Monday, November 01, 2010

it's funny...

...even when I start out writing or talking honestly about how I'm doing, I spin it. I've noticed that I'll bitch and moan and whine [or whinge, if you prefer], then I'll turn around and say something to distract or turn the conversation to another topic [yeah, I'm looking at you "ooo, look over here, I'm playing EverQuest II, pay no attention to the emo chick behind the curtain" sentence from my last post].

So here it is, no misdirection or sleight of hand: I'm struggling. There was a lot of shit that went on with my Dad and with my Mom, their illnesses, and their choices...the ones they made, the ones they avoided, and the ones they wished they had made. The time I spent with Dad before he died was priceless, but I also learned a lot and saw too much while I was sharing life with him. He confessed a lot, shared a lot, and to be honest, he laid a lot of weight on my shoulders. As he said frequently: "sorry to lay this on you, a little while, it's not going to matter to me, but you are going to have to deal with it". Many late nights listening to him, comforting him, trying to help him through the shit he was dealing with. And now I have my own lifetime to try to sort through it all, make my own choices, try to follow through on some of the things he asked of me, and get my own shit in order.

I'm tired. I'm losing patience with myself. I know that it can take years to work things through and move on after losing your parents, and that's without factoring in all of the weirdness and drama and extraordinary circumstances of the situation with my mom and dad. But it's exhausting, and I never know when something will sneak past the defenses and masks. Even now, I'm fighting the impulse to end on a forced hopeful, positive note, like "it will just take time, and I know I'll get there eventually" or something similar [look back at some of my prior entries and you'll see I've done that more than once]. So instead I'll just end it with a final confession [one that's actually kind of hard to admit out loud]: I'm a bit lost right now.

a brief break in the clouds

Impromptu trip to Disneyland a few days ago...Will made it all happen and away we went. Crazy how tiring it is to walk around the park for 9 hours a day...we dubbed the aching feet, knees, hips, and muscles "Disney Legs", and bravely soldiered on. There was a special Halloween event at the park that night which we didn't know about...and it sucked, because they closed the park at 6pm and you had to pay an extra $54 per person to get in. We only had the one night, so we shelled out [extremely annoying, especially since we are both premium annual pass holders] and made the most of it. It wasn't that horrible, actually...the population thinned out, lots of people young and old in costume, wait times for rides were crazy short [less than 5 minutes for most of them]. So while we wouldn't have planned it that way, it worked out all right.

We picked up some more art: Will got an awesome chroma-cel of the Magic Mirror from Snow White that will go amazingly with the other two gicle paintings he has, and I snagged an original of Maleficent with matching watch...that Disney thing with the guy in the storefront, painting it by hand. More than we both planned to spend when we first headed down, but once in a lifetime chances to get something so unique and interesting. And as with a lot of things these past months, I had the "can't wait for Dad to see this" thoughts...sigh. Old habits, made over a lifetime...ouch.

These past few weeks were much needed ones for both of us...losing Taz so suddenly was hard and unexpected. She had been a part of Will's life for nearly fourteen years, the one constant through those times. Think about where were you fourteen years ago, think about *who* you were back then...and now imagine losing someone that was with you that entire time. So he took some time away from the grind, and was sweet enough to share the time with me. Nothing special, just chilling, relaxing, watching movies and telly, going to Disneyland, playing on the computer, he did his fireman stuff and hung out with friends, both of us basically just ignoring the outside world for a bit and recharging.

Can't speak for him, but it was a much appreciated break for me...kind of struggling with how to deal with everything. There's been a lot of loss for me these past few years: two of my closest friends moving away; the deaths of an aunt and uncle, both in the same night; losing another aunt; and losing my mother and father within less than a year of each other. Finding Taz that night reopened a lot of it, threw it all off kilter again...which really sucked, because I wanted more than anything to be there completely for Will. I loved that dog, and I'd only known her for a couple of years; I couldn't imagine how hard and weird it must have been for him to lose her. So I tried hard to hold it together for him [even though he saw right through it, darn it] and just be there for him, the way he's been there for me.

So these past few weeks have been a welcome respite, and came to an end much too quickly. A grey bit snuck in towards the end of that time, just after we got back from Disney, during a call from an old was really good to catch up, and definitely good to hear where they were and how life was going. The rough bit came when they asked about Dad...they've known me for a long time, and knew Dad, so I was able to share some of the harder parts of the whole situation. It was good, but also very hard, and brought a lot of it back to the forefront again. So a bit of a rough spot there, but tried hard not to let it entirely diminish the hard-won mellow tone of the time off. We finished up the weekend with me finally getting into EQ2...after years of avoiding it [because I knew how easily I could get caught up in it], I gave in and rolled a character and got started. Danger, Will Robinson, danger...

Monday, October 25, 2010

88 miles per hour

Seeing "Back to the Future" at the theater with Will, Nate, Kim, and Molly...crazy that it was released *twenty-five* years ago.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 09, 2010

goodbye pretty girl

She's the one on the right, patiently and sweetly sharing her bed with her buddy Darwin.

Goodbye, Taz...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

fookin ell

Really banged myself up this a fit of complete coordination, I bent down to turn on the garden hose at Will's and WHA-BAM!!! I slammed my head into his cranked-open kitchen window. Didn't even see the sucker there, and was really confused for a few seconds about what happened...hurr durr, what the hell was that??

Figured it out pretty quickly, once the brain started working again...Will heard the impact from halfway across the yard and was crazy quick with the icepack. I got lucky: no blood, no broken skin, and the quick application of ice kept the swelling down. But it effing *HURT* eyes were watering, stomach was unhappy, and I was feeling quite wobbly.

It really screwed up the weekend...I wasn't good for anything but sitting/lying still, with an icepack to my head. I tried to downplay how bad it was, but I was hurting pretty badly. I hit the front top of my head, right near the hairline; while it didn't swell and bump up, instead it felt like it spread out instead of up...the whole upper right of my scalp hurt, and my temple throbbed. My right eye was blurry for about a day or so, my head was very sore to the touch [and I sleep on my right side, of course]. Even now it hurts to brush or wash my hair [guess who is feeling really grungy and grimy today?]. Too graceful.

To add to the fun, I had to get my car in to the dealer at 7:30am the next day to get the tire replaced. I was moving a bit slowly, but I made it...after a couple of hours wait at the dealer, I made my way home, popped some pain relievers, grabbed an ice pack, and made myself horizontal for as long as I could.

So excuse me while I take a moment to sing the praises of the skull. That helmet of ours took a fearsome whack and kept the grey matter inside intact...something I am very grateful for right now.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

tire + staple = no bueno

My car starting giving me "hey, your right rear tire is low" warnings late yesterday...finally found a gas station with a working air pump [why is it so hard to find one these days??] and found this lovely treat:

It's a big-ass industrial staple, lodged rather perfectly in the tread. Annoyingly, I can't get the tire replaced until Monday. You see, when I bought the car, I was "smart" and bought the tire warranty...since these are run-flat tires, they aren't cheap, so it seemed like a great idea to get the replacement warranty and save some money in the long run. The problem is that the warranty can only be handled through the dealership that sold it. This means I can't just go to Big O Tires, or Tire Warehouse, or We Be Tires, or Tires R Us...I *have* to go to the dealership. And it seems that the dealership can't get warranty approval on weekends, so I am stuck with a stapled tire until Monday morning.

Joy, rapture, bliss, happiness. Said sarcastically, of course.

Grumble. No sarcasm in that one.

Friday, September 24, 2010

fly low, fly fast, turn left

Reno Air Races last weekend with Will, Nate, and Bill. Stayed at Nate's cabin and drove in to Reno for the fun. Some highlights:

* another bear intrusion - Nate was the one to find it this time. The bear managed to turn on the stove, which is a scary thought...luckily the burner actually stayed lit until Nate got there, rather than snuffing out and spewing gas into the place. Another piece of luck: there was a wooden cutting board over the burner...the flame burned a hole right through it, but the rest of the board stayed unburned.

* anti-bear efforts - Nate installed a crazy strong steel storm door, boarded up the other door, set ammonia containers around the cabin, and came up with a Macguyver-worthy trick of splicing an extension cord into a motion-sensor, then plugging aquarium pumps into the cord and feeding the attached tubes to a few ammonia containers. acrid burst to hopefully turn away a nose-sensitive bear. Add to all of that a removal of all food items, pulling the blinds all the way closed to hopefully disguise a large picture window, and leaving a radio on at high volume, and hopefully the bear is discouraged from trying again.

* good times - dinners with the gang at PF Chang's and Samurai Sushi...tasty food and fun company.

* the Snowbirds - Canada's precision flying jet team. Much like the Blue Angels, though they flew a bit slower and held their formations for much longer [through approach, loops/turns, and exit]. Some beautiful formations like the Maple Leaf and a crossover [where one plane flew in a figure-eight around and through the others arrayed at four corners] were goosebump-inducing.

* the pit pass - if you ever go, I highly recommend getting the pit pass for a get to go into an area that isn't open to the general public, walking around seeing all classes of planes parked and ready to be ogled. You also get access to some awesome standing room right at the edge of the tarmac, with great views of taxiing aircraft.

* the military section - an incredible selection of aircraft, seen up close and could even walk into/through some of them.

* the crash - the winds got ridiculous on Sunday, and sadly caused one of the pilots to tumble his sport-class plane as he was trying to land [after pulling out of the race for reasons we didn't catch]. His plane was a mess, with tail and engine gone, wings missing, but he escaped with bumps and bruises...the plane took the damage so he didn't have to. They scrubbed the remaining race of the day...a pity they didn't call it a day a bit sooner.

* Nate hanging out in the Valley of Speed - he didn't get access to the vendors, the porta-potties, or the loudspeakers for the play-by-play, but he got to stand pretty much directly under the planes as they zoomed around the back of the course. Crazy.

So there it was: my first Reno Air Race. Definitely cool, if time, I would get a room actually in Reno to save the hours of driving daily, and I would definitely check out the Valley of Speed; I would still get the pit pass for a day, for the awesomeness of seeing a lot of the planes up close. I didn't indulge in the vendor fun the way I would have liked...there were funnel cakes and teriyaki chicken that didn't get purchased [sadness], so that would have to be remedied. All in all, though, a good time with some good friends...not a bad weekend.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


A rough night. One of those 'can't sleep, every frickin' sound burrows into your brain and bounces around mercilessly, swearing under your breath, so frustrated/tired/angry that you are nearly in tears' nights. One of those nights where you lie there, desperately needing peace and quiet and the rest it would give, but the bastard night conspires against you. So you sit, you lie, you toss, you turn, you fume and fuss and fidget, jamming pillows tightly over your head and eyes and ears, pulling the blankets up, then kicking them off, then dragging them back up again, until hallelujah, miracle of miracles, you start drifting off and drifting away...only to be jolted back again by some mumblegrumble or other, and it starts




Monday, September 13, 2010

adding to my kellett collection

My Artist's Editions of Dave Kellett's latest books "Drive" [his new SF series] and "Literature" [the latest Sheldon book] came excited. When Dave publishes a new book, he makes a limited number of special editions available [usually 250 or 300] that he stamps with a custom design for the book, numbers, draws a sketch on the inside front cover, and signs. I can't imagine the time it takes for him to do this, and I love that he does.

And how awesome is this?? Number two...w00t!!

[that's Dave's "woo-hoo" on there :^) ]

I've got AEs of all of his books except his first two, and those he signed and sketched in for me when I saw him at the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum ages ago]. So now my Kellett collection consists of eleven of his books [which I think is all of them], two originals of his Sheldon strip, and the two sketches that he made for me at the Cartoon Art Museum.

Here is my collection, all in one place:

I didn't intend to become a collector...I just really liked the comic and wanted the books. But when I saw that he was going to be in San Francisco, I jumped at the opportunity...and came home with autographed books and personalized sketches. When I got the chance to get the originals of some of his strips that meant a lot to me, I snagged them. And I couldn't pass up the Artist's Editions of his books...if I'm going to buy them anyway, why *wouldn't* I get the signed and sketched in ones??

So there you have it: a full-blown collection that started a bit at a time. Guess that how most collections isn't until you look back that you realize you've gotten hooked. Many thanks, Dave, for something so awesome to be hooked on.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a couple books to read...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

creativity and criticism

A while back, I was goofing around on my iPad, playing with a drawing program...nothing fancy, just random doodles, playing with patterns and colors, drawing random things like houses and boats and skulls and abstract shapes. Showed some of them to Will, to show him what the program could do [it was a free app, so it was pretty cool that it was as full-featured as it was], and he said very nice things about my scribbles. I blushed, smiled, stammered, and just assumed he was being kind.

Fast forward a while: the two of us have been playing a goofy little game [another freebie] where you populate a kingdom with buildings and businesses and trees and whatever else is available [kind of like a much smaller SimCity]. It's a good timekiller [though bad if you have even a hint of OCD], and we've been having fun with it. The other day, Will looked at what I had made and told me that he really liked it, and that he wished he "was as creative" as I was.

It really meant a lot to me for him to say that out of the blue. In the past, I had someone in my life who was a bit more critical of things I did. If I sang around the house, he told me that I "could be good if I got some singing lessons". When I wrote stories and poems, he read them, then would say things like "it seems like you are trying too hard" and "you should think more about the structure and less about the imagery". Nothing that was really horrible if you only heard it once in a while, but sadly it was an ongoing pattern...and every time he gave me his "helpful" criticism, I would cringe inside and eventually just stop doing whatever it was he was picking apart. It was a subtle process, and it was only much later that I even realized what was happening.

I look back now, and I don't like that I let it affect me the way it did. But when you are sharing life with someone, their opinion matters; if they tend towards negativity, it does have an impact. If you receive more negative feedback than positive, more criticism than encouragement, then you eventually stop sharing what you do with that person. The positive side of going through all of that is becoming aware of it happening...I will never again let myself be in the position that gives someone else that power to take away what I enjoy doing, or to bring me down with their negativity...if I see it happening, I will call them on it, and if that doesn't work, then I know I deserve better and can walk away [which is what I eventually had to do in that was a hard decision, but ultimately the right one for both of us].

So it means a lot to me that Will said what he's flattering and very sweet. And even though I've learned not to let someone else keep me from doing something I like to do, it's good to have someone in my life that I can share myself with. It's much nicer that way.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

pumpkin spice latte

Comfort in a cup.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


...hell of a show.

green day frickin' rock

At Shoreline watching them now...hell of a show. :^)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

more baby pics

The differences in personality and behavior are already showing: Mal hangs out on top of the bedding in the terrarium, chills on the branches, sleeps in the coconut house; TBD [she still hasn't named herself], being an albino, instantly buries herself in the bedding and you have to move it all around and fish through it to find her.

But once you bring them out, TBD is crazy active and curious, crawling and climbing and sniffing and stretching; Mal is a bit more relaxed, explores a bit, then just kind of settles in and watches the world go by. It's really interesting to see the differences between the two.

Will got some pics of the two of them today...his is the albino [with some beautiful yellow coming in], mine is the darker red/brown one:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

baby on board

My first!!

The dark one on the log in front is mine, the albino one in the far back [behind the candy cane one] is Will's [this pic was taken at the pet store before we brought them home]. They are 3-5 month old corn snakes, about 12" long right now and a little thinner than your pinky...they'll grow to about 4 to 6 feet long [how cool is that??].

I've named mine "Mal", both as a nod to the most awesome rebel Browncoat Malcolm Reynolds and to the snaky Malfoy family from the Harry Potter series. Double dork snake. :^)

A pic of Mal exploring his new home:

The freezer at the store had broken, so they didn't have any food for the snakes that day; since it was the day they normally got fed, we got to feed them ourselves after we got them home. We bought some frozen pinkies [teeny tiny frozen baby mice], popped a couple into a ziploc bag, and submerged the bag in a container of hot water to warm them up. An hour or later, we put a nice and warm mouse into a small plastic bin, add a baby snake, then sit back and watch the show.

It was *awesome*. So frickin' fascinating to watch this adorable little snake snarf down a mouse bigger than its head. Nature is astounding sometimes.

Will's snake is a beautiful white/pink, and a bit longer than Mal. They make an awesome pair with their contrasting colors, Mal with his deep reds and Will's currently-unnamed snake with its pale pink/whiteness. I'll try to get more pics of both snakes, once they are done digesting their dinner in the next day or two...

confirmed: will = awesome

He surprised me with this last night:

Guess how we spent the evening? :^)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

painfully cute

Seriously, my teeth hurt from the sweetness that is 'Marcel the Shell with Shoes On'...check it out:

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.


Still love this song, and this version [with special guest] is extremely awesome [I posted it once before, in fact]...and this video turns an already awesome song up to a nigh-epic setting:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

another year goes by

This birthday was a rough one. Will managed to get time off for a long weekend for me, but the poor guy was sick for most of it, so we spent it giving him time to recuperate. A bummer...but the hardest part was this being the first birthday without Dad.

He always sent flowers...every year, without fail, there would be a bouquet, a vase, a live plant, something from Dad. Flowers from Dad, a phone call from Mom, year in, year out. Those were the two things that meant the most to me on that day of mine. I'm not much of a "my birthday"'s another day, I don't expect fanfare and folderol, but Mom and Dad were the two people I did celebrate it with. Then Mom died, and I had my first birthday with just Dad...and this year, he was gone.

Like I said...a rough one.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

gonna be a long night...

please shoot me


why do cats insist on snuggling when...

...this is the current temperature in my living room??

Saturday, August 21, 2010

behind the scenes

Went on a private tour of NorCal TRACON at Mather Field with Will, Tom, Greg, and Steve today...quite awesome. It's the air traffic control center that handles pretty much all of northern California air traffic, keeping the air space running smoothly and handing off to local towers [found this guy's blog entry that says it all much better than I could].

Our guide Tori was quite teh hawsum, spending as much time with us as we could have wanted, and making sure we got to see everything we could and ask as many questions as we wanted. We got to talk with the controllers, some awesome conversations and's amazing the amount of information they need to know and juggle in their heads. Next time I start to feel a bit overwhelmed, I just have to think about what they deal with every day. Somehow dealing with a dying computer just pales in comparison...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

frickin' laser bean

[yup, that's a pun]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

little monsters

Saw Lady GaGa at the HP Pavilion last night. Hell of a concert, actually...I was expecting super cheesy, and instead got a lot of show and quite a bit of theater. I described it as "Cirque du Soleil, dance style" ...costumes, sets, a "storyline" running through the whole thing. It was way over the top, of course...wouldn't expect anything else from her. But I ended being impressed by her voice, her repertoire, and her personality...she seemed surprisingly genuine when just talking, which is doubly amazing given the "GaGa" persona. I didn't think I was a "Lady GaGa" concert goer, but it was a blast and I'm definitely glad I went.

Monday, August 02, 2010

fair enough

So I recently got called out for "ignoring myself" and "pretending everything was okay"...and they were right. I've been putting on a happy face, making mundane posts about regular life, acting like everything is business as usual. Not sure why...part of it is habit/reflex, don't let them see you cry, keep your pain private. Part is probably a hope that if I act like things are okay, then they will *be* okay. And a big part is just not knowing how to deal with things...I'm in a weird place right now, and it's not something I have a clue on how to work through [other than "one moment at a time"].

I know it will take time. And I do see a bit of an up-curve from where I was a while ago. But I'm impatient, and frustrated with myself, and scared and overwhelmed and a bit lost. I want answers *now*. I want resolution, comfort, peace. So until I get there, I'll keep up with the "all is well, pay no attention to the Stacey behind the curtain, these are not the droids you seek" exterior, and keep working things out internally as best I can. I guess "the best we can" is all any of us can do...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

i was trapped, i tell ya...trapped!

I had every intention of getting up early and getting a lot done today...but when I woke up, I found I was pinned down by a cat curled up under my left arm, and one lying directly on my right arm/shoulder. I succumbed to the comfort and cute for a while, totally scuttling my plans. So much for productivity...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

we're just following ancient history

Some random link clicking somehow led me to a list of Journey concert dates...and I found the first concert that Greg and I went together: the "Raised on Radio" tour, in Cincinnati, with Glass Tiger [!!] opening for them. The date?? October 2nd, 1986 [yipe].

That got me curious about my very first concert, so I tracked it down [gotta love the internets]: Adam Ant's "Strip" tour, with The Romantics opening, playing at Vets Memorial in Columbus, Ohio, way back on on March 9th, 1984. I stayed at my friend Kim's house that night; she was supposed to go with another friend, but they couldn't go, so I jumped at the chance. Her dad drove us and even seemed to enjoy the concert a bit [brave man, nice man], and I remember bits and pieces about the night: the older crowd [well, older than me at the time]; the double drums, two separate drummers on either side of the stage, high up on scaffolding; the smell of pot in the lobby [the first I'd encountered]; the long lines for the restrooms; Adam performing the song "Strip", slowly losing piece after piece of his clothing, until ending up in a big clear plastic cube filled with water, wearing nothing but leather trunks [cue audience screaming and applauding]; trying to act like I did this all the time, and that I wasn't some kid at her first concert.

I came home the next day with ringing ears, a t-shirt, a program [both long lost to time, sadly], and a grounding...I didn't get the okay from my parents before going, so they grounded me when they found out.

But it was worth it.

a catch up post

Vegas was a lot of fun. Won about $300 at penny slots [half was when playing a "John Wayne" machine, as a nod to my dad], saw Blue Man Group [], many cookies eaten from the Grand Lux Cafe in the Venetian [yum, piping hot chocolate chip with almonds], temps were *ridiculous* [high of 114 one day, over 110 the others, it never got below 90 the whole trip, even in the wee hours of the morning], went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum [it's a very strange phenomenon staring at lifelike wax replicas...somewhere in the deep recessed of your instincts, you expect to see movement and breathing, and the caveman brain gets a bit woogy and confused when it doesn't happen]. We were upgraded to first class on the way out, which was nice; return trip was "economy plus", with extra legroom, so not too bad. A good trip.

Saw "Inception" [good movie, see my previous blog post] and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" [not bad, actually...not great, but diverting]. Streamed "Planet 51" from Netflix, and liked it. Watched "Rat Race" on DVD; some good bits, a few pretty funny lines, a lot of "ugh" eyeroll bits; it was pretty much a remake of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", but with a more charity-minded ending.

Lost a day rebuilding my iPad...installed the latest OS update, and it choked on reboot. Tracked down the issue to "USB timing issues", which wasn't a lot of help, but finally got it pulled together. Annoying fact: "backing up" the device doesn't actually back up everything...only the base settings and photos were restored, none of my music, apps, or the way the screens were organized were restored, so had to be done manually.

Went to the GameStop midnight launch of StarCraft II with Will. I was one of only about three chicks there, which made me giggle. Had a good conversation with a fellow geek about Piers Anthony, Tracy Weis, and other authors; helped more than a few lost souls find the right line; and actually made it out in a fairly short time.

Meh, that's a good enough overview to jog my memory later on...way back when, I started this blog for myself, and to give my parents an idea of what was happening in my life over on this side of the country. Now that they are gone, there's not real reason for me to keep posting...I do it more for a diary-type record of things I did, places I went, people I shared moments with, just for myself. Not sure if anyone else reads it [though I have it on good authority that Will's ex still checks in regularly...sigh]; with the exception of the phone bill fraud post [which is still getting comments, crazily enough], there's really nothing here for anyone else. Maybe I'll migrate my brain babbles to another place some time...just don't care enough to right now.

So for now, business as usual...lots of time elapsed between posting, then one long rambling catch-up entry, then radio silence, and repeat. But it works, and it gives me a source for answers to those "when did we see that movie/band/friend/whatever?" questions that come up every once in a while...

i'll just say it...

I didn't think "Inception" was all that confusing. In fact, it was pretty straightforward. You had to pay a bit of attention, but still, it was all laid out, all handed to you on a nice shiny silver platter. Major exposition, major hints as to where you were, when you were. The only ambiguity was in the ending...and that was blatantly manufactured uncertainty, designed to leave you with a talking point, to get you to carry the movie out into the real world and keep the buzz going.

Was it worth seeing? Most definitely. Was it as big a mind-frak as it's been made out to be? Sorry, but no.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

random stuff

* Started ground school. The instructor reminds me a lot of Dad...hard of hearing but refuses to wear his hearing aids [he admitted to the hearing problem, pulled the hearing aids out of his pocket and set them on the table, then told us that he "hates wearing the damn things" and never put them in]. Dad used "goddamn" as his go-to adjective: "so I put this goddamn insulator on the wires, and the goddamn thing was still sparking away"; the instructor uses "damn" a lot ["so you've got this damn plane that won't start, so you use the the damn propeller to start the thing, and then you get clocked right in the damn shoulder as it whips around and nearly tears your arm off"]. There's something about the guy's teaching style that reminds me a lot of Dad...lots of knowledge, loves to share it, but doesn't quite remember what it was like to not know this stuff, so isn't quite able to take it down to a 'just starting' level. The classes are tools, though, to help prep for the written pilot's test, so any information you get from them will be useful; plus once you pay, you get to go whenever and forever, so you can hop in / hop out as you like. It's cool to be learning for the sake of learning...I've missed that.

* A phrase I really hate: something "turned up missing". If it turned up, then it can't be missing...

* Finally got my registration and stickers for my car. The one I bought last October. The dealership submitted the paperwork when I bought it, and I never received anything. Called them after a month, they said to wait three or four months and to call back if they still hadn't arrived [California's budget crisis is affecting the DMV hard, and a lot of folks have been having troubles]. So I call them in February, and they submit a request to have them resent. Still nothing a month later, so I send in the forms myself [checking "never received"]. DMV says to wait 30 days between submissions, so I send another in April. And another in May. I sent another one in June, and realize that I'm going to have to go fight the DMV in person since I've heard absolutely *nothing*. So I wait out another 30 days...and the day before I'm going to head to the DMV, I get a letter from them! Finally!

Oh wait...they say I owe the processing fee for duplicate registration and stickers, even though I never received them in the first place. Screw it...I'll just pay it. Consider it my donation to the ailing California economy. I look closer at the paperwork they was the form I mailed on 05/04/2010, and they sent the 'you owe us money' letter on [wait for it...] 07/06/2010. Two frickin' months. Sheesh. [just realized: this means there is at least one more form that I sent in still working its way through the tortured system...great.]

Appointments at the DMV started at least two weeks out, but I wanted to get this taken care of, and was a little too paranoid to trust it to the mail again. So I took my chances, grabbed up all my paperwork, and headed over early in the morning, intending to camp out. Joy of joys, less than an hour later, I'm out and have a now-legal car. Whew.

[Oh, and the best part? I get to renew it all in October...mere months from now. Yeesh.]

* Vegas this weekend. Going to see Blue Man Group, staying at the Venetian. Looking forward to it, though not looking forward to the temperatures. Highs in the 110s, lows in the 90s. Just going to repeat that: LOWS in the frickin' ninety-degree range. Ugh. Ugh, blegh, and yech. Huzzah for air-conditoning.

* Been looking at houses with Will, keeping an eye out for something worth buying in the Santa Clara area [so he can keep on with the fire department]. Even with the crappy economy, housing prices are still crazy in the Bay Area. Hard to think about buying a house whose cost is given in fractions of a *million* dollars...even starter homes are at least "a third of a million". If you want something worth living in, you are talking closer to $600-700K, minimum. Crazy.

* Saw "Despicable Me"...definitely worth seeing. "Prince of Persia", not so much. Waiting for "The Expendables" to come out...that one looks like a lot of fun.

* Concerts coming up...busy times. Green Day, Dropkick Murphys, Lady Gaga [our friend Nate had extra tickets...not sure why he got four luxury tickets to a Lady Gaga show, but I'm not one to judge, and I'll bet it will be quite the spectacle]. Great Big Sea are coming back around later this year, might go see them again. The Bravery are touring. Colin Hay is due to be in the Bay Area some time soon [if I haven't missed him].

[Had the *best* experience buying the Green Day tickets: *all* fees were included in the ticket price, so what you saw was what you paid. What an amazing concept.]

As always, more going on, but nothing more making it from the brain to the keyboard right now. Maybe there'll be some stories after Vegas...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

how the hell...

...can I have 3,452 songs on my music player and not find a single one that I want to listen to?



[next track]


[next track]


[next track]

hell no

[next track]

oh, forgot about this one...


[next track]


Monday, June 28, 2010


The temp inside my place right now:


Monday, June 21, 2010

trip report

So let's see...went to NANOG with Will last week. It's the North American Network Operators' Group, so lots of geeks hanging out, days of talks and meetings, and nights of having fun and enjoying like company. There was an interesting talk about beaming wireless internet to the Farallon Islands [directed antennas in San Francisco sending the intertubes out to the folks on the island], some good stuff about IPv6 [heads up folks, it's coming up fast], a bunch of stuff that was outside my area but interesting to sit in on, and lots of awesome people.

The people were the best part...not just hanging out with techy types again, but getting to hang out with the people that are important to Will: Ren and Joe, Susan and Cathy, Todd, Tony, Jon, the other Jon, Nate, Dave, Colin, Mike, the other Mike, Martin, Joel, Stacy and Aaron, the other Aaron, Sylvie, Ed, Monica, Nina, Cat, Terry, and other names that are slipping my mind right now but are no less cool and awesome.

Joined the netgrrls dinner one night, good conversation and a surprising sense of community and shared experiences. Party at Ruby Skye another night, with open bar and Love Fool rocking the 80s and 90s hits. Fun sci-fi theme at the Clift Hotel another night, with a Star Wars photo op, classic SF movies playing, and [need I say it] an open bar. Lunches with Jon and Nate, another with a whole gang of geeks at the Burger Barn. Finding out that Colin not only knew what FTP Software was and what we did, it turns out he actually worked for our largest reseller, Cohesive [and we even remember some of the same folks...such a small valley]. All in all, a good time [and even better, I got asked to come to the next gathering].

Wednesday night was a BBQ at the Hugheseses, just Stacy, Aaron, John, Barbara, Will, and me, having a relaxing night, good talks, strong drinks, excellent food [rotisserie chicken, om nom]. Then Saturday evening was a return trip for Aaron's birthday, with grilled beef for fajitas, excellent aioli for the artichokes, very tasty brie and foie gras appetizers. A good crowd, more good conversation, lots of sharing geek toys and tricks. The weather was perfect, and we all went for a walk along with beach [lucky Stacy and Aaron live within walking distance...jealous]. Good times.

Before making the trek down to the Hugheses, we spent the early afternoon at Hiller Aviation Museum for the Vertical Challenge...helicopters, acrobatic stunt kite demonstrations, skydivers, flybys by a C5 transport plane [that thing is HUGE], Harriers flying overhead [amazing how something that can break the sound barrier can also stop dead, hover, and reverse] and a jaw-dropping demonstration of PG&E high-tension power line repair [two guys dangle in a chair hanging on a cable from a chopper, which maneuvers to the damaged line and hovers as still as possible while the guys below work on the line...crazy awesome work, never knew they did it that way].

That Saturday was one of the better days I've had in a while: we rambled about in the morning, woke up when the dogs told us they needed to go out, then crawled back into bed and snoozed again...took our time, went out and about, got Starbucks, went to Hiller, had a nice walk to/from the airport, then headed south for the birthday festivities. A busy day, but one that just flowed, one thing into another, no muss, no fuss, no agenda, just go and do and be.

So there's my summary of the past week. Lots that I didn't put down in bits and pixels; not for lack of interest, but rather for a bit more brevity. With luck, there's a bit of down time coming up before things get busy again...we've got concerts, conferences, air shows, Vegas, and ground school on the calendar just in the next few months, so it's going to be interesting juggling it all. But I'm not complaining...

Friday, June 18, 2010

preach it!

amen, brother!

Will has heard me rant on this exact thing many a time:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

long days, good days

In SF with Will, joining him for NANOG...conferences, talks, info, and peering, both network type and social. Very nice to hang with so many geeks, make some connections, and meet the folks who are such an important part of Will's life. Days start early and run long, but it's worth it...I'll try to post a few more details later.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Dad's birthday today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


When I shower, and the glass door or vinyl curtain or tile wall steams up, I put my hand quietly and deliberately in the smooth unblemished plain of steam, rest it there for a few seconds, then carefully pull it away, leaving my handprint behind. I've been doing it for ages started out innocently, then it turned into a moment for reflection: this is me, uniquely so, and this is a mark I am making on the world today. Ephemeral, fleeting, solidly there but then gone, smile as you create then sadness as it fades then realization that you can create the moment again, and that the next moment, while similar, won't be the same. One of those "stepping away from the flow" moments we all steal from the marching tick-tick-tick of life, where we can drop everything and just *be* for a few precious seconds.

Then I saw "Up" with Dad last summer, and we smiled at each other when the main characters built their house and lived their lives, and we cried together during the oh-so-beautiful and oh-so-painful and ouch-too-close-to-home opening sequence that was just a bit too immediate for both of us. And now that handprint moment is tinged with sadness and memory, because it reminds me of the mailbox in the movie, decorated with the handprints of two people who loved each other and lived adventures and made their own path.

So now my little ritual has evolved...from being a quiet moment just for me, just outside of time, it's now becoming a remembrance of the source of much of my outlook and many of my values, of love, of time spent [not wasted], and moments to appreciate. The fleeting nature of a handprint in steam becomes a reminder of how things fade, yet while they are there, they are lovely and complex and simple and real nonetheless.

In time, I'll find another quirky little ritual that will give me the chance to take time out from things and not think for a few seconds...but this is one that I don't mind sharing with them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

brain dump

Not a lot of interest in posting lately...quick sum-up of some things so I'll have it to look back on later:

* spent a day down in Santa Cruz with the Hughes gang [the Hugheseses]...good talks, good food, good time. Met her hog-nosed snake [adorable], had some really good conversations, some strong drinks, nice walks on the sand as we headed to a yummy lunch. They are some of Will's colleagues through NANOG and GPF, so I really enjoyed hanging with "my people" [aka geeks/dorks/nerds]. As a cool note, one half of the Hugheseses is also a blonde, green-eyed, MINI-driving Stac[e]y...can't go wrong with that.

* concert up in San Francisco...3OH!3 were the reason we went, also saw I Fight Dragons and Travie McCoy [of Gym Class Heroes, doing his solo Lazarus Project thing]. 3OH!3 were quite good, full of energy and more edgy in person than I expected...definitely worth trekking up to SF for. I Fight Dragons were fun...they had a Nintendo controller, Power Glove, and Power Pad, all attached to a synth. The chick wearing the glove used them to play tunes on the synth, with cool 8-bit tones. A good night.

* playing with Will's dog Darwin. He used to be quite annoying...cute dog, but had some bad habits and had been allowed to get away with a lot of stuff that he shouldn't have been. We've been spending time with him, training him, playing with him, and he's gotten quite adorable. Got a good harness for him and took him out for a walk and he did great. He's getting the hang of chasing after a toy and bringing it back, and it's fun to get him running back and forth. He's gone from being a spoiled little annoyance to a quite awesome little guy.

* CA Geeks dinner in SF...this one was very cool, but a little sad for me personally: it was at a German restaurant in SF, with some pretty tasty authentic German food...and I kept thinking "I've got to tell Dad about this place" [sigh]. But other than that, it was fun...eight of us, drinking beer [one guy got the 2-liter boot...that was a LOT of beer], eating spaetzle and schnitzel and sausage and potatoes and apple strudel. Another good time hanging with geeks...yay.

* some random little things: a day at the San Francisco Zoo. Watching the finale of LOST. Working through season five of Supernatural [and absolutely loving the song 'O Death' and the scene it was used in...seriously, check it out on youtube]. Dealing with Taz's glands [Will's other dog...her anal glands got infected (ew)]. Booking the trip to Vegas to see Blue Man Group. Getting the tickets ordered for Dropkick Murphys in Reno for me, Will, and our friend Kim [who is a big fan also]. Will's place getting egged [third vandalism there in a year...sigh]. My palm healing, but the scar tissue inside the wound making it annoying and less than 100%...the only way to fix it would be surgery to open it up and dig it out, and even that's no guarantee it wouldn't just scar up again. Termite spraying at my place, forcing me to move everything away from the walls in my garage and not being able to park in it...and then the landlord forgetting to fax in the release, so it got delayed by another week. The folks at the car dealership scratching Will's car, forcing them to get it taken care of by a body shop at their own expense [sadly, I just can't recommend MINI of Mountain View anymore...they've really gone downhill]. A rough phone call with a close friend, followed a week later by another one. Playing through messages on my phone, and forgetting that there was one from Mom there.

It sounds like a lot has been going on, and yeah, there have been busy times, but basically I've been lying low. Kind of struggling right now, and I've been avoiding folks who were part of my life before everything happened...I guess I don't know how to deal with more questions and looks and loving attempts to keep me busy and distracted. A couple of folks I'm close to are going through some personal crises of their own, so I don't want to pile on and add to their situation will just take time to work through, theirs are a bit more immediate. But with Mom's birthday just past and Dad's coming up [not to mention the over-saturation of Mother's and Father's Day reminders during the same time period], I'm kind of at a loss. The weird thing is that I haven't been able to cry for a long while now...when you don't want to, you can't help it; when you need the catharsis, you can't.

Time. That's what it takes. But damn it, moving forward one second at a time is so frustratingly *slow* sometimes...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

read my fortune

Rough night...was cleaning up a spill on the floor and felt a sharp pain. Looked down at my hand to see a small chunk of glass lodged in my palm. Touch your thumb to the tip of your pinkie. See that crease it makes at the base of your palm? Now imagine a half inch slice at about a 45 degree angle right across that crease...and make it about an eighth of an inch deep, right into the meat of the palm. A half-inch cut wouldn't be that bad, except it's on a very awkward, much used spot that is hard to bandage and hard to immobilize. And an eighth of an inch doesn't sound like much, until it describes the depth that a sharp piece of glass has cut into your palm.

Ow. :^(

(btw, I'm loving the irony of spending a weekend cleaning up a bear-ravaged cabin with no injuries, only to come home and draw blood cleaning up a bear-free home. oy.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

a few more pics

Lots more pics to post eventually, but here are a few choice ones to give a small sample of what we walked into, including proof that it was indeed a bear.

Rather impressive tooth holes in some cans:

Our CSI-honed skills led us to this incriminating evidence, found amidst a slurry of cocoa powder, baked beans, and tuna (soda can added for scale):

And proof of the identity of the intruder (click to see it a bit more clearly):

(Note to self: next time you go to stay at a friend's cabin in the mountains, send a scouting party in first.)

bear-y surprised

Will and I were planning on spending the weekend at a friend's cabin in Tahoe, just the two of us, a much-needed here at 2am after a long drive to find the door torn open, shattered glass all around, and the kitchen a complete mess. Too tired to go into details right now, but here's a pic of part of the chaos:

Gonna be a busy day cleaning up...not quite what we had planned. Oy.

(if you look closely at the top can, you can see the light shining through the tooth hole...yipe)

Friday, April 09, 2010

you have *got* to be kidding

I tweaked my back during a coughing fit. >.<

Thursday, April 08, 2010

murphy, you sly dog

Still sick...much sicker than I've been in a while. Coughing...a lot. Which leads to trouble breathing, trouble sleeping, trouble moving, blah blah, et cetera, et cetera. Those annoyingly persistent coughs that start out shallow and long-running, to the point that you are either nearly dry-heaving from coughing so hard, or you run out of breath and end up making some weird squeak-huh-caff-keh noise that is cut off as the air runs out. Then when you are nice and sore from those intense ab exercises, and your lungs are aching, something breaks loose and you segue right into those deep, rumbly, juicy ah-HOK-COF-COF[breathe]COF-KA-COOOOFFFFF beasties.


So when I said I was looking forward to not having to go to work so I can recover from this thing, I wasn't kidding. It's tenacious, and from the sounds of it, many other folks have been fighting something similar for a while themselves. Hence the golden glow of anticipation at days and days ahead with nothing to do but medicate, be as still as possible, and let my immune system do its thing.

Enter Murphy, that right bastard of the "going wrong" law.

This past Saturday, a friend of Will's had a massive birthday celebration: breakfast out, time at a huge trampoline center, lunch, then some indoor skydiving, followed by dinner and games. I was hoping that I would be cough-free [or at least cough-resistant] in time, but I wasn't, damn it, and I didn't dare bring germs to this gathering of adults and children. So Will took on the burden of representing both of us [poor guy :^) ] and proceeded to have much fun.

Followed shortly by seriously torquing his ankle. Which was followed by ice and elevation, and very soon after that came the trip to Urgent Care for xrays and a professional eye to look it over. Thanks to the miracle of digital xrays, the doctor was able to diagnose it there...sort of. It's never a good thing when a doctor looks at your xray and says "huh...that's weird". There was an errant bit of bone [a 5mm "ossified fragment"] that shouldn't have been there. The doctor needed radiology to look the xray over, and they weren't available until Monday, so we headed home with a bandage and instructions to elevate, ice, stay completely off it, and call back Monday afternoon for results.

So the weekend was spent with poor Will going nearly mad, being stuck on his hinder with his foot in the air. And I didn't get much rest, sadly...there were meds to pick up, groceries to stock for a week of being house-bound, cats to get taken care of so I could stay down south with Will, food to prepare, dogs to feed and let out/in as needed, ice packs to get, and so on.

But there is good news: the radiologist said that the bone fragment looked like it was from an old injury [which surprised Will], so he is under instructions to keep it wrapped, ice it, heat it, and spend a few days off of it. He's walking now, looking pretty bad-ass limping around with a cane, and the swelling is slowly going down [though the bruising is blossoming nicely]. I'm slowly getting healthier, though I'm not too proud to admit that this thing is kicking my ass and hard.

In spite of all that, things are trending upward. And I guess you can't ask for much more than that, can you?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

it hasn't really hit me yet

Today is my last day at Facebook. Not enough energy to handle work and not-work right now, so making the tough decision to go. It's hard to let go of a place where you helped create things from's like sending your baby off into the world without you. I'm quite proud of what I helped build...I've worked with some really good people here. And that's the hardest part about leaving: there are always other jobs, but it's the people that are tough to replace.

It doesn't feel real yet...honestly, right now, all I can think of is that I'll finally be able to give in to this illness, instead of having to tough it out to finish off my last days at work. Which is pretty sad...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

same cough, different day

The past two nights have been bad...even being uber-medicated, the cough still made its presence known. Overall, it's getting better, but it's exhausting...I think I'm just going to have to give in, give up, and stay in bed for as many days as it takes. Starting next week...way too busy this week to do it. :^)

Monday, March 22, 2010


That's how I've been describing the weird state of little-to-no-sleep-coughing-every-other-breath [which leaves you disconnected and loopy], alternated with getting-some-sleep-but-only-when-medicated-to-the-gills [which leaves you disconnected and medicine-heady]. Combine that with diminished lung capacity [which adds to the light-headedness], and it's been quite the trip.


[in case you were wondering, the title is a nod to "kafkaesque" ]

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

hacker's delight

Miserable night...coughing until past midnight, finally fell fitfully asleep only to wake up at 4a coughing. And coughing. With every breath, it seemed. Eventually got it calmed down by taking two different meds, so managed to eke out an hour or so of sleep. Really should be staying home, but we are in the middle of the big year-end audit at work, and because I was out, I now have only days to complete at least three weeks' worth of work. Fun times.

Monday, March 15, 2010

lousy few days

Cough. Cough cough cough. Cooooouuuggghhh. Cough cough. Cough.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

murphy, you bastard

Been a rough week or so...haven't been sleeping, and both Will and I are sick [he is on the tail end of his, and I'm just starting it...guess who gave the germs to whom]. And because the universe is a right bastard sometimes, this is the week I headed back to work. Of course. As Dad was fond of saying, "Murphy strikes again". But on the plus side, I get to carpool with Will again...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

sum of its parts

He was so tired. After she was gone, he just kind of...deflated. He had made no secret of the fact that she was his reason for breathing, the one that kept him going. And once she was gone, he lost momentum. He loved the people in her life, loved them for what they meant to her, but he had lost the one person who had been with him, stuck with him, stayed by his side for years. So he was lonely, even while being surrounded by people who cared for and about him.

He tried to keep the loneliness under control by keeping busy; he kept busy by taking care of the people who cared about her, showing them that he loved them for how they loved her. Then, one day, the things keeping him busy were done. And the weight hit him in force, the pain he'd been living with every day and especially in the lonely hours of the night, the weight of how tired he was, how lonely he was, and how much he missed never went away, even though he tried to act like it did, tried to pretend like he wasn't terminally ill, like he wasn't missing her and their life together. He didn't fool us, and eventually, he stopped trying to...and that's when our hearts broke, when we knew.

He's not lonely now. He doesn't hurt now.

But we do.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

the damage count grows

It has been raining and/or grey since my car got vandalized, so today was the first day I was able to get a good look at him in the sunlight...and it's not good. Multiple places where there are huge chip patterns in the paint [and through the paint, damn it] from where the eggs impacted, and the sunroof mechanisms are impossible to get to and clean...all of which means I am going to have to take the car in to the dealer to see about getting it repaired. Sigh.

The funny thing is that all of this is leading me and Will to get a place together sooner than we had just like we wouldn't have even been dating if it hadn't been for a third party causing drama, we wouldn't be thinking about moving in together right now if it hadn't been for this. Oh, the irony...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

a very timely smile

While I was out visiting Dad, a bunch of us were talking about things we just can't seem to find much anymore. Two of mine were Archway Dutch Cocoa cookies and those chocolate oranges that usually show up around the holidays [big round ball of chocolate, sectioned into wedges, wrapped in orange foil]. My Aunt Monie surprised me a few days later with both [how much does she rock??]. One pack of cookies was sacrificed to indulgence before I even left; the others made it to California, and were closely rationed out until sadly, they too were gone.

Completely lost in the shuffle and the craziness and the boxes was the orange chocolate...until today:

Found it hiding under some stuff I'd packed up, trying to avoid its fate...but to no avail. Yum. It was a much-needed smile, at a very opportune time.

Thank you, Antimony...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

a frustrating night

Second time I've had to file a police report for vandalism while parked at Will's place. On my brand-new, barely-four-months-old car. The first time was a few days before I went on leave to spend time with dad...some young guys were on a spree in the area, hitting cars with high-velocity globs of some sort of soap or cream [the most likely theory was that they had attached a canister of the substance to a paint gun, propelling it in rapid bursts]. It washed off and there wasn't any damage, but it was still very annoying and very frustrating.

Last night I was house/dogsitting for Will while he is on a business trip...I had just fed the dogs when I heard POP POP POP noises. I flashed back on the earlier incident and ran outside to see what was going on. Eggs. All over the car, the driveway, and the garage door. Saw a car zooming away, so was able to get a description for the police. The officer showed up very quickly and was very good, very professional, very sympathetic. Took the report, got the details, gave me the case card...a routine I'm now very familiar with.

So I spent a few hours in the dark washing my car and trying to clean egg out of the inside of the car and off the netting under my sunroof...there is still yolk in the tracks and runners, and you can hear shells crunching as it closes. Short of taking it to the dealer and disassembling it, there is no way to get to everything [sigh]. And this time there is damage: chips in the paint from the shells, and the yolk has damaged the sunroof netting. It was too dark to see if the dripping yolk damaged the upholstery, so crossing my fingers that I got it cleaned up soon enough.

Will is very frustrated and disgusted with his neighborhood...I texted him after it happened, and he felt horrible. He's never really liked the place; it's old, falling apart, nasty hard water, old pipes, old appliances. But the location [near highways, right by one of the fire stations he works at], the yard for the dogs, and the rent were good, so he stayed. He felt really bad when I told him it happened again, offered to pay for getting the car cleaned and any repairs needed [of course I told him not to worry about it].

So this morning I head back down to feed the dogs, scrub off the garage door, then out to get the car cleaned again and inspect it in daylight. One more thing to add to the pile...sigh.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

single again

Well, for the weekend anyway...Will finally gave in to my cajoling and snagged some time in Tahoe to go snowboarding with his buddy. He wanted me to go with, and I will definitely go next time, but right now I'm still having troubles with the social interactions, being smiley and happy and interactive. I don't like to admit it, but it's rougher getting through some of this than I hoped, especially given the time I had to prepare and the time I had with Dad before he died to talk things through. Been putting on the brave face for Will, and he's been awesome...but I'll admit that it's good to have some time totally to myself, time that lets me just be alone, no need to worry about being "on" for someone else. Still trying to figure out how to work through all of this...some days are okay, others not so much. Just kind of hanging in there, one moment after another, and making it through each day a bit at a time. I know that time is what it will take, and I've got faith in myself...but a fast-forward button would be really nice sometimes.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

a tough subject, death

One which Sir Terry Pratchett discusses very frankly and with great thought and gentle humour in the following videos...dying with dignity, choosing your manner of leaving life. He is suffering from a very rare form of Alzheimer's, one which strips him of his ability to process visual information properly. Can you imagine being a very intelligent, very prolific, very clever writer who knows he is losing his ability to type, to follow words on paper, to even recognize his notebook in front of him?

On February 1st, 2010, he delivered the annual Richard Dimbleby lecture, giving a very personal, very straightforward speech about his illness, his feelings on terminal diseases and dying, and his own desire to die peacefully on his own terms. As he puts it,

As I have said, I would like to die peacefully with Thomas Tallis on my iPod before the disease takes me over and I hope that will not be for quite some time to come, because if I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as ­precious as a million pounds. If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.
Those of you who know me know that dying with dignity is a cause very close to my heart, one I feel very strongly these videos were very hard for me to watch, but very, very worthwhile.

Here is the link to the article that pointed me to the videos, with good backstory to the speech:

And a direct link to the slightly edited transcript of the speech:

The videos themselves:

There is a lot I can say here, a lot I am feeling, a lot I am dealing with and will be dealing with for a very long time...until I find the words to express some of it, I will borrow his.

Thank you, Sir Terry...I only wish that Dad could have heard this.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

cozy, but...

Been stuck home sick the past few days, but my roommates have been keeping me company...this was the view from my lap a little bit ago [that's Bean on my upper lap, with Pepper nestled down by my knees/shins]:

Nice and cozy, except when you need to get up to go to the bathroom. I was treated to some seriously disapproving looks when I tried:

I braved the disdain, disentangled myself, and made it off the couch safely. Now they are sitting on the living room floor, semi-patiently waiting for me to stop typing and stretch back out again. Something tells me I should get everything I need to get done out of the way before doing that...I doubt they'll be as understanding the next time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

that's my story and i'm sticking to it

My excuse for any typos whilst IMing, blogging, or emailing [click to see bigger]:

It's funny to watch him bouncing along with my arm movements as I type and mouse and surf the web...silly boy.

[look closely and you can see the awesome blanket my sister made for's a perfect "couch blanket" and gets used pretty much every time I sit on the couch]

Monday, January 25, 2010

forgiving felines

Luckily, the cats haven't held a grudge against me for disappearing for so long [though I'm sure part of their forgiveness is due to the good care the kind folks watching over them gave while I was gone]. Spent part of today just lying with them, with one on my chest curled up under my chin and the other sprawled out on my legs. I was effectively trapped, but wasn't complaining...

On a sadder note, this blog entry from Neil Gaiman [and his previous ones about Zoe] hit me hard...for many reasons and on many levels.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

dad would have loved this weather

Heavy rain, thunder, hail, and even a rare tornado warning for the Bay Area.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

not quite nightmares...

....but being plagued by bad dreams. The kind that leave you shaking and have your heart racing, where you wake up nearly crying and can't shake the feeling for hours. Only a few details stay into consciousness, just enough that you know you had a rough night and that the "rest" wasn't truly restful, but not enough is left to allow you to examine and dissect the dream and dismiss it or understand the roots of it. So you wander through the day, disconnected from reality by a weird hazy buffer of remembered emotions and not enough rest, hoping you are faking it well enough that no one asks.

Ensign, divert all available energy to emotional shields...engage mask on my mark.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

western lands

Made it back to California with no problems, luggage arrived, even the boxes Dad and I shipped earlier on all got here safely. Been hiding out at Will's for a few days, avoiding life for a bit longer...he's been really good, very patient, and very good at providing distractions like sushi, movies, telly, and lots of hugs and comfort. Still not sleeping well, being hit with bad dreams that leave me more than a little shaken...I know it will get better, that it will just take time. So I'm trying to give myself that time, though it's hard...can't say I've gone through something like this before, so not really sure what to expect. I know that the biggest thing I have to do is to be more patient with myself [something I've never really had much luck with], accept that things are going to be difficult for a while, and that I'm allowed to be a bit 'off' from normal. Easy enough to say, harder to do...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

a personal tribute of my own

Just for Dad: lunch at Adornetto's, just me, a mini pizza, and a book.

not different enough

Every once in a while, I get reminded how things aren't quite as different as I thought they were. A comment here, a snide remark there, somebody saying "those people"...and it makes me realize again that I am very fortunate to live where I do. There, I can have friends because of who they are as people. I can eat pretty much any cuisine I want. I can experience people, cultures, foods, and creeds that boggle the mind. And broaden it.

There are things I will miss about Ohio. There are people I will miss. There are places, sights, smells, sounds. There are memories here.

But there are things I am just as happy to leave behind.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

murphy's law

My dad was very found of referring to Murphy's Law. Very fond. To the point that my mother would get frustrated every time he would mention it. And today, I'm going to follow in his footsteps...frickin' Murphy's Law hit again. Had another rough night of the toss-turn variety. Getting way too familiar with what is on television at three and four in the morning. Finally managed to drift into a sort-of-kind-of sleeplike state around 5am...

....and my mobile phone rings around 5:45am.

So now I'm awake, but very groggy. I try the tricks [reading, solitaire, watching telly], no joy. Hours later, finally, finally, finally get my brain to settle down a bit and am lying there in that weird "mind is just wandering and things are all disconnected, not asleep yet, but could drop off at any time" state...

....and the phones in the house all start ringing. With a call from a telemarketing company. Who hang up just as I fumble the phone to my ear.

Stupid Murphy and his stupid law.

Friday, January 08, 2010

thank you

Thank you to everyone who was at the funeral tonight, both in person and in spirit.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

no luck

Sleep, it eludes me. So instead of napping, I spent the evening talking to a couple of close friends back in California. And it was hard, because they are also going through hard times of their own...and I just don't have the focus right now to give them the attention, love, and empathy they deserve. I hate that they are hurting, and I hate that I don't have the resources right now to support them the way I would like. So frustrating, so tiring...

long night, long day

Another zero sleep night. Today I had some things I wanted/needed to do for Dad [people to talk to for him, things to get that he didn't have a chance to], and I needed to get some groceries for me, so spent the day out and about. The weather is turning very wintery, with heavy blowing snow and the roads disappearing in the whiteness. I really enjoyed being out in it, but everything is starting to catch up to me [as you can probably tell by this somewhat disjointed entry], so had to head back. I think I'm going to turn off the phones for a bit and try to get some rest...with luck, the snow will still be there to enjoy when I wake up.

on a different note

Five years ago today, Dad and Mom gave a three-footed black cat an airline ticket to California and sent him on his way. Happy "birthday", Pepper.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

the obituary

Major John Buncak
(US Army Ret)

Trinway - Major John W. Buncak, 69, of Trinway, died Tuesday morning January 5, 2010 at his home.

Major Buncak was born June 11, 1940 in Waukegan, IL, a son of the late Stephen and Irene Buncak. He retired from the US Army in 1979, after serving his country for twenty years. Major Buncak and his wife Sharon then returned to Sharon’s home in Ohio, where they lived until his death.

Surviving are two daughters, Stacey Gladman of Palo Alto, CA, Jennifer Stewart of Dresden; two brothers, Robert (Bobby) Buncak, Thomas (Tom) Buncak; and two sisters, Lonah Buncak and Cindy Ahola. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his companion and wife, Sharon, and his brother Stephen.

John was a very self-determined man who greatly enjoyed sharing life with his wife, and who looked forward to being with her again. He asked that no cards or flowers be sent; instead, his girls ask that you indulge in one smartass moment with a smile on your face for John.

Friends may call 6-8PM January 8th, 2010 at the Dresden Chapel of Vensil-Orr & Chute Funeral Home. Military Funeral Honors will be held at 8PM at the funeral home.

[online version - courtesy of Vensil-Orr & Chute]
[online version - courtesy of Zanesville Times Recorder]

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

he's gone

Love you, da...

rough night

Another no-sleep night, toss, turn. And to quote Dad, Murphy's Law hit: trains whoo-whooing through at 3am, again at 4am, then snowplows scraping and backup-beeping at 5am, then another train around 6am. I know Dad was up for a while in the wee hours too, but at least for the moment, he's soundly asleep on the couch, snoring away. Funny how a sound that is usually considered annoying can be actually rather comforting in the right circumstances...

Saturday, January 02, 2010

a message for the saylor clan

Things are going to be a bit hectic in the next days/weeks/months, so I want to take a moment while I can and say something to the Saylors:

Thank you. Your empathy, support, hugs, commiseration, validation, and love have meant a lot to me. Not just during this trip, but for most of my long as I can remember, you've all been there for me, cheering me on, keeping me humble, and giving me a touchstone in tough times. Through happy times, sad times, smooth sailing, and drama-ridden seas, you've been there, and I'm lucky to have you as family.

I'm not even sure if any of you read my little online diary here, but if you do, can you please pass on my love and thanks to the others? I'm also trying to do it in person as much as I can while I'm here...I want you all to know that your love and support are very much appreciated.

Love you guys...

Friday, January 01, 2010

small town

Went for a walk last night...forgot how small this town is, hit the end of it in less than 10 minutes [seriously...after the train tracks, there's pretty much nothing for miles]. Kind of made the 'take a long walk to clear the head and work things through' effort a bit fruitless, though I did get a bit of a smile at the reminder of how tiny this little hamlet is. And I'll take a smile, however small, where I can get it...