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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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Travelogue: Moving Gramma and Grampa from FL to RI

Ellyn, Gramma, Grampa and I flew to Florida a few weeks ago to pack up G+G's house and drive all the stuff back to RI. I meant to write the whole story down at the time, but we can put that good intention in the same bucket as all the other writing I was going to do this year.

So, here's a quick recap.

(To get started: Ellyn and I got along great, there wasn't any trouble, but please color everything in the rest of this travelogue with the fact that I was traveling without Corinne and missed her quite badly. That may be the most memorable part of the trip, for me.)

The flight down (via SouthWest) was pretty uneventful, as it should be. We shepherded G+G through TSA without much difficulty. While waiting at the gate, Gramma just sat down and waited for us to tell her it was time to get in line, and Grampa kept getting in line too early. He is too easily bored. ;-)

Brad (my Dad's and Ellyn's brother) picked us up in his old clunker at the Tampa airport, took us to the grocery story and then to the house.

That right there indicates the first problem we had: we didn't rent a car. Their car was in RI already.

Brad picked us up again Thursday morning so we could get the Penske rental truck and have a little tour of his business. The truck wasn't ready yet, though, so he let us borrow his jalopy for a few hours, and we returned it when the rental was ready a few hours later.

Ellyn pointed out that I always manage to forget something. This time, it was my sneakers. Sigh. So, on the was back to swap Brad's vehicle and the Penske, we stopped at the New Balance store and I picked up a pair of size 16 New Balance 622's. I was going to get 609's (which is what I left at home), but the "fit expert" at the store got all snooty and said they only manufacture *those* for department stores and factory outlets. Well excuuuuuuuuse me! ;-)

The Penske was our only means of running errands for the rest of the day, but Thursday night I packed a lot of boxes into the truck so we couldn't drive it at all on Friday (can't move the truck until it's all packed, as things will fall and break).

Friday morning I NEEDED COFFEE so Grampa and I were going to walk to Dunkin Donuts. It was sprinkling when we left, but by the time we got to the Camelot Lakes (the community where they lived) entrance it was pouring and I felt really stupid to have my 81 year old grandfather out in the rain like that (even if it was his idea). We headed back to the house, and about halfway there JAMES Wilkinson (his emphasis) happened by and offered me a ride to Dunkin Donuts, as long as I promised not to call him Jim. Ever. Grampa continued home without me, on foot.

I'm not kidding about calling him JAMES. :-D

I was fed up with not having a ride, and we needed more supplies, so I rented a little car from Enterprise. Why Enterprise? Because "they'll pick you up!" They did. No brown paper wrapped around the car, though, so I was quite disappointed. Driver said it's easier to see without the paper. FALSE ADVERTISING.

Other than taking Grampa to the bank (an experience I'd rather forget) to get money for our homeward-bound travel expenses, the rest of the day was spent packing boxes and the truck. By Friday night almost everything was in the truck that wasn't still needed (or actually staying) in the house.

Friday evening I drove G+G to (Uncle) Brad's house for dinner, and re-met a couple of my cousins. This wasn't really our first meeting, but it's been years and they're still in high school so they didn't really remember me and they've changed a lot since I last saw them.

Dinner was spaghetti, with "home assembled" sauce by Uncle Brad. After dinner he wanted to go for a walk but Grampa wasn't up for it. He suggested some games, but Grampa just wanted to lay down. While he went to snooze in the living room in front of a game, Brad mentioned that my Dad had "schooled him" at Boggle last year when he visited. "I think I'm pretty good, but your father is much better."

Sigh. Yes, we played. I won't be too graphic on the carnage that ensued... in fact I'll just say that I, at least, had fun with that game. ;-)

After driving back to G+G's house, they went to bed and Ellyn and I did a bunch more packing (and went to the pool, and got kicked out for being there too late).

Saturday morning we finished packing the truck, said goodbye to Gramma and Grampa (they would be spending a few days with friends and then flying home on Wednesday), returned the car and hit the road!

Added later:

Oh, one more funny detail. I lost my shades at Enterprise when I returned the car. I looked all through the car and near the rental counter, but couldn't find them. An older lady wanted the car I was returning and was already sitting in it before I had even given the keys to the guy at the counter, but she assured me that she hadn't seen the shades.

I was very frustrated. These Oakley's were a gift and fit me perfectly, but after looking all over the Penske I gave up and decided they were just gone.

About 30 minutes later, I saw their reflection in the windshield. They were on the dashboard, but had fallen down so I couldn't see them. Still, they were right in front of the driver's seat, where I was sitting, so that felt a little silly.

The trip home was mostly uneventful. There was a major traffic jam in the middle of nowhere (GA), bad enough that Ellyn got out and walked far enough to be completely out of sight (trying to find out what had happened). In South Carolina we made a pit stop and I saw this ransom note right at the restaurant:

Ransom Note

We stopped at the halfway point in North Carolina and got a two-double-beds room for next to nothing. The walls were cinderblock with wallpaper (Ellyn interjects here that she's sure she saw it on CSI, the site of some grisly murder...). The hotel was called the Red Carpet Inn, but they carpet was dark green. Ellyn was more than uncomfortable, but it was somewhere to sleep.

Sunday was slightly more eventful (but only slightly). Can I just state for the record that I HATE NEW JERSEY!? What's the deal with Route 95, huh? This would be the World's Busiest Highway (if I'm not mistaken), running from northern Maine to southern Florida, right? SO WHY DOES IT END IN NJ? How can they do that?

We'd talked about this ahead of time. We both knew that we needed to get on the NJ Turnpike when it splits off of Route 95. I95 goes to Philadelphia, then swings back into NJ and abruptly ends. The NJTP goes all the way through the state and magically turns back into I95 again in NY.

Talking about it in advance didn't matter. Grampa called just as we approached NJ. Ellyn drove for just 2.5 hours for the entire trip home (she would have driven more if I had asked, don't worry), and just happened to be the one driving when Grampa called. She was just distracted enough to not notice that we were on the wrong side of the split until it was too late. (This wasn't a real big deal, it just added 20 minutes to our trip.)

I picked the George Washington Bridge instead of the Tappan Zee. Why? Because I forgot that the GW is bad on Sunday nights. That's another 90 minutes added to the trip. At some point I also made a wrong turn and we saw a bit more of NJ than we had wanted too (which is not hard to do when you don't want to be there in the first place).

Once past the bridge it was clear sailing all the way to my house (other than yet another stop for the small-bladdered-one). I parked the truck out front and grabbed my stuff, she ran into the house for a minute (ahem!) and then drove it the last 15 miles to her house.

We did it!

But That's NOT All, Folks!

That's just stage one. Next up: my parents are moving to Missouri the week of November 16th (next week). Then Gary, Ellyn, Katie, Tom, Gramma and Grampa are moving from Westerly to the new house in Bradford, at the end of November or very beginning of December (as long as there are no more problems). Finally Corinne, Shannon, Lauren, Richie (?), me, four birds and four cats are all moving to Westerly in early-to-mid December.

Oh, and Mike comes home January 10th.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our First Attempt at Camping

This was quite a weekend.

Occasionally, our ecclesia goes camping together. It's not every year, but probably 3 out of 4 years, in mid-June. Wanting to share new experiences with Lauren, I decided to give it a go this year.

I've never camped. Maybe 30 years ago, when I was little, Jed and I used to camp out in our back yard, but otherwise I've never camped. That's ridiculous.

We all got spots near each other at the Hopeville Pond State Park (thanks to Ellyn for organizing the whole weekend). Not being a camper, I have no tent so Mark and Michelle loaned us theirs, and an air mattress. Gary and Ellyn loaned us a couple of sleeping bags, and Lauren and I headed over there Friday evening.

Mark helped me set up the tent (he wasn't staying over night) and pump up the air mattress, then we all settled in around the campfire. At about 10:30 I said goodnight to everyone because she was falling asleep on my lap and I wanted to let her sleep in the tent. After a diaper change and lots of fun taking out my contacts near total darkness, she was curled up like a kitten on one of the sleeping bags, fast asleep.

That lasted for a little over an hour. More than enough time for me to fall into a deep sleep.

Then, she woke up. Happy. VERY VERY HAPPY. She came over to me. She patted my face. She laid her head down on my chest and said "aaaaahhhhhhh", then went back to sleep for three minutes. Then she kissed my cheek and slept with her head on my arm... for a few minutes. Then she laid down completely on top of me and slept for a few more minutes. Then she tried to get into the suitcases.

Lauren is so tired…This went on for hours. She wouldn't settle down, and would cry when I try to put her back on her own sleeping bag. Otherwise, she was perfectly happy... but also totally wide awake and unwilling to let me sleep.

At 3:45 AM I finally gave up. By 4, we were both back in the truck and headed home.

I think if I were ever facing torture, I could handle some pain, but they'd break me in a day or two with sleep deprivation.

I/we slept until late morning, then drove back to the camp site. Saturday night we didn't even try: just went home, got a good night's sleep, and went back again Sunday morning.

I'm glad we tried, and I hope we can try again next year when she's a year older.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Michelle & Isaiah Drake

Isaiah Daniel Drake, 1 Year Old DSC03057.ARW Happy Boy

Corinne, Lauren and I went to Isaiah Drake's birthday party on Monday. He's one year old. Monday was actually his mom's (Michelle's) birthday, his is today, but we were mostly celebrating his because it was his first.

I took 134 pictures (good grief), and managed to whittle that down to “only” 104 before uploading them all to Facebook. The flickr set contains a more manageable 55 pictures: I recommend the slideshow.

The party (cookout) was held at Ben & Mandi Isbell's house on the Bradford River. Conflagration 3 Games, canoeing, lots of food, cute kids, friends, and loads of presents for Isaiah. Ben even started a big bonfire on the ground near the deck (but more than one story below) that made some of the kids a little nervous.


(If you're reading this in email, make sure you see it on the web for the pictures.)

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