Thursday, April 27


Pertaining to the last post. Click to enlarge...

The Dancers


Receiving our plaques

Standing with one of my pieces holding my award whilst smiling strangely in front of said finger paintings (That should be a song title or something)

Das ist alle heute. Tschuss!

Tuesday, April 25

Sparkle Motion

I'm on break in my painting class...i'm doing a painting that i actually kind of like...which is always good.

i haven't posted in a while and people have been bringing it to my attention so HERE YOU GO!

Not too much to report...just trying to get things back to normal at the house. My mom and my grandma are having a pretty hard time. My grandma goes through periods of suddenly realizing that he's really not there...and almost can't stand it. If there were more people these days that were as devoted to each other as they were this world would be a much better place.
grandma and grandpa

It's good to get back to school for just a little while (two more weeks!) and get my mind off of things. UNfortunately i'm just a wee bit behind...after missing a week and a half of i'm a little stressed out. oh well. By next Tuesday it'll all be over! THen all i have to do is worry about finding a job for the summer...

Something else that makes me happy is that i'm actually going to miss school over the summer...i NEVER miss school! Last semester i was so terrified of my new surroundings i didn't really get to know anyone. But i actually started making some real friends this time around. Some days, though, i'm still terrified because i'm so shy and insecure sometimes...but there are some people at LCAD who are so genuinely friendly and that's been very helpful at getting me to open up a bit. i also pray a LOT.

On Sunday i had one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Four people from my school and i were chosen to recieve an award from a foundation that gives scholarships to art schools and performing arts programs. So out in Lake Forest we all met and hung our artwork in a very big room with fingerpaintings everywhere and waited for our families. We were all standing there when all of a sudden little girls between the ages of about 9-14 came in caked with drag-queen-esque makeup and leotards and began giggling and stretching and jumping around. We all looked at each other...confused...and we were told that we were standing in the "changing room" and that we had to leave.

So we went into the next room where the "ceremony" was to be held, and Betty, our instructor, told us that it would be a sort of combined ceremony...and before our awards were given there would be a small dance recital. oookay...

So my family gets there and i tell them what's up and we sit down and wait. The program said that we would only be there from 2:30-3:15 so i wasn;t might be a bit amusing! As i sat, I looked around the room and there were about 30 huge paintings covering the wall. They were not very good...i was kind of embarrassed because if there is one thing my parents are a bit prudish about, it's bad art. After a little while the kids started dancing. Then more danced. Then more danced. then one danced. then more. then more. then one. then more. one. more more more...
intermission. Intermission????

Dad went outside. Mom and Sarah and i stood in back and giggled to each other as the dancing started all over again. The icing on the cake was when a famliar orchestral opening came on as a dance number began. my friend Danny turned around and said to me, "is this Bjork??"
it was. Joga. i didn't know whether to laugh or cry...
the best part was tha there were these old ladies sitting behind Sarah and i who kept saying things like,
"wow, these kids are great!" "yea, they're so talented" "this is really good" "Oh, what amazing kids".
And they probably couldn't hear very well because they were talking very loudly. Sarah and i almost couldn't look at each other we were so close to losing it.

an hour and a half later we had our names called, got our plaques, and in 5 minutes the whole thing was over.

yeah. I thought you'd like that. mmm, Nick just gave me some puffins.

Anyway i should get back to my painting that i kind of like.

Saturday, April 15

This will run in the L.A. Times tomorrow...

Dr. John Phelps Kieffer M.D.

Passed away quietly in his home in Pasadena on the
morning of April 14, 2006, Good Friday, holding the
hand of his beloved wife, Mary Jane. Born May 16,
1914, he is survived by his wife, 3 children Steven,
John and Carol, 5 grandchildren, and 2

John graduated from Loyola University of Chicago’s
Stritch School of Medicine in 1938. He enlisted in the
U.S. Air Force 6 months before Pearl Harbor, where he
served as captain and flight surgeon in World War II.
After the war, he began practicing obstetrics and
gynecology, and opened his own office in Pasadena with
partner Dr. George Lancaster M.D. in 1949. John was on
the staff of the Huntington Memorial Hospital for over
35 years, serving the community of Pasadena with love
and commitment, and delivering over 5,000 babies.

John and Mary Jane celebrated their 59th wedding
anniversary in February. It was a marriage
characterized by true and unwavering devotion between
a husband and wife. His family is proud to remember
him as a man who showed great integrity, who loved his
family, his work, and his God. We rejoice in his
passing into the arms of the Lord, and we will miss
him dearly.


Friday, April 14

The Wonderful Good-Night

My grandpa died last night.

At about 3:30 this morning (hadn't been sleeping for more than a half hour or so) i heard Mele, our caregiver knocking on my parent's bedroom door.

We went into the bedroom where my grandma was laying next to him clutching his hand...he was gone.

My dad woke up Steve and John. We turned off the oxygen. My grandma began to weep bitterly...

I won't go into much detail...but needless to say the following hours were a mixture of sadness and peace, of mourning and relief. Relief because my grandpa is finally free of his of his wretched earthly shell...and he is seeing Jesus Christ in person...right now!

I still can't believe that all there is is my grandma now. She sat for the longest time by his side...stroking his face, touching his ears, his chin, his snowy white hair...telling me about what a wonderful man he was. And he was.

My grandfather was An Air Force Flight Surgeon and served in WWII. He was an OBGYN and delivered over 5,000 babies with those beautiful hands of his. Before he fell prey to the despair of his deteriorating eyesight, he was kind. He was loving and happy and jovial. He sang a lot. I remember skipping with him in the backyard. I remember him drawing pictures for my sister and i...

My mom has been going through old photos of him when he was truly her daddy. A tall, handsome smiling man holding his 3 children.
Funny enough, though i never knew him as that man, that's how i'm beginning to think of him. Or at least i'm trying to remember him the way he was when i was little.

He was the love of my grandmother's life. Nearly sixty years of marriage...and never was there a day when their loyalty waned even the smallest bit. She knows he is in glory...she just doesn't know how to cope without him here on earth to be her other half, her ally, her companion.
She's finally asleep...after a long night of watching and waiting. She was the only one to see him go.
As i was getting her back to bed around 7 this morning we were talking about the good things about what had just occurred. About his passing out of this fallen world. About his rebirth in eternity. And on Good Friday no less...(:
About his final journey, as my grandma put it, "into the wonderful good-night."

I believe in Joy

Yesterday my grandpa slipped into a sleepy coma. When i got home this evening around 10 my grandma was sitting by his side holding his hand and talking to him. He is on oxygen to keep him comfortable, it's low hum filled the room. I sat next to her for about a half-hour as she quietly wept and told him how much she loved him, talked to him about their wedding day, about their children...and told him she loved him again. I wept, too.

I took pictures of his hands...he has the most beautiful hands.

He still responds to touch and mom says he may be able to hear us. Just now i went in and said good night and told him i loved him. As she, my sister and i stood in the doorway and looked at him we marveled at the wonder of life and death. My grandfather is one step away from being with the Lord a new body...a new life...glorious for all eternity...

Earlier as my mom was sitting with my grandma i peeked my head in. Grandma was gazing at her husband and holding a tissue to her face...her hand trembling with Parkinsons.

"'s okay. It's good to cry." Said my mom.
Grandma shook her head. "I don't want to cry," she whispered.
"Why?" Asked my mom.
"Because I should be joyful," said my grandma.

In a way, we are. It's the waiting that's hard. Mom said this evening that she wants to be there when he passes.

"I want to see him go to meet Jesus."

me too.

Sunday, April 9

The Royal...Kieffers??

The plot:

2 brothers and a sister find themselves suddenly yanked from their three corners of the world to live together in their childhood home with their parents for the first time in over twenty years...because their father is dying. The last few days, Sarah and i have joked numerous times with my mom and dad about how we feel like we're living out our own less cinematic, less eventful, yet more personal (and just as comical and quirky) version of The Royal Tenenbaums.

A few days ago, it was discovered that my grandpa was bleeding internally and passing huge clots of blood. Transfusions began immediately. That night, grandpa told the doctors he didn't want any more tranfusions. Grandpa came home for hospice on Friday. Mom's brother, my uncle John, drove from Mission Viejo to help transport and settle him. The same night my uncle Steve flew in from New Mexico, and dad and John went to pick him up.

Grandpa, despite his nearly complete lack of strength, tried to live as normally as he could yesterday. He insisted on shaving himself, which took him nearly 45 minutes to do because it was so tiring for him. That's what he's doing in this picture, with my mom, and one of our wonderful caregivers next to him.
PRAISE THE LORD we got those hospital beds a month ago...i don't know what we'd do without them! The best thing about having John and Steve here is that we couldn't have moved grandpa around as much as we did yesterday without them. He's a huge mass of dead weight with no strength in his legs, so it takes about 3 men to help him move from the bed to the wheelchair, from the wheelchair to the living room recliner, from the recliner to the wheelchair to the living room chair by the get the picture. When i walked in the door yesterday evening after being out, grandpa was in the living room with his green armchair pulled up to the fire, covered in about 4 blankets, my mom sitting next to him feeding him his martini olives while he sipped his drink through a straw. He's coming down with pnemonia again, so he's coughing a lot. He's even colder than usual and has lost a lot of color as he loses blood. It's hard to watch...

Having mom's brothers living here has been one of the strangest experiences of my life...before theis weekend i'd never been around them for more than a few hours at a time, all at the same time! It's given us some real insight into what made my mom who she is...they share the same humor, the same memories, and they all look alike. It's so weird...
This is uncle John testing out my grandma's motor chair as mom and Steve look on.

serious manly discussion...
Dad John and Steve having a manly discussion of some sort, i'm sure...

My grandma has just been pleased as punch to have all her children and her husband home this it was her 89th birthday. She's looking on everything as a blessing, and though she remains in complete denial about grandpa's declining health, it can be nice to always know she'll be smiling. Last night (after grandpa went to bed) we all ate together at the table (something we never ever do!), had home-roasted rotiserrie chickens, and just enjoyed each other. After dinner we brought out grandma's cake (of which she ate 2 pieces) and mom, John and Steve all helped her blow out her candles.
89th birthday!
It was a very ugly cake. The guys at the market didn't have the book from which i could choose the one i wanted so i had to describe to them what i wanted it to look like...and there it is. It was good, though... despite the over half-inch layer of frosting covering it...uuugh.

Today grandpa is staying in bed. For the first time in his life he can't feed himself...he's just not strong enough. But he has a gorgeous view out of the bedroom window of the beautiful day God gave us outside...if he can see it. A priest named Father Jim came from the parish today and gave my grandparents communion and the sacrament of the anointing...i'm not Catholic, as you know, but it was very beautiful and simple, calling for spiritual healing, and physical healing if the Lord wills it. The prayers were lovely, and i recited the Our Father with them for the first time since i went to Catholic school. As i walked Grandma into the living room after Father Jim left she said to me "I need to sit, and think about Christ, because I just recieved Him into my body and soul". It almost made me cry...

I really don't know how to feel right now. Even as i've been writing it has grown darker out, and it looks like it will rain. There has been a lot of weeping...and a lot of laughing...and it changes so abruptly. I feel out of touch with almost everything else. The events in my home have drained me so i've sat here trying to write a paper on the Lysistrata for my history class it's been impossible to focus. I don't think i'm going to school tomorrow. i just don't know if i could handle it.

Yesterday i begged the Lord to make His purpose clear to me "Jesus i don't understand", i pleaded to the clouds. And He's answering me, little by little. Through other people, through my sister, my mother, through the books i read, through writing...and i can feel Peace. If only for a moment. and i know things will be glorious if only i will let them.
April 9th

Saturday, April 8

Things never go as planned. i don't understand why you don't just take him, Lord. What do we do....?

Lord please help us.

Monday, April 3

In the Palm of Your Hand

If I could have the world and all it owns
A thousand kingdoms, a thousand thrones
If all the earth were mine to hold
With wealth my only goal

I'd spend my gold on selfish things
Without the love that Your life brings
Just a little bit more is all I'd need
'Til life was torn from me

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees
Your grace provides for me

If I should walk the streets no place to sleep
No faith in promises You keep
I'd have no way to buy my bread
With a bottle for my bed

But if I trust the One who died for me
Who shed His blood to set me free
If I live my life to trust in You
Your grace will see me through

I'd rather be in the palm of Your hand
Though rich or poor I may be
Faith can see right through the circumstance
Sees the forest in spite of the trees

If I could have the world
If I could have the world and all it owns

~Alison Krauss

Sunday, April 2

too fast!

Time has sped up. It seriously has.

I'm crazy. I'm tired. An a very befuddling combonation of terrified and exuberant. And sad. and peaceful. and confused...surprise.

I don't know if grandpa will ever come home again. Coming home every weekend is weird right now. It's only's so quiet...i though i would enjoy it more.

Sometimes i wish i could read forever.

Yesterday was a disturbing day. I hate Hollywood, i hate pretentious art shows, i hate having my picture taken by some jerk so stoned out of his mind he can't hold a cigarette in his mouth and i hate being so uncomfortable i want to crawl out of my skin!! uuughghalalabbbgghh.
There is a reason why i'm antisocial! And overly careful! And don't go on dates! And the one time i take a little step out of that i feel like i've gone swimming in a lake of snot. All i could do was keep calling on the Lord...thank goodness he was there. all i hope is that somehow i'll learn something from this...

Today was good. I went to the Norton Simon with my friend Nick from school and it made me feel better. I just really don't want to go to school tomorrow.
Jesus, i'm afraid of trying too hard...i still don't know who i am and what you want me to do.

I feel like too much is slipping away from me. People, mostly. It may sound strange, i'm not one who holds up well when i feel like i'm losing a best friend...I miss her. I miss my friend. I miss my friend.

Lord i don't know what to do...

sigh...don't worry. i'm just venting. it'll pass...