Jill "xtingu" Knapp

Traveling musician. Singer. Road warrior in bursts. Dork. Easy to spot. Gauche eyeshadow fan. Unreasonably happy.

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Tornado Warning!

I wrote this on Twitter this morning (April 15th), and I'm going to be lazy and copy/paste the tweet-storm:

======================================================

1) Holy crap. I haven't been sleeping well for the last few nights... and last night my body said "ENOUGH." Like a Roomba driving itself back to its dock, my body auto-piloted itself to bed at 11:15. (This is unheard of for me... I usually hit the hay around 4:30am.)

2) Normally I wake up 8-9 times over the course of a night/morning, and like an ass I always check my phone when I wake up, which naturally makes it harder to fall back asleep. This did not happen last night... I slept SO HARD. I knew nothing.

3) I'm also a huge weather and safety nerd; my ears are finely-tuned to detect any and all weather-related sounds (distant thunder, wind, rain, etc.), as well as weird noises in/outside the house. I sleep with one ear open, and these sounds always wake me up. Not last night.

4) I just woke up now (8:43am) to a bazillion missed phone alerts from 3-4am (including one of those incredibly loud Emergency Alerts sent via the Powers The Be™) commanding I "take immediate shelter from the [goddamn] TORNADO." I missed 'em all. That scares me on 2 levels.

5) It scares me 'cuz it's always been my job to be in charge of weather safety. I like keeping aware of wx threats, stocking a modest emergency kit, and making the rare "it's time to get in the basement" call. I like this job. I missed this completely; we could have been hurt.

6) It also scares me that my body was SO exhausted that it could not be awoken, even for a substantial threat, and despite a zillion warnings that surely made my phone scream. What does this say about the state of my anemic body, that a zillion alarms didn't even make me flinch?

7) Anyway, I really hope everyone is safe. I haven't yet looked at damage reports yet (hell; haven't even looked out the window yet) and judging by the sheer number of alerts, I imagine there's gotta be some. I'm just hoping people heeded them and erred on the safe side. (Fin)

======================================================

After I wrote all that, I started investigating why my phone's emergency alert didn't wake me. I keep my phone on Silent 99% of the time; however, I remember when President Cheeto sent that Presidential Alert a few months back, that shizzle came through loud and clear. So why didn't this Actual Alert make a sound? I went digging through my phone's settings and even RTFM and still couldn't find the answer, so... I dunno. 
Anyhoo, there was an F2 tornado that touched down at 3:38am in Sussex County[1], so that tornado warning was real. Thankfully nobody died; I believe there was only one injury caused by a tree falling on someone's house... yikes.

And thankfully, my worry above was for naught... I was really concerned that I slept through crazy alarms that should wake the dead and holy-lord-am-I-that-anemic-and-dead-that-even-that-couldn't-wake-me?! But the alarm was silent, so I just slept like a normal person. No crisis!


Early Birthday Weekend

(I wrote this on April 15th)

My birthday is coming up on Wednesday of this week (me and George Takei!). As an early birthday gift, Matt bought us tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden. This is the 4th time we've seen him at MSG since he started his residency, and he sounded amazing, as always. I scored us a hotel near Times Square, and we could see the New Years Eve Ball from our hotel window. Thankfully the hotel entrance is away from the crowd, so we could avoid the tourons and belligerent buskers in Elmo and SpiderMan and Statue of Liberty costumes.  We took the train up (admittedly, a decadent gift to ourselves) and arrived around 3-ish, so we enjoyed the 20-block walk to the hotel, grabbed a cup of coffee and a few fronch macarons along the way, and checked right into the hotel.  After freshening up, we went to our favorite restaurant (a Turkish place, creatively named "Turkish Cuisine,") and had an amazing meal as always, and then walked to MSG.  We entered the venue and took the escalator up to the 100 section, and then walked to the door marked "Sections 111-115." The usher looked at our tickets and said "Oh, NICE! Which one of you bought these tickets?" Matt said, "That was me." The usher turned to me and said, "This guy right here? He done good. Enjoy the show." He handed us off to a different usher who walked us down to our seats... closer and closer to the stage... to the front row of Section 115. HOLY CRAP! We were as close as you could possibly get to the stage without being on the floor... which means we could see absolutely everything. In fact, we were so close that I could read the brand of gear on the sound guy's mixing board. It was SO GREAT!  We sat next to some friendly drunk people in their late 50s and after just generally chatting, our Billy Joel tribute band might get a gig out of the deal. (One of the couples was verrrrrrrry wealthy and had flown up from South Carolina just to see this show. The husband is turning 60 and they want to do something extra amazing for him, so we said, "Why not hire a Billy Joel tribute band?"  The wife gave us her phone number. Who knows?)

After the show, we walked back to the hotel in the pouring rain, and stopped for dessert and a nightcap at Cafe Un Deux Trois, which was lovely. 

The next morning we went to this diner we really like (The Times Square Diner- though don't let the name fool you-- it's not particularly touristy), and then we headed over to Central Park to walk around and then go to the zoo. We got to see the sea lions, all of the amazing birds in the Tropic zone, and also Matt's favorites-- the puffins.

We made sure to leave the zoo by 3:45ish so we could catch a cab to Sam Ash, which is a giant music store right by Penn Station. I needed to pick up a few more percussion gadgets for this Genesis show I'm playing in (see "Percussion" below) and wound up spending almost $450.  Whoops... oh well. Happy Birthday to me, I guess!


Another Birthday...

My brother's birthday and mine are two years + one day apart. He's 4/16 and I'm 4/17. He turns 50 in 14 minutes! For his big 5-0, he decided he wanted to go to the most beautiful place he'd ever seen, which is Assisi, Italy. He went there in high school, when our high school used to arrange annual trips to Europe (which they natually discontinued once it came time for me to be old enough to go). Since 1987 he's been saying it's the most beautiful place he's ever been to, and how he'd give anything to go back. So, they gathered up their immediate family and headed over there. My sister-in-law and my youngest niece left 5 days early so they could visit a friend in Israel, and then they met my brother, my nephew, and my oldest niece in Italy. I'm so happy they're able to experience this all together.  It's also kinda neat that Jack (my nephew) is the same age that Jeff (my brother) was when he first saw Assisi.

We'll be having the Knapp Family Easter Passover Birthday Goulash next weekend in NJ. 


Percussion!

The next musical thing I'm involved in is a live performance of Genesis' double album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" with The Rock Orchestra. We're not dressing like Peter Gabriel or anything, but we are playing the hell out of this music.  The band has been rehearsing for about 2 months now, but every weekend they rehearsed I had to be in NJ for something. But for this show, they can definitely rehearse without me, because I'm just playing percussion and provding some secondary backing vocals. (Joe has this other woman Chris singing primary backing vocals. Whenever there are two backing vocal parts at once, I'll jump in. But the percussion is keeping me plenty busy. It's so much fun!)

I sent these tweets on the train ride home:

1: Just spent almost $450 on more percussion toys at @samashmusic in NYC. There's so much fun percussion on Genesis' #TheLambLiesDownOnBroadway, and I get to play it all, twice in one day, with @RockOrchestraDE on Saturday, May 18th at 3pm and 8pm. Shows at  @TheGrandWilm. Wheee!

2: Bought some monkey skulls (pitched woodblocks), mountable castanets, a snake spine (ratchet), & an ultra-lite tambourine for crazy-fast 32nd notes. Also bought 2 expansion trays for my percussion stand for quick/easy access; sometimes I only have 2 beats to switch instruments.

3: Got yet another shaker: This one is REALLY bright/crisp/loud & really cuts through. Has a great feel/swing/weight. My fave purchase: A Flexatone! Gonna follow @Casarino around in case he sees something eerie, catches a chill, or eats Jello. (Helpful Example!) 


OK, gonna post this now.


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[1]: Sussex County is Delaware's southernmost county-- we only have three, stacked on top of each other since Delaware is a tall, skinny state. We live in New Castle County, the northernmost one.


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my phone didn't make any sound either, and I'd been keeping it by my bed for years in case of something like a tornado warning.

happy birthday.
thank you for sharing the update.
You know where else Matt can see puffins? https://mollybawn.com/boat_tour_newfoundland I think tours start in June. Also they participate in Puffin Patrol, where they help puflings (!) get from where they’ve hatched to the water without getting eaten by gulls. That starts in August. https://cpawsnl.org/puffinpetrelpatrol/ (EDITED to add: I don't know why the second link won't linky, sorry.)
Michele Grant 4/21edited
PUFLINGS! EEEEEEEEE!!!
Puffins are gud. See them a lot in Maine, and on my travels for work (including Newfoundland). They're just so... good!
that sounds like an AMAZING birthday! and holycrap those seats! well done, matt! :) (and i love un deux trois, if jack weren't 100% paleo i would have taken him there the other night since our theater was right next door. nom.)
Jenn A 4/22
I was awake, prepping for a medical procedure. I just thought, "Well, we're screwed." Since I was pretty immobile and everyone else was asleep.

Happy Birthday! Give Pie my best!
Yes! Birthday Pie needs to get its proper adulation!
Happy belated birthday!
Sounds like a fantastic birthday - more so when thinking about the two of you and that scene. Super happy to hear it.
 

Just got back from NJ. 

Sadly, they postponed Mom's surgery again... when they were prepping her for the surgery at the hospital on Wednesday morning at 6AM (*gulp!*), she had a mini-heart attack (her AFib went nuts and her heart rate shot to 170) so they stopped what they were doing immediately.  They had only gotten as far as inserting her IV and she has no fear of needles or anything, so they don't know what caused it (plus she was totally chill going into surgery), but we suspect it was because they told her not to take ANYTHING (not even meds) by mouth the morning of surgery, so she didn't take her heart medication. 

This is now the 3rd time her knee surgery was canceled. So we're really disappointed... but better safe than sorry. Per the hospital's orders, we went to her cardiologist immediately from the hospital who gave her a monitor to wear and also did a meds adjustment, hopefully she can try for a 4th time soon.  Man. 

Her cardiologist was really irritated that she wasn't allowed to take her heart medication that morning with a tiny sip of water, but that's what you get when you only see one doctor at a time, I guess.

I don't think she realizes how unhealthy she is... rampant diabetes, emphysema, COPD, congestive heart failure, AFib, blah blah blah... an anesthesiologist would be crazy to try to put her out.  Hell, when she had her hysterectomy they gave her an epidural because they knew it was too dangerous to knock her out, and that was 6 years ago when she was healthier. 

Anyhoo, we wound up staying in NJ for the full duration even though she didn't get chopped up... I could tell my dad just kinda needed us there.  

When we were in the waiting room on the morning of surgery and the nurse came out to tell us there were complications, Dad was pretty much trying to wrap his head around Mom dying. It was awful. 

(I'm too tired now as it's 2:54am, but remind me to tell you about Jerry.)

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9/15 '18 12 Comments
What a strange tease. Hoping for progress.
Thomas Boutell 9/15 '18
For realz. Thanks, beb.
I'm sorry this is such a roller coaster for you.
Paul Lord 9/15 '18
That it is. I feel like it's so common for people in their late 40s/early 50s to go through this with their parents... I wish there was a simple solution. Alas.
Damn. I hope this improves and quickly. All of you have more than earned a respite from this.

How is she feeling now?
She's more disappointed than anything else. She's just in so much pain as she tries to move... yet somehow she remains agile enough to pop out for a cigarette every hour or so. So y'know.

But we're hoping she gets another chance soon.
"agile enough to pop out for a cigarette every hour or so"
Okay, you know what? As a person who just accidentally sneezed a Nicorette lozenge across the from (not for the first time), and my process of coping with the Nicotine Demon can be measured in Hunter's height, that makes me mad. True, I've been the person who could lift up a couch to find out if there were a nicotine source under it.

It makes me particularly mad because Vince's dad was/is a lifelong smoker, yet every single time he gets hospitalized, he is offered and refuses nicotine patches, because he says that he wants to deal with it on his own. So he spends hospital stays not only coping with whatever put him there, but also weaning himself off of nicotine.

Her consumption is going to affect whatever meds she's on, especially heart meds. She can ask for nicotine support: gum, patches, whatever. Argh. I'll shut up now. You don't need that shit. Sorry.
Ennnnhhhhhhuuggghhh. What a pain for everyone.
Sean M Puckett 9/15 '18
It is indeeeeeeedy.
Unbelievable.
I have had similar things happen, but with blood tests, i.e., "you said this was fasting blood work," "yes, but we meant you should take your thyroid meds."

How incredibly frustrating.

who's jerry?
I wonder what it would take to get all of her doctors in one room to duke out a care plan in person, where they all heard what the others were recommending. That would be really cool.

Jerry was another patient in the waiting room with us that day. I've got a half-written post about him that I need to finish.
Jill "xtingu" Knapp 9/16 '18edited
I love you and ... this sucks.
xoxoxoxo
 

Hi, all!

It's been forever since I've posted here, though I have about 98734 drafts just none of them finished.  I'll summarize the last month with a listo:

  • Beatlefest (wow, a month ago) was one of the most musically satisfying things I've ever done, tribute-wise.  The band Joe hired was full of some of the best musicians I've had the pleasure to work with here. Everyone has extensive musical training and reads music like a motherfucker... you needed those skills if you were gonna get through 215 songs... yet they also had rock chops so we knew how to feel an ending that just fades out on the record.  There were times we had 40 musicians on stage which includes string a section, a horn section... we also had musicians who specialized in Indian instruments.  There was one instrument that pretty much nobody in north America plays called a Dilruba, so we flew my dear friend Stefan in from Arizona to approximate the part using a hurdy gurdy.  Stefan was the real MVP.  We have dates for Beatlefest 2019 already, and FINALLY the City of Wilmingon sees this as the lucrative, exciting thing that it is and will be putting their marketing hype behind it next year, making Beatlefest a destination with hotel deals and stuff.  It was nice that we sold out the last 3 nights of the six-night run, and we all made a really nice chunk of change. (This is unusual for these tribute shows... usually we make a few hundred bucks, but this was quite nice, especially considering that we'd been rehearsing since January.)
  • Through the hype of Beatlefest, I didn't really notice how anemic I was getting... adrenaline is a hell of a chemical.  The following week we had Hot Breakfast's 8th Annnual Summer Blowout at the Bellefonte Cafe (which was sold out 3 days before the event-- yay!) and I kinda noticed I was having a hard time singing medium-length phrases, but again, I just pushed it aside because adrenaline.
  • The thing with anemia (or at least my anemia-- my hematologists insists I'm weird for this) is that I'm able to hit "snooze" on the Iron Alarm when there are more pressing things in front of me... so Beatlefest, Hot Breakfast show... caring for my Mom for a week... being in NJ for Sunnyvale rehearsals... and then BAM, I was almost dead. 
  • So yeah... I put myself in the hospital for 5 days because I got too damn anemic.  That was last week.  I was gonna go for iron anyway because I would never go to Burning Man without being freshly ironed-up... but still.  Damn.   It also turns out that there's a manufacturer's shortage of my usual iron preparation, Iron Dextran, which is normally a 6-hour infusion when I'm not so low I'm a fuckface, so I had to do a 5-day infusion of this other formulation anyway.  
  • SO!  BURNING MAN!  After a 7-year hiatus, we are headed back to The Thing In The Desert. We leave for the airport in a few hours, and we'll be in Reno getting supplies tomorrow (Friday), and then Saturday we will head out to the playa.  We have Early Access Passes which normally I don't really care about, but with the city having 70,000 people in it, I'm happy to get out a day early so we can beat some of the line at the gate.  We will be there (assuming all goes well) until Labor Day Monday. We'll head back to Reno on Labor Day, clean the car on Tuesday, and then fly home early on Wednesday the 5th.  So we will be totally incommunicado from Saturday August 25 - Monday September 3rd.  Yes, I know that Katy Perry updates her Instagram from the playa and that there is scant wifi if you look hard enough, but I am not going to do that. The phone stays in the car, which stays locked for a week.
  • Matt is very excited to be heading back out there, too... this will be his 2nd burn, and my 8th.  I'm a little worried about his anxiety, but we have a nice, newish trailer, so if he gets squoodgy, we can just hang there where it's comfy.
  • We were in NJ for a week (before my iron infusion) and my dad was out to breakfast and my mom fell.  It was a huge deal, and Matt and I managed to get her back up after her being on the floor for 90-ish minutes.  I wrote a long OPW post about it, but haven't posted it yet because I didn't finish it. But she was trapped on the floor and it was awful, and she was basically suffocating because she didn't have her oxygen.  More on this later.
  • My mom's mobility is seriously hindered and her body has basically told her to fuck off.  Her biggest pain is her knee, and she's not allowed to take any pain medication (not even Advil or other NSAIDS) because of all the other medications she's on.  My mom was supposed to have her knee fixed on Monday at a surgicenter, but once she got there, the anesthesiologist was like "Um, your heart is A-Fib, your lungs don't work from emphysema, you need supplemental oxygen... I can't believe anyone thought we could accomodate your surgery here.  We can't.  Go home, and we'll do it at the hospital where I have more ways of keeping you alive, yo."  So she was VERY disappointed... but I admit I was kinda relieved because she would have been recovering while we were at Burning Man and unable to give my dad a hand.  We want to be up there with her during and after the surgery... my dad can't handle it all.
  • Life continues to be happy. I'm in a much better place mentally than I was 2 weeks ago-- I was feeling really dark and angry and sad and frustrated and overwhelmed and unable to cope... and in retrospect this was probably because my iron was so low.  
  • Please don't give me crap about ignoring my iron. I know. I know. It won't happen again, Mom. :-)

OK, that's all I can think of for now.  There's more to write, but no time... I need to get in the shower... our ride to the airport comes in less than 3 hours and I still have to throw together a few more things. 

I love you all, and I hope you have a spiffy few weeks!

xoxo,

Jill-o

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8/23 '18 7 Comments
Happy trails! At least one other friend of mine, in a completely different and non-Philadel circle, has just left Reno. If you run in to a big ex-Air Force guy wearing Philadelphia Brewing (http://philadelphiabrewing.com/) or Fishtown-related swag, or maybe a Mummer costume, his name is Steve and it would be hilarious if you ran into each other.

I know the city grows to 70,000 people. But things happen at Burning Man.
Michele Grant 8/23 '18
It's better to burn out than fade away, as the poet says.
Thomas Boutell 8/23 '18
I just read about the crazy searches being done by law enforcement on vehicles headed to the playa. Officials are claiming they're only making regular traffic stops (speeding, stop sign roll throughs, tail lights out, etc.) but are apparently making random and frequent stops, then bringing out the drug sniffing dogs and requiring vehicles be unpacked on the side of the road. It sounds like they may even be making a grab for people's prescription drugs? Not sure. With 70K people going this year, I can't even begin to picture the mess this will be. Stay safe. <3
Anne Mollo 8/23 '18edited
It's only a matter of time before people starting landing light aircraft on the playa. Capitalism will find a way to meet a demand.
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
They have their own airport-- there have been direct flights to the playa for a while. You're totally right!
I notice that you didn't give out your snail mail address for the burn this year. #JillCanLearn #IAmDisappoint
Ray Conrad 8/24 '18
No, it's not that... it's that they don't accept incoming mail anymore as of 2015. BRC post office is outbound-only. Once the event grew to 70K it just got to be too much, I imagine.

Or maybe they didn't want to earworm an entire damn event. :-D
 

I have Joni Mitchell's "California" in my head, and that makes me happy. We are sitting in the Long Beach Airport, waiting to board our plane to Phoenix, where we will likely get stuck because of the snowstorm hitting Philly tonight.  We scored first class tix, and this canceled-flight crap only ever seems to impact us on these rare occasions when we are flying on a non-Southwest flight and also managed to score first class seats. (So it's gotta be our fault somehow.)

We were in California for about 36 hours, for Uncle Greg's funeral services. They had a very short viewing just for close family, and good LORD, Greg looked AWFUL. Like, we all joked that maybe they brought the wrong guy to the funeral parlor, because seriously-- no resemblance whatsoever

It's fascinating watching people from different families playing these familar roles... mourning wife, mourning sister, mourning children. No matter whether they're from my family, Matt's family, or a friend's family... there are these motions everyone has culturally agreed to go through, clothes you wear, things you say, body gestures you make... and we all have more or less agreed to play these roles when they are foisted upon us. 

We gathered in a Catholic church in the middle of a breezy beach town in California, yet it smelled like a Catholic church, it had all of the symbols that I recognize... and I admit it brought me comfort somehow... being thousands of miles away from the church I grew up in, yet got comfort in the familiarity of the smells, sounds, and symbols that I assume are in every Catholic church. 

But I also knew very deeply that these traditions didn't really *mean* anything to me other than simply tradition. And it made me think: When I die, I don't want this stuff. 


At times I found myself imagining being in that front-row of the church, playing the role of the person closest to the departed, accepting the condolences and watching all of these gathered people playing their parts.

I know we will go through all of these motions/play these roles for when my Mom passes, because these things are very meaningful to her. And I imagine as my brother and I bury my Mom (and I guess my Dad; I've never really asked him what he wants), these rituals will be comforting to me and Jeff (my brother) because it's what would be expected of us.  And in some weird way, it would be a symbol that we are the "family elders" now. 

But when I die, I don't want a church service. I don't want a viewing (unless you can stuff my body so I'm standing up and making some totally silly expression, with my hands positioned into finger-guns so people can take tacky selfies). But seriously-- I don't want any of this formal Catholic stuff... but because what I want lacks the formality of these generations of practicing these roles, I kinda accept that when I kick off, there won't be any kind of "official farewell." Because without the formality, it also loses importance somehow. 

Anyway.

Been thinkin' a lot today. 

And with that, our plane just arrived, so it's time for us to fly to Phoenix so we can get stranded there. Yay. 

[Edited to add: Flight from Phoenix to Philly took off right on schedule. Not sure what the weather sitch will be when we land, but I'll find out in 90 mins when our flight touches down. In the meantime, this has been a very pleasant flight so far.]

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2/17 '18 15 Comments
Yeah.

Death is for the living though. I think I wrote something like "cremate me - or really do whatever the hell you want - you're the ones going through a terrible time. Sorry, wish I could be there to help."
Thomas Boutell 2/17 '18
Glad you’re not stuck somewhere. I’m sorry for your loss, for you both.
Safe travels. It's uglaaaay here in the 19810. 3 inches of fluffy snow.
They would be on my bucket if I had a bucket.

Robert Bryan 2/17 '18
if i go first, i want to be made into diamonds and have everyone wear me someplace fabulous: http://www.lifegem.com/index.php

welcome back. and i'm sorry again about Greg. :(
Jenn A 2/17 '18
I want to be planted in a tree planter, but I’m afraid I’d get dug up to build a Hooters or something.
Lindsay Harris-Friel 2/17 '18edited
that got me.
Robert Bryan 2/18 '18
I hope it got you in a good way.

Worse, the tree would probably be dug up by a developer, to build a Hooters with a Chuck E. Cheese right next door.
It was a good way.
Like, I woulda probably shot coffee out of my nose if I had been drinking coffee at the time.
Thanks.
Robert Bryan 2/18 '18
When I die, I want all of you who are still living to gather around my children and tell them stories about me. They'll be adults, so you can even tell the embarrassing ones.

I want my mortal remains scattered at Eastern State Penitentiary, on Broadway, at Versailles, at the Tower of London and in the ocean off Bermuda by Archer and Hunter together. That's not really about the ashes, it's about them taking that trip together, that pilgrimage to their mother's favorite places. Now that I think about it, there are also a couple of stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - the FI, the PMA. I hope they think of me fondly every time they smell The Heart.
This choked me up.
💗
I love you. If I do go first, I picture you and Matt L. telling the boys lots of diner stories.
I HAVE THAT SONG IN MY HEAD TOO BEFORE I EVEN READ THIS WHAT.
Rabbit 2/18 '18
ASDFGTYUIFGYHJGTUJGH!!
Death/Funerals really does produce a kind of out-of-body experience, doesn't it? You float over it all, see the patterns and the rituals, you contemplate your own end. You ponder time and entropy, and what it is to be human... My love to you and Matt.

Anne Mollo 2/18 '18
Thank you, my friend. Xoxo
 

Up until a few months ago, I hadn't seen my natural hair color since high school.  I decided to just stop coloring my hair and take advantage of the "shadow root" trend. Once the sides got long enough, I got it cut so it was cropped super-short all over except the fooge on the top/front of my head, which I need.  I let it grow and grow, and soon I had what looked like all nondescript brownish-blah hair with frosted tips (with surprisingly little gray, but who cares)... but I didn't feel funky at all. I missed feeling funky.

So I went to the local, indie, mom-n-pop beauty supply shoppe near my house so I could to restock up on mah hair stuff, and $3.50 later, I had everything I needed to go back to Jillish.  I kinda dug the two-tone hair, but I just didn't have my mojo.  So... TADAAAA, I'm back to all-platinum again. (And with a better color result and less breakage than I get at the salon, thankyouverymuch.)

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Once again, I am sick.

It's so weird. There were years where I wasn't getting sick, and now I'm getting sick all the time, it seems. Maybe it's because I'm around more people since I'm at Penn all the time... I dunno. But MAN, this cold is extra awful.

Started with a sore throat, and now it's sore ears, a meaty lung cough of death where I'm coughing up a ton of yellow disgustingness... my lungs rattle and it's just gross. My ears are killing me. I hate it. 

I've been living on tea and Progresso soup since Sunday, which is the right thing to do, I suppose. 

I need to get better ASAP because I have an ITIL Foundation class to teach at Penn from Monday to Thursday of this coming week. 

Today is the first day I've gotten out of bed since Sunday. I feel like I've turned a corner, but I still have noooo voice. I hate having no voice, but I figure Matt likes the peace and quiet... tee hee.

Lindsay Harris-Friel had gotten us all tickets to see Steven Page and the Art of Time Ensemble on Tuesday night, but I was too sick to go, and she was too busy to go. We had those tickets since August-- we both so desperately wanted to attend... but the universe had alternate plans for us.

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In other news, The Eagles won the Super Bowl for the first time. I normally don't care about sportsball, but you can't deny it was a really great game. My mom emailed me to ask if we went to the game, but I don't think she realized that the game was played in Minneapolis and not in PA, and that the cheapest tickets were $4500. So no, we didn't go. :) I don't understand why Eagles fans celebrate my destroying the city... this is why we can't have nice things. 

[Pause]

==============================


OK, I can't put off breaking this bad news any longer. I hate making small talk when there's a bomb to drop, so here it is:

We are very, very sad to hear that Matt's Uncle Greg (Betsy's older brother) died suddenly today. He was just diagnosed with lung cancer, so he had just started chemo. Sometimes chemo can cause pneumonia (who knew?) which he wound up catching... and then he had a stroke last night. His wife Elizabeth said it looked pretty grim, and she had hoped he wouldn't wake up... and he didn't. We just got the news this afternoon (Feb 7th) that he died at 4:30. It's absolutely heartbreaking. Greg was so amazing. We'll be flying out to California for the services next week. Greg worked at Boeing for most of his life as an engineer plus he had a lot of hobbies, one of which was birdwatching. He led tours for birdwatchers to see species that are native to the California coastline, and even led school groups through California's conservation areas. He took us on a private tour one time when Matt and I were in that neck of the woods as I taught in Irvine, CA. Something tells me that we will definitely see a bird or two at Greg's burial. 

It makes me sad that my parents will never get a chance to meet Greg; they really would have liked him.

But I am grateful to have had a lot of time with him recently, especially considering how far away he and Elizabeth live. We got to sing for his wedding, they came out for Grandmom's funeral, and they even flew out for Steve and Betsy's 50th Anniversary Party. They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?

=============================

Also, just to lighten the mood a bit (and apropos of nothing) you probably didn't know that you needed a video of a bunny-jumping competition. So here ya go. 

==========================
Anyway, I want to write more, but the cold medicine is kicking in and I'm feeling derpy. So... I'm off to bed.

Good night!

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I am so sorry. Glad you got to know him.
You especially would have freakin' LOVED him. Funny as hell, super-duper-ridiculously smart, dry humor (but not always), always using his body, insanely curious. Lots in common, you two. :)
Oh, I'm so sorry about Greg. And sorry you are sick!

On a lighter note, I sent the bunny jumping video to my daughter Nina, who will LOVE IT.

I am so with you on the hair color thing. I'm struggling right now. Still growing out the last of the "gray" from the play--which is now just white. I've grown out the bleachiness once before, went back to my normal color (there's proof of that in one of my storytelling videos). I eventually went shrieking back to my hairdresser because I couldn't stand it anymore. This time, I'm trying to grow my hair longer and have no idea what to do about the color, since I'm growing it so I can audition for a play I'd really like to be in this fall--and I have a feeling my short bleachy look wouldn't get me the part--but I don't know how long I can stand having Bad Hair. It's driving me batshit.
Anne Mollo 2/8 '18
I know the batshit-caused-by-hair very well.

How long can you grow your hair out before you scream ASDFGYUFGYHGYUJFGH and chop it all off again? You and I have similarly-short hair styles, and whenever I say "This time I'll grow it out!" I skip maybe two of my regular cutting times and I am so miserable that when I finally get it cut I get it cut REALLY short as if to compensate or atone to the short-hair gods for my foolish whims.

I sometimes wish it was more acceptable for white women to wear wigs in daily life. As for your role, wigs can look awesome on stage, so hopefully your director can look past your short hair and plop a wig on you. What part are you auditioning for? I love living my theater life vicariously through you. :)

(And thank you re: Greg and my plague. Xo.)
oh, i am so sorry. i'm sorry about Greg, i'm sorry you feel like crap, i'm sorry you missed your concert. but happy about your hair (although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P). feel better, and miss you.
Jenn A 2/8 '18
"although i'm sure on you it looked super-cool and you're being really critical :P"

Written like someone who knows her well. :)
Thank you all around, m'dear. I hate being a whiner, but these are worthy whines.

Miss you too. :) <3
I didn't know Greg, but I'm sorry to hear that he's gone. Sounds like a good dude.

"They were well-traveled and well-loved, and I suppose that's all you can ask for, right?"

I sure as hell hope so.
You sir, are two for two, and then some. :-)
*lerv*
I'm so sorry for your loss. Greg sounds awesome.
Kate Haney 2/12 '18
 

Hi, all!

July 4th, seeing the folks; parental update

Spent July 4th up at my folks' place. I sometimes feel guilty that they don't have any friends who invite them to hang out on holidays, so late on the 3rd Matt and I decided to head up to their place. Was happy to see them.

My dad has been battling this mystery ailment where food tastes BAD (like decidedly awful), and it's been like this for about 6-8 weeks. Because of this, he doesn't really like to eat anymore, so his energy is crap now. I'm worried about him. Not sure what the fix is, but his doctors ordered him labwork and everything came back OK, except for low sodium. (Which is funny, considering he always would eat salty snacks and put a crap-ton of salt on his food. But he doesn't eat the salty snacks anymore because of how awful everything tastes... hence his now-too-low sodium. I find it so fascinating that the body craves what it knows it needs.)

Work/money/gigs

In other news, I have no work lined up and it is scary. We also have no Hot Breakfast gigs scheduled.  We must remedy these things.

My book royalty checks have been keeping me afloat in these non-workin' times... but last month's book royalty check was $105. For the record, $105 does not pay the mortgage.  (The reason the book royalty check was so small was because my book is sold by two different companies: Pearson (my publisher) and SafariBooksOnline.com (a reseller). 99% of my book sales come from Safari, and Safari didn't get their monthly sales numbers to Pearson in time for the May royalty check (which I receive in June) because of Memorial Day.  No biggie... my July royalty check will have both May and June's royalties in there. But I can't tell my mortgage company to just wait a month.

What else can I update you on...

Lizzie

I dunno if y'all remember, but I was asked to audition for and got cast in Lizzie, which is a four-woman hard-rock musical based on Lizzie Borden. I play Emma, Lizzie's very pissed off and much-older sister.  The show was supposed to go up in April, but the theater was having trouble securing the space (they lease space from Opera Delaware) for rehearsals and the show dates. So the show got pushed back and pushed back, and got pushed back so far that we lost our Lizzie because she had plans to move to California in July, which she just did.  So anyhoo, things have solidified, and rehearsals officially start next week for a September run.  The girl we got to replace our original Lizzie is wonderful, so I'm excited about that. I am 20-ish years older than the other cast members... curious how we'll interact. Also curious what the costumers are thinking about dressing us in. I've seen some photos from some productions where the cast is in lingerie and/or BSDM gear. I've seen others where they are dressed all emo/goth. And then there are others where the girls are wearing period-appropriate clothes. So I dunno.  All I know is I desperately need a haircut and dye job, but I don't know if they'll want my nutty Jill Hair, or if they're gonna stick a wig on me.  I'll know more in 2 weeks, I guess!

Golden Anniversary 

This weekend is Matt's parents' 50th Anniversary party (their actual anniversary is tomorrow). Tonight (Friday) we're having a small family get-together, and then tomorrow (Saturday) is the big soirée at a restaurant. They planned it themselves and also said "No gifts, we mean it!" which essentially makes us look like jerks. My mom used to do that all the time... she'd book her own party and then would make everyone feel like a shitbird* for not throwing a party for her.

Allrighty-- gonna try to catch a 40-minute nap before we head to Matt's folks' for Anniversary Dinner Round 1.

Hope all is well.

------

* "Shitbird." Thanks, Gas-Man!

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First up, I read "parental update" as "prenatal update" and was seriously surprised for a second.

That taste thing with your dad, sounds rough! My first thought is maybe a low grade sinus infection, which can affect taste. My hypochondriac panic response is brain tumor, which would also explain the low sodium levels and his energy levels. (Well, lots of tumors can cause that actually.) Sorry, I shouldn't share my medical anxieties so freely! I'll stop now. I hope it gets figured out and your dad feels better soon. Not wanting to eat sucks.

Can you talk with your mortgage lender? Is it a local lender or just Big Bank?

When will Lizzie happen? Where? Can I come see it somehow? I'm good with sleeping on couches...

For the record, I've been taking a LOT of 20-minute naps lately. I'm surprised to find that they actually help.
Anne Mollo 7/7 '17edited
Nonono, please don't ever hold back with the medical expertise, even if your thoughts are considered kinda ooky. I wanna know. Because my first thought was "mini stroke." So hearing you say "brain tumor" certainly isn't comforting, but it makes me think if they don't find anything with this next round of bloodwork it might be time for a CT.

Lizzie is happening in September! We have a comfy guest room with a nice, new bed and its own bathroom, and we love guests. I also have a zillion hotel points if you'd rather stay in the Doubletree. I'm not the best hostess when in "gotta get ready for a show"-mode, but I also know you get that. :-) So come on down! But lemme get some rehearsals in first just to make sure it doesn't suck first. (This theater does excellent, excellent work. It's considered our city's "edgy theater." So the only way the show will suck is if I suck, which is possible, because an actor I ain't.

As for the mortgage stuff, we're actually OK... Matt (godblesshim) has things comfortably under control. I just hate asking, and he hates that I hate asking. :-)
Do please keep me updated! I will be in NYC the weekend of Sept 16 for my BURFday. I decided my present this year should be a visit to the botanical gardens at night, to see Chihully glassworks lit up and glowing. So we're all going down and staying with James (eldest daughter's dad; former husband) at his newish house in New Jersey, so we call all six of us visit the gardens together.
Anne Mollo 7/14 '17
That's closing weekend. Yay!

We have shows that week(end) on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and we close on that Saturday the 16th. The theater is a few steps from the Wilmington Amtrak station.

They are renovating the NYPenn train station which impacts service between Wilmington and NYP now through September 1st. Assuming they finish on time, then all should be happy. But if the repairs run late, then Acela service will be your only bet, and that's spendy (assuming you wanna take a train).

Where in Jersey will you be? (I'm originally from Jersey, but I don't know the gardens.)

But let's make sure the show is good first. :-) The music director in me wishes they tested everyone's harmony-singing abilities at auditions, but they didn't. I don't know any of the actors, but tomorrow is our first rehearsal/sing-thru, so I'll know more soon.

If you wanna spend a day in my neck of the woods, a day-trip to Longwood Gardens is pretty amazing, and is about 20 minutes away.

Yaaaay!
Damn, Lizzie sounds awesome! I bet you're gonna have a blast and I know it will be fantastic.

Sorry to hear about your dad... that's scary, especially because they don't know why. I hope you guys get some answers about that soon.

I hope your work/gig life fleshes out again soon too. As a fellow freelance worker, I know how crappy those slow times are (like right now, so you're in good company).

Enjoy your nap!
Leela 7/7 '17
The nap was most excellent. :-)

Thanks for the kind words, too... I'm sure things will straighten out soon. :)
That "everything tastes bad" thing sure sounds like pregnancy. Maybe you should give your dad The Talk.

I've got a birthday present squirreled away for someone. I'm crossing my fingers they don't freekin buy themselves one before their birthday.

Thou shalt not drop hints and then self-gratify before your birthday! It's, like, a rule. I just made it.
I agree with this rule!

My mom would also just buy what she wanted for herself, so when we'd say "what do you want for x holiday?" She'd say "Give me $28 to cover the cost of the thing I bought myself." Grrr.

I mean, on one hand, I get that sometimes you don't wanna wait until your birthday or Christmas to get what you need. But come ON.
Please let me know when Lizzie tickets are on sale. I wanted to see that show when I first heard about it, and now that you are in it, I REALLY want to see it.

Also, I know that when you complain about money, you are not asking for help, but if you need help with anything, please reach out. Or get Matt to do it, because you suck at asking for help, even when you need it. xoxoxoxo
Awww, thanks babycakes. We're actually in (blessedly) good shape financially, as a couple. I just hate asking Matt for money, and he really hates that I hate asking. He's very much "what's mine is ours" and I'm very much "I MUST HANDLE ALL THE THINGS ALONE! The house is in MY name, and is therefore MY problem!" So it's a thing. But also totally not. I just need a foot up my ass. (What else is new?)

I'll keep you posted re: Lizzie! I'm really itchy to get rehearsing.
 

Hit a home run with Verizon Residential and a bunt to first with Verizon Wireless today. It's been a Verizonny day. 

In a nutshell, Verizon Residential came out (and was on time!) this morning and they confirmed my diagnosis and remedy, because I am awesome.  So yep, turns out the ONT (optical network terminal) wasn't getting power from the outlet, and was only getting power from the BBU (battery backup unit).  The tech was awesome and took one look at our 10-year-old ONT/BBU and immediately said "I gotta replace this shiznit," at which point I said "Whoa whoa whoa, Amigo... the new units don't have battery backups, so you're not allowed to replace it because I have a landline that relies on the battery in the event of a power outage." And he was like, "Holy shitballs, you're right, which is weird because you appear to have both technical skills and boobs."  Yes, I get that a lot. I understand. It's an anomalies in your home and native land of DelCo, where everyone has Rodney Anonymous' accent.  Anyway, he replaced the power supply and didn't charge me anything, and said "I just gotta warn you though... a sales guy is gonna call you and they're gonna try to get you to upgrade your FIOS. Right now you have 256MB Up/Down, which was bleeeeeeeeding-edge speedy 10 years ago, and now we've got Gigabyte Up/Down. So just brace yourself." I asked if I was in any danger if I didn't upgrade... like, was I vulnerable to some nutty exploit, and he said "Nope, none that I can think of. As long as you keep your router firmware up-to-date and don't keep default passwords, you should be OK."  So, yeah. I call that a win for now.

* * * * *

The bunt to first base happened overnight last night when I tweeted to VZWSupport about a problem that has been plaguing our neighborhood and environs since May 2014: We had a freak hailstorm in May of 2014 with baseball-sized hail that got me and my neighbors new roofs/siding/car bodywork/etc.

(see cool photos of hailstones and damage to my house and car: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xtingu/sets/72157645237393142/ )

It also knocked out the Verizon cell tower that serves our area, and since that very afternoon, cell reception for everyone around here has been shittastic... you either have baaaaaarely one teeeeeeny bar of signal or none whatsoever, or you have to go outside to make a call. (This is why I still have a landline.)  Various neighbors have called VZW to complain over the years, and Verizon resolved the individual Incidents (be selling signal boosters to people who complained) but never addressed the Problem of fixing the smashed tower. So after I tweeted VZWSupport last night, they called me today and I was able to explain to the rep that it wasn't just me and Matt experiencing this, but it was over 200 customers in the area, many of whom are switching (or already switched) to Sprint.  She said "Holy crap, we'll get someone out there within 5-7 days!" Which seems like a long time, but we've waited three years, so what's other week?

There's a slightly more locked-down social media site called "NextDoor" which is a neighborhood message board that somehow verifies you actually live in a certain neighborhood before it lets you join. This "Damaged Verizon Cell Tower" has been a very sore point for a looooong time, but I'm suddenly a hero today for telling everyone in our surrounding neighborhoods that this might FINALLY get addressed. I am cautiously optimistic, hence a bunt to first base.  I'll keep y'all posted... I'm sure you're all biting your nails wondering how the cell reception is in North Wilmington, Delaware. 

Other than that...

Music Stuff This Weekend

We've got two gigs this weekend. On Friday (6/23) we're playing this neat town festival called Smyrna At Night. Smyrna, Delaware is a cute town about halfway down our tall skinny state that has a street festival every summer where they close the main drag, have a ton of vendors, food trucks, bands, and stuff all night. We're playing an indoor venue at prime time, from 8-9pm at a place called The Drunk'n Baker, which is a bakery that makes booze-infused treatz.*  Should be fun, even if I won't eat their boozey snax.

The second gig is the next night (Saturday, 6/24), where we're playing in our Billy Joel Tribute Band at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, on the big stage downstairs. Show starts at 8pm.  I sing lead on a few things, I sing backup on a zillion others, and play tenor and also saxes, and a crap-ton of percussion. It's a blast, and I love playing this music with my friends... it's an 8-piece band and we make a good racket. If you're in or around Philly, come on out if ya want. We'd love an audience. :-D

On Sunday we'll do a belated Fathers Day up at my folks' place in NJ and we'll stay with them for a few days. It'll be nice.

So that's the news. 

Riveting, I know.

Ok, bye. :)

____

Seven dollahs, get a big bagga treatz!" (Inside joke. Sorry.)​​​​​​

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6/22 '17 9 Comments
"Seven dollahs, yah get a big bagga treatz!"

I fuckin love you. Have I mentioned that recently, cuz I do.

Laughed out loud in my hotel. Hope I didn't wake the neighbors.

Also - Nice work with Big VZ - both counts. I love that the kid tried to warn you of the impending call from the sales droid. Because of COURSE there's going to be a call.

And the cell tower? That seems like it will be a MAYJOHR win if it happens.

Your customer complaint fu is so VERY much stronger than mine. Remind me to have you come with me the next time I have to deal with VZW...
Matt Lichtenwalner 6/22 '17edited
Sometimes autocorrect is good. "Also sax:" now my favorite typo
Thomas Boutell 6/22 '17
So I wanna say I am proud of you for taking it to the man and getting good service ... and I am, but the fact that getting honest, helpful service from a vendor who YOU PAY is a victory, not a commonplace occurrence ... that makes me sad.

Yay you!
Boo Corporate America.
*pumps fist in solidarity*
I'll be there is Smyrna with my (most likely cranky) 6 yr old in tow. Hoping to finally meet you!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
Wait ... Ursula and Jill, you've never met?
That makes sense considering the timing, but still, it feels weird.
Jill I saw you through the window - but kid was extra cranky melting down, so we didn't come in. . . . some other day!
Ursula Sadiq 6/23 '17
No worries at all! Just saw this now that we're home, so I wasn't on the lookout and didn't know to be disappointed. :-D

But get this-- your name was totally brought up tonight! Kristen Halversen (new last name is Pickering) was there and her super-talented son Brody joined us as an intern when we recorded our last album. Kristen said to me, "Hey, I didn't know you know Hamlet! We were in the honors program at UD together!" And then started naming people we knew, and she mentioned you, and I said that we hadn't yet met but were probably going to any minute. IT'S LIKE I WAS PSYCHIC.
Told you.
 

Haven't blogged in eons. Life has been whizzing by.

Matt's super-active, fashion-plate, socialite grandmom (age 95) was diagnosed with aggressive stomach cancer about 3 months ago, and it's shocking how quickly she went from vibrant and happy to a shell of a human, just withered and weak. We all rotated vigil and visited pretty much daily, keeping her company, playing cards, BSing, and keeping her spirits up until she no longer had the energy. About three weeks ago she seemed to stop fighting, and she left us on Monday (exactly one week ago). We had the wake yesterday (Sunday) and today we buried her. I will miss her very much; we had brunch together nearly every Sunday since Matt and I got together, and I will never forget how she accepted me into the family without question. In her final weeks I painted her nails so she felt a little more human. She told me she didn't like my new hair color, which made me happy she'd tell me. :-)  I loved her very much, and it's hard to believe she's gone.  Her ex-boyfriend-turned-dear-friend Harry will also be missed, as I imagine I won't see him around any longer. I'm not lying or exaggerating when I say I have a pretty good crush on Harry, all 89 years of him. 

Music-wise:
Played in two Eagles tribute shows (the band, not the team) a few weeks ago, which were fun but bittersweet since it was In The Light's first tribute since losing Christian (our bass player) so suddenly in the accident this summer. 

Played in a huge tribute to the 80s this past Saturday at The Queen as a fund raiser for City Theater. I sang a few songs but was so, so pround to be in the band. I sang backing vocals on every song, and got a Roland Handsonic electronic drum kit and programmed and played the crap out of it (or played actual hand percussion) for almost every song... even played some sax. That band was a true Dream Team of every instrumentalist I idolize, and it was an honor to be the weak link on that stage. 

Between Grandmom support and the tribute shows, Hot Breakfast has taken a bit of a back seat which happens from time to time but I don't like. Now that our obligations are over for a bit, we are focusing on getting our Christmas EP recorded and released in time for our December 17th Very Dorky Christmas Show at The Queen. We plan on turning the upstairs stage into a cheezy living room (complete with fake fireplace and couch and front door), and our Narrator will tell the audience how Hot Breakfast just doesn't have the Christmas spirit this year... as random musicians "stop by and knock on our door" and cheer us up by playing a song or two. It should be a really fun night and a cute homage to silly late-70s variety shows. (If only we could get Charo.)

Anyway, we buried Grandmom today, and after the repast we all went home for naps, and the core Casarinos got together for pizza. Betsy's sister and brother and their spouses came to town from Connecticut and California respectively, so it was nice to talk to them. We got on the topic of "Have you ever had a relative or friend visit you after they died" and that led us to talking about Edgar Cayce which led me to now have three Edgar Cayce books on my nightstand. I love my second family so, so, so much. 

Right now I'm laying in bed as Matt is playing guitar in the other room. There is nothing I love more than hearing the sounds of Matt's creativity echo through the house; the music he writes resonates with me so deeply and so perfectly, and I can't believe how lucky I am. I feel very loved and so warm and snuggly.

We'll be at my folks' place for a week starting this weekend... my dad is going to Asheville, NC to visit his sister, and my mom can't really be left home alone, so Matt and I are going to keep her company. We're bringing up some recording equipment so maybe I'll be able to lay down some lead vocals on the Christmas EP this week while Mom snoozes. (Mom likes to snooze. Luckily the back room where Matt and I stay is clear on the other side of the house.)

I'm sorry I haven't been very present online... I have been reading LJ and OPW but just not having the energy to respond. Caring for Matt's grandmom every day plus work travel and rehearsals was taking every brain cycle and every ounce of nurturing energy I had... and ultimately I ran out of juice.

(Speaking of which, it's probably time for an iron infusion soon. I should get my labwork done.)

Life has been insane, but as of right now, it is finally calm. It is bittersweet, this calm... but as always, life goes on. Everything continues. The leaves are changing color and starting to fall, and soon we'll nestle in for the winter, and with any luck will put the house up for sale this spring.

More soon.

originally posted at xtingu.livejournal.com

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10/25 '16 25 Comments
Way to drop a bomb. To where do you want to move?
Huh? I've been talking about moving back to NJ for like four years. :-)
I just realized that the way I worded that sounds extremely rude. I didn't mean it that way. I'm sorry about the loss of Matt's grandmother. I'm glad you're getting so much love and fulfillment from Matt's family and your tribute shows. You've talked about moving for years and it sounded like a new development.
I knew you didn't mean it rude, even if it read that way, I know you're not a rude person, so I gave you the benefit of the micro-doubt. You are kind and good. :)

But yep, we've been talking about moving forever, but now since my Mom is in pretty shitty shape, it's becoming more urgent, unfortunately.
I think what I meant was (I typed this while waiting for V's train to arrive), was, to where specifically do you plan to move? What's the landing strip?

(Huh huh, huh huh... landing strip. HUHHUHHUHHUHHUUUUUHHH...)
Aw, I'm so sorry. She sounds badass to me.

Re the Christmas show, have you seen the bill Murray Christmas special?
Thomas Boutell 10/25 '16
Yeah, she was amazing. I know it sounds trite, but I am happy she's not suffering any longer. When she was sick, we comiserated by saying, "This is total bullshit."

I haven't heard of this Bill Murray Christmas Special, but I love me some Bill Murray so I'll start digging around! Thanks for the tip!
I believe it's called "A Very Murray Christmas" and I'm pretty sure it's on Netflix or Prime (though I don't recall which one).
I am excited to see it!
Please give Matt (and yourself) my condolences. That just sucks. Happy that she's not suffering, but it really sucks.
Will do. And it's true, it sucks. She was awesome. Thanks, sweetie. <3
Oh, I'm so sorry your grandmom is gone. She sounds amazing.

These days, I am so All Done losing people I love. Maybe sometime I'll be lucky enough to have one of them visit me.
Anne Mollo 10/25 '16
Seriously.
I thought 2015 was shit, but 2016 is the Year Of Everyone Dying, and other than Grandmom, the deaths in my sphere have been freak accidents and random "o hai, ur ded now, thx."

I AM OVER IT. Which is to say, I am not over it.

I lost all of my grandparents by 1991... but Grandmom was Matt's grandmom... but she took me right in and made me feel so welcome, and it was so wonderful having a grandmother again.

<3
How are you guys holding up? Losing a loved one hurts so much, even if it's time. How is Mom doing? Why can't she be left alone?

Thinking of you with lots of love.
We're holding up OK because we really haven't had any downtime yet for things to sink in. It's go-go-go-go all the time, between work trips, gigs, rehearsals, Grandmom care (and then Grandmom memorial services, funeral, burial, etc.).

My dad has been wanting to visit his only sister (Aunt Judy) who lives in Asheville NC for a while, but he can't leave Mom alone because she can't care for herself. (Sadly, it's because she's too heavy and out of shape -- which translates to she's in too much pain and too out of breath to care for herself. That's the bottom line.) So I offered to my dad that we would come up and be with Mom while he visits Aunt Judy. (Honestly, I would have loved to go with him to see Aunt Judy, but my brother and sister-in-law are simply too busy to care for Mom.)

I'm an idiot. I just realized that I have about 47 half-written LJ entries explaining the Mom Health Sitch... but I have not posted any of them, so it's no wonder why people seem puzzled re: Mom.

In a nutshell, a few months ago Mom was given a year to live. We later learned that it's "You have a year to live if you don't take better care of yourself," which means we all have to step up to take care of her because she can't (won't?) take better care of herself.

In all honesty, I didn't know how much care my dad was giving her until I just talked to him on the phone tonight to coordinate when Matt and I will be heading up there. He said that he needed to have a half-day with me before he heads out to Asheville so he can show me all of the care routines.

So I just learned that instead of just hangin' out and keeping an eye on things (which is what I thought we'd be doing), we're actually on oxygen tank filling/rotation duty, CPAP duty, medication dosing duty, insulin monitoring and correction duty, commode duty (and doody), showering duty, infected and non-healing wound-care duty, fallen-and-can't-get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night duty, cooking duty, cleaning duty, and THEN general keepin' an eye on things duty. And also hangin' out duty, playing cards duty, seeing movies duty, etc. It's not all work, I imagine.

My dad is a saint, because my mom isn't easy.

I have the feeling this week my brother, sister-in-law and I are going to have to have The Big Talk... because if I didn't know the kind of constant care Dad is providing Mom, there's no way in hell my brother or sister-in-law know.

Anyhoo... thanks for asking. I imagine I'll be doing a lot of blogging this coming week from NJ.

xoxo
Shit. I knew Mom wasn't in great shape, but I didn't know it'd become that bad.

I'll be home for Thanksgiving (and probably a week before that) and at least two weeks at the end of the year. I can also take some time off as needed.

Point being: you know the deal. Can I come up and help out at some point? Does she need anything I can provide (even if that's just a visit one afternoon)?

Lemme know.
Awww, thanks sweetie. Yeah, it happened pretty fast it feels.

I'm sure she would love to see you... hell, so would I! So depending on where we wind up for Thanksgiving or Christmas, maybe we could work out a visit, with me at least!
I would like that very much. And seriously - anything I can do to help...
Oh shit, Jillbot, I am so sorry your Mom is in such bad shape. Your Dad is, indeed, a saint, and I am sure he needs a break and is happy that you and Matt can cover his duties for a bit. If you need to talk, email, text, primal scream ... I'm here for you.
Thanks, darlin'. I know you know how a lot of this feels, especially the oxygen part of it and the unnecessary shame that goes with it.

I'm sure I'll be blogging a lot this week... I'll make sure to remember to copy/paste it here from LJ... seems like OPW is where the cool kids are at now.
I thought it was bad, but I didn't know it was That Bad.
My heart goes out to you, and to your dad. Being a caregiver is Rough. If there is something I can do to help, please ask.
Yeah, I knew it was bad and had been getting steadily worse... but when Dad rattled off the duties/doodies that's when it really hit me. My dad is a saint. He really is.

Jill "xtingu" Knapp 10/29 '16edited
He really is. Was before this.
Dammit, I'm so sorry.

I know it's hard but you're absolutely right you need to make sure your siblings 100% get it. People second guess your actions something awful when things get, well, awful.
Thomas Boutell 10/28 '16
Sibling. Only two young Knapps to help out. Sigh.