer to give.

Not far from Macon, Ruth passed us, and Leslie pulled up beside me to try to communicate (yes, I still have no cell phone) that she was stopping at Macon, but Ruth and Wade were not. I didn't know if that meant I was to stop or not, so I opted to keep going.

Luckily, Ruth decided to get behind me. Apparently visions of deadly car accidents danced in her head.

About five miles or so from Center, on Route A, I had a flat tire. Hooray!

I pulled over on a gravel road, and started to change it. Ruth waited with me, and Leslie & Jordan arrived about the time I was jacking up the car.

Leslie decided to drive on, but Jordan wanted to stay with us, as it wasn't going to be long (I just had to change a tire, after all).

Well, surprise of surprises, not all went smoothly. Apparently the tire was FROZEN TO THE... hub, or whatever.

Much wallerin' around under the car to kick at the tire (and risk getting crushed if the jack fell) and several minutes later Ruth drove Jordan and I the rest of the way to Center.

Wade gave me some liquid wrench and a big ol' hammer, and Ruth and I went back to finish the job.

When the tire came off, I got out from under the car, stood up, waving my arms (and the big hammer) in the air, and shouted, "It's a Christmas miracle!"

Anyway, blah blah blah Christmas and good times followed... well, a shower for me followed, then the Christmas and good times.

It's nice to be able to hang out with my family, and my inner child is freaking out that I just typed that.

Leslie, Dane, and I went to see that Narnia movie, then we took Dane to his doctor's appointment, where he was kind enough to hopefully help Dane's mystery swelling go away, but also kind enough to inform Dane (and I) that there might be bad things going on.

But I'm gonna hope for the less bad thing. You can, too.

Anyway, I came back on Wednesday, got some more shopping done, and went to see The Producers last night. Also, I had dinner at Cafe Trio, and I loved it. I especially loved their asparagus. I want to know how they prepared it.

Tonight I bowl. Tomorrow I go to a party (or some parties), and then on Sunday it is the traditional New Year's Day gathering at Patrick & Leighs.

Also, Tricia and I need to discuss my maybe birthday party. Or birthday maybe party, since there is no doubt I'm going to have a birthday... just maybe not a party.

Happy New Year, everyone, in case I don't get to post it before then!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

I'm running late! Raise your hand if you're shocked!

Here's my 2005 Christmas Card (with letter):

Everybody have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Where has December gone?

It's the 22nd? When did that happen? I haven't had the type of December I like to have. I have only done the "veg out in front of the tree" thing about two times.

There was another snow day on the day after the aforementioned snow day, and I knew about it the night before, so I got some time in then.

Remember, people, this is my therapy.

Oh, and if you ever want to be shocked at who reads your blog, toss in some offhanded exaggeration about the number of people who read it! Turns out my 2nd grade teacher and my 7th grade science teacher are rumored to read this thing. Who knew?

I'm THIS (picture fingers very close together) far from having my ducks in a row for these two part-time jobs I'm wanting to get, and once those come through, I'll be well on my way to being debt- (and free-time-) free! Hooray for everything!

I'll probably get my online Christmas card... actually, it's a Holiday card, since I include New Year's in there (hate to burst anyone's bubble, but there's a perfectly reasonable... um... reason to use the "Holidays" thing... THERE ARE TWO HOLIDAYS ONE WEEK APART, AND ARE INCLUDED IN THE WHOLE "HOLIDAY SEASON" THING. Okay, rant over. Nothing ruins Christmas like non-Christian self-proclaimed Christians going around wishing you a Merry Christmas as if the act of wishing you a Merry Christmas was some sort of weapon or act of insurrection. See this entry on one of the blogs I read. And then read this comic.)

Anyway, back to the original thought: I'll probably get my online card and my Christmas letter finished and posted today. I'll link from here as well, in case I miss anyone with my mass e-mail (and apparently I will, since more people than just the 3 I was counting in my head seem to read this).

I'll put an update on here when I'm done. Check back frequently!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snow Day!

Last night around 9:00, while I was on the phone with Tricia, I got the best message in the world: "Mr. Riggs, this is Mrs. Pamperl. We will not be having school tomorrow."

I still woke up at 5:30, but at least I got to go right back to sleep... which lasted until 8:00.

Now that I've killed a few hours, I think I'm going to finish decorating, clean my spare bedroom, clear the front walk for the postman, and grade the papers I brought home with me.

Because there's nothing like a Snow Day to help you relax!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm Typing as Fast as I Can!

Quick update: Nothing in the nodes, so light chemo.

I had a VERY busy week with rehearsals on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, a birthday dinner on Friday, and performances on Saturday and Sunday.

I'll catch all three of you semi-frequent readers up as soon as I can. I must head out the door very shortly.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving, Etc.

Bowman came over with a ladder on Wednesday morning. He helped me get the lights up.

During the lighting of the porch, who should arrive but Kevin Raney! For those of you who have not been following my life, Kevin was the guy who rented this house before me, and was my roommate here for about 20 months or so.

So that was a nice visit.

Then I started putting up the tree, took some junk to the curb, Sara arrived and helped me with my NEW AND IMPROVED TREE LIGHTS, I rushed to pack and get the dishes done (because coming home to a smelly kitchen and dishes waiting to be done is for the birds), got Christmas music loaded into my CD player, and found Christmas music to take home with me.

This way, I'm prepared with holiday music for the drive back to KC, and when I return to KC on Friday night, I can turn the porch lights on, turn my tree lights on (it's still not decorated yet, by the way), and turn on some holiday music.

But I get ahead of myself. There's all sorts of fun between the leaving and the returning.

Just before Sweet Springs we have a flat. Hooray!

While changing the flat, I lose one of the nuts. Hooray!

For the actual "Hooray!", I found the nut, eventually.

We slowly made our way to first Booneville, then Columbia (did you ever notice how few and far between good tire spots are on I-70 at 5:45 the evening before a holiday?), where we lucked out and caught the Wal-Mart folks still open.

New tire. Hooray!

Total time for a trip that usually takes 4 hours on a SLOW trip, and about 3 hours and 15 minutes otherwise: 5 hours and 10 minutes.

So I get home. Not long after I get home, Ruth and Leslie pull me into Mom's room to talk to me. (It's always a good sign when people want to pull you aside, right?)

Short version: My older sister had a cancerous lump in one of her breasts, and opted to have both breast removed, and the surgery was that very day.

Why am I just hearing about it on this day, you may ask?

Well, you need to know a little of my early history, and if you already know this, I apologize. When Mom was in the hospital giving birth to Dane (and probably some time before and after that, but I don't know exactly), my sister took care of me a lot. I was 18 months old when Dane was born. I probably bonded just as much with my older sister as I did with Mom.

So, everyone who knew wanted to put off telling me until they knew where things were. Things are in a fairly good spot now, so it seemed safe to tell me.

Leslie was worried I was going to lose it and start crying, which would mean she would do the same thing. Luckily this year has beaten me down so much and taken so much out of me, all I can do is stare at the horrible things with my mouth slightly slack, and maybe blink a couple of times.

On a less upsetting (but still very stressful) note: The oven decided at 6:30 on Thanksgiving morning that it wasn't going to work.

Luckily Wade knows the people out at the Junction, and they allowed us to use their ovens.

I go to see Les & Paulette, and I got to see Leslie and Jordan, and it was good being home, and I wish I would have spent more time there. Right now I'm debating a trip to Omaha to visit Say.

Anyway, the return trip home wasn't a big deal, as I didn't have a flat or lose a lugnut. And when I got to my house nobody had any horrible news.

I did hear that Ben & Tricia made a big meal on Thanksgiving because Maddie insisted on having a Thanksgiving feast like on Maya and Miguel, and when the turkey was finally done and on the table (there's a whole garbage-disposal-erupts-and-Ben-must-repair-it-as-Tricia-cooks subplot that makes this next bit even better), Madeline says she wants Bologna.

So Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May your holiday season be a good one.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Quest for a Ladder

I'm trying to pre-plan my holiday lighting, which mostly revolves around finding a ladder so I can put my big lights on the roof of the porch.

Last year I borrowed one from Ben & Tricia that was left at their house by the people who re-did their deck. But those people eventually came and got their ladder, so that won't work.

Bowman has a ladder, but and it's a matter of scheduling when he can come over for me to use it. That's no big, but I probably should just invest in one.

But then I think, "You're going to invest in a ladder that you'd use basically once a year?" (Taking down the lights actually doesn't involve a ladder, you see.)

And then there's the whole issue of how to have the lights on AFTER Thanksgiving, but before I come home from Center (where the big Thanksgiving Bash is this year), as I'll probably be going to Center on Wednesday and returning Friday or so. I guess I could just arrive during the day on Friday... but it's such a cool Christmas thing to arrive home at night with the lights greeting me.

Yes, these are the major issues of my life. How do I make it from day to day? Really, it's my faith. My faith in pain medication and sleep.

Well, if you live near me and have a ladder, give me a shout. Maybe I can save Bowman a trip.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Am NOT Depressed! I've Just Been in a Bad Mood for 20 Years!

Or 38. Whatever.

Look, I'm not trying to bring you down. I'm just putting this out there so it's out there.

So back off, non-commenters who have issues. Jeez, it's the world-wide web! There are gazillions of other sites you could be visiting instead of the one that depresses you!

Plus, I'm not depressed. I'm introspective. There's a big difference.

So there, sha na.

Luv y'all lotz.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You Know You're in for a Great Post when I Have to Look Up "Callus"

It's a spelling thing.

I got so wrapped up in lookin gup "callus" that I forgot what I was going to say. Oh yes, that.

I'm wondering if my heart has grown a callus in that area that was being slammed against so regularly about two months ago. At first I thought maybe I was just getting over it, but then when Tricia had her situation, my reaction in the privacy of my own home was not that of someone who was feeling okay.

I guess. Like I know what's the reaction of someone who feels okay.

I don't know. (This is my new theme song, by the way... anyone want to set it to music?)

I don't know much about anything. Someone wake me when the world is all better again.

Also, how did I get to be almost 39 without knowing about the two different ways of spelling callous, and their somewhat different meanings? How callous of me! Okay, it isn't really callous of me, but I wanted to put that in a sentence.

I'm going to go to bed now. This thinkin' thing is for the birds.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Yes, I'm Getting Right on That Update

Well, who knew pancreatitis could be so much FUN?

To summarize: "They'll let her eat tomorrow, and if she keeps it down, she may be able to go home earlier than we thought" Fast forward. "Well, she's running a fever, and the pain is back." Fast forward. "She's having surgery on Friday to have her gall bladder removed." Fast forward. "Well, instead of doing that laser surgery, they had to do the one where they just about saw her in half." Fast forward. "She's in lots of pain."

So I guess I should have posted another prayer request before the surgery.

When I had my gall bladder removed (there's a story, of course, but we'll save that for another time), I had to sign something saying I understood that I might wake up with a gigantic "oh man they cut me in half" scar instead of four smaller scars. I thought, "Well, the way my life goes, I think I know which one I'll wake up to."

Imagine my surprise when I woke up with just the four small scars.

Apparently Tricia wasn't so lucky.

They're moving this week, too. She could be going home as early as the first part of next week, but she won't be able to open boxes or put things away.

But she really wants to direct.

Actually, I don't know what she wants, as she's doped up when I go to see her... well, doped up and in pain.

Her mom took the girls back to our home county, and now both of them are sick.

Let me tell you, this family doesn't do the drama thing halfway. Ben with his leukemia, Trica with her pancreatitis. It goes on and on.

And I don't see how it would be karma, as they are good people. They have taken me in on more occasions than I'm willing to go into right now, the most recent being when I had a broken-and-recently-operated-on leg, and couldn't really shower at my own place.


Also, I forgot to call my friend Leigh on her birthday. I must post this, log off, and call right now. I'll solliloquize more later. And if that's a word, I doubt I spelled it correctly.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Get a Calendar!

Lyndsey's neighbor has Christmas lights up AND ON!

As Damien was pulling into the driveway tonight, I saw that and shouted, "Get a calendar! I'm going over there with it!"

I like my lighting of the holiday cheer like I like my comas: From Thanksgiving Night until the evening of January 7th. Or maybe it the evening of the 6th of January. That part I'm flexible on.

Anyway: grrrrr...

But, you know, I'm not going to write my congressman or anything. It's just bothersome.

Yes, yes, put up the lights while we're having the 80-degree heatwave in November, I'm fine with that. But can you not hold off on lighting them until we've sorta wrapped up the whole Thanksgiving thing?

I know: this is not the most important issue in the world, so I should shut up about it.

Look at me, I'm the cranky old man.

Well, I've got to get to bed... but I'm still reeling over the ending of Lost last night, as I was not expecting what happened until right when it happened. And I'm in denial, because I'd just gotten to where I liked that character. Maybe she won't die. But I'm not holding my breath.

Yes, only the important issues are discussed here, folks.

I need to get an e-mail sent out about the upcoming concert. I have a solo in the 2nd act, and I portray a fun character (well, fun to portray, anyway... I'll let you make your own judgment as to how fun the character is when you come to see the concert). If you know what concert I'm talking about, you should go order your tickets now. They're selling fast. If you don't know, I'll probably be sending out an e-mail soon with all the details.

Well, be good in the meantime, children.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sunrise, Sunset

Due to me being lazy and/or tired this morning, I was driving to work at about 6:30 instead of 5:30, and thus got to see a very beautiful morning sky. The cloud cover was that sorta bumpy spread-out deal, and it was very bright pink, deep purple, and a mix of some colors in between.

Then, as I left the school at 4:45 tonight, a great sunset was in the making. The clouds were very... streaky, I guess would be one way of putting it, and were very deep purple with bright pink and deep red surrounded them.

And I had to think, "What a waste."

I kid. But I was a bit bitter about it, because I just think, "Why waste such great views on the likes of us?"

A friend of mine mentioned something yesterday about there being no god, and this is a religious friend who is going through some stressful times this past... um.. nine years or so--off and on.

And I found this to be upsetting. See, despite my agnatheist status... okay, I'm kidding... I don't know what I am... humanist, maybe? Anyway, despite that status, unlike the recruiting-happy branches of one religion that shall remain un-named in this post, I'm not interested in getting other people to think like me.

Granted, it would be nice to meet people who think like me, but that's another issue.

Anyway, I don't know what to do... or if there's anything for me to do. I just find it very upsetting, because there's not a lot of comfort in believing what I believe. I don't like to think of someone who used to have some belief losing that faith.

But the sunrise and the sunset today were pretty.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Another Prayer Request

Tricia's in her favorite hospital (Providence). You people who pray can feel free to pray that she's out of that place as quickly as possible. Pancreatitis is what they're going with right now, and it's a matter of waiting for the swelling to go down.

So do her a favor and pray hard, praying folk.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

To Business! (SFX: glasses clinking)

I kid. And I quote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Well, I added the sound effect so you'd get the idea.

Anyway, not getting to business.

I was actually going to say a thing or two here, but after all the housekeeping I had to do on this site, I've forgotten what I wanted to say.

I think I was going to mention that Jordan had a birthday yesterday, and is now less than two years away from being a teen.

I also wanted to say something about my crazy holiday light issue, as I just found a great deal on lights for my tree.

And I was going to mention how life keeps trying to seem better, but jarring memories and emotions are lurking behind the most innocent-looking bushes. This led to a thought about how it's like living in this crazy place where the road is kinda bumpy and you never know what's around the next corner, but you're almost guaranteed to not be happy to see it... and then I realized we had a four-letter word for that: life.

Ha ha. I kid the end of the world, but I love it.

MST3K quote there.

Things are going more normal these days. I had dinner with the family Reynolds over the weekend, and I saw a MST3K (a Joel one, even) I'd never seen before. Fun stuff!

Also, Halloween party on Saturday. Very good time.

Yes, good times abound.


Next week I'll shoot for an exclamation point.

Okay, I'm tired. I don't remember what I really wanted to say, but it seemed cool when I first thought of it. How better to memorialize it than with this pathetic substitute ramble-fest?


Charlie Brown, we miss you so.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Now THAT is an Unhappy Mark

In response to an interesting question someone posed to me yesterday, I now defer to my small reading audience:

How do you know when I'm unhappy?

I have no idea how other people know when I'm unhappy, and I'm curious to hear what signals are. Or have you just never seen me unhappy?

I think I coast at numb, but maybe I'm wrong.

And now that I think about it, the word might have been "sad", and not "unhappy". So reply for both, please.

I anxiously await the flood of responses that aren't junk-posts from advertisers.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Traffic Light Reflection

This afternoon I was sitting at the traffic light southbound on Rainbow Boulevard at 43rd Avenue (in a car, obviously... not just sitting there) thinking about... I don't know, whatever I think about, which many friends and other people required to spend time with me might argue is EVERYTHING...

I've lost my train. Oh, there it is.

I was sitting there thinking and waiting for the light to change, when I had a thinking fit, of sorts.

I was remembering that last time I ever saw Mom, which is to say the last time I ever will see her (in this world, anyway... I haven't ruled out an afterlife, I'm just not totally sold on it). I flashed onto that moment where I leaned down and told her it was okay if she needed to go, we understood.

I thought, "What a stupid person I was."

Because this other part of me, this huge and loud part of me--which was apparently sleeping these last few years, after Mom went into the nursing home, and I knew it was just going to be a rerun of Grandma's time at those nursing homes--this part of me feels that it wasn't okay. It feels as if some part of me is gone now because she's gone. I don't know what I believe about anything, but I'm starting to believe some part of what little joy I carried around with me was there because she was alive. Sorta like she was a life support system for a chunk of my joy.

I know, that's stupid and superstitious and more like crazy talk than real talk. Or real sane talk, anyway.

Of course, barring some crazy miracle, what else could I have wanted for her? My hope is that wherever she is now, she's reconnected with all of her mind. That's my hope anyway.

Jeez, talk about "I'm crying as I type."

Anyway, at the stop light I realized that part of me isn't happy with me for saying that, even though other parts of me (and people who have posted comments here agree) thought it was the right thing to do.

I'm sorry I didn't hold her hand. I'm sorry I didn't work harder to figure out if Dane wanted to kiss her or not.

I've been missing Mom for a while now, and for most of that time I thought I was just doing a drawn-out grieving thing. Apparently it was an "ignore it and it will go away" thing.

Time to pay the piper.

And I feel weird that I have a hard time talking to my friends about stuff. I feel weird that I'm talking to a minister of a church I don't go to. It helped to talk with him, and I plan to talk to him again, but does it say something about me that I'm not having this conversation with friends? It must, because I'm not having this conversation with friends because I don't know how... or that I can.

Blah blah blah, me me me. How's everyone else doing?

I'm going to end this blahfest with that happy piece of news. The Wilders won the Pitch's "Best of Kansas City" award in the country music category. Go over to their blog at and congratulate 'em!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Every Week Lasts a Month

Probably in part because of how busy I am, but probably also in part because my brain is dealing with too much in my life, every week seems to last about a month.

I know part of it is the whole "yet another 'first year' at school" thing. I'm teaching Pre-Algebra to some of my kids this year, and it's like a first year all over again. I had my second first year three years ago when I started teaching math, and it was kinda similar.

And then there's the whole, "Where did I put that handbook for grieving?"

Anyway, looks like someone jumped from behind to overtake Ruth, and now she's at #5. I don't think some matching funds have come through yet, so she may make it back up to at least #4. Still, it's cool so many people gave to the cause. Thanks to all that did.

Speaking of "Thanks", also on my to-do list is all the Thanks You's I need to send out. The plan is an e-mailed "Thank You" to the e-mailed people, and a card to everyone who sent a card, plant, tater-tot casserole (okay, nobody sent one, but Jhoneric threatened to), or whatnot. I'm not sure what Emily Post says the window of Thank You sending is for a death. I'm not going to look it up. I'll just give myself until the end of the week, as that would be a month from the death itself.

Had a nice long chat with a Methodist Minister this week. It was kinda good to just puke my life out at him. I know, bad visual. But I mean it was nice to just sorta blurt it all out to somebody. Poor him.

But how funny is it that I'm having a sit-down chat with a minister of anything? (Okay, Minister of Magic, maybe...) But I mean of a religion. Also, is "Minister" the title in the Methodist Church? I should look this up.

Anyway, I'm not anti-church. Seriously, I'm not. I'm just anti-"I believe this and thus you must believe it also, and it must be the guiding factor in every decision our government makes, and our way is the only way". Which is a long bit to be anti- about.

Frankly, I don't know what I believe. I'm not willing to just say, "Well, what you believe is impossible," because really, it's just some level of improbable, isn't it? Or probable. Really, one is the compliment of the other, so I guess by choosing "improbable" first, I appear to be a glass-half-empty kind of guy. But in this case I picked "improbable" because I'm a fan of Douglas Adams' five-book trilogy.

Long week. Couple of respites in there (talking with Andy, dinner with friends (Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday (because when I went to get those DVDs from The Jahnz Thursday night, they shared their pizza with me as we watched Smallville and their home videos from the tourney in St. Louis)), rehearsal on Tuesday, and even my laundromat visit on Monday was a bit of a break). Wow, I just went parenthesis-happy there. So it was a VERY long week, but with several respites from the stress of life. That's all that long bit was meant to mean.

Okay, Ruth is walking as I type, or about to, or just finished doing so. I am going to log off and give her a call.

That is, after I e-mail that company about being hired to tutor. Wish me luck with that.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Never Wish Anyone Dead

Okay, after several days to cool down, I must now post that I don't truly wish my eldest brother dead.

I do wish him peace, but I don't know how he's going to find it this lifetime. But that's pretty much true of everyone, I guess.

Also, I wish I could stop posting with so many typographical errors. A spell-check and a proofread would probably help. So I'm wishing I'd start doing those more often.

Now be sure to scroll down so you can go donate some money to the Alzheimer's Association via my sister's Memory Walk on October 1.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Ruth is Walking

Ruth is walking in the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Walk, in Memory of Mom. If you'd like to read what she wrote about it, or would like to sponsor/donate/whatever, here is where you can do that.

Also, I haven't deleted any actual comments. They were ads or something. Junk comments. Go figure.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Very Traditional Service

I finally made it back to Center on Thursday. Apparently lots had been going on. Ed, who on Monday was saying, "If we have a service, Mom is going to haunt us," or something of the like, has decided that since we're having a service, it MUST be a TRADTIONAL one. Any thoughts we had of, "We can just have everyone sing a few of her favorite hymns and maybe Dane read a few scriptures" were thrown out the window by the drunken organist (that's Ed, for those of you who don't know my brother) and by a VERY EVIL minister/preacher/overlord/whatever-they-call-the-religious-leader-in-a-Disciples-of-Christ-church.

Five songs would be out of the question, as the tradition is two at most. I'm not even sure if they asked for five songs. It might have been four.

"The church isn't air-conditioned upstairs. We don't want to go too long. (We don't want the neighbors to think we don't know how to have a service.) (We have to get our advertisement in about our church, as it's not important to respect the dead, we just want more numbers every Sunday!) "

They last two are parenthetical, because they're the unspoken actual reasons.

Anyway, Ruth called Ed to tell him that since he knows exactly what should be done, and after turning it all over to Ruth, Wade, and Leslie, went behind their back to get the EVIL OVERLORD of the church on his side (not that it takes much, apparently, as the man isn't there to help anyone through a process, but instead wants more people to come to his church each week), he can decide how everything is going to be done--except that Dane will be reading scripture. Ed didn't answer, so she left this on his voice mail, and did it politely, according to Leslie.

Friday Ruth gets a text message from Ed, referring to her as Lady Hitler (which seems like it needs to be a song title) and saying they need to talk.

The funny part is, Ruth is the non-conflict person in our family. She doesn't freak out about it, but she majorly avoids it where possible.

So, she's upset, going over to Ed's place (which is like two blocks away), and Lelise decides to drive her, and Wade wants to go with her. I decide to go with, also.

It didn't go well. Ed tried to rationalize that since songs make people cry, that's why he didn't want too many songs. Ruth didn't have much time to cry "bulls--t", because Wade jumped in with a "Shut the f--k up" shortly afer that. But seriously, "bulls--t" needs to be cried here, because here are the five songs: Come to the Church in the Wildwood, Onward Christain Solders, Bringing in the Sheaves, Count Your Blessings, and The Old Rugged Cross. Of those five, only the fifth is anywhere close to being a "weep" song, and it's not all that close.

Well, it was loud, and ended it by threatening to go to the "Traditional" service in drag and telling Ed to keep drinking because he wasn't dead yet.

Yeah, it's bad to wish people dead. And if he counted as a person, maybe I wouldn't have wished it. Okay, he counts as a person, but he's a pickled evil person.

The funy part is, we had all sorta decided to just grin-and-bear-it. Our Aunt Rachel was due to arrive about 5 minutes after Ruth got the text message, and we were just going to suck it up for her (she was the one who pulled rank and said we had to have a service at the church in the first place).

Well, they arrived about 20 minutes after we got back home, and there was no sucking it up.

The even funnier bit is, Ruth was ready to go over to Ed's on Sunday morning to make peace, then Dane told us that at church that day Ed told LaRita Poage that we had wanted TEN songs for that service.

Evil drunk organist, I tell you. Now a LYING evil drunk organist... but the "evil" kinda covers that.

Anywho, back to Saturday, the service was okay, but the flippin EVIL OVERLORD-PREACHER-WHATEVER spoke for about twenty minutes... if not longer. And this would have been fine, had it been about Patsy. But the freakin' guy turned the last half (at least) into a stinkin' advertisement for his stinkin' church.

Granted, I've learned all churches must be evil or cowards (see earlier posts), but I thought they actually gave a crap about people who died. Maybe it's only people who died and left a large amount of money to the church.

So, instead of singing songs my mother enjoyed (and as long as he spoke, we probably could have fit three more songs in, not just two), we got to find out all about the Christian Church. Neat. Wonder what his room in hell will be like.

But Dane got to read scripture.

Oh yeah, and while the drunk organist had his back to everyone playing the first song (The Old Rugged Cross), our cousins Mike and David showed up. David broke his neck years ago and is in a wheelchair. This caused Dane and a few others to start crying, and seeing Dane cry made me start crying. So you know that drunk organist bast--d was thinking, "See, I was right. Songs make people cry!"

Whatever. Ruth is gonna talk to him while she's back there this weekend. Who knows how that will go. Mainly she's worried that in a drunken fit of self-pity he's gonna flush mom's ashes down the toilet or something.

The thing on Sunday, the thing we originally planned and Ed opted not to attend, was great. It's what I want when I'm dead. We planned for 50 and 30-some-odd showed up (I wish my Aunt Rachel and my cousins Cheryl and Karen could have stayed, as I think they would have enjoyed it), and I learned stuff about my mom I never knew. Only Peggy Swon wept while speaking, and that was okay because she kept apologizing about it, so it was sorta funny.

Whatever you want to happen while you're dead, you should probably write it down. And if you have a drunk jerk for your first-born, make it clear in some sort of legal document that he not be allowed to have anything to do with your services.

But I'm not bitter.

Several people e-mailed pictures of them wearing red over the weekend. I think I'm going to declare August 20 (Mom's birthday) as "wear-red-for-Patsy-day" every year, and have people e-mail me pics of them in red. Think anybody will?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Rest In Peace

Patsy Ann (Hickerson) Riggs
August 20, 1930 - September 6, 2005
She didn't smoke, and she couldn't stand the smell--let alone the taste--of beer.
This picture is a joke. She liked to laugh. She thought it was more useful than crying.

Thanks for the prayers/thoughts/karma

I was going to go to bed as soon as I got home from school yesterday, but didn't. Then there were phone calls from Ruth and Leslie, as they both were heading to Center. Rusty had been calling the nursing home throughout the day to get Mom's vitals, and she thought it was going to be soon.

I finally got to bed a little after 8:00.

Ruth got the call when she was about 5 minutes from the nursing home. She left me a message (there's a long story about why the phone upstairs doesn't work, and my bedroom is upstairs) shortly after that. I woke up at 2:30 this morning, and came downstairs to see if there was a message. It was the first message.

Thanks to everyone who prayed or thought of us or sent us karma.

I honestly thought the relief that she wasn't suffering any more would somehow make this feel better.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Prayer Request

For those of you who have a deity of choice, and of those, those who has a deity of choice that takes requests:

Ruth called this morning (read: YESTERDAY morning, as I've just now gotten home, and it's after midnight) to let me know Mom "isn't responding" to the nurses. She's not eating, and as per Mom's wishes, they aren't going to go to any excessive steps to keep her alive. Originally Ruth was told it could be 7 to 10 days, or it could be a month, or... etc.

So Ruth and I decided to go home to see Mom one last time. Sara wanted to go to, so we went and got her, and drove her bigger vehicle (which eats more gas, but will carry all us big folk all the better).

Ruth had gotten it more nailed down to 7 to 10 days on the whole "waiting period" thing. So we felt justified in our road-tripping.

If you haven't figured it out by now (those of you who know me, especially), my family deals with stuff mostly through humor. We had some fun chitchat all the way home, and many laughs were had.

Mom has always been vocal about not wanting a funeral. There's some disagreement as to whether or not she wanted any service at all (memorial, for instance), but I do agree with Ruth that she has said she didn't want people feeling like they had to get dressed up, etc. (or something along those lines).

So, discussion with Wade, Dane, Ed, (and the three of us) over what to do. Ed mentions "mom has some labored breathing, and doesn't really look around". Dane, Ruth, Sara, and I head to Palmyra to the nursing home.

Yeah, "some laboered breathing".

A visual: Have you ever seen an animal (maybe a happy-go-lucky dog, or maybe a rabbit) that has been hit by a car, and is lying at the side of the road, breathing hard, maybe in a lot of pain and maybe in shock?

An audible: Have you heard that animal taking each breath as if it might be the last?

That's what we walked in on, except the animal was the woman who brought us into the world. Sara lost it (this is no surprise, because she is the least skilled at keeping her upset bottled up), and that made it hard for us not to lose it.

I wanted to hold Mom's hand one last time, but she was sorta wrapped in her blanket, and I didn't want to unwrap her and maybe make her cold. So, after several minutes, I settled for stroking her hair, kissing her cheek, and whispering to her that if she needed to go, she should. We would understand.

This was after Ruth stood by her a while, and while Sara came and went from the room as her mood would allow.

Sara went to give Mom a kiss, and I needed to lower the side rail. I told Dane if he wanted to kiss mom, I could help him get to her, or if he didn't want to, that was good too.

Dane isn't very vocal about his wants sometimes, you see, and I do this thing where I ask him way too many questions.

Anyway, as I lower the bar for Dane, that's when he loses it... and that's when I lose it and Ruth loses it. Sara re-lost it to the point of just going to the vehicle.

So here's the prayer request, because it was the first thought I had when I came into that room and saw and heard this woman for whom I have so much love and all other kinds of emotions in my heart: An amazing miracle would be nice... the kind where she comes back as good as she was 10 years ago, like nothing ever happened. Or... this part where her breath comes in loud gasps, and she stares off at the wall like she sees Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Bud and Aunt Deana Mae gently waving her on to their part of the universe, and all the people still here who love her listen to each gasp wondering if it will be the last while at the same time wondering if she's scared or panicked or simply wishing it would all be over... this part needs to be as short as possible. If we're talking 7 to 10 days, I vote 7 or less.

She wasn't perfect in this life. She didn't live her live without bringing pain to others. Who has? But she wasn't Hitler. She didn't go out of her way to cause pain. She tried to do the best she could with what she had where she was.

So pray everything comes back to normal in a very Deus Ex Machina sort of way, or she goes to be with the family that is waiting for her on the other side, and goes soon.

I'd appreciate it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

My god is a Milquetoast god, with little-to-no upper body strength...

I'm confused a bit by this whole "Chrstianity-as-victim" movement... or what appears to be a movement. Let me try to summarize what I'm hearing:

Apparently, Jesus is so threatened by school boards referring to the break that lasts more than one day during winter as "Winter Break" that his followers have to shout "political correctness" and "Why are you attacking Christmas?" from the mountain-tops. Apparently, Jesus is like my friend Lyndsey (who was also born in December... although she has a birth certificate to prove it and no sub-group of followers that believes she was born at some other part of the year), who believes her birthday has to be celebrated for at least a week, if not two... or the entire month. Now, Lyndsey is just self-centered and demanding. Jesus, apparently, is just TERRIFIED of the word "Winter".

I understand, since he stole someone else's holiday, he might be worried about karma or having to pay the piper. But, he's JESUS, for cryin' out loud! Doesn't he have some sorta super-power like flying and shooting lasers out his eyes that will protect him from the evil hordes of school boards that want to do something anti-christian like being tolerant of others?

Yes, Jesus and his daddy are apparently just wimps... or at least perceived to be so by most of their followers. They have to rewrite American history (you know, the whole "under god" thing wasn't in the pledge until about 50 years ago... so "tradition" my hind end) and now simply being tolerant of others means you're ATTACKING Christmas.

Poor Christians. They really should pick a god that can stand up to those bullies...

Now, perhaps you're in what is apparently the minority of Christians who actually aren't worried that their god is a Milquetoast god with little-to-no upper body strength. Perhaps you believe they don't represent a majority of Christians. To you, I ask, "Who have you told? Who have you gotten together with to organize some sort of movement to point out the nut-job, hate-mongering, rat-crap crazy Christians don't represent your religion? How many times have you called news outlets who identify Conservative Christians as Christians, instead of Conservative Christians, to say you demand in the future they make sure to make the distinction?"

If your answer to those questions are "Nobody... nobody... none..." and you still want to complain about what I've had to say, my response to you is the same as what your response needs to be to any wing-nut who is misrepresenting that wonderful religion of yours:

Shut the frell up, nut-job.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"I'll post more soon" my butt!

And a month later...

I need to state for the record that I don't remember everyone who was in the Emergency room. I'm talking friends and family here, not people who work at the hospital...

Kathleen was there, I believe. I can't remember who else, but it seems like I'm forgetting someone.

My nurse in the emergency room, Adam, is--I believe I mentioned it last time, but if not, now you know--what my guardian angel will have to look like for me to believe it is my guardian angel. There's something about giving up all control and relying on someone that... well, that first is totally against my nature, and secondly, when forced to do it, is horrible to live through. Having someone there who genuinely seemed to want to take care of me whenever I was freaking out about nausea, shortness-of-breath, iminent death, etc., well, was nice.

When they took me to ICU, and none of my friends-and-family crowd could be there, that was when I got to finally lose it. They put me in the ICU bed, and I started feeling like I was gonna hurl, and I mentioned this. Luckily, a bar skill I've almost mastered means I can usually talk myself down from throwing up. This involves not talking, however.

So Julie and Adam were getting me all situated in bed, and I'm trying not to hurl, and just as I get that taken care of, Julie mentions that if I need something to calm me down so I can rest, she can get something.

And THAT made me lose it. I was freaked out about the T.P.A. and Adam had said it was important for me to let him know if I felt different AT ALL, so I said, "I don't want the last thing to do to be to go to sleep." Tears, tears, emotionally unstable 38-year-old on display here.

Julie was great. I guess if my guardian angel looks like her, I'd buy that. When I told her that, she said, "You are my only patient. If you want me to sit here and wake you up every time you go to sleep, I can do that. Whatever it will take to keep you calm." The sweetie.

So I spent that night and the next night in ICU. I felt great after the first night. I think I felt great that evening, but was just too tired to actually FEEL that I felt great. Or improved, anyway. Then there was the fun of getting my INR at the right level. That took until the morning of June 30th.

My insurance company wouldn't pay for Coumadin, but would pay for the generic, Warfarin. Mostly that just means they have to readjust my levels, but I guess that's okay if the insurance company is paying for the extra weekly visits to the coagulation clinc.

Originally when I started that last post, I was gonna have a contest of sorts, inviting people to vote for a name for this story. I've gotten over the contest idea, but the choices included "Islands in the Stream", "Hey Vera, We Got Another Stiff in the John.", and "I Can't Die; I'll Never Find Out What Happens on 'Lost'" (that last one was what I was thinking as they were putting me in the machine for my CAT scan).

So here's the big rub of the whole situation: I've believed for most of my life that I can pretty much take or leave this world. I don't get people who talk about how wonderful it is, etc., and I don't think I ever really will. Don't get me wrong, I think there are great part to it, but all-in-all it isn't a paradise... where would religion be if it were?

Then a thing like this happens, and I'm confronted with the realization that as much as I have little-to-no positive feelings for this place, I don't really want to leave it.

That's not the rub, by the way. The rub comes when you're in the ambulance, shocked at the realization that you actually have an opinion about whether or not you live or die, and then have the YOU of you step up and say, "If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die. I can't control it. I may as well just sit back and enjoy it, like getting drunk for the first time, or riding a roller coaster, or some other strange and slightly-frightening experience.

And there it is. I sorta started closing up shop. I'm trying to figure out how to turn that around, and it's difficult. I've thought about writing Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., because his "theology" is similar to mine... but I don't really know him, and that would be odd.

I spilled some of this to Ben & Tricia, and that actually helped a chunk. It wasn't weighing me down as much, anyway. But still, I don't know what to think now that I know I used to not want to leave this place, but part of me became resigned to it anyway. All of me became resigned to it, really. That's the part that freaks me out the most, I guess.

So, I keep melodramtically throwing around the phrase "nearly died", in the hopes that I'll become numb to it... and plus it strikes me as funny to sound so joke-y about it.

In good news, by Thursday I may remove myself from this boot. The doctor had me increase my weight on it by 25% each week. I had an appointment on 100% day, and he told me to take the boot off during the next 2 weeks.

Also, Thursday I'm going to see The Wilders perform, and then again on Friday. And I have family coming in town on Friday. The good kind.

The good kind of family, not the good kind of Friday. Good Friday was some time ago.

See? I think it's all about trying to make your life go back to normal. Trying to find a way to "reset to an earlier saved version", so that you're not crazy any more. Let's try it, shall we?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Vote for your favorite title...

Wow... it's been a while. I have a good excuse, though...

After summer school on June 22nd, I wheeled (I used a wheelchair while at summer school this year, because I can move much faster in a wheelchair) to the restroom. I can tell you I was in a stall without letting you know in too much detail "which I had to do", because when you can't put weight on on leg, it's best to sit down for both numbers.

As I hopped twice and sat back in my wheelchair, I felt very winded. This had been going on for about 14 hours or so, and I was thinking it was because I was getting a chest cold (I'd had that feeling in my chest since about Monday...). I turned to open the stall and wheeled backwards out of it, and then it happened...

The entire world started going away. I was short of breath and I'm not in the best of health anyway, so my first thought was, "I'm going to die right here in the bathroom at school."

The next thought was that scene in the movie "9 to 5" where the custodian finds the dead body in the wheelchair in the bathroom and says "We've got another stiff in the john." I'm thinking I might change this title to that exact quote, once I get it off the DVD.

Job one for me was to stop myself from passing out. I just told myself it wasn't allowed and started wheeling my way out. As I went out the door, I thought, "This is going to end in the hospital."

I saw Adam, the Social Studies teacher on our team, walking down the hall away from me. I called out "Anderson", in what I thought was a loud and clear voice. He told me it wasn't, and what I heard sounded like I was far away when I said it.

I called out a second time and he heard me. He asked what was wrong, and by this time I was feeling a touch better, so I said I wasn't feeling well, and that I almost passed out.

We discussed, and another teacher showed up. Since I hadn't eaten since about 6:30 or so the night before, they opted to get me some food and drink. The other teacher, John, brought me a drink and started mentioning the emergency room. Adam had to run help someone who needed something from the gym, and I only vaguely remember telling him, "I'm fine now, thanks."

I called my doctor, but his office was closed for lunch. When I told John I had to call back in 10 minutes, he got a little more adamant about the emergency room. I figured he could see what I looked like better than I could, so I agreed.

Once we were outside in natural lighting, he asked, "Do you think we should call 911?" I asked him what he thought, since I wasn't very objective at that point (part of me didn't want to cause such a big to-do).

So, 911 was called and I got to spend time in the ambulance as they got all my vitals. At this point I started figuring whatever it was (I was somewhat convinced it wasn't a heart attack, because it didn't FEEL like one), for some reason it was important to me that I keep making dumb jokes. I thought if I was going to die, I wanted the last people to see me to think I was funny.

Backtrack: Before the ambulance arrived, John loaned me his phone and I called my sister. I told her I was short of breath and light-headed, and was heading for the emergency room. She asked if she should head that way, and I told her not to worry about it. Apparently, when I got in the ambulance John hit redial and said I was making it sound less serious than it was and asked if she was going to the emergency room (if she wasn't going, he was).

They checked some stuff in the ambulance, and then took me to North Kansas City Hospital. It was after all the flurry of doctors and nurses around me, when I was alone there in room number 5, that I realized why I should have asked my sister to come: When you're in the emergency room, thinking you may die at any minute, you don't really want to be alone.

Ruth showed up about the same time the x-ray folks showed up, and I nearly bawled my eyes out. Fortunately we don't share emotions a lot in my family, so I kept it somewhat under control.

The next bawl-fest was when the doctor said, "We've ruled out all the big stuff." Again, a short-lived one.

Lyndsey showed up sometime in there (John called her), and Tricia showed up some time after that (Lyndsey called her). Due to how both of their fathers left this world, they weren't in the best shape when they arrived.

Tim the principal showed up. He'd arrived at the school and heard all the news and came to see me. Alice and Patrick showed up (Tim, the principal, called her).

Leigh showed up some time after that.

For the purposes of my internal clock, by the way, everthing at the hospital happened at 1:30 in the afternoon. I was shocked to learn it was evening when they wheeled me to ICU. But I get ahead of myself.

A gaggle of doctors came through. Dr. Ryan (the emergency room doctor) told me I had a blood clot in each lung. They figured it came from my surgery on my leg. Apparently this sort of thing happens 20% of the time. He went on to tell me about treatments and how they didn't want to use TPA because bad things could happen (internal bleeding, blood on the brain...). I agreed those were bad things.

Dr. Bowlin arrived. He was taking over for Dr. Ryan. He told me the same things, especially the part about why we wanted to avoid using TPA. Okay, I'm officially sufficiently frightened of TPA at this point.

Dr. Hawa (I might be making up that spelling) arrived and said the same thing, making sure that I associated TPA with a bloody, brain-damaged death.

Then they checked out my chest with the EKG/Sonogram thingy. Well, apparently the right side of my heart was trying so hard to push blood past the clots in my lungs that it was almost twice the size it should be. Normally there are 25 thingies of pressure on it, but I was at 70 thingies. "Use of TPA is indicated," Dr. Hawa says after he explains this to me.

"So you're gonna use the scary drug?"

Welcome to bawl-fest number three. (I have to clarify, these weren't actually bawling fits, but tears appeared in my eyes in front of other people, which never happens).

To wrap this up and save more for a later post:

They put me on TPA in addition to the Heparin they already had me on, and I was afraid to go to sleep that night because I didn't want that to be the last thing I ever did.

I just got out today, and I'm happy to say I feel pretty good (other than being tired, because a hospital is THE WORST PLACE to sleep... especially when they keep coming in to take your vitals and your blood and fix the lead that fell off and so on and so forth). I'm going to see my leg doctor here shortly, and we'll see what he says about me walking on it.

There's much more to this tale, but I want to eat lunch now. The clots are gone, and I'm on Coumadin to keep my blood thin until I've been active on this leg for a while. Thanks to lots of people (a list will be coming), especially John, who made me get this looked at.

Oh yeah, did you figure out that the blood clots would have to have gone thru my heart to get to my lungs? That took me about 24 hours to work out, and I freaked out a bit at that.

Okay, enjoy your day. I'll post more soon, I hope.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I've fallen, and I can't get up...

Oh, the things that have happened since the last post...

I went to OKC, and it was a great time. We had a friendly waitress at Beverly's Pancake Corner. Her name was Brittany (I think), and her mother's name was Smokey, but we never got to meet her because we weren't able to come in the following day as planned.

The memorial was a downer, and we practically had to carry Jhoneric through it, and it was hard not to mist up going through the museum, but still it was a great trip.

Speaking of great trips...

Mother's Day weekend I saw Mom. It wasn't as bad as previous visits, so I'm in a slightly better place. I got to visit Les & Paulette (they are at the top of my webpage (and are the pic you click to get here, actually) and are my 2nd set of parents).

And speaking of great trips...

On Mother's Day, I was at Ben & Tricia's (as is my Sunday custom), doing laundry (as is my custom now that my washing machine has died and is the custom on days when I think I can save a few bucks by doing laundry there...), and watching our Sunday shows. I went upstairs during the first commercial break in Desperate Housewives because I'd forgotten all about my laundry. There wasn't an actual rush to beat the commercials, because they have PVR and can pause the show, etc.

But, as I was carrying my whites down the stairs, I noticed that the commercial break was not over. I was very amazed by this. I was so amazed, in fact, that I forgot I still had one or two steps left to go!

There was cracking, and tearing, and gasps, and my hand instinctively doing emergency re-positioning of bones, and all kinds of fun.

Olivia was asleep, but Maddie was not, and she was beside herself with worry. If there's one thing to take your mind off your horrible situation, it's the desperate need to get a four-year-old's mind off your horrible situation.

All kinds of insurance fun will be discussed later, perhaps. But the emergency room doc thought I should be admitted and that surgery would be needed. Then later--after some insurance-related thought, I'm sure--they decided to send me on my way and have me call the orthopedic surgeon the following day.

I ended up having the surgery this past Thursday. Good times.

I'm currently staying with my sister, and debating when I should return home. It's mostly the fact that I have stairs at home and would be alone that is keeping most people arguing for me to stay either with Ruth, Ben & Tricia, or other volunteers (props to Lyndsey).

I'm going a bit stir crazy, especially now that something's up with my connection to the school via the web, and I don't know how much of this I can stand. And I need to shave.

So there's the news. I hope everyone is having a great day.

Oh, I forgot! Andra came to town and I missed it! That was just before Mother's Day weekend. I'm upset about that, but not as upset as her, I'm sure, since I've yet to contact her about it. I realized Saturday night that I never got back to her or Bee. I'm a schmuck. So it goes.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What mood?

Oh, and by the way... I'm thinking this horrible empty "no 'good-bye' moment" thing is a large part that has made me such the anti-social creature that I've become over the past few years. Also, it might be part of the aging process.

But I do find it hard to get motivated to hang with folks. It seems sorta what's-the-point-y. Only the persistent ones seem to get me to hang with them. I need to work on this.

Scott's birthday was this past Tuesday. I meant to go visit him. This week was just too crazy. It took me 10 years to go the first time, so I'm sure he didn't expect me to show. Plus there's the whole "being dead" thing. Jhoneric said he go with me next time, though, so that's a bonus.

Anyway, this is mainly for those of you who think I've written you off or whatever. I'm just in a mood. It'll either go away or it won't. Nothing personal. If you keep contacting me, you'll have more success, though.

Again with the Happy Easter.

Speaking of death...

It's Easter, and the topic on everyone's mind is death... albeit mostly associating it with that whole conquering death thing that Easter is about. Or something.

So what a great opportunity to share something that I am unable to share with anyone in person, because it's sort of horribly emotional and nothing I want to talk about in person.

We have this song we're singing in this next concert which is about "mother". I find the last verse--which mainly focuses on how when it's her time to go, I hope she sees the love in my eyes that I saw in hers as I was growing up--to be particularly painful to make it through.

Here's the thing: there's no "good-bye" moment with someone in my mom's state. I mean, it's not just that whole, "I never got to say good-bye" or "The last thing I said to her was, 'You've got tuna salad on your blouse'" thing. There's NO "good-bye" moment. I'll never know when the "good-bye" moment was. I'll never know what the ACTUAL last thing I said to her was, in her mind.

Was it when I asked her about Uncle Bud at that Hardee's in Mexico, MO a few years ago? Was it something that I said to her that Christmas she came to Omaha? Was it me running in as a little boy, a deep gash in the back of my right hand, screaming, "I'm gonna die!" Was it some awful thing I said to her in my horrible teen years? Was it me asking her if dad was going to die?
Does she even remember me existing?

The big thing is, where is she? Where's that woman that was my mother? The one who said, "You just as well laugh as cry" and "Who's driving the truck?" and "Like a bicycle," (in response to someone saying they were too tired) and the one who'd sing "Marsie Doats" and about ten other old standards whenever the whim would strike her... that woman is where, exactly?

And who is staring at me when I'm at the nursing home? Who is giving me that angry look? Is it the woman who said, "If I ever get like gramdma, I want you to promise you'll kill me." Is she laying there, looking at me, thinking, "Well, you promised, didn't you?"

Happy Easter, everybody!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Long Time No Non-Post

Sorry about that. I'll try to do better. But now I'm going to bed. Next week is Spring Break. I'll try to post more then. Maybe I'll learn about paragraph breaks, too.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

More Birthday Hijinks!

Or is it Hi-Jinks? Whatever.

I was quite remiss when I forgot to mention that Andra sent me a couple of VERY funny e-cards for my birthday. I very much enjoyed those.

I'm going to Ben & Tricia's soon for the birthday party. I hope everyone enjoyed Tricia's comment to my earlier post...

I think when I make my version of that "get to know your friends" thingy, I'm going to put this one in: Has anyone ever thrown a surprise party for you? If so, give details.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

And a Happy Birthday to my first cousin (once removed), Casey!

Well, here I am, 38 and all. I have no vehicle. I rent my home. I have no credit rating to speak of. Bask in the glow of my success!

So, about the car thing. Mine went BOOM on I-35 last Sunday. It was great. White smoke everywhere, me flying down the road at 65 m.p.h., trying to move over to get to the next exit.

Good times.

But, on the "life-don't-suck-so-much" side, I have friends who are willing to help me get home and offer me a temporary vehicle and sell me their old vehicles. These aren't all the same friends. I just mean I have friends who are willing to help. Hooray for them!

The JAWNZ (since Jhoneric spells his name J-O-H-N and Jon spells his the way I just spelled it, I don't know how to refer to them in writing... you can say "the Jons" or "the Johns" without anybody knowing how you spell it... but writing it is more tougher) gave me a couple of terrific birthday gifts. Lyndsey also gave me a couple of fun gifts at our weekly dinner on Wednesday. And both of her kids drew me birthday gifts, which makes for nice fridge art. Almost all the kids at school signed a card for me (and the ones who couldn't will be doing so over the next few weeks, if they like), and I've received several cards from friends.

And I haven't checked the mail yet today!

Now I'm going to go call Casey, because I haven't wished him a happy birthday for several years. But since our birthday is on a Saturday this year, I have plenty of time to sit down and do that. I'm a horrible first cousin (once removed).

I have a birthday celebration tomorrow at the Hart home, and some things to take care of today... so all in all a nice birthday weekend, methinks. I'll try to report back later to confirm that.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Another stupid questionnaire...

This is what I sent out in mass e-mail last week. Just thought I'd share. Maybe I'll find others from years past and share them as well. Enjoy.

1. WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME? Mark Travis Riggs

2. WHAT COLOR PANTS ARE YOU WEARING? What kind ofquestion is that? Is this some kind of sick-o phone-sex question? Are yougoing to ask if I'm alone now? Well, are you? ARE YOU? I am... so what are you wearing? I'm wearing grey sweat pants, my "I'm home" outfit.

3. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Water dripping into thekitchen sink. If I had the CD player on it would be either Cyndi Lauper(Hat Full of Stars or Sisters of Avalon), R.E.M. (Out of Time orAutomatic for the People), The Williams Brothers (self-titled), or The Prolcaimers (Sunshine on Leith). (It's one of those six-CD do-dads.) If I was in the car and NPR wasn't doing it for me, They Might Be Giants' CD Mink Car is at the ready. And lately my morning CD in my classroom has been The Wilders' CD Spring A Leak. So don't judge me as a music-hater just becuase I'm listening to water dripping in my kitchen sink right now.

4. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Cold pizza forbreakfast,washed down with orange juice, not the warm Coke Christine Lavin mentions in the song "Cold Pizza for Breakfast".

5. DO YOU WISH ON STARS? When I see them. More often I hold mybreath and make a wish when crossing a bridge, but that's usually back home only, when crossing the Mississippi.

6. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I've done this questionnaire before, because I'm remembering my last answer to this question. I don't know. Perhaps the least-used one, because nobody likes to feel used.

7. HOW IS THE WEATHER RIGHT NOW? I haven't been outside, but Ithink it's butt cold. It was butt cold last night, anyway.

8. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? I'm tryingto think. It's been a while since I've been on the phone. It might have beenThursday morning at school, when another teacher called my room to ask me something. It was Ed Bowman, if that's the case.

9. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT YOU THIS? What the hell kind of question is that? You tell me to send this back to them, so no matter what I actually feel about the person (and I do love her to no end, and will always have a strong batch of son-to-mother-type feelings for her), I'm going to have to say something nice, right? I suppose if Iwanted the person to never e-mail me again I could say something negative, but that's kinda rude. Anyway, I already said I like her, so there.

10. HOW ARE YOU TODAY? I'm doing okay. How are you? I'm a bit tired, and I just now remembered I was supposed to be somewhere two hours ago, but I'm still doing okay. I wish my life was different in alot of ways, but I'm still okay. I mean, if I had to do it all over again... man, why'd you have to bring this up?



13. FAVORITE SPORT? Making fun of those different than me. I kid. Bowling. And making fun of those different than me.

14. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS OR GLASSES? I'm supposed to wear glasses. I wear neither.

15. # OF SIBLINGS? 3 sisters, 4 brothers

16. FAVORITE MONTH? December

17. FAVORITE FOOD? Chicken Burrito from Chipotle. I like the hotsauce and black beans with that. Sour cream and cheese, also.

18. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? It could have been "Man on Fire",but I don't think so. I'd rented two other movies at the same time, so I can't remember for sure which one was last (and I can't remember what the other movies were).

19. FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR? It is hard to choose between Christmas, the last day of school, and any day I can sleep in late.

20. WHAT DO YOU DO TO VENT? Usually I type a long vent-y e-mail to a friend.



23. HUGS OR KISSES? It depends... if we're talking "from a bear and a spider-woman", I'd pick "kisses" for the bear, and "hugs" from the spider-woman... just because they haven't been done as much.

24. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate Malt

25. DO YOU WANT YOUR FRIENDS TO REPLY? Seriously, I need to put together one of these, because this is the stupidest thing I've seen onhere yet. No, I want to wonder if they hate me, so I'd rather they not respond. DUH!

26. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Tricia, but she won't send it to very many people if she does.

27. WHO IS LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Tricia, because her behavior is hard to predict sometimes. Or Say, since she's the one whosent it to me in the first place.

28. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS? I live alone in a house I rent. Thanksfor making me put it into words.

29. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Just now after I had toput that last answer into words. I kid. It was Tuesday night at Chorus rehearsal. We sang this song about Mother. It's a tear-jerker.

30. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED? Probably a book I'd finished reading and sat on the floor by my bed, then accidentally kicked it under there. Plus lots of dust.

31. WHO IS THE FRIEND YOU HAVE HAD THE LONGEST? That I'm not related to? Tricia.

32. WHAT DID YOU DO LAST NIGHT? Bowled (HORRIBLY, I might add), then came home and watched some TV, then slept for 10 hours.

33. FAVORITE SMELL? Winter. Also, the smell of cookies baking.

34. WHO INSPIRES YOU? To do what? Several people inspire me, but look at my life. They're not doing a very good job of it!

35. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? Zombies and cuts. Death (of everyone else, not me... I mean, I'll be dead, so what will I care?).

36. PLAIN, BUTTERED OR SALTED POPCORN? Buttered, but I'm going to regret it later.

37. FAVORITE CAR OR TRUCK? It would be nice to afford one of each... but I'd prefer to have a truck.

38. FAVORITE FLOWER? I've SO answered this before,too... it's the one that used to grow alongside our house when I was a kid. Yellow... I don't know what it was called.

39. NUMBER OF KEYS ON YOUR KEY RING? 5, but one is just for looks.

40. CAN YOU JUGGLE? A little. Why do you ask?

41. FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK? Friday or Sunday. Maybe Saturday.Wednesday is good, too. I never quite got the hang of Thursdays.

42. WHAT DID YOU DO ON YOUR LAST BIRTHDAY? Okay, I'm supposed to remember that far back? I think I... um... well, I think we had school that day... I am trying hard to remember here... I don't know.

43. DO YOU OWN A DONOR CARD? I used to. I don't think I do now.

44. FAVORITE ANIMAL? Small furry creature from Alpha Centauri.

45. FAVORITE VACATION SPOT? I don't vacate often. Somewhere with a beach would be nice.

46. FAVORITE AGE? For me? I don't know. I'll get back to youwhen I've lived through them all and can compare.



49. FAVORITE SOAP OPERA? Desperate Housewives

50. FAVORITE LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH? Pig Latin, but sinceSay said it first I'll go with German

Thursday, January 06, 2005

One last holiday thought...

I noticed something last night that I hadn't noticed before...

I had turned off the tree (yes, the tree is still up... great, now I have to interrupt the earlier thought to explain my Personal Holiday Season: For me the holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving and extends until the end of the first week in January. I cringe if I see holiday stuff up before Thanksgiving, but my reaction is not as dramatic if things are taken down before the 7th is over... but I do believe it's bad luck to take it down before the 1st. Now, where was I? Oh yeah...) last night and then realized I'd left something in the kitchen. I dreaded going to get it, because the trip from the kitchen back to the stairs would mean having to see the tree in its unlit state (see earlier post regarding unlit tree and negative emotions). But I went anyway.

Bonus surprise! The lights shining through the window (my outside lights are on a timer) reminded me very much of the lights we had on our front porch when we were kids. They are basically the same type of lights. Every year we would use the lights to form a star on one half of the front porch. There were two doors leading off the front porch (side by side... which, come to think of it, was kinda odd... I should try to find out why that was). One door led to the living room, and the other led to what was my bedroom for most of my childhood.

I have memories from early childhood of sneaking out of bed to peer out the window in the door leading to the porch (a door we never used, mainly because the porch swing was right in front of it, I think), and all the happy feelings seeing those lights gave me.

Seriously, I need to go into analysis to find out what the deal is with holiday lights and my emotional state.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy New Year!

I made it back safe and sound, but was too wrapped up in life and updating my website to post anything. Dane and I went out a couple of times while I was back home. He knows about as much as what's going on in Center as I do.

I have yet to run into anyone I recognize while in Center... outside of family, I mean.

Had fun bowling New Year's Eve, and then went to a party that wasn't my traditional New Year's Eve party. I had a good time, but I did miss my old NYE gang.

PLJ&T had their traditional NYD gig, and it was fun (I got there very late... I woke up somewhat early (for NYD, anyway), and decided to lay down for a nap around 11:00. Leigh called and woke me up at 3:40. I'm such the loser...)

We had a work day at school yesterday, and today we dismissed early because of this lovely ice-storm we're having. I'm looking forward to the loss of power and freezing cold house. With luck, there could be some frozen water pipes in the mix! Hooray!

I have something akin to the flu. I don't know how to tell a cold from the flu, so we'll just call it either/or. It's yucky, but what are you going to do.

Here's hoping for a snow day tomorrow, so I don't have to call in sick!

We're starting fractions this month. I need to go figure out some activities to use. Everyone have a good January... and there are only 25 more shopping days until my birthday! Or is it 24? Do I count my birthday or not?