He's bold. He's brash. He uses bad grammar. He's Pine Nut, yet another red squirrel character in my upcoming picture book, tentatively titled "Flying Dudley."
This looks like some sort of weird album cover, doesn't it? "Pine Nut and the Shirelle Heads," or "The Many Moods of Pine Nut," or "Pine Nut: Can I Borrow A Feelin'?"
But Pine Nut, as with the other squirrel puppets, has interchangeable heads with varying expressions. In the past I've varied puppet expressions digitally, but I didn't like the vague feeling they were creeping into Uncanny Valley territory. This time I've decided to fabricate the damned things.
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In other news, my dad, who just turned 93, is not doing well.
Last December he had his gall bladder removed, but has had trouble regaining his strength. On top of that, he's had vascular dementia for the past 15 years or so. He's been relatively stable for all of that time, and has managed to live at home under the care of my sainted mother, various siblings, and a home health care nurse. But the last couple of months he has lived in a nursing home.
And, every minute or two, he asks "When am I going home?"
In the last week, he has not been eating or drinking much. We have called hospice in. He may not last much longer. My heart is breaking, and the sorrow comes in waves.
I debated whether or not I wanted to talk about this here. In the end, I decided to let you all know the situation and why I disappear from time to time. I don't feel like burdening you with my pain.
But now you know. Say a prayer for our family as we go through this journey with our beloved dad.
Quips from Dad:
1) My dad told the physical therapy nurses he's going to the Olympics. He said he's going to have a kissing booth and it'll be free. My sister says she can see the headlines now: 93 YEAR OLD MAN MEETS PUTIN AT OLYMPIC KISSING BOOTH.
2) When he was in the hospital, I stayed with him one night trying to keep him soothed and comfortable. At one point when I pulled his blankets around him and added another, he said, "Hey, you're all right. I don't care what everyone says about you."
3) My sister: "Dad, I want to tell you something. You know, you and mom did a pretty good job of raising us kids."
My dad: "And I want to tell you something."
My sister: "What, Dad?"
My dad: "You have nice teeth."
And this, my friends, is where my family gets its sense of humor. God help us all.