Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Why are there so many

songs about rainbows?

A friend of mine commented today about how much he missed Jim Henson, stating that he felt Henson “was a wonderful human being who checked out much much too early.” And then he sent me this video.

I couldn’t agree more. This song is one of those things that reminds me that sometimes, I need to have more of a sense of wonder. Also, Willie Nelson does an amazing job with this version of the song.

There are 3 certainties in life

Death, taxes, and when you lose your health insurance you get ridiculously sick.

For serious, folks. I will go for years at a time without picking up any kind of illness, yet almost as soon as I lost my job in March, I developed a cold that hasn’t gone away for almost two months. Now, I can deal with a cold. I mean, it’s a cold. I’m not bleeding out my eye sockets or anything; it’s just a bit of coughing. And that’s hardly going to kill anyone.

Except for the fact that this week has turned into some kind of bizarre experiment on the part of Nature to see exactly how much can be done to me before I give up. My cough got worse a few days ago, and then yesterday the lymph nodes in my throat swelled up so much that it interfered with the workings of my tongue and I sounded like I had cotton balls in my mouth. And then, this morning I woke up to find that my sinuses were all clogged up and my left ear felt like it had a fife and drum corps marching around in it.

So I suppose it’s only natural that almost immediately after my chance to sign up with COBRA expires, I get this kind of terrible, horrible, no good very bad sickness to contend with. Murphy’s Law hasn’t let me down in the past, so why should I expect it to do so now?

So, yeah.

So, um, hi. :)

They say that the surest way to know that a blog is dying is that it starts apologizing for the length of time that goes between posts. So I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to move right on and try to actually post, y’know, content.

Over the last year(!) since my last post, I’ve had a lot of things happen. The biggest of these is probably that a couple months ago, I lost my job, which has been a somewhat cathartic experience for me, and maybe a little bit eye-opening as well. It’s worth noting that I’ve done a TON of photography over the last year, some of it for fun and some for business. Yeah, that’s right, I said business. As in, I think I’m going to try and make a photography business take off the ground.

I’ve had a REALLY big jump in the quality of my photos over the last year and I’m going to take some time over the next few weeks to upload a bit of it (including some in this post), but it’s worth noting that I’ve purchased a new domain name and it’s going to be the primary focus for a photography portfolio. I want to separate out my personal/family photos from my professional stuff, so I’m thinking that what I’m going to do is either create a second Flickr username for my professional photos, or keep it only on my professional site (which will more than likely contain a photoblog, while this site will be more writing-, family- and life-oriented) and pull the professional stuff out of my existing Flickr pool.

But none of that’s happening just yet. Keep an eye out for the announcement of my photo studio website, but in the meantime, here’s a good cross-section of some of the photos I’ve taken over the last year. I’ll include links to the album pages if you want to look at the other photos from the sets.

Points of Light from Memorial Day Barbecue
Wedding Flowers from Seth and Christine’s Big Day
Slip 'n Slide from July 4th at Rob & Ryan’s
Dancin' Baby Cutting A Rug from Sailfest 2009
Fashion Shoot for Takeout/ATICC from Takeout/ATICC Fashion Shoot
from Brokedown Serenade, 8/29/09
Free Energy @ I AM Festival, New London from I AM Festival 2009
Amy Swinging

Awake / Bureaucracy / New Photos

One of the biggest problems with working a night shift is that it’s virtually impossible to get anything done during the day. I finish work at midnight, which means that I’ll usually get to sleep anywhere between 4 and 5 am—think of it like getting home at 6 in the evening and going to bed at 10. Great. This isn’t much of an issue, except when I need to run errands, because I usually sleep right through most of the time that normal people are working. Most people, obviously, would suggest that I go to bed early and run the errands during the day.

And most people would be right. But here’s the thing.

I went to bed early tonight. Two o’clock, I was in bed and sleeping. And then, at 3:49am, I was awake. My only guess is that when I push my bedtime earlier, my body assumes that I’m having a nap. The problem with this is that around noontime, I’m going to completely hit a wall, which is okay under most circumstances—if I’m at home, I can just take another nap and I’ll be fine—but what if I happen to hit a wall while, say, driving? If that were to happen, I might hit other things, like… cars.

The reason I had gone to bed early was because I need to drive back to the town I used to live in, because apparently it thinks that I still live there. No, literally: I got a car reregistration form in it a couple of months ago that is now overdue by almost a month (yeah, I know, but I was told I have a month from the date my sticker expires, which gives me until the end of March, and like I said, getting errands done isn’t the easiest for a nocturnal creature), and while reviewing it last night I came to the realization that it says on it that I owe back taxes. For West Haven.

For the record, I have not lived in West Haven for more than two years. And I happen to know that all my car taxes are paid up through the end of 2006, the last year I lived there. So if they think I owe them money still, well, they’re sorely mistaken.

But that doesn’t really matter to the Great Bureaucracyâ„¢. Thanks to the miracle that is state governments, I have to get a physical stamp on my registration form that states that my taxes are paid. Which means I have to drive an hour back to West Haven, argue with the tax collector about whether or not I actually owe them money (my wager is that I’m still going to have to give them a pound of flesh whether I lived there or not), get a stamp, go to the DMV, pay them for the registration (plus a late fee, I imagine, if the month-long-grace-period thing I was told is untrue), and come home so I can work a full eight hour day night. Oh well, at least it gives me some time and material with which to write a blog post.

And finally, an interesting thing happened to me a couple weeks ago: I got a friend request on Facebook from somebody I hadn’t seen since college. We started to talking and she invited me up to Boston on Monday to go to an art opening she was doing. I asked her if it would be gauche to take along my camera and snap some shots of the opening, and was told of course not, by all means, so take it along I did, and also documented a bit of the aprés-opening gathering at her apartment.

Emma’s Art Opening, 3/2/09
Emma's Art Show, 3/2/09

Saying Goodbye To An Old Friend

We put our dog to sleep today.

This is my eulogy to a shepherd/retriever mix named Mahogany (so named for practically no reason at all, since she wasn’t mahogany colored—we literally couldn’t think of a name for her and this was the first one that was suggested by my sister after a marathon naming session that didn’t make any of us retch). She was getting on in years, had lost much of her hearing and was the second dog in a row that we owned that had Cushing’s Syndrome. But she was in our lives since I was fifteen, which is about half of my life, and she meant a lot to me.

When she was younger, she was a terror. We got her at about eight weeks, the day after Christmas of 1994, and she was adorable and fuzzy and couldn’t go the whole night without having to go out and pee. Somebody had to sleep with her in the back room of our house so that we could take her outside when she needed to. She was terribly submissive, and had a knack for peeing all over the floor when somebody new came into the house. And if somebody showed up in our driveway, she would go crazy, but not because she wanted to hurt them. It was more of a “OMIGOD THERE ARE PEOPLE THIS IS GREAT I LOVE NEW PEOPLE I WONDER IF THEY WILL PLAY WITH ME” kind of thing. Funny that nobody else but us saw it that way, though.

Since then, she was kind of a fixture in my life. I’d come back to my parents’ house for a weekend and she’d be there at the door, as excited to see me as if I had simply gone away for the day and was getting home.

Even as she got older—and her age really started to show—she would still have puppy moments. Though the fur under her chin started turning gray at the young age of two or three, she still loved to go outside and run like there was no tomorrow. And she loved playing in the snow, right up until the end. Somehow, she never really grasped the concept of how large she was. It was always funny to see a sixty-five pound dog try to climb into somebody’s lap while they sat in a recliner. And God save you if she ever climbed on a bed while you were laying on it: your face was inevitably doomed to a quite literal tongue-lashing from the dog, which would only let up once you had capitulated that she was, indeed, the winner.

My mother told me earlier this week that she was going to be put down. I’m thankful that my job affords me the ability to work from any location, because I decided quite fast that I would drive up so I could see her again and say goodbye. And this morning, at nine o’clock, we made the trip to the vet’s to put her to rest.

The entire process took only about two minutes. It’s not the first time I’d seen a family member die—no, this was in fact the third time I’d had the privilege. The vet pushed what seemed to be an absurd amount of anesthetic through a syringe, and quite soon, the pup’s breathing slowed and stopped.

She died with her eyes open. I had thought she would drift off to sleep, but I guess it happened too quickly for even that.

In a way, getting to say goodbye to my dog makes me feel a little better about not being able to say goodbye to my grandmother. The frustration of having one family member pass on so fast is tempered a little bit by the ability to show the other one how much I loved them both. It’s a small consolation, but it is one, at least.

My parents say they probably won’t get another dog for a while. The last time we had to put a dog down, it was about six months before we all decided it was time. Now that there isn’t a whole house full of kids to help take care of it, I wonder if it might not be a little while longer, if at all, before they get another. But this family has always had a dog in it, and I can’t imagine it without one in the house to help keep the cats company.

I just hope that if they do get a new one, it’s not something small. I wouldn’t want to accidentally step on it.


October 23, 1994 — February 20, 2009

You were loved and you will be missed by all—even by those who thought you were trying to eat them.

Let me tell you about my Saturday night.

So the following is the text from an instant messaging chat I had with my friend Nick.

[01/25 16:26:48] Nick: what the hell happened last nigh?
[01/25 16:26:50] Nick: night*
[01/25 16:40:42] Andrew: Went up to Nashua to visit a friend from college
[01/25 16:41:10] Andrew: She’s not known for being the most stable of people, but she’s going through some tough times and I figured we could go out dancing and just relax and have fun for a night, she could unwind a bit
[01/25 16:41:59] Andrew: She’d been going through this thing with a guy who is, for lack of a better term, abusive (at least, I believe he is, even if he hasn’t hit her), and she said it was over with him, but I found out when I got there that they were back together
[01/25 16:42:13] Andrew: Something in me just knew that that meant trouble
[01/25 16:42:30] Andrew: And I was right, I guess toward the end of the night she tried to get in touch with him and he wouldn’t respond, and she FLIPPED. OUT.
[01/25 16:43:02] Andrew: She took off without me, so I went looking for her and finally took a cab back to her place
[01/25 16:43:12] Andrew: She was there but wouldn’t let me in
[01/25 16:43:45] Andrew: And finally called the cops on me because I wouldn’t leave (and she was right, because my camera and clothes were in her apartment and I was NOT leaving without my stuff)
[01/25 16:43:48] Andrew: So the cops show up
[01/25 16:44:07] Andrew: Ask me a few questions, determine that I’m completely harmless, and all of a sudden I’ve got three cops on my side
[01/25 16:44:08] Andrew: Heh
[01/25 16:44:31] Andrew: So they’re asking her what the situation is, and she all of a sudden backs down and says I can stay
[01/25 16:46:19] Andrew: So I go upstairs and try to crash on her couch, and all the while she’s screaming her head off and trying to call this guy
[01/25 16:46:34] Andrew: And then she flips out again and starts telling me to leave
[01/25 16:46:44] Andrew: And by this time I’m PISSED, and I just want to sleep and sober up so I can drive home
[01/25 16:47:01] Andrew: So I’ve got my comforter wrapped around me
[01/25 16:48:26] Nick: what a nut
[01/25 16:48:35] Andrew: Hold on
[01/25 16:48:39] Nick: i know
[01/25 17:10:19] Andrew: Sorry, my mom called
[01/25 17:10:29] Nick: np
[01/25 17:10:47] Andrew: So anyway, she flips out again
[01/25 17:10:56] Andrew: Grabs the comforter and pulls me down to the floor
[01/25 17:11:03] Andrew: Then starts KICKING ME IN THE HEAD.
[01/25 17:11:08] Andrew: Telling me to get out
[01/25 17:11:18] Andrew: Then she calls the cops a second time
[01/25 17:11:30] Andrew: And tells them that a “homeless guy” is on her couch and won’t leave
[01/25 17:11:35] Andrew: I was just laughing at this point
[01/25 17:12:12] Andrew: So they show up again and they’re like, “Look, we understand your situation, but for your own safety, you shouldn’t stay here. We’ll call you a cab to take you to a motel”
[01/25 17:12:32] Andrew: I said, “I’m not paying another $60 tonight to crash at a motel.”
[01/25 17:12:51] Andrew: So they offered instead to take me to a Dunkin Donuts so I could chill for a couple hours until I was okay to drive
[01/25 17:12:59] Andrew: But wait, there’s more
[01/25 17:13:08] Andrew: So I finally call another cab to take me back
[01/25 17:13:12] Andrew: This is around 4:00 or so
[01/25 17:13:26] Andrew: She calls me again
[01/25 17:13:48] Andrew: Apparently she’s locked herself out of the apartment now, and called the cops (no idea of the rationality on that one, but when you’re blacked out you do weird shit)
[01/25 17:14:17] Andrew: So I get one of the cops on the phone and he explains the situation to me, and I explained that I was in a cab and was going to be there in a few minutes
[01/25 17:14:34] Andrew: So when I get there, she’s nowhere to be found
[01/25 17:14:51] Andrew: And a cop pulls up to me while I’m outside the place and tells me that she took off down the road and disappeared into a side street
[01/25 17:15:01] Nick: wtf
[01/25 17:15:02] Andrew: So for the next HALF HOUR, I’m driving around looking for her
[01/25 17:15:09] Andrew: Because it’s like 5 degrees
[01/25 17:15:17] Nick: was she in her apt the whole time?
[01/25 17:15:20] Andrew: And all I could imagine was her passed out in a snowbank somewhere
[01/25 17:15:23] Andrew: No
[01/25 17:15:52] Andrew: I called her repeatedly trying to get ahold of her, and after 30 minutes or so, she picks up and is like “I locked myself out, I’m at a friend’s place, relax and stop calling me”
[01/25 17:16:01] Andrew: I wanted to reach through the fucking phone
[01/25 17:16:07] Andrew: And throttle her
[01/25 17:16:28] Andrew: So I told her I was going home
[01/25 17:16:41] Andrew: Then drove two hours home, got here at like 7 or so
[01/25 17:18:01] Nick: i’m guessing you won’t be talking to her for quite a while
[01/25 17:18:23] Andrew: I talked to her this morning because I was too asleep not to pick up the phone, she called around 10:30 to find out where her keys were
[01/25 17:18:27] Andrew: Like I had them or something
[01/25 17:18:49] Andrew: Then she wouldn’t let me tell her what happened
[01/25 17:18:52] Andrew: So I hung up on her
[01/25 17:19:00] Andrew: She called me repeatedly for the next several hours
[01/25 17:19:37] Andrew: Finally left me a VM that said she got into her apartment and found her keys and could I call her to fill her in on what happened, and she can’t apologize enough, etc.
[01/25 17:19:47] Nick: ha
[01/25 17:19:49] Nick: whatever dude
[01/25 17:20:01] Nick: maybe she should lay off the fucking crack
[01/25 17:20:04] Andrew: But yeah, I set a silent ringtone on her
[01/25 17:20:13] Andrew: So when she calls I won’t know
[01/25 17:20:17] Nick: good
[01/25 17:20:20] Andrew: Problem is, she’s got a private cell number
[01/25 17:20:32] Andrew: So unless she unlocks it before she calls, it rings anyway because it just says private
[01/25 17:21:33] Nick: i wouldn’t ever talk to her again
[01/25 17:22:46] Andrew: Yeah, it’s probably gonna be awhile.

Needless to say, it was an eventful evening.


Between the years of 2004-2007, I had ballooned in size up to a ridiculous 272 pounds.

In 2007, I put in a little bit of effort (not even a lot) and lost about 20 pounds.

My New Year’s resolution for 2008 was to lose another twenty. Turns out I didn’t quite hit that—but I did lose about fifteen pounds. I’d say that’s not too bad.

This year? Same thing. I resolve to lose at least twenty pounds by the end of 2009, and keep it off. I know it’s possible, but I’m already working on being healthier, not just less corpulent. Daily workouts on the exercise bike and better, more disciplined eating habits are already helping.

2009 is going to be the year that I focus on being a better me. It’s funny how you can forget to do things like that when you’re so busy focusing on external stuff.


Five months is an awfully long time for me to go without any kind of update at all. There are a couple reasons for it, not the least of which is that I keep planning on updating the design of the page before I update next—not that the two are mutually exclusive. The other has simply been life interfering.

Since the biggest update has to do with what’s written directly below this one, I should get it out of the way first: My grandmother passed away on Tuesday morning. It was quite a shock to all of us, because she had been doing very well, only to aspirate on her breakfast Monday morning and go into cardiac arrest. The broken leg was healing so well that they had put a regular walking cast on it and expected that she was going to make a full recovery. She was in good spirits and was responding well in all areas. And then it all came crashing down. After a day on the ventilator, we made the decision that it was for the best if we take her off, and once we did, that was it. It’s for the best, really. It’s certainly a better situation than the alternative, with a decline from the Alzheimer’s reducing her to a person that couldn’t even recognize her own family. She went out with at least some of herself intact, which is good.

The rest of what I could say isn’t really much in comparison. Work is going great, life is pretty good (apart from the elephant in the room) and I happen to be going on vacation next week to see a friend get married in Key West. That’s going to be great: a friend and I are renting a convertible and driving down the Florida coast from Miami. I bought a brand new camera for the occasion and I plan to get a ton of good shots.

So yeah, that’s about it.

I want to kick Christmas in the bells.

Merry Christmas.

It’s 2:30 in the morning (Christmas morning, that is) and I can’t sleep. Many, many things contribute to this lack of somnolence, not the least of them being that OMG ISS CRSSMAS! followed closely by visions of me wrapping gift after gift as I was doing earlier today. Considering that I only bought a few gifts this year—yes, I was wrapping other people’s gifts—why was I wrapping?

Well. Saturday night, my 80-year-old grandmother fell and suffered a compound fracture to her right fibula and tibia. Not that she had much choice in the matter, but had she any, she couldn’t have picked a worse time to do it: she was home alone with my youngest brother, while my parents were 30 minutes away about to see a stage production of Beauty and the Beast, and my sister, my brother, my other parents and I were at my sister’s place celebrating Christmas with each other.

I think the round of phone calls from brother-to-mother-to-sister, followed by all of us (save my other parents) zooming in the nearest automobile to the house must have been no longer than fifteen minutes. We almost beat the ambulance to the house. Which is nothing, considering that my parents managed to make the 30+ minute drive from wherever they were to the hospital before the ambulance got there. Now that was some fast driving.

Long story short (too late), she’s got a bad break in her right leg just above the ankle. She’s badly osteoporotic and has Alzheimer’s, so any serious trauma invites with it some deeper potential problems. So far, not many of them have really surfaced, but the long-term effects are complete unknowns at this point and can only be looked at as possibilities. Unfortunately, one of those possibilities that needs to be kept open is that of amputation. But I’m going to try not to think about that and instead will stay positive.

So it’s been a busy few days. A trip to the emergency room (my first ambulance ride and damn, I didn’t even get to be tied to the stretcher), a trip up to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center the next day to see her, two trips to church (once for mass last night, once for Christmas Mass tonight), and almost a complete afternoon and evening of wrapping gifts to make up for the fact that my parents couldn’t do it. And we haven’t even reached Christmas morning yet.

So if you want to ask me “Do you hear what I hear?” then what I’d better be hearing is the sound of Christmas writhing in pain from getting royally knocked in the jewels. It has not been very kind to me or my family this year.

Delayed Clarity (or, Taco Bell is bad for you, m’kay?)

I got hit by a car today.

Well, not me so much as my car. I was turning into Taco Bell behind some guy who, at no notice, stopped his car, threw it into reverse and just… backed right into me. I barely had enough time to put my own car in reverse and try to back up while honking my horn.

Luckily, I got away with only a scraped bumper. I stopped, got out of the car, looked at the bumper… meanwhile, the guy in the other car leaned out of his window, asked if I was okay, and no sooner had the words “I’m fine” come out of my mouth (in a rather disgusted manner, no less) than he practically zoomed away in his green Subaru wagon. He just waved out the window and was gone. I didn’t have a chance to get insurance information or even a license plate number.

I was just so shocked by what had happened. And, later, I was just pissed off by what had happened.

When you think about under-pressure situations, you tend to think that you’ll do the right thing. That you’ll make that right decision at the crucial moment. And then, the moment happens and it just… passes you by. And the decision you thought you were going to make never even occurred to you.

Now that I’ve been through it, I should have seen the signs of risk when it came to this guy in the Subaru. The fact that he didn’t get out, that he seemed so eager to get out of the situation… these should have been signs to me that this person probably had no insurance.

It’s this delayed clarity that tells me that perhaps, if I hadn’t gone to Taco Bell for the junk food, I wouldn’t have gone through all of this. So, obviously, the moral of the story is that Taco Bell causes car accidents. Remember that, kids.

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