Looking back

I'm stealing this idea from Mimi ... A review of the year past by revisiting the first post of each month.

January: A New Year's blessing from Prayers for the Domestic Church ... If I read that prayer daily, breathed in its intent daily, how much more peaceful my spirit could be.

February: Haiku ... finding my place in the universe, feeling it, putting it into perspective.

March: More haiku ... wide awake and alone.

April: Memed! ... one of the more interesting 5-thing memes I've done. I am deeply embarrassed to admit that I never did item #3 on my to-do list. I apologize to those people affected by it. Now it feels like it's too late to do at all.

May: Another haiku ... with a Babylon 5 reflection on What Do You Want? Another thing left undone: I had been watching an episode or two every night, but got distracted and never finished the last season. I think I'll get back to it -- B5 is much better than anything currently airing on TV.

June: "Data dump" ... I hadn't posted in a few weeks, and needed to catch up. I'd clearly been in a downturn, swallowed up by mother's chemo and realizing that Nick had been dead for nearly 4 years. The bright spot was the arrival of ClaraKitty.

July: Good news about my mom for a change!

August: La Saeta ... Entering the week of remembering Nick's death with a different mindset from previous years.

September: Phishing ... A brief encounter with Internet scum.

October: Social commentary about taking responsibility for your children's behavior ... I consider that entry a positive sign, that I was able to have a "not-all-about-me" perspective.

November: Sedona celebration of family ... "The girls" had gone for an overnight and simply enjoyed one another's company. (Even though we just got back from Hawaii, my mom is doing so well that we're talking about doing another one.)

December: My brother's birthday ... Another hole in the fabric of my family, another twinge of pain that creeps in unexpectedly.

And so it goes ... another year passes by. May 2009 bring all of you health, hope, and happiness.

Not no more, no never

2 years ago to the day I blogged this photo, stating that people would gather at this fountain at midnight to celebrate the new year. I said as a father of young children, I wouldn't be joining them, but maybe in a couple of years, who knows. Well the short answer is, I won't be doing it this year, due to the riot that occured there last year. It's a sad fact that for every drunk that wants to kiss you, there's another that wants to punch you. So on that happy note, I bid you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Gone fishing

I have never understood the appeal of fishing, I understand some men do it to get away from their wives. This guy must really hate his wife as the lake was frozen and the weather was sub zero. It takes all sorts.


I made a new blog just to show photos. Why? Because while I want to share these pictures with lots of family and friends, I don't necessarily want my family and friends to read this blog. DUH.

Click on over
and enjoy the first installment, which is (mostly) pictures taken on the ship, somewhere between San Diego and Hawaii.

Xmas Presents

I got some nice stuff for Christmas.

Happy Birthday, Darling

I'm loving you. Always and forever unto ages of ages, amen.

Nicholas Stephen Rxxxx
December 26, 1959 -- August 8, 2004
Photo taken December 26, 1992

I lay in bed this morning thinking about how different the sadness of this day is from the other sad days. When I remember and relive that week from hell, the anguish is unbearable: Your suffering, my suffering, the sheer horror of it all. Holidays, holy days, anniversaries, the boys' birthdays, my birthday have a bittersweet edge: The day is happy, the memories are sweet, and I ache for missing you. But today, your birthday, is all about you.

What would these last four-and-a half years have been for you? What would you have achieved at work? Would you have built another research instrument? Would you have gotten your (our!) sabbatical year in Saclay? Would you be coaching the boys' softball team? Would you be teaching them all the cool science stuff you loved so much? What would you make of those boys? How would you handle their very different temperaments and personalities? What kind of disciplinarian would you be? Would we have gone to Nova Scotia and seen all your friends at Dalhousie? Would you have decided it was time to make a career change? Would you be working on a degree in Theology? Would you be pursuing the priesthood?

Who would you be? Who would we be? Where would we be headed?


I got out of bed and found an email from one of my favorite widows. She had lit a candle to honor Nick's birthday. Ironically, part of her message said: Some days it is about you, it just is. That's true, but today, it's not about me: It's about Nick and the life he didn't get to have.

Of course, as I type these words, tears are streaming down my face because I loved that man so very much. And he was robbed of so much. And I was robbed and the boys were robbed. And I miss him so very much.

Christmas Eve

To escape the madness of Christmas we went to the woods

Merry Christmas

Not the Hawaii pictures you're waiting for, but we had a wonderful Christmas Eve with family. There's something miraculous about having four generations gathered around the table, resting in the love that abounds and binds one heart to so many others.

My sister, my mother, my sister's grandson

May you all be blessed this holy season.

Christ is born! Glorify him!

I don't think I'm in Hawaii anymore!

It's 49 degrees and raining here in Tucson -- it's like ... WINTER! Even so, it's good to be home.

The trip was absolutely wonderful. I'll try to post some pictures later today.


We had a nice sunset the other day, I took this from our back garden.


Wow. That's (almost) all I have to say.

Mother and I took the helicopter tour of Kauai today. Wow. Wow. Wow.

The cruise has been wonderful; I hate that it's half over already. Family has been great -- except for when it's been awful. I've loved every minute of it; except for when I've been lonely enough to tear my heart out.

It costs an arm and TWO legs to use the internet, so I won't post photos right now. Besides, my laptop has officially died, so I'm going to have to pay somebody to retrieve pictures from my hard drive when I get home. And I dropped my phone into a stream today, so I'm going to need a new cell phone when I get home. If I've ever had any of your phone numbers, drop me a line so I can enter your numbers into my new phone. Sigh.

Everything is WONDERFUL. We are all having a fabulous vacation together. And I don't miss blogging at all. Hugs and kisses all around.


I went to London the other day, it was ok.

Just An Idea

Just thought I would add a pic of our pre House Warming.... GooD TimeS....

Don't Forget to be there on monday the 15th Dec... Call me for Directions...

... Go!

The bags are packed and by the door.
The boys are in bed.
The dishes are washed.
The trash is out.
The floors are vacuumed.
The laundry is all done and folded and put away.
The sheets on all the beds are clean.
The lights are on timers.
The bird feeders are filled.
The cat is at a neighbor's.
The pool has fresh chlorine.
The boys cleaned their rooms.
The boys cleaned the TV room.

My feet hurt.

The alarms will go off at 6 a.m.
My family will pick us up at 7 a.m.
With luck we'll be in San Diego by 2 p.m.
The ship sails at 5 p.m.

There IS internet on board, but they charge an arm and half a leg, so I won't be accessing it every day. I'll probably pay for it once or twice to check mail and maybe even put a few pictures up here.

See ya!

... Set ...

Yesterday was exhausting. My clothes are packed; most of the boys' clothes have been chosen; toiletries have been set aside. We ran 2 hours of errands on the way home from school yesterday.

Lots and lots of stuff to do today...

Ready ...

Last Sunday I finished my Christmas shopping online. The last item arrived this afternoon, and I wrapped everything except for this (for HardPlace) , which was too big for me to sneak into the house without the boys seeing it. I want to get as much decorating done as I can before we leave, but time runs short.

Lerika's 21st Birthday

Well it all started early Saturday morning on the 1st Now (Yes it was a while ago). I got this call from her saying... "can you please come help me with some stuff"
"Some Stuff" turned out to be us running around to sort so much out that we were late for her own Birthday. Was nice to meet all the people I had heard so much about.

The next day Lerika and I just chilled at her parents place, and did birthday things....

Birthday Girl

Looking Good :)


Lerika & Her Brother

Speech Time, Lerika & Dad

Slide Show

Before Bedtime

Breakfast Next Morning

I thought it would be a good idea to throw the Birthday Girl in the pool on the morning of her real birthday...

Relaxing in the afternoon..

Bath Time... We found this bath in the middle of a field on our Bike ride.

Bike Ride

Just for fun ... or maybe not?

Hawaiian Luau
Do you like word searches? I've always been good at them; in fact, I tired of them at an early age and moved on to more challenging word puzzles. My mind works the right way to see the words without really having to look for them. Not everyone's does though.

HardPlace cannot do word search puzzles. He struggles and struggles. I've shown him how to use a ruler to move through the puzzle; I've taught him to look for unusual letters or letter combinations -- not too many Qs in the average grid. How long did it take you to find the double-P for pineapple in the above puzzle? I saw it right away.

HardPlace frequently has to complete a word search as a spelling assignment. It's on the regular rotation of weekly activities/games to supplement simple repetition of writing words. The poor kid can NOT do them. I have watched him struggle. And, now ... I do the puzzle for him.

I do not believe that the word search is helping him be a better speller, helping him learn the vocabulary words for the week. So I do the puzzle for him, without guilt. Is that wrong? I told him that I was NOT "doing his homework for him" because he was having a hard time, NOT doing it so he would get credit for the assignment, but because I don't believe this particular assignment is a good teaching tool for him.

I print out two copies, solve one, and then make him copy the answers onto the second copy. I want him to see where I found them. I want him to practice seeing them. But he still just can't do them.

Am I wrong to do this? Does it make me a bad parent, criticizing and interfering with the teacher's method? Should I tell the teacher that I am solving the word searches for my son?

... by the way, I chose this particular puzzle because we start our 2-week cruise in FIVE DAYS.

Happy birthday, Lawrence

My big brother should be 52 today.