One of the reasons for my trip to Colorado was to attend a graveside service for my great aunt and to catch up with my mom's side of the family. I had planned on travelling really light, and had even left the DSLR at home, so I wasn't optimistic about making a group photo happen. Fortunately, my dad had his Canon and a tripod, so I was able to get the whole group as well as various permutations that I've also posted in the set on Flickr.
As the Christmas Day festivities wound down and we settled into a quiet afternoon together, Liz asked me a question:
"Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?"
My thoughts flickered quickly across the warm and happy morning spent with my beautiful wife and daughter, singing songs, opening presents, cooking breakfast together, playing with the cats. The smiles on the faces of my two favorite ladies. Savoring old memories and making new ones. Being a family.
"Yeah," I said. "I did."
- Mood: happy
- Music: In The Nursery - "When I Write To You"
Dad got through his surgery okay, and should (hopefully) be coming home by the end of the week (maybe today).
Let me back up.
Last Wednesday, while eating dinner at I Trulli in New York, my cell phone did something it never does, especially when I'm sitting next to Liz--it rang. Mom was calling to let me know that Dad had slipped on an embankment while taking pictures of a train, and the resulting spill had broken his ankle in at least three places. They got him splinted, stabilized (and loaded up on happy meds) and planned to take him back to the other side of the mountains since he preferred to have the obviously necessary surgery performed by Durango colleagues that he knew well.
Tuesday's surgery took an extra hour (clocking in at close to three hours) because they found more breaks than the X-rays indicated. Something about the fibia being in five pieces when they expected three, and that's not even the whole of it. Mom says he's got a plate and about twelve pins in him now to try to get everything reassembled correctly. For various reasons, they had him on a spinal anesthetic rather than general, so he got to watch the whole thing on a monitor. Ordinary folks would probably go mad from the trauma, but, doctor and stoic that he is, he described it as alternating between "interesting" and "tedious."
He's doing relatively well, all things considered, and seems to have gotten the message that he needs to take this seriously and obey orders. We're not sure how long he's going to be away from work, but the prognosis so far is at least six weeks of no weight-bearing activity whatsoever, and a minimum of six weeks of physical therapy after that. Thankfully, northawke's parents have been very kind in helping get the house set up for him and have been a huge help to my mom as well. We're not sure what this will do to their plans to visit this fall--and even if they do come out, they should have plenty of fun with the TSA as he'll be setting off the metal detector for some months to come.
"At least," I told him after the surgery, "you should be thankful you aren't a horse." He laughed and agreed.
- Mood: concerned
- Music: Great Northern - "Home"
Just got the news from my dad that my grandmother Pirnat passed away. I am not too surprised, as she'd been taken to the ICU yesterday with bad GI bleeding, but it still hurts. I'm feeling strangely disconnected from it all; I expect the grief will catch up to me once I've had a chance to process it a bit.
My grandmother Irene was lovely, humble, eternally kind, and made the best damn chocolate chip cookies in the world. She lived a good life, raised good kids, and will be sorely missed.
- Mood: sad
- Music: Bear McCreary - "Passacaglia"
Had a nice visit with my parents this week; their arrival was delayed from Friday until Sunday thanks to the weather in Denver, which allowed us a couple of extra days to get things in order. They're back in Mountain Time now, driving from Phoenix to Durango. Highlights include:
- A couple of excellent feasts for Christmas Eve and Day. Liz really knows her way around the kitchen.
- Learned that Mom really likes white Burgundy. A lot.
- Lunch at Melt was a huge hit.
- My mother-in-law knitted me a Jayne hat!! It keeps my noggin surprisingly, delightfully warm.
- Liz and my parents and my mother-in-law and I pitched in on a shiny new Mac as a combination Christmas/birthday present. It's job will be to help both my aging iMac and still-spry-but-time-consuming Linux box retire to gentler pastures. So far it's doing this quite admirably.
- Liz surprised the hell out of me by hiding a Wii in one of the Mac boxes. The look on my face was apparently priceless.
- Liz kicks my butt at most of Wii Sports, but I can totally take my dad at Wii Baseball. :-D
As a nice bonus, Webfaction rolled out WebDav support, so I can shift all of our iCal sharing off to that and have one less reason to keep a machine running all day here at home. Yay!
- Mood: calm
- Music: The KLF - "America No More"
To celebrate our launch and the start of vacation, I took my team-mates out to Melt for beer and tasty food, and a good time was had by all. Of course, then I had to go home and pack, and then didn't sleep much that night (I never manage to sleep well before a flight for some reason). We tried to sleep on the plane, occasionally hampered by the gentlemen behind us, who were apparently best friends in a former life. I could have put up with their loud conversation (audible through ear plugs and over iPod), but it was the harmonica assault in the middle of my nap that really upset me.
Once we got checked in and had real food (an adventure in itself, thank you hotel restaurant that can't tell bratwurst from sauerbraten...at least you had free popcorn and tasty beer), we hopped the BART down to the Embarcadero and met up with my cousin Cole, an RA at Stanford who was up for the day to make sure his residents survived their scavenger hunt. We meandered around at the Ferry Building market, had a walk along the waterfront, watched a group of skaters making a video of themselves screwing up tricks in fairly spectacular fashion, and had a great time catching up.
When it was time to let Cole go to meet up with his Stanford crew, we walked up to the Metreon to chill out for a bit, visited the Apple store, and popped into the Container Store to kill some time. Then it was off to Tres Agaves, where, after having our table given away several times, we met up with fellow CWRU-escapee Andy Reitz for dinner.
Liz has spent today in class downstairs, while I've been largely comatose and drooling on myself throughout the day, which has been punctuated by strange visions on TV: Mike DeWine and Sherrod Brown on "Meet the Press," Woz being interviewed, Scrabble finals on ESPN. Now that I've basically spent the entire day asleep in a hotel room, I'm starting to feel surprisingly human again. It's a good feeling.
- Mood: human-ish
My recent vacation photos hiatus is in part due to spending last weekend being all responsible and grown-up and stuff--Laura, one of my nieces, came to visit us for the weekend. Note the use of the word "my," a big step for me, as for most of the past seven years, the girls have been "Liz's nieces." Maybe they're just growing up to the point at which I can relate to them, but they're really, finally feeling like family.
So! Laura braved the increased airport security, water bottle fascism and all, and arrived last Friday. Liz picked her up, and after getting settled in at the house, took us all out to lunch at Phnom Penh; to my amazement, Laura loved her loath chha! That evening we hit our local Winking Lizard and then went out to Will Farrell NASCAR movie (hilarious, recommended), got ice cream on the way home, and stayed up far too late playing Munchkin. Saturday we caught up on "Monk" and "Psych", then went out to friends' for their Wild Game BBQ, where there was much delicious food, frosty beverage, and wacky croquet fun, then zipped down to Blossom to chill out under the stars and experience the Cleveland Orchestra playing the scores to Bugs Bunny cartoons (and incidentally seeing a lot of folks that we don't always bump into). Sunday we had brunch downtown, spent a few hours at the science center (note to self: don't try the "virtual hang-glider" right after eating...), tried to get Laura hooked on "Firefly", and played a lot more Munchkin and Apples to Apples.
Laura was up and out the door early on Monday to get to her flight on time; by all accounts she made it back home safely. I'm still trying to wrap my head around her pronouncement that I'm "an awesome uncle," but for the most part I guess that's pretty cool. The entire experience has left me a lot more optimistic about the idea of being a parent, a mental paradigm shift that is simultaneously comforting and scary as hell.
- Mood: responsible
- Music: Vangelis - "Hispanola"
Sometimes, life utterly baffles me.
Sears somehow thinks that, while fully aware that I'm a 29-year-old white male, adverts for "Olga Panties" are something that they should include with my bill. Even the name scares me... I mean, seriously, even if I were the panty-buying type, "OLGA PANTIES" just screams of bad branding. But that's just the tip of the iceberg...
My brother-in-law Andy had a baby last Thursday (actually, his wife had the baby, har-de-har-har isn't that a clever and not-at-all overused joke). They'd managed to not know the gender up until delivery, so they hadn't invested yet in any gender-specific items yet. Thus it was that Liz and I went to Baby Gap this weekend with orders to procure things that loudly and proudly declared the complete and utter cuteness of their new little girl. We found some really cute stuff at surprisingly reasonable prices, and as luck would have it, I ended up with another of their "do our survey and get a discount later" coupons. So, since I like discounts, I filled out the survey tonight, and I have to say, there's some stuff on the survey that really makes no sense at all. Like... How am I, 29-year-old white male that I am, supposed to know if the infant clothes that I was shopping for fit me comfortably? Maybe I could put a "If You Think I'm Cute You Should See My Dad" T-shirt over my head, or hang the little bunny shoes on my ears, but besides being utterly freakish, neither of those options sounds like it would be comfortable. And the really off-the-wall questions like that are, naturally, the ones with no "N/A" option.
And in more surreal news, I've recently been getting a string of calls to my cell phone from a mysterious number that I don't recognize. Usually they're at strange times where I've either got my phone turned off, or it's away from me, or I'm in a part of my gargantuan corporate labyrinth that gets crap for cell coverage, and my policy is to not bother returning the call if I don't recognize it and they don't feel like leaving voice mail. Finally, yesterday evening, I managed to have my phone on me when the mystery caller rang. At first it seemed like a perfectly normal wrong number situation, except... My mystery caller wasn't trying to call anyone--she was trying to check her voice mail, and for whatever reason, Sprint was convinced that they should connect her to my cell number. So... How does a mobile phone company manage to mix up their internal voice mail with a phone on another company's network? It made for a couple of amusing, albeit brief calls (Mystery Caller and later Sprint tech support), but it fundamentally bothers me. Did the call take a wrong turn at the NSA or something?
I've got some other stuff I want to blog about, but the most profound bafflement of all seems to be figuring out when it's going to happen, as work remains insane. Argh!! I want my (sad imitation of a) life back at some point. Please?
- Mood: baffled
- Music: Information Society - "The Ridge 1.1"
Up early to go rafting on the Animas (full name: Rio de las Animas Perdidas; translation: River of Lost Souls). Great trip, lots of fun. Water was about 40-45 degrees F, so definitely an eye-opener. Mostly calm trip, but some great fun rapids around the foot of Smelter Mountain, with much whooping and hollering and soaking. Got cleaned up, went to Holly's shop (Sunnyside Farms Market, plug plug plug) with my folks to get lunch and buy goodies. Dad drove us up into the valley north of town to check out the aftermath of the horrible fire season of 2002. Back into town, we stopped at the high school to take some photos of the new expansions. Did a bit of shopping downtown, then came home to get changed and went out to a lovely dinner at Mahogany Grille. Packed up and turned in so that we could get a bright and early start on our drive to ABQ for the return flight.
- Mood: partied out
- Music: VNV Nation - "Homeward"
Slept in a bit. Read more of HPatHBP while Liz went out for a run. Delicious lunch at Jean Pierre's with Josh, his dad, my folks, and Liz. Weather looked a bit off, so we put our hiking plans on hold. Liz napped while I finished Half-Blood Prince. Set off for the belated hike around 5:45 PM. Liz, Dad, and I got respectably far up Animas Mountain then realized that with the sun setting, we should loop back down and head home before we got ourselves into trouble. Managed to get some (hopefully) great photos along the way. Picked up a few items at the grocery store on our way back. Liz cooked up a tasty dinner from the farm market ingredients, which we served with a bottle of the Vivac Barbera. Had a nice bit of discussion, then off to bed to rest up for the next adventure...
- Mood: hike-tastic
- Music: Thievery Corporation - "Marching the Hated Machines..."