That’s Amazing, Grace! Introducing The Reverend Pastor Dave Dorman

As my beloved father rests comfortably in a local hospice facility in the end stages of his life, we here at home are scrambling to organize funeral arrangements and plan ahead. Unfortunately, my mom’s current pastor isn’t on his “A-Game” when it comes to funerals. At my uncle’s funeral last year, he not only mispronounced the names of my cousins, but also printed the same hymnal verse twice in the funeral program, and you all know how I am about typos – an unforgivable offense. So…in the spirit of giving my dad a more dignified send-off, Dave volunteered to become an ordained pastor and do the service. I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it, either, but he did. I remembered you could do this via the back of Rolling Stone magazine, back in the day, but now it’s all online here.  Here’s proof that for an $80 investment, Dave can now park in the “Reserved for Clergy” section of any hospital parking lot:

Pastor Reverend Dave Dorman - Official Credentials

Pastor Reverend Dave Dorman – Official Credentials

Dave suggested that he customize Dad’s service to what attendees might expect from Dave, peppering the service with “In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and Obi-Wan Kenobi,” but that’s where I had to draw the line. My mom will go non-linear if anyone messes with her Lutheranism.

As I cut together a video of my dad’s life from old photographs, I’ve found some rare treasures in the old photo album, which are giving my Facebook friends a good laugh. Here’s Dad and me on one of our many hikes in the mountains in Colorado.

Dad and me, hiking in Colorado, circa late 1980s.

Dad and me, hiking in Colorado, circa  mid 1980s.

As you can imagine, my Facebook friends are all blowing me shit about the photo below – deeming me “Molly Ringwald” – here’s my Junior Prom, back in the day when I was still pure as the driven snow. To quote Grandpa Simpson from the Strike Busters episode, “…because that was the style at the time…”

Junior Prom

Junior Prom

And here are some shots from my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I threw a huge pig roast at the family farm (yes, my Aunt Karen actually has an “Old McDonald’s Farm” in Burlington, IL) with 200 of our closest friends, hired hula dancers and a fire eater, and naturally, chaos ensued, but it’s too much to write here and now. If Marovich and Nancy Peshel are reading this, I think they’ll readily recall the background drama they created during this precise moment below–tapping into my sophomoric poop humor. My only regret is that we didn’t catch it on film.

Hula Lessons at Mom & Dad's 50th Anniv. Celebration

Hula Lessons at Mom & Dad’s 50th Anniv. Celebration

I have no idea what a ball on a string has to do with Polynesian customs, but this was another hula “lesson” we endured. Dad was always game for my silliness:

Polynesian Ball-on-a-String Lessons

Dad, Mom & Me: Polynesian Ball-on-a-String Lessons

And before I forget to mention it, speaking of “The Reverend Pastor Dave Dorman,” Dave will be appearing this coming weekend at Salt Lake Comic Con from Thursday through Saturday, so if you’re in greater SLC, please be sure to pay him a visit. He will have his new limited edition Marvel variant cover Star Wars comics from retailer M&M Comics on hand!

If you’re not doing so already, you can follow my hijinks, shenanigans, and tomfoolery on http://facebook.com/comicbookwife or on Twitter where I’m @WriteBrainMedia.

 

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Lightening Up the Mood: The Creative Writing Class Scene from Throw Momma from the Train

One of my favorite people on the planet, my cousin Jeff McDonald, has always been a kindred spirit, sharing in my zany sense of humor and penchant for pranks. In unison, we quote movie scripts ad nauseum–from Blazing Saddles to this one–a shared personal favorite that Jeff posted on Facebook, tagging me today, reminding me to keep on laughing through these tough times with my dad’s end stage cancer.

For creative writers and those who have taken any writing classes in college, this clip is a classic – the teacher critique scene from “Throw Momma from the Train.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a17ul-afTCE&sns=fb

Billy Crystal, "THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN"

Billy Crystal, “THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN”

I’m So Thankful for Jack Right Now…

Our 10-year-old Jack has been one of God’s greatest gifts. In Jack, I got my own personal entertainer, and in me, Jack got his adoring audience and live laugh track. His sense of humor and quick wit continually save me from despair, especially after last night, when I hand-fed my weakened father his dinner, helplessly watching him decline from Stage 4 prostate cancer.

Jack in my prop  prosthetic hillbilly teeth.

Jack in my prop prosthetic hillbilly teeth.

Monday, Jack was off of school (for what seemed like the 10th time since Winter Break, which ended January 5th) so we did our dentist appointments together. He decided that my prosthetic crystal meth hillbilly teeth (pictured above) would make the visit “more interesting,” which they did…for the hygienist and the office manager. Thank God there are still adults out there with a sense of humor, and an accompanying sense of noblesse oblige.

Jonesy the Cat and Dave.

Jonesy the Cat and Dave.

Last week, Jonesy the cat, who exhibits an unfortunate case of arrested development and still tries to nurse on everyone, crawled under the covers and proceeded to bite Dave on the balls. Jack and I were absolutely doubled over, howling with laughter. The text speak “ROFL” is reserved for moments like this one. (It made me wonder for a brief moment if Jonesy was my Secret Santa this year?!?) The next morning at breakfast, Jack queried Dave:

“So…did Jonesy bite your onions this morning, or did she leave your garden alone?!?” You don’t often comments like that at 7 a.m. , especially from 10-year-olds. Jack definitely takes the sting out of the heaviness in our lives at this moment.

Jack has always demonstrated great comedic timing. I first recognized this while driving him home from pre-school one afternoon. On that particular day, the pre-school had a visiting zoo and Jack was in his little car seat in the back, in his high-pitched little boy voice, regaling me with tales of his animal adventures. He shared that he had petted the pony, and I immediately asked if he had washed his hands (he’s allergic to animal hair, hence our hairless cat) and he reassured me that he did.

And then Jack proceeded onward: “So I got to ride the pony.”

Me: “You di-i-i-id?” (Said in that adult, patronizing, sing-song way of speak we do to our children.)

Jack: “And not only did I ride the pony, but I crawled up onto his back…and then I did a handstand…and then I balanced upside-down…on one finger!”

At this point, my theater of the mind was blowing circuits. I nearly drove off the road laughing at this ridiculous visual.

Mother of the Year retorted: “So what did you do for an encore!?! Blow firecrackers out of your ass?”

To which Jack replied, without skipping a beat: “No…but the pony did!” At this point, I totally lost my shit. I could barely make the five-minute drive home, howling with laughter all of the way there. That one earned him a Dairy Queen, although he was befuddled by all of the fuss.

So when the 4th grade teacher asked him yesterday what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, “A comedian,” with zero hesitation, responding in that what-a-ridiculous-question tone that infers “Of course…what else would I be?!”

Jack knows if he follows this pursuit, he’ll always have an appreciative audience of at least one.

 

 

This Comic Book Wife Thanks YOU, Clydene Nee

I received one of those alerts yesterday that someone had tagged me in a Facebook photo. Usually I am a tad panicked, as some of my more nefarious pranks have been recorded on film. When I clicked on it, I was pleasantly surprised to see this:

Clydene Nee showering the artists'  support team with love.

Clydene Nee showering the artists’ support team with love.

You see, despite Clydene’s health struggles (failing kidneys), her heart is and always has been behind the creators and artists (and their support team, the oft-forgotten spouses and life partners). Clydene has been a ceaseless, ardent supporter and coordinator for Artist Alley at #SDCC for as long as I’ve been attending (which is 15 years now), but she started in 1989 (you know, back before Comic-Con was “cool.”). She has also been a wonderful friend to me, personally, and to Dave. Clydene NEEDS a kidney, due to her long battle with diabetes. Here is a link to ongoing fund-raiser for Clydene, to help with her ongoing medical bills not covered by insurance, and information about her, beautifully written by artist Mark Brooks, ICYMI:

My longtime friend, SDCC Artists Alley Coordinator Clydene Nee.

My longtime friend, SDCC Artists Alley Coordinator Clydene Nee.

“I received a message from Clydene Nee over the weekend letting me know of a very difficult time she is going through at the moment. As many of my fellow comic creators know, Clydene has been the face and hands of Artist Alley at San Diego Comic Comic Con International since 1989 as the Artist Alley Coordinator. While Comic Con has made various decisions regarding Artist Alley both good and bad over the years, Clydene has been an advocate for the artists and always gone out of her way to accommodate many of us even on short notice. All the while doing it as a volunteer without pay and using a week of her personal vacation time from work to make sure Artist Alley runs smoothly. She’s a true friend of the industry and of artists in particular. She’s given of herself often times thanklessly for the artists and people she loves for free and always with a smile on her face.

“As many of you are aware, Clydene has had a few health problems over the years most evident this past Comic Con when she was moving through artist alley with the aid of a motorized scooter. Around Thanksgiving this year things unfortunately took a turn for the worse with Clydene falling into Kidney Failure and having to have emergency surgery to have a tunnel catheter put into her chest to feed tubes into her heart for dialysis. Her levels were so high that her bone marrow was no longer producing red blood cells and she was in full renal failure. She is hoping to have the tubes removed this week due to the danger of them causing a heart attack or developing a clot.

“After a second surgery to graft fistulas to her body for ongoing dialysis, she placed herself on the kidney transplant list. Unfortunately her insurance deems kidney transplants as elective surgery and will only partially cover the very expensive surgery. Adding insult to injury is the 3 times a week she has to receive dialysis treatment at a whopping $3000 a pop. The wait time for a kidney transplant can be months or even years meaning she could be receiving these treatments for a while. She been forced to move to a smaller apartment closer to the hospital and maintain her job since going on any sort of disability would make the transplant unobtainable. So Clydene, through all this, is having to keep up with her day to day job just so she can have some of her treatment covered through insurance and be able to eat and keep a roof over her head. Even with all this, Clydene will have massive medical bills that she will be struggling with for a log time to come even once this hurdle is overcome. She has kept all of this private and is just now telling her friends about her situation.

“As someone who has had more than one favor done for him by Clydene over the years, I feel the need to give back in some way. While I will be helping out financially, I wanted to reach out to all the artists and fans who have been helped by Clydene and ask for any amount of help you could give in her time of need. Even a small amount will make a world of difference to someone who has been so selfless to all of us. And to any and all fans that have walked the aisles of Artist Alley and enjoyed meeting your favorite illustrator and checking out all the pretty artwork, I encourage you to help out someone that was instrumental in making it such a great experience. We’ve set a modest goal of $3000.00 BUT I AM HOPING WE CAN GO FAR BEYOND OUR GOAL. 100% of all funds raised will go to Clydene to help out with her medical bills.

“If you would like to send good thoughts to Clydene you can contact her through her Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/clydene.nee
or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/clydene326.”

Thank you in advance for your support!
-Mark Brooks  

A Little About Clydene:
Clydene has been with Comic Con International since 1979 as a division head and unpaid volunteer. She began as a projectionist but took over Artist Alley in 1989 as its coordinator and has been doing it every year since. She also coordinated the live auction from 1989 to 2009. In 2009 she began as the head coordinator for the how-to sessions held upstairs in the convention center for all artistic hopefuls to come and learn hands on from seasoned pros like Jim Lee, Greg Horowitz and Adam Hughes. She also spent 7 years as a colorist working for Image, Dark Horse, Malibu and Universal. Her biggest notable accomplishment was doing color studies for Spawn at its inception where Todd McFarlane finally settled on the red and black color scheme Clydene had submitted.