dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
He passed at 3:31 US Pacific Daylight Time today. May his way now be easier than what has been for him the last 21 years.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
My weekend was pleasant, on the whole.

Saturday i slept late, got some laundry in, gathered the recycling, and headed to the Reston South Recycling Center, intending to go for a hike along the Potomac after dumping the metal and plastic and paper. Just as i was opening the back of the CR-V, my phone rang. Twas L with the news that The Evil - her grandmother - had died an hour before. So instead of a hike, i went to Springfield via a still-scenic, if not as scenic as it once was, route, to pay call on Ms Brown, L's mother and The Evil's daughter.

As always, it was nice to see Ms Brown, despite the circumstances. Ms Allen's passing has freed Ms Brown of a huge burden - that of five years of caring for and responsibility for her mother. So many mixed emotions in the house that day, though that too shall pass.

Sunday was the Great Day of Laundry. At one point, i opened the sliding glass door enough to stick my arm out to see if i felt like getting dressed to leave the house. The door started shaking in a familiar way. I released the door and watched. It shook just so three times more before i opened it a smidge more. The door behaved as expected. Jasper has left the building.

It is common, among humans, to hear/see the departed briefly some days to a week or so after their passing or memorial service, whatever form that may take. I've had many, many reports from people of similar sounds/sights through many moons now.

A week after my father died, on one evening, as my sister and i were going to bed, mom heard the distinctive sound that Dad's belt buckles made - i wonder if she still has any of them, many vintage Secret Service ones - i heard the distinct squeak the top stair made when he came up the stairs after his right leg began to go due to the nerve damage from late 1973 or early 1974, and my sister heard the particular squeak the floor outside her bedroom door made when he stood there briefly to look in on her as we were going off to sleep.

When i opened a sliding door, Jasper would run up, stick his head through and ram it with his shoulders, knowing that many will slide open enough for him to pass, which meant the door vibrated as he went through, as he would go through the smallest opening he could fit through. Coming in, however, usually required widening the opening a few centimetres for him. The feel/sigh/sound of the door is very familiar. I'm sure that he has moved on now, and i wish him only the best. The way the door behaved, he was anxious to go out and be truly free, for the anxiety of his brain chemistry kept him from being as free as he might have been in the flesh, though i suppose his bon with me may have played some role in that too. He'll be well missed, but he had a long life for his species.

Feldspar has been cuddlier and a bit clingier at me since Thursday last. Alabaster is 11 months now, and doing well, and behaving like the kitten he is, and shall be yet for a while more. I look forward to seeing how his personality changes in the coming months and years.

Continuing on about Alabaster for a bit, let me tell you about his hair. He's rabbit-furred, which means incredibly soft. He has a thin, very fine coat of 3-5 cm long hair on his body and tail, slightly shorter on his legs and face. Hair that sticks to everything, and i mean everything. Hair that floats on the least wind. Hair that forms visually interesting self-macrame in the dryer filter. In the end, his hair, which is much of his beauty, is his least endearing feature. I groom him often to reduce shedding. His tail produces huge quantities. New pictures before too long, i promise, if you're interested.

And coming back round to Jasper, i called CRK after i took the body to the vet for disposal. CRK then kindly sent these three pictures of Jasper from 2004, when he was 13, and i had just moved into my 1st Reston apartment. The first two, especially the second, captures the beautiful yellow eyes which earned him his name.









Goodbye, Little Fucker*, as above, you shall be remembered. Peace unto you.



*a)Jasper sired a litter at age 9 months. b)He annoyed the bejeezus out of me when he was young, though his most annoying traits disappeared after Feldspar came into our life. c)Due to the part of me that resembles my mother, he responded to Fucker as readily as he did to Jasper, and long before the end, Fucker had come to be a term of endearment at him. :)
dcseain: (Me Headshot 20090215)
As you can see in my profile, i attended Dale City Elementary School in Dale City, Virginia. You can also see in my profile that i attended the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, where i first met [livejournal.com profile] tomhundleyrn.

Recently, on Facebook, i reconnected with some peolpe i grew up with. As i stated in that post, we were very blessed in our growing up years, not least in that those of us who remained as the neighbors were transferred around us every three to five years, got along to the point that we're still in touch.

Come grade 6, those of us from Dale City Elementary were combined with the students from nearby Bel Air Elementary (which school the youngins in the neighborhood i grew up in attend today) and Neabsco Elementary found ourselves all together at Mills E Godwin Middle School, where we would be together for 3 years.

As some of you know, i've always been, or at least felt, a bit of an outsider, while at the same time having wonderful, supportive friends and family, and moving with relative ease as needed between groups. I've gotten over the outsider feeling as i've grown older, in part due to good career and job choices and in part due to learning to realize the advantages i have in my culture as a white male. Well, the rich social life i have helps, too. :)

As Middle School progressed, i felt more and more isolated - again plenty of friends and an active social life, but that does not preclude feelings of isolation. As 7th grade drew to a close, i was feeling simultaneously reasonably well liked and at the same time like most were really only tolerating me.

I remember when my guidance counselor talked to me about applying to Jefferson, and talking to me about what the school would be all about. So, thanks to the guidance counselor, i applied to be in the 1st class at the new magnet school.

I chose to apply in part to escape from the social situation i felt and in part because i was bored silly in school. Dad was still ambulatory and going to work as i embarked on the application process, though his speech had begun to slur, and his physical reaction times were slowing. I was terrified of getting into the car with him driving, but he drove me to all the testing sites i needed to get to take my exams to get into the school, including North Stafford High School in Garrisonville, VA, and West Springfield High School in Springfield, VA. He was very, very, very supportive of my attending that school. Mom, on the other hand, was opposed.

Anyway, coming back to were i was at the beginning, reconnecting with people on Facebook. I've been very surprised - in a good way - by people that have reached out to me there, which helps put into perspective my feelings of isolation and what back in middle school, and makes me wonder how much of that relates to my shyness, which is deeper than most think, despite my cheery, outgoing public face.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
I've told you a tad about the Bachmans. I shared the Summer of 1986 with you. I wrote a three-page essay about my father's death from my point of view - a page a year as it turned out. So, for a little greater context, a bit more of my growing-up years.

I met B when i was four, as told before. We recently reconnected thanks to Facebook. Through B, i've also reconnected with N, M, L, E, K, H, R, and others. Once i started school, i met M and L, who are twins. As the years progressed, the three of them remained core to my life, socially and emotionally. I met K in Elementary school, when her mother arrived at our school to replace my teacher, who was leaving for an other position with the county schools. K, her sisters, and mother, have been important to me through many years now. E, with whom i had a lengthy IM chat the other night, commented that she remembers almost endless walking in our teenage years.

I have a long history of walking - through the woods, along creeks, to the local mall, three miles each way to work, Dupont Circle, DC to Lee Heights, Arlington, twenty miles through the mountains, and more. In the Summers of Middle School and High School, back when we had no jobs, commitments and what, i'd walk down the hill, up the hill, around the corner down the hill, up the hill, around the corner up the hill, around the corner down the hill, around the corner down the hill to E's house. We'd mix tonic and sugar and flavourings to make sodas, after i quaffed ample water - it's hot and humid here in the Summertime.

Once i'd cooled down, E and I would set off up and down the hills, to the trail off of Birchdale Ave, along the edge of the two houses that aren't like, and predate, the others, over to a branch of Neabsco Creek, where we'd shimmy across a sewer pipe to Anderson Ct, where we'd meet R and H and A and others. We usually met at R's place, cause she had to watch her younger brother S til her mom got home. That, and the Mall did not open until we were 15, so aside from the Giant at Ashdale, there wasn't much of anywhere to go to.

We'd lounge in R's living room, listening to music. If S was up for it, we'd go for a walk; he was young enough, we couldn't just leave him for hours without someone to come to if needed. We'd talk, and listen to music. We'd make a simple lunch - sandwiches or deviled eggs or what. And R's mom would come home to her usual 'living room draped with teenagers' as she'd say as she came in each day.

For variety, we'd lounge at H's or A's house up the block instead. Mostly, it was R's house though. As the years went by, we, well they, started dating. Still we hung out. Then M, L, and i got jobs in the months after Potomac Mills opened. Still we hung out, walking, always walking. There's even sidewalks today on most of the way we walked in the dirt along the road back then.

Growing up in Dale City was a great thing. We made what have turned out to be life-long friendships, though we may go years without talking. We've been together through deaths, marriages, abortions, graduations, divorces, and more. Now many of them have children, and those children that i've met are a joy to be around. One of the best things about growing up in that when and where was the fact that no matter whose house we were at, the rules and expectations were the same. At age 13, our parents ranged in age from 29 to 57, and were of various ethnicities but, the expected behaviour was identical at every house.

That made growing up easier. Constancy helps, as many of you can attest. The colorblindness we grew up with made for some hard lessons for many of us as we got out in the real world and other regions of the country. At the same time, we know that the world we are raising our children in is, on that count, a better world that that in which we grew up. And that, on that count, the world that we grew up in was pretty darn good, not least for that then.

So, having reconnected with childhood friends, who now live here, Chicago, South Carolina, Baltimore, and other places, i find myself joyed and overwhelmed. Yet, i'm not nostalgic. Then was then, and it was good, in spite of everything. Now is now, and through our shared past, our yet-similar todays, we shall forge new relationships similar, yet entirely unlike what was before. For though the past is a base, life, relationships, and the world are not static, and there be only to move forward.

At age 29, i was truly grateful to have in my life people i'd know for a quarter century, knowing that there were people twice my age who could not say that. I pass no judgment at all on those whose relations are of shorter duration. I simply feel truly blessed with the lengths of my relationships, and the opportunity now to renew some that had lapsed for longer than is ideal.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
Tonight i had a tomato sandwich: a nice, thick slice of fresh, home-grown tomato, between two pieces of white - bot not Wonder - bread, the bread thick with mayo and ample salt and pepper. NOW it is Summer.

Growing up, we always had a vegetable garden, and the tomatos and the hot peppers were the highlights. In HS, i spent a light of time at the Arnaoot's house, where Ghassan, the dad there, kept a tangled patch of various tomato vines, which produce copiously through the Summer and into the Fall.

*Raises glass* To Summer, to tomatos, and to our ancestors! L'chaim y salud!

*hugs [livejournal.com profile] nadyalec*

You Rock!

Apr. 23rd, 2007 04:03 pm
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
Taken from the most fabulous [livejournal.com profile] nadyalec

My friends do change my life for the better- in ways they probably don't know.

Wanna know how you changed my life for the better? Comment, and then, if you'd like, copy this to your journal.
dcseain: Cast shot of me playing my violin in role of minstrel in the Two Gentlemen of Verona (Default)
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