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« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 30, 2008

What's New? A Podcast of "Bowling, A Mac World, and More!"

The Dude on the Right is a little bummed for this podcast, what with his mom passing away and all, but what better way to get out the doldrums than by buying a new computer!  Unfortunately, for The Dude, buying a MacBook also means a new learning curve (if any of you can help him plug two microphones into his MacBook and be able to control each mic independently, he would appreciate your advice), but on the plus side, his history is starting to come to light with his alma matter, Illinois Institute of Technology, beginning to post old issues of Technology News, the campus newspaper, from the time he attended.  We now learn he was a good bowler, but if The Dude wanted to be where the money was at, he would have shot to be a good golfer!

There is some political talk for this podcast, as the elections are next Tuesday, but with this weekend The Dude is just really hoping to get a movie review posted because then things are just a little closer to normal.

Posted by Rightdude at 6:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2008

Reviews Are Coming Soon, For Now It's About Pumpkins and Trees!

By: The Dude on the Right
It's a weird thing to go through, the death of a parent, let alone two within a year, but sometimes weird things lead to beautiful things, reflective things, and things you might have never done before.  Beautiful were the trees and stars (and my BFF - as always!), reflective were a batch of 6ish hour drives between the old country of Lorain and the new country of Chicago, and something I've never done before is carve a pumpkin.  I think.

So as I'm working my way back to normalcy, being torn if I should really buy a new MacBook Pro and contemplating getting back into reviewing mode this weekend with the release of the movies "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and/or "Changeling" or seeing "High School Musical 3," these last few days I'm just working on getting back to posting things, catching up on my TiVo, and hopefully getting a podcast done tomorrow.

But to keep this blog simple, let's get to "Beautiful" and "Reflective" first.

I thought about trying to quantify how many times I've driven between Chicago and Lorain (Lorain is in the state of Ohio for those of you who might not know) over the years, but in simplest terms it has been at least five times a years for the last 22 years, with that number increasing in the past few years.  I'd say it's a long drive, but really it's only about five or six hours, depending on potty breaks, and many a time I have used those hours as personal therapy for a variety of reasons.  People ask why I don't fly home, but in reality, how much time am I really saving by flying?  You're supposed to get to the airport at least an hour and half before your flight, it's about 45 minutes of flying time, and if you factor in airport delays, sitting on the tarmac, having to either get picked up at the airport or rent a car, and then the half hour drive to the old homestead, in the end, I've always found driving to be the prudent mode of travel, with the only wrinkle being when the Lake Michigan snow machine rears its ugly head, dumping snow into the Indiana snowbelt.  The odd things is that in all of those travels I never made that trip to Lorain during the height of the change of seasons in the fall, when the trees were at their brilliant colors and travel was a little lighter because the trip wasn't during a holiday season.  But as things worked out, as my mom's health was fading, I found myself, for a change, on the Indiana Toll Road and Ohio Turnpike as the colors of the trees seemed to be peaking.  As stressful as the times were, between the travel to Lorain knowing it would be for the passing of my mom, to the quick trip back to Chicago after she died to button some things up when the trees were brilliant (and I'm not advocating trying to take a picture with your camera phone while you are driving, but hey, they were some colorful trees), and then driving back to Ohio to bury my mom, during a cold Ohio night, with the constellation Orion being utterly striking, rising over the eastern horizon, so much so that I felt bad keeping it to myself and not waking my BFF to see it, you know, sometimes beauty, wonder, and even pumping gas in the cold air can ease a stressful mind, just when it needs it.

And then came pumpkins.

Mom's funeral had come and gone, but my nephew, niece, and family were still in town, and everyone needed something to do.  I reverted back to normalcy for them - seeing a movie, which sounds bizarre for some folks, but generally worked for all of us at the various holiday times we would get together.  The crappy part is that the movie choices during the weekend of my mom's funeral were crap, but thankfully my BFF was there to save the day.  Well, at first she laid an egg, suggesting bowling, but who knew "bowlers" wouldn't go bowling if they didn't have their own equipment, i.e. balls, bags, shoes, towels, etc., to bowl with.  So when my BFF (and I) suggested going bowling instead of a movie, that suggestions crashed quicker than the Hindenburg.  Then my BFF suggested getting some pumpkins, carving them, and then maybe a dinner, and wouldn't you know it, as complicated as pumpkin picking can sometimes be (especially when the original destination doesn't have any more pumpkins in their patch), somehow pumpkin carving is easier, thanks to those pumpkin carving kits readily available at a Walgreens near you.

And so, after a quick trip to a different, dying, pumpkin patch, various sizes of pumpkins were secured, goop was scooped out of the innards, intricate carvings were attempted as well as some not so intricate, and as my sister and I reminisced about pumpkin carving, well, both of us realized that our family never attempted it, and that there might have been a time, when we were maybe 8 to 12 years old, when we tried to carve pumpkins at our friend's house down the street, and if so, there is no way any of those carvings were as cool as those done by our family, with stencils and appropriate cutting tools, done that Saturday, the Saturday after my mom was buried, when our family didn't go and see a movie, but instead, carved pumpkins.

And it was cool.

Tomorrow should be a podcast, this weekend should be a movie review or two, but for now it's all about getting back to some semblance of normalcy, even if normalcy is now without being able to call your mom on a Saturday morning, at 9:15, when you always do.  And then comes that day when you delete "Mom and Dad" from your phone.  I guess that's another story for another blog, but for now normalcy is the changing of the seasons and carving pumpkins, with family.

Happy Halloween!

That's it for this one!  I'm The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!

Posted by Rightdude at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2008

A New Chapter Begins... Mom on the Right is Okay

By: The Dude on the Right
Her death certificate reads "Time of Death: 11:55 PM" and the date of her death was Monday, October 20, 2008. Actually, I’m not really sure the exact time on the death certificate, because I haven’t actually seen it, and technically what is written is wrong even though "officially" correct, but for me my mom will always have passed away on Saturday, October 18th, at 3:32 PM.

This will be a long blog post.

It was just over nine months ago that my dad died. Simply put, he was done. After 78+ years of fighting multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor, thalamic syndrome, a slight stroke, and a cavalcade of other crap, he was just tired and, even though this sounds weird, he opted to just let his body die. He entered the hospice center and a few days later, well, Dad on the Right had passed away, but not before my sister and I got to see him one last time, which I would like to say was a lovely, serene scene, but when the body dies over a few days, as sometimes happens, the visual aspect can be a little jarring. Seeing dad, though, hours before he passed, was nothing like the experience of hanging with my mom for the last four days of her life.

But as difficult, emotional, and visually/auditorially disturbing those days might have been, at 3:32 PM on October 18th, Mom on the Right set my heart at ease.

You see, Mom wasn’t really ready to die at first, I think, but her body was finally giving out. She smoked for years, eventually was diagnosed with emphysema and had some partial blockage requiring a stent, and nowadays all of that seems to be lumped into something called COPD. Then a few years ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer, and even though the end was going to eventually come, she kept up the fight. But Mom didn’t want to die in a hospital or a hospice center – nope, if she was going to go, well, it was going to be at home, so she ended up in home hospice, resting comfortably for the past few months in her easy chair. Then, a few weeks ago, she became increasingly tired (I could tell because she wasn’t checking or replying to any e-mails), and as my brother and sister rotated duties caring for her, and from the talk of the hospice nurses, mom’s time was coming, and my turn came to return to the old country, Lorain, OH, to take care of her for a spell.

When I arrived she was tired, but still had her wits about her. When she would have her short bursts of energy we would have quick conversations about the upcoming election, the Cleveland Browns, how she still can’t stand the manager of the Cleveland Indians, how Lorain has gone to shit, and she doesn’t really like Rachael Ray but still watched her show on The Food Network. But as the body goes, so does the mind, and as a day went on Mom started to become confused, her eyes started to give her problems focusing, and in my down time I re-read a couple of times the "Crossing the Creek" guide the hospice center leaves with their "families" to help them understand the things that will be happening, and in the end, it is all about helping the person about to pass to make that journey to their next destination.

So I found myself covering the curtains with an extra blanket because the light was bothering Mom’s eyes. I didn’t watch TV because the glare and images on the screen bothered her. I brought Mom’s CD player into the living room where she rested, and luckily I had a way to play her iPod through it (yup, the nurses at the cancer center were duly impressed an 80 year old woman listened to her music through an iPod!). At times Mom seemed scared, at times she seemed alone, at times she had a burst of sadness yet seemed coherent things were coming to an end (Mom was upset she never made a list of organizations she wanted to donate a few dollars to at her passing, so we worked on the list together for the minutes she could), and at times she just seemed, well, pissed.

And through it all, the only thing I could think to simply say is "Mom, it’s gonna be okay."

Saturday came, and at first it seemed like another day of bizarreness, with the morning having a slight episode. But then, in the afternoon, Mom woke up again, looked at me sitting across from her, and I went to sit next to her.

She wasn’t stirring, she wasn’t angry, she didn’t seem sad. I held her hand. I asked, "Do you need anything?" She looked at me, smiled, and said, "No, Andy, I’m okay. I’m okay."

Mom went back to sleep after that moment, at 3:32 PM on Saturday, October 18th.

For the next 56ish hours mom’s body worked to finish the dying process. There was the incoherent talk, the "death rattle" (which I had to keep reminding my sis that it’s worse for us to hear – not so much for mom – at least so said the "Crossing the Creek" booklet and mom’s nurse), and sometime around 11:40 PM on Monday, October 20th, Mom tried to get up one last time, Mom’s breathing had stopped, my sister said she couldn’t feel Mom’s pulse, and it was about ten minutes later when the hospice nurse showed up, she tried to find a pulse, hear a heartbeat, and get a blood pressure reading, and a little before midnight she pronounced my Mom had passed away.

I’ve never seen anyone die before, and "What is a normal way to die?" might be a blog for another day, but for me, my Mom died at 3:32 PM on Saturday, October 18, 2008.  After 82 years she was finally "Okay."  It just took her body a little while to catch up.

Mom on the Right is now "Okay."

That's it for this one!  I'm The Dude on the Right!!  Mom, I love you!!!


Posted by Rightdude at 8:36 PM | Comments (5)

October 13, 2008

What's New? A Podcast of: "Stu & The Dude's Weekend Wrap-Up! No More Hooters, Football, A Chihuahua, and More!"

Stu Gotz returns for his duties with The Dude on the Right for another episode of a "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast.  The Dude explains to Stu why he probably won't be going back to Hooters with his BFF anytime soon, Stu gives his insight into "Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and who knew that Beanie Babies aren't worth $30 anymore?  There is also some talk about the Chicago Bears, guns for kids, and people who forward stupid e-mails that pretty much have no chance in hell of being real, along with more movie talk and Stu explaining he wasn't have a heart attack last weekend.

Posted by Rightdude at 4:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2008

What's New? A Podcast of: Stock Market Woes, Movies I Won't See, and Jillian Michaels' Inspirations of the Week.

The Dude on the Right is just as flustered about the stock market as you might be, but he just tries to make you remember the motto - "Buy low.  Sell high."  Sure, his other tip is "Don't pet a burning dog," but if the stock market is nearing its low, you know what, ten years from now, unless the world totally falls apart, your buying now will be flying high!  Inspiration is a big topic of this podcast, granted it might not have to do with "South Park," or any of the movies opening this weekend, or if you are a subscriber to "Rolling Stone" you now have batteries to properly dispose of, but The Dude is now fascinated with Jillian Michaels from "The Biggest Loser," and introduces his new feature, "Jillian Michael's Inspirations of the Week."  Go ahead and add it to your iPod for some inspiration just when you are thinking of quitting.

Posted by Rightdude at 7:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2008

What's New? A Podcast of: Chicago Sports, Stu's Schnoz, Apples, and A Happy Faced Barn.

The Dude on the Right thinks he knows how Stu Gotz would sound if he were here for this "Weekend Wrap-Up!" podcast, but he does sound kind of lonely doing this podcast (The W.G.N. - Where are you?).  He's not lonely, though, because he and his BFF did something way out of normalcy for The Dude - apple picking, in a state called Wisconsin, in a city called Mukwonago, at a place called The Elegant Farmer, where a barn with a smiley face brings in the kids, only to have them in kid-crabbiness about four hours later.  Thank God for those Apple Cider Donuts, which aren't always made on time!

The Dude also laments about the downfall of the Chicago baseball teams in the extended season, with the Cubs imploding and the White Sox becoming another lame fan base with white towels (bad-ass would have been black towels for the series, throwing in the towel is for losers, white ones, and that's what the White Sox became - at least says The Dude on the Right).

The Dude, at least, had a Chicago Bears win to be happy about.

Posted by Rightdude at 8:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 2, 2008

What's New? A Podcast of: Elevator Etiquette, Duh, Steve Fossett Isn't Found Yet, and Simple Math.

The Dude on the Right is fired up for this podcast but it's not about the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox losing their first games in the baseball playoffs.  Nope, The Dude can't understand the actions of a dude in an elevator, he's worried that he missed out on some easy grant money for studying people at a Chinese Buffet, and even though Steve Fossett's plane has been found, he wonders about Steve Fossett actually being found.  And if you have found, in your e-mail, how you might be better off getting a financial windfall rather than AIG getting their bailout, you might want to pull out your calculator to figure out how you're going to be spending your "windfall" of $425.00, and not $425,000.  And if you are a dudette or a gay dude, you might want to start watching "Survivor: Gabon" and tell the PTC (Parent's Television Council) to butt out of your newfound hap-penis.

Posted by Rightdude at 6:39 PM | Comments (0)


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