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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, December 31, 2011

2011 Was a Good Year

The year two thousand eleven has come and gone.

It was a good year. Not perfect, but lots of happy memories. Lots of learning, lots of work, lots of time with Corinne and Lauren, even some solid time spent with Mike, and Richie and my parents. Some very weird stuff happened with a friend who's now gone, and some new friendships were started. I spent less time on the bike and behind the camera, but have more resources to take care of my family and to help out where I see the need.

I've learned I can't do everything, but for 2012 I'd like to shift my personal, work-hobby balance just slightly more toward biking and photography and away from ridiculous and impossible project deadlines. I don't want less work, or even different clients... just more realistic goals that will let me better manage my time. (The cycling was affected as much by the work as it was by going bikeless for six weeks.)

Life with the ecclesia has been good, also. Ups and downs as with everything else. Faith, it seems, is the easy part of spiritual life: relationships are where the work happens. Perhaps that's trite, but perhaps that's why it's easy to forget and let things slip.

I hope 2012 is just as good. Maybe I'll even find a little more time for writing! Hah hah, no silly resolutions, here, sorry.

Happy New Year, everybody.

P.S. This site is in serious need of a redesign. Yuck.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Heading to North Carolina

Mike (Lauren's dad) and I are flying to North Carolina Monday morning to pick up all of their stuff. They moved back up here almost exactly a year ago, but they came with what fit in Shannon's Jeep.

We're flying down early in the morning, renting and packing a small truck, and heading back up here immediately. It's a long drive, but I'm hoping we can be back by early Tuesday afternoon.

This has been planned for ages, but of course it happens to fall on the busiest work week I've had in years. One weekly project has it's annual double-delivery this week, a new module was due for another client over a month ago, and a big iPhone app is due to be beta-ready by the end of the week (it's pretty much there now).

Oh, and I'm teaching mid-week class for the ecclesia for another two weeks.

I've scheduled an hour for breathing on Thursday morning, eating for Friday, but no time for thinking until next Monday.

(Did I mention that we moved in mid-April? Just five miles from the old house, but we love it here. First place Corinne and I have both really liked since we met.)

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.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Case of the Vanishing Laptop

This is a recounting of my very busy day (yesterday, Wednesday), to the best of my ability. There's a mystery embedded herein. I have either forgotten something, or something strange happened that I haven't yet figured out. Corinne thinks I'm simply going senile at 36. Whatever.

Get up.
Go to Agway, pick up six flea bombs. Somehow our four cats, who are indoors 100% of the time, have picked up fleas. (Our only other pets are four parrots, who don't have fleas and never go outside.)
Move three of the four parrots out to the porch, seal it off as best we can. The flea bombs are very bad for them.
  • Pack the cats into their carriers and into the back of the minivan.
  • Vacuum the main floor of the house.
  • Pack my laptop, camera and bible bag into the minivan. I don't want flea spray on this stuff.
  • Cover all other electronics with towels.
  • Seal off the master bedroom, where we haven't seen any fleas and we have one other parrot.
Set up the flea bombs on all floors of the house. Basement, living room, kitchen, my office, two near the open doors of Lauren's and Richie's rooms upstairs (which also covers the hallway and second bathroom).
Get Corinne and Jackie (Andrew's girlfriend, who is staying with us for a week) out to the cars, set off the bombs. Not nearly as exciting as it sounds. Take Jackie to Cumberland Farms, then to the Pride house for the rest of the day. Corinne drives the Blazer over to the church to cook lunch.
Pick up some Capstar flea-killer pills for the cats, at Stonington Feeds in Mystic.
Finally find the groomer (in Mystic) who is going to flea-dip all four cats, and shave two of them.
Stop by Mystic Cycle to let them know that I'll have lunch there between 12:30 and 1 p.m. Hang out there for 20 minutes because I'm too early for the next stop and there's nothing else to do... (oops!)
Sit in Mike’s and Shannon’s driveway for seven minutes, listening to Mike's grandfather's dogs barking. They know I'm coming, and the barking lets them know I'm there. Not this time. I call Mike, turns out they're in Westerly waiting for me to pick the kids up at Phoenix House. Corinne mentioned it to me the day before, but I forgot. New Plan: they take the kids to Corinne at the church.
Pick up paper plates and plastic forks at the house, open all the windows.
Say hi to the kids (Richie and Lauren) at the church. Thank Corinne — who is dying from the heat — for doing all this cooking. Pack all the food into the Blazer and drive it over to Mystic Cycle. (Corinne takes the kids back to our house in the minivan.)
Lug about 50 pounds of Asiago Chicken, Spicy Penne Pasta, salad and bread up to the break room on the second floor of Mystic Cycle. Hang out with the crew while they eat (3-5 at a time) over the course of about ninety minutes.
Lug a bunch of mostly empty containers down to the Blazer and back home.
Tuck Richie in for his nap (the kids sleep VERY well here), get Lauren a sippy-cup of "cow juice" (not freshly squeezed, sorry), tuck both girls (Corinne too) in for their naps. I love that part of my day. Unpack the leftovers from lunch into kitchen, move to smaller containers, pack in fridge.
Carry my camera and bible bags back into the house. Something is bothering me, poking at me from the back of my mind, but I shrug it off. For now.
Drive back to Mystic, AGAIN, to pick up the cats. (No problem finding the groomer this time!)
  • Bring the cats back in.
  • Decide to do some work (finally!), realize I left the laptop in the car. Can't find laptop in the car. Look in the Blazer. Not there either.
  • Look all over the house, all three floors.
  • Look in the minivan again.
  • Blazer again.
  • Quietly look in my room, where the girls are sleeping.
  • Methodically look in every room of the house.
  • Now freaking out, sit down and try to recap the day in my head (as I've done here!)
  • Look in both cars again, and for kicks look in the Toyota, too.
  • Oh I know! Call Jackie at the Pride's house to ask if she accidentally grabbed it when I dropped her off this morning. “No? You sure? Oh, all right.”
  • Maybe Corinne had Mike get some stuff for the kids out of the car when they dropped them off at the church? So I called Mike... but NO, that couldn't be it. I had the laptop with me in the minivan, Corinne had the Blazer at the church when Mike and Shannon were there. Mike said he hadn't seen it, but to call him if I figured out what happened or found it.
  • Drive over to the church to see if Corinne had brought my laptop in from the car after I left with the food in the Blazer. No idea why she would do this, but I had to eliminate the possibility. No luck, of course it wasn't there.

At this point I was pretty convinced that the laptop had been stolen from the car. Mystic is a rather well-to-do town and certainly not known for this kind of thing. It's generally safe to leave your house and car unlocked all the time. But what else could it have been?

I reviewed the places I'd visited and been away from the car. There were three: Stonington Feeds, Mystic Cycle (the first time, as the second time I had the other car) and the groomer. I'd parked right in front of the window at Stoniington Feeds and could see the car the whole time. Same deal with Mystic Cycle. that left the groomer.

When I dropped the cats at the groomer, the guy mowing her lawn had chatted with me for a few minutes. He told me he used to be a photographer, but he's completely broke now so he does "this" to make ends meet. (I was sympathetic.) Was he trustworthy? I didn't like thinking along these lines (it felt somehow presumptive and prejudicial), as I liked the guy and he certainly hadn't given me any reason NOT to trust him. Still, we all know Holmes's law of deduction, right? (Eliminating the impossible.)

I was steeling myself to call the groomer to explain the situation and ask about the guy doing the lawn, when my phone rang. It was Mike.

Mike's grandfather had found a black “pouch” in the driveway when he came home, left it on the kitchen table and forgot about it. Mike saw it and investigated, and of course realized what it was.

This was great news, the laptop was in perfect condition, and of course I drove right over and picked it up.

How did the laptop end up in that driveway? As mentioned earlier, I never got out of the car, I simply waited for them to come out because of the barking, and then called to see what was taking so long... then I left because they weren't home. Should some intrepid sleuth choose to investigate, Mike will even confirm that I made some stupid joke on the phone about them not hearing their “doggie doorbell” (the barking... if I had knocked or rung a real doorbell, I would have referred to that).

I'm completely baffled. Ferhoodled, even. I'd been running errands for a couple of hours, and been in and out of the car repeatedly. It doesn't seem possible that I could have left it on the roof. Plus, since I backed out of the driveway, the laptop would have had to slide down the windshield to end up on the ground... you'd think I might have noticed that!

Corinne thinks I've lost more than my laptop. She thinks that I got out of the car and left my laptop in the middle of their driveway before driving away, and just don't remember it happening. I'm hoping that she only thinks that because we can't come up with any non-fanciful explanation. I assure you that did not happen. There's no crazy in my family (though I'm sure Ellyn and Jed would love to debate that point…), and I'm EXTREMELY protective of this laptop.

OK, maybe there's a little crazy in my family. That's beside the point. I didn't get out of the car, I didn't put the laptop in the driveway, and I didn't then get back in the car and leave without it.

How did my laptop end up in that driveway, and unscathed?!

Personally, I believe something happened that I simply don't know about. The possibilities are endless.

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