Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day

Well... here comes another Father's Day this Sunday. And last year, in March, the last dad in my immediate family, Greg's father, died. So now there are no older-generation dads, and even now, no current-generation (meaning mine) that are in our family. It is strange to NOT have a "real" dad to send a card to, to phone on Sunday. Since the birth of his first child, I have been sending a card to my nephew, who has two boys of his own and is dealing with the reality that parenting brings - all the challenges, but also the rewards that kids bring.

My own dad has been gone four (five?) years now. At the time, his abrupt death did not really seep into my consciousness, in a way. Yet I was so glad that Greg and I had dropped everything and flown to northern MN when my sister let me know that he was hospitalized and it did not look good. So very, very glad. I would not have forgiven myself if I had not hugged him or talked with him those last few times. His first great-grandchild was an infant then, and there are photos of Dad with the baby. The most difficult thing I had to do, after his death, was to sit in the car as we backed out of the driveway and headed to Minneapolis for our return flight to Houston. I felt so awful, leaving my mother with that empty house. Of course, now I know what she went through. But my guilt feelings were whipping me about that day like a large flag on a high pole in hurricane-force winds. And my brother-in-law has been gone over seven years now. Another sudden death. Another father gone.

Father's Day -- for so many years, a time of happiness, buying and sending cards and making phone calls. And now a time for recollections, for reflections.

To all of you who still have your dads or your husbands to hug -- be grateful. No matter how good or poor their parenting skills, be happy that you have them to hug.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Loose ends from a cluttered mind

Nothin' special to comment about...

For years now, I have dined out on a monthly basis with a group that originally came from a church-organized setting. Our church has an annual thing in the fall, whereby you can sign up for various activities. One of these was a dinner group, and so my late spouse and I signed up for that. And our particular group just sorta fell apart quickly, and it seemed that no one except us was making much of an effort to gather for the dinners. Somewhere in that first year, we had another church-organized gathering (it was set up for small groups and was hosted by one couple at their house). Talk turned to the dinner groups. I think at least 3 of the couples were in the same group, and Greg and I complained that we were not having much luck with our dinner group, and we begged to go with the other group. And that is how this all started.

The group was 5 couples strong at the beginning. Two of the couples have husbands who turned 80 last November, and the third couple is about 65 - 67 years in age. These three couples are all retired, of course. The fourth couple split several years ago - he very callously moved out of their home just at the start of Thanksgiving weekend that year. As part of his relocation, he changed addresses for his utilities - and she was, without warning, left with no electricity - for Thanksgiving! She was livid, as you can fully understand. What a shithead, a self-indulgent, egotistical piece of crap he was/is. Only thinking of himself. His ex-wife is a wonderful woman, and I'll call her B. She stayed with our group. He was NOT asked to continue.

And of course, last year Greg died. So now we are 8 in number. I contacted this group when I unexpectedly found Greg dead. They were and still are very supportive, just like family. And when you don't have family near you, you cherish those who love you unconditionally. Trust me -- there are times that you do not anticipate how much you will need and want family around you.

All of this background, to bring me to our last dinner. B decided to organize an early one, since one of the couples was heading out of state to see the newest grandchild. So she phoned around and we all decided that the first Saturday in June would work for all of us. She picked one of our favorite restaurants, Rudi Lechner's. Rudi is Austrian and the menu reflects that region. Sometimes there is entertainment, and we were fortunate enough to have that, on this night. Just a two-person group. The guy sings, sometimes plays that l-o-o-n-g Alpine horn, and the woman plays a keyboard. They do traditional songs from that region, and this time they threw in a few from The Sound of Music. Most of the diners were singing along to Edelweiss, myself included.

But sneaky B -- and the others! They had really organized this as a pre-retirement dinner for me!! So sweet and thoughtful of them. I was wondering why they were producing greeting cards and passing them to me. I was really touched. I have eschewed the retirement lunch that is offered here at the Port, since I do not have any family living here. So the fact that the dinner group did this, was very special to me.

On other notes... have been trying to limit my friend to about an hour of Skype-ing a night. Otherwise I fall woefully behind on packing up to get OUT of this house and on to new locations. He's been pretty good about those limitations so far.

As I said, I have chosen to NOT have the traditional Port retirement lunch. But I think maybe my dept will do something, anyway -- probably at least a cake, and I know that a card is being circulated. We will be having a Happy Hour at some nearby bar at the end of the workday on the 25th, too. And no one will be HAPPIER than me! But I do realize that I will miss the camaraderie, the day-to-day exchange with my co-workers. So some sadness, too, I expect. One of the newly-hired guys seems to be eyeballing my soon-to-be-vacated cubicle. Sometimes I feel like the dying mammal out in the desert, seeing the vultures circling above.

Anyway, nothing special going on. Hope to have something amusing to tell you the next time around.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Okay, so maybe I am a little late on some aspects of technology. But I honestly had NO idea of what Skype was (is). Well, it turns out that it is free software that you download and install (free - sometimes a good idea, sometimes not, where hackers and lurkers exist on the internet). And it allows you to view AND converse with another. There is a bit of a delay, for both the audio and the visual, and if one party does not have great connections or line speed, it can sometimes be painfully slow and out of sync (which we have all witnessed when we watch old movies and the characters lips do not match quite exactly what we are hearing).

Anyway, I have a new "friend" that I "met" via internet dating. He is a kinda small-town guy (so was the last one and I found out that THAT aspect was not a guarantee of faithfulness, at all). He seems very sincere and also has some connections (that old "Six Degrees of Separation" thing) which may help me to determine his character and so on. Enough about that.

He told me about Skype and now we are using that a lot. Sometimes we just use the video portion, mute the sound, and use our cell phones at the same time. It was SO odd, the first time we saw each other. You could tell that we were checkin' each other out. I laughed a lot (he did, too) and our conversation seemed to go pretty well. So well, in fact, that we talked for 5 hours! Like damned teenagers. I am so afraid to let my heart go again, and frankly, I told him that. And he told me that he would NOT do that to me - that he wants to honestly pursue this relationship and give it a fair time to see where it goes. I guess I can't ask for any more than that.

Anyway - if you want to converse with ANYONE - and not pay long-distance charges or worry about cost overruns on your cell minutes - I would heartily endorse Skype-ing. I don't know if this is the same way that families back in the States are conversing with their loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, although if not using this, then they might be using something similar. It requires (naturally) that you have a camera on your pc, and since I recently purchased a new laptop - voila! Be careful how you look in the morning, if they want you to hop onto that right away! I'm just sayin' .....


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Okay, about that babysitting thing...

In posting this, I hurt a family member that I really care about. So I have removed it and will try to be more careful in the future. I really did not intend to hurt this person, and I will be crawling on my knees for forgiveness for a LONG, LONG time on this one.

Please forgive me. I know that this is NOT widely read, and the family member does not know this, I am sure. Mea culpa.