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My father died on November 28th. He was sleeping and his mouth fell open, and he started breathing through his mouth instead of his nose (where the oxygen was hooked up). It's a blessing he went in his sleep, as he's been suffering from Emphezyma for 7 years, and has already been in intensive care on a breathing machine for 18 days this past September.
I know, I never even mentioned my dad was sick. Some things are hard to talk about.
The worst part is that I haven't seen my dad since *last* Xmas, and I was looking forward (as was he) to seeing him this Yule. I knew it'd be his last Xmas.
This is an unfinished poem I wrote and read the morning of his funeral:
Whenever I hear big band jazz
I brag to my companion
"I was raised on this stuff; my
dad used to blast this thru the
house on Saturday mornings
before the cartoons."
I can still see the dust motes
shimmering in the sunbeam
streaming in the family room
I can still hear his heavy,
thump thump thump
and the slight rattle that meant
he'd reached the kitchen.
Whenever I perform, I can feel
him in the audience
the glint of his glasses
framed by his big, funny ears
He was always so proud
so proud of his girls.
And even though we never
quite knew the steps
we'd always dance the
da da da dunh dunh dunh . . .
making it up as we went
and he'd bend his knees and
snap his fingers
holding my hand
as I twirled.
I wish I could take the
lead for him now.
I'm not really a control freak. In fact, I think my "let nature make the plans" sort of attitude drives David nuts sometimes. I like having things to do, but I don't like to be too structured is all. But I resent the fact that I have so much to deal with right now and I can do nothing about any of it. Everything seems up in the air. Things in general come in threes, and right now I've got three slippery issues that demand immediate attention. The "easiest" is that my boring, job is ending next week. Which would be ok, but combined with everything else and the fact that I have some good friends there already (and the fact that I've got a lot of freedom for a temp job and am unlikely to get it again), makes me panicky. Then there's Dad. That one will be around for awhile, I'm sure. The third issue deals with my personal relationships. That's the one I can't control. I'm not even on the panel.
Occasionally, I get this panic about being alone. It's been really bad since I've come back from Indiana, and I was relieved to have David to come back to. I was sick last weekend, and I hid in his apartment, letting him feed me and nurse me back to health (I make it sound so dramatic). I know last year about this time he spoke directly to me for the first time, but now, I don't know what I'd do without him.
Last night was fun, overall. Since it was all students, it was a rather simple production. With a Berkeley beginning and ending, to be sure. Get this: Fritz and Clara are homeless children, and the ballet opens with them huddled under a blanket, then peeking through Dosselmeyer's windows at his family unwrapping gifts. Clara falls asleep and has a dream, which is that Dosselmeyer takes them in and gives them gifts and then the rest of the dream that is normally in the ballet. The ending was, as Todd put it, condescending. Clara and Fritz wake up, Dosselmeyer's family finds them, adopts them on the spot, and their little girl gives Clara her Nutcracker as a gift. Nice sentiment, but so Berkeley. Mary Anne and I were discussing how much better a story it would have been if they had then frozen to death like the little match girl. (No, I do not want homeless people to freeze to death, and no, I don't need excessive realism in art, especially not art for children).
So, despite the fact that only the Sugar Plum Fairy attempted anything near the actual choreography for the ballet (and then omitting a whole series of chaine turns for the graceful gesturing that so often was used), I really enjoyed myself. The Nutcracker is one of those ballets that is more fun filled with kids. There were enough pointe shoes to satisfy (I've always had this thing about the arch of a ballerina's foot en pointe), and the kids were adorable, and reasonably well choreographed. We were not forced to sit through six-year-olds working wobbly pique turns; most of the little kids simply came on stage, well herded by a ballerina or three, wiggled cutely (there were two shepherdesses with adorable little lambs) and were gone. It was not tediously long (which would have been easy). And the audience was filled with friends and family and flowers, the way dance audiences were when I was little. I love the little girls in the audience, and how their eyes get brighter by intermission; I could almost see their imaginations - through their lilting steps through the crowd - weaving tulle skirts around their waists and shiny pointe shoes on their toes.
Afterwards, we all went back to Todd's house to play pool, as those of you who also read Mary Anne's journal already know. I ran over to pick up David, and Todd called down his Special Friend, Jen (who, conveniently lives upstairs). Todd's friend just fronted the money for a lovely new pool table, with pale blond wood and turquoise blue felt. We played girls (El (later, Jen), Mary Anne and me) against boys (Ian, Todd and David). People kept losing by scratching on the eight ball. Damned Eight Ball! The first game we played this way, the eight ball sat in front of a corner pocket for almost the entire game, which made us all play much more carefully. It's hard to take losing too seriously when you're only 1/3 of the reason you lost (though, yes, I'd probably be happy to seriously claim a victory over those snotty boys). I kept playing after David but before Todd. I have to think where the cue ball is going to end up when I play with Todd, as it's often worth missing a point just to give him a very tricky shot. David tried to do the same to me, which was annoying. I know, that's eight-ball, team-style.
Todd's life has become very social since he's gotten that pool table. I think he said he's had people over every night this week. I was over on Monday for a pot-luck dinner of sorts, which, being there, also included pool. I think we're all going to get much better at this game. Todd commented that he gets so many chances to shoot these days that he finds himself going for the hard shots even though he doesn't always even get the easy ones yet. He usually does rather well.
So, today I go Yule gift shopping. With David. I even started to make a list for him, to reassure him that this shopping day was *not* going to be haphazard or rushed, but I only got halfway through. It was my stuff, though, which is what's essential; David is reliably self-sufficient at keeping track of his own needs. Now, we need to merge our two lists. And eat and get out of here before 2pm. Or at least before the sun sets over the City.
Oh, anyway, shopping is always fun for me. It's one of my personal pleasures that is very well accepted in our capitalist society. David doesn't understand how much I love giving gifts to people. Oh, and I like getting them, too, to be sure. But that's what I find so nice about this season. Everyone buying little gifts for one another, to bring cheer in the darkest days of the year. It's a lovely tradition, I think, and one not necessarily capitalist at all at its heart. And all the cosey gathering, and cooking! This is my time of year, as I do like baking (not cooking). I'm making a Dutch apple pie tonight, and David's making spice cookies (from a recipe from my old 4-H cookbook, as is the Dutch apple pie). And I can smell the House (High St. exit) all the way down 580, here at Harrison St. exit. Sigh. I should have done my sit-ups this morning.
I babble! I must be off! Adieu!
So now every day the papers list new Republicans in favor of impeaching Clinton. I suppose the threat of being dragged into a dark alley and beaten with bags full of doorknobs and bibles by energetic Republican Party interns must be persuasive enough.
And then Clinton, that big gun, has to go and bomb Iraq. When will he learn to keep it in his pants?
Sorry. Sorry. But that's just it. The dumber version of our public thinks this *is* about a blow job! We're the fucking Victorians, warped into tittering about our PRESIDENT! Who the fuck cares? And, don't get me started about what this is doing to the acceptance of sex/alternative lifestyles. Even if Hillary knew, and was fine with all of it, she could never have said so. No, that would have ruined her career (if Bill hasn't fucked it up already. And I doubt a divorced woman would have much luck in elections). It's the same reason that Bill lied under oath. The American People still think sex is naughty. And the thought of doing it with someone other than your spouse is so scandalous that a person in Clinton's position thought lying under oath was better than admitting the truth.
The whole thing is ugly. Gods, I hate politics.
My personal life? What, you think I rant about politics to avoid talking about my personal life? No, I wouldn't do that. Not to you guys.
Ugh. This has been the worst month. I guess things are finally settling down, but now there's all sorts of things still to be dealt with. I'm nervous, letting things go here for another two weeks. Isn't that weird? I should be soooo excited about Xmas that here doesn't matter, but it does. I guess I'd just like to get used to the way things have settled before I jet off.
What's new? Oh, well, my roommate, Tracy, is moving out in February, and Sharon and I have been discussing where/when to find a new one. Sharon and I both like a mellower house than Tracy, and we want to be sure to find someone we'll get along well with. And David and I are de facto monogamous (for the next few weeks, at least), which means a whole lot of talking and relationship working will be going on. We got a good talk or two in last night, which was a relief to me, as things have been very rough this week and I hate to leave on a quiet, hurt note. He and I have both been under an unusual amount of stress lately. But I think things will be better eventually.
But, Xmas, yes. I so love buying/making Xmas gifts. My sister and Todd both told me this year that I always get really good gifts. I pride myself on that. Todd's reaction this year is something I pull up to cheer me when I'm sad. I love giving presents.
So, have a happy Yule, y'all.
Forgive! I'm all over the place, I know! It's just that out of the past 5 weeks I've been in Oakland only 2. I have so much to organize and get straightened out and I'm cold (this room is always cold) and tired and HUNGRY.
Xmas was lovely. It was nice to have David there. In fact, the very first night he was home with me, we went to a party at Holly's boyfriend's house. Helger's house. It was mostly a jam party, with lots and lots of drummers drumming, and I could see why Holly fell in love with Helger (good drummer!). But, the best part was that David enjoyed himself! At a party! Holly put a guitar into his hands and before long he'd started the drummers on "Dave's groove", which was soon joined by another guitarist who threw some cool leads onto it. There was also a talented alto sax player who improvised with the group. David was playing lead by the end of the party, very well, I might add. David tends towards shy, even in front of just me, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear some damn good creative licks coming out from his fingers. I *knew* he could play like that! (I was so proud . . . I'll bet Holly saw why I fell in love with David, too).
Me? Oh, I danced like I haven't danced all year! I'm sure I could find drum circles out here, but I haven't, yet, and I still think that there's something about the conservative atmosphere of the midwest that lends a sweetness to the music made by drummers there. My hips hurt the next day from wiggling them so much.
Ok, I'm going to go unpack some. I'll write more later.