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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank You

Thank you, Father, for the uncountable and innumerable blessings you've poured into my life.

Thank you Corinne for the love in your eyes and the touch of your hands and your humor and for putting up with mine and for sticking with me even when all seemed lost.

Thank you Lauren for being such a sweet, smart girl and for lighting up so brightly whenever you see us. I dare say I've learned as much from you as you have from me.

Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me, for teaching me the way I should go, for helping me to see the wonder and beauty and hope and humor in this life on God's Way.

Thank you Mikel and Shannon for adopting Corinne and I as surrogate parents, for letting us love you and Richie, Lauren and Sam, for coming home again, for letting Lauren still be such a huge part of my our life.

Thank you Katie for being one of the most wonderful people I know. Come home!

Thank you Ellyn for agreeing to be my only big sister (instead of my aunt), for forgiving me for NOT being there when you needed me a few years ago, and for loving me like only a big sister can. ;-)

Thank you Ben and Mandi for becoming more than "just cousins" to me this year. I love you both.

Thank you also to Lilly for being one of Lauren's best friends!

Thank you Steve for the excellent discussions of the truth and our life in it, for the many hours together on our bikes, for your patient and constant work to reunite something which looks permanently broken to so many others.

Thank you Mark for being there whenever anyone needs you, for always trying to be The Blessing that we seek for our brothers and sisters, and for being one of my oldest friends.

Thank you Darren for keeping me sharp, as David says, "like iron sharpeneth iron!" I've learned things from you, too, that I didn't seem to be learning anywhere else.

Thank you Frank and Bonnie for loving Lauren so much, and Frank for our new friendship!

Thank you Jim and Dee for trying to see past (or ignoring) my foibles, for being our friends, and for always reminding us to keep the Kingdom of God at the top of the list and the front of our minds.

Thank you Eric and Bonny for forgiving me for my temper (which got the better of me a couple years ago) and for everything you bring to our ecclesia.

Thank you Rich for the friendship and the work over the years. 7 ½ years!

Thank you Joseph and Andy for the work and the chance to make something(s) fun.

Thank you Corinne for the love and magic you work in the kitchen, and for how much you love to share it with our brothers and sisters (and anyone else who eats real food).

Thank you Robin for coming back into Corinne's life. She's my best friend, and you've made me happy by making her happier than I could do alone.

Thank you to Kim and Dave and Tiff and Joshua and Jed and Sarah and dozens or hundreds of other people, too many to list, who have brought love or peace or adventures or joy or laughter into my life, who have taught me something, or somehow managed to learn something from me.

Thank you, Father, for blessing us all so thoroughly, and for providing each of us as blessings to each other.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years? Really?

In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.

I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.

Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.

2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)

In 2006 I met Greg Pierce years after he had worked for me at Macrobyte, my friend Darren and his wife Angi brought home their adoptees from Nepal, I wrote the "custom events" code for JavaScript that is *still* being used on Apple's web pages, attended the first Rails Conf, and I finally got to meet and begin forming a friendship with Rich Siegel and started working on language modules for his company's main software product, BBEdit. Jed left us, and headed for British Columbia and the woman he would eventually marry. Finally, we met Mike and Shannon late in the year.

2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.

Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.

In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.

2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.

As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year, One and All

2006 was a good year for me and mine, in many ways.

To all of my family near and far, to my ecclesia here and worldwide, to all of my friends new and old, close or distant:

New Year!

Hoping 2007 will be even better, for all of us...

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Little More About Simon Brand

Years ago I said that I would write a bit more about my friend Simon Brand. Even people who have been reading [tw] for that long probably don't remember anything about it, but I know some will.

In fact, an old fan of Simon and his music recently found those words and called me on it. He's trying to put more of the story together, and hoped I'd finally say a little more.

I don't have time to write the whole story: this was a friendship with a very deep, very (VERY) troubled (tormented!) and intense person. Still, I can at least provide some hints in the form of a list of "highlights," which perhaps I can return to later to add more detail.

  • His arrival in Vermont

  • Woodworking

  • Carving

    This is a "self-therapeutic" statue that Simon carved out of a piece of firewood. It really does say a lot about his state of mind. (Note the fist, and the face.)

    Simon's Statue   Simon's statue

    It sits on a shelf in my office. Although the years have dulled the edges of Simon's suicide, and then Dave's and (especially) Shane's deaths eclipsed it, this angry figure glaring at me from my wall has always been able to bring the memories back for a few minutes.

    If you click on the first picture, you'll see that (in the larger version) there are three items under the carving:

    • At the back is a really bad picture of Simon taken on the trip to Florida. Darren and I agreed that although it's a bad picture, it's also a very "real" picture. Unfortunately, I can't find it at the moment, or I'd post that, too.
    • In the middle is an airmail envelope. It's a letter from Simon's wife, and it contains a cassette. He was terrified of it, and refused to open it: he was pretty sure it was his kid(s?) being prompted by "Mommy" to tell Daddy how much they missed him. (Simon and his wife were having serious problems, and were already divorced.) Again, when he left he told me to keep it... he even told me to listen to it, though I never have. The envelope remains unopened.
    • At the front is a letter he sent from England after he went home. This was shortly after Nirvana's Kurt Cobain died (which broke another piece of Simon's heart): the letter is written in the language of Bevis and Butthead, and talks about Cobain's death (along with lots of other stuff).
  • The guitar

    Simon came to the U.S. with his "favorite guitar." When he left, he told me to keep it (in the meantime, he'd spent some time trying to teach me to play it). His only instructions were to "only use steel guitar strings for an electric guitar." (The guitar is not electric.)

    The boy could play, but of course anybody who knows Simon already knows that. A professional Jazz musician in the area would sometimes come to the house to visit with Trevor and Jenny Tebbs (the family with which we were living). The first time he came over while Simon was there was amazing: everyone in the house was musical (with myself at the bottom of the scale), but those two quickly fell into music-speak. That is, the mouths closed, the guitars came out, and they jammed for over an hour. Simon played circles around the other guy (who was quite good), but what I remember best was the way these two just fell into the music, and took the rest of us in with them.

  • The guitar is still here. :-)

  • Tae Kwan Do

  • Chess

  • Pool (Billiards)

  • Driving to Florida in a Blizzard, with Darren

  • Humor (Ping Pong!)

  • His family

  • Return to England

  • The letter

  • Suicide

That's not a complete list. Perhaps more will come to me if/when I write more.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

They're Coming Home!!!!

nepal 13.gif

Darren and Angi Drake have been in Nepal for over a month, adopting little Rina and Ravi, brother and sister orphans that they heard about "through the grapevine" over a year ago.

They knew this was going to be a difficult path to take, but they really believed this was the path for them.

While in Nepal, the country went a little nutso... even more than usual. Huge protests and unrest, bad enough that the king imposed a curfew on the capital city of Kathmandu that started at 11:00 am! There was some rioting, some fighting between the people and the government forces. (Keep in mind that Nepal has an active Maoist insurgency, trying to overthrow the king.)

Early this week, they had the kids out on the hotel grounds when they all got watery eyes and burning throats. The letter from Angi says that Darren said, "Oh my word," and then they grabbed the kids and ran back inside. Apparently it was tear gas, drifting over from a conflict at a local engineering school.

With pressure from the US government, the king lifted the curfew for Thursday and the US embassy agreed to open long enough (with a skeleton crew) to process the three emergency (adoption) visa applications that were pending. One of them was for Ravi, their new little boy (they already had Rina's).

They got the visa, and some strong advice: get out as soon as you possibly can. Find the next plane leaving the country with four seats on it, and fill them. Apparently the embassy is worried that things are about to get a lot worse with an upcoming speech by the king on the Nepali New Year (Friday?).

Long story short: they're coming home. I've been so stressed (nay, scared) about this that I don't have words to express it, nor my relief at Angi's last letter. They just need to get through another day: they're leaving Saturday morning.

(Darren and I have had our ups and downs, but he's been one of my closest friends since I was twelve. I'm very proud of him right now.)

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