Sept. 4, 2006

        Yes.  And we're not young anymore, either.
        At least, I'm not.  I don't bounce back the way
        I used to.  Limitations are increasingly evident.
        On the other hand, there is some wisdom acquired
        along the way, and skills and knowledge.
        That's worth something.

        The last few months have been challenging.
        My Dad died two weeks ago.  He was nearly 92.
        Dad was a huge and beloved figure for his kids.
        We built him a memorial web site at
        keller-arts.com/family.

        I got to New York in time to spend his last day
        with him.  He was cogent nearly to the end.
        I made him dictate some letters and we were
        able to do some important talking.  We sang
        Hoagy Carmichael's Ol' Rocking Chair.
        That was priceless.

        No regrets were expressed regarding Mona's Gorilla Lounge.
        (My college housemate Nic Nelken will appreciate this
        reference to the time when, visiting me at college at
        UCSC, Dad joined me and my friends who included some
        pretty women to a local dancing bar where he outdid
        himself and broke his foot and was in my eyes rather
        a buffoon but my friends thought he was great.)

        I went to New York when I heard he'd been diagnosed
        with lots of cancers -- liver, pancreas, lungs -- to
        everyone's surprise including his. He had no pain,
        just masses.  My nursing training proved useful.
        When I saw that his kidneys had shut down (no output)
        it was clear that there were only hours left.
        I was with him when he drew his last breath
        at 8:18 a.m. on August 21st,
        taking vital signs and watching the monitors.
        In nursing clinicals I've wrapped dead bodies and I
        wrapped his.  Sounds lugubrious, I suppose, but
        I found it comforting.  I felt a little less helpless.
        It was an opportunity to say goodbye.

        Thereafter, there was a huge amount of work to do,
        which got done with the help of my tireless sisters:
        emptying his loft, closing accounts, organizing a
        memorial ceremony at his assisted living residence (and
        another in December for far-flung family members,
        compatriots, fellow artists, and well-wishers)
        and, most important, securing his artistic legacy.
        We have his studio set up as a sales venue,
        and his dealers remain interested, too.
        He's already in some museums but a few more want
        stuff so we're handling that.  There's a mountain of
        art to sell, even after we kids have cherry-picked it...
        Still working on it.

        The other big change was that I dropped out of
        USF nursing school in May, a couple of semesters
        short of the state Board exam that would have
        earned me the RN license.  It was perhaps a foolish
        decision, but I had reached my bullshit limit.
        Going back to school as an adult creates surprising
        challenges.  When you're older than your classmates
        and older even than most of your profs and you can
        see that surprisingly many are lazy or stupid or faking
        it or all three, it's hard (for me, anyway) to put up
        with it.  Especially at $38,000/year tuition.
        I'd been retired.  Nothing was forcing me to be there
        (unlike my classmates who were eager for their first
        real career) and I finally said, I'm not enjoying
        this.  I don't have to do it.  So I stopped.

        Now I'm figuring out what to do next.  There are
        lots of options but none is easy.

        I was a professional musician before nursing school
        but I've seen the limitations of that and am dubious
        about going back.

        I retired from a high-tech career but it's already six
        years since retirement and I'm so out of touch and
        obsolete I doubt I'd want to pay the dues to get back
        up to speed.  I have been on a couple of half-hearted
        job interviews but, unsurprisingly, no offers.  Anyway,
        I've always been my own boss so I don't know what it
        would be like to go to work every day in someone else's
        company.

        Perhaps the answer is school but it would have to be a
        good one.  I'm considering Stanford and met with some
        people in their Medical Informatics department.  My
        chances are pretty good but is academia for me?

        I'm actually rather numb.