searching.

As of right now, my blog has gotten a total of 3,734 hits. I’m pretty sure they weren’t all generated by my Dad, or me checking my own grammar.
I like looking at the Blog Stats. The section that tells me what people were searching for when they found my blog is particularly interesting. Here is what people were searching for this week:

  • 9 people searched for “acneil.com” – yay!
  • 1 person searched for “Dr. Thomas Feist” – my cousin the German Politician.
  • 2 people searched for “Matt The Electrician.” – I hope they enjoyed my video from Austin…
  • 1 person searched for “things to be morally opposed to” – if they searched for this term in earnest, I’m afraid they were very disappointed with me.
Last week, someone searched for “reasons to date a musician.” This made me laugh! I can think of many reasons to date one, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never blogged about them, so I’m not sure how they ended up here. I can think of even more reasons not to date one, but I haven’t blogged about those either… maybe I should…
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the cat, a new pair of shoes, and a box of pop tarts.

For a while now I’ve had a suspicion that I might be a little stressed out. But I didn’t really have any idea how much until this week.

My first clue was getting bronchitis back in November and then an ear infection – spending 5 weeks feeling lousy. The next clue was my stomach has been bothering so much more lately it’s been making me miserable. Then The Cat got sick 2 weeks ago and I was told she’s not physically ill, but “depressed.” Well this last week, last Monday , she had a major freak-out and I had to take her back to the Vet. She’s been there ever since.
I believe that animals, like children, pick up on our behavior and feelings more than we realize, and that my stress has caused the poor Cat to be institutionalized – held by the doctor for observation…
I stressed The Cat out. She stressed me out. And so on, until it got to where something had to give and I couldn’t take it. The Vet is waiting on a shipment of trans-dermal Prozac for her and it should arrive Monday or Tuesday. But even then, we don’t know if it’ll work with helping her relax. They tell me she’s being very friendly now though, but she won’t take treats from anyone, even when she’s hungry, and that she “trusts no one.” I used to think this Cat and I were very different – but this week I realized Oh My God we are exactly alike…
As for me, not only have I been making myself physically ill, but I’ve been having weird thoughts… I bought POP TARTS recently for heaven’s sake. If you know me at all, you know that this is just Not Right. There are other things in my pantry that I am not proud of… including the remains of a box of Cocoa Crispies, a bag of cookies and a lot more chocolate than I’m comfortable mentioning. On the one hand the idea of withholding food, particularly food I like, and depriving myself, sounds very appealing, but so does the idea of stuffing my face with the rest of that box of Cocoa Crispies. I did manage to throw away the last of the Pop Tarts yesterday morning… but not without eating one before the box hit the trash can.
So all this week I’ve been all alone in the house, eating comfort food and not feeling well. Thursday evening I hit a low point, and there’s only one thing you can do when you get that low – go shoe shopping. Maybe I should have gotten a new pair of heels for work. Or some practical shoes. Instead I came home with a brand new pair of grey Converse All -Stars.
 I loved them the minute I saw them and bought them to make myself feel better. But when I got home I started thinking “well, these aren’t very feminine. What kind of guy will like me in THESE? Should I have gotten something different? But I LOVE these…” and so on, and so on.
And then it hit me.
In just about every area of my life, I am in conflict.
I WANT to do this, but I SHOULD be doing that.
I WANT to dress like this, but I SHOULD be wearing that.
OH MY GOD MY MOM WOULD NEVER HAVE APPROVED OF _________.
I WANT to live there, but I SHOULD be living here.
You get the idea.
Well no wonder I don’t feel well! And no wonder the cat is fucked up!
So my new grey Converse All-Stars are very important shoes. With the purchase of those shoes, and more importantly, with the wearing of them out to coffee this morning (because now I can’t return them), I am leaving behind the conflict.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, and there’s no magic button that makes it all go away, but I think I’m done second-guessing myself and trying to intellectualize it all so much. With the wearing of these shoes, I’m gonna be whoever the hell I feel like being. I can’t afford not to, and neither can The Cat.
 coffee n converse
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lyrics.

Unfinished Song

You are the key to my lock
The foot to my sock
The sun to my moon
The knife to my fork and spoon

You are the eye of the storm
The cool to my warm
The bacon to my hog
The mustard on my vegetarian corn dog

You are the edge of reason
The summer to my winter season
The short version of my long
The melody to the words of this unfinished song.

-dedicated to the muse

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buen camino, ace’s dad.

andrea and dad, 1970



Here is a picture of me and my Dad, taken, well – a long time ago. And here is a brief story of why I consider him a hero.

On December 7, 2010, I had to take my mom to the emergency room, and they told us she had cancer. Both of us somehow knew, even before that date, that something was terribly wrong – it was hanging in the air but had remained unspoken. Until that night of 12/7. My whole world as I knew it just dropped away and fell on the floor that night – never to be recovered…I remember calling my Dad in California and telling him. And I told him I didn’t know how I was going to get through this. I had no other family in Oklahoma; was separated from my husband. It was just me and my mom…
By the next day, he had offered to come out to Tulsa to be with us. He’s remarried – has been for many years . But he offered to leave that life behind for a while, and come help me get things in order. At first he was just going to stay until she could get some treatment for pain and things settled down a bit. But things never really settled down, and 13 weeks later she passed away. Those were the most awful, and longest, yet quickest 13 weeks of my entire life. I can’t even imagine what they were like for my mom.
My Dad essentially put his life on hold for 3 months and stayed with us – first through Christmas and New Year’s, when he was the driver who got my mom to her radiation treatments, doctor’s appointments, and pharmacies, while I tried to work. He then stayed through the blizzard in January, which left us essentially trapped, with no home health care help for a week – just him and me taking care of her in shifts. He stayed once we got her into Clarehouse, an end of life facility here in Tulsa. He stayed when it got to the point where I had stopped working completely because we had to be with her 24 hours a day and we both slept in the room with her – he slept in a chair, I slept on a day bed. He stayed till the very end. Then he stayed a week after her death, to help me try to start putting things back together again.
My parents were divorced when I was maybe 3 – so I don’t really have any memories of us being all together. He and I were never really very close while I was growing up. Maybe there’s been resentment on my part over the years for the fact that he left…but I can honestly say, any issues we had or feelings of resentment are completely gone. When I needed him the most, he was there for me. In a way that I cannot ever repay.
I think all 3 of us tried to forgive each other for any pain we may have caused, although my mom held on to a lot of resentment and anger up till the very end, and we were never able to talk about it. I don’t want to live my life that way – I won’t wait until I’m on my death bed to let go of things that no longer matter anyway. How great to forgive and be forgiven. Now, between me and my Dad, it’s all good. We have shared a pilgrimage.
Buen Camino, Dad.
mom and dad
**note: there are A LOT of other people whom I’d like to thank for their help during this time also, including but not limited to:
M Neil, for letting me borrow my Dad for 3 months
S Torrez, for the late nite shift
J & D Zaremba, for the best last Xmas & New Year
Clarehouse staff, for their patience & calm presence
All the family out there (Tiff, Tanya, Lisa, Bill, Chris, Jesse, the Coppolas) for checking up on me
M McClendon, for listening
T Libasci, for that harrowing ride in the snow
C & T Crowe, for the food deliveries
D Workman, for being SuperDayl
K Bates, for the kind words
Y Maruoka for the love, cranes & cookies from Japan
K Yutani, for the present from Berlin
J Umansky & parents, for the flowers to brighten the room
All my mom’s friends & past co-workers who reached out to us to offer support and condolences
Everyone who donated to Clarehouse (www.clarehouse.org)
Thanks.
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