Saturday, May 29, 2010

Won't you NOT be my neighbour?

Oregon is a Medical Marijuana state. I don’t necessarily disagree with it, honestly. Well, I think more aptly stated, I'm a Libertarian; and I think people should be allowed to make decisions about what they put in their body on their own, and if it’s a drug, then so be it. As long as their decisions don't adversely affect me or my property, I don’t care what people do. They are ultimately responsible for themselves.

However, this situation allows people to grow cannabis in their homes. Now here's where I have a problem. My neighbor is a grower. He has a state-issued card, which allows him to grow marijuana. Ever since he's started doing it, we've noticed an increasingly potent scent of pot hanging over the area like a heavy stinky cloud.… I could live with that as long as it wasn't really intrusive all the time. But then cars started coming and going at all hours. I'm fairly convinced he's selling. I spoke to an officer with the State Police who checked on him, and the neighbor's plants and product were within the legal limits in quantity and volume… so the officer couldn't really do anything, despite the growing list of cars that are coming and going. Still, we sucked it up…. The worst side effect of his night-sales; the dogs bark at 1AM at customers driving up for a purchase. Now, however, my neighbor he is felling trees all over his property to admit light so that he can start growing it outside. Our once shaded, private backyard is now exposed entirely to his clearing.

It's going to reek. It's going to bring in even more questionable plants being stolen in the middle of the night by God knows-who. His little grow-garden will be right outside our bedroom window. You just *know* that growing it outdoors is going to invite all sorts of additional chaos, and I am intolerant of chaos in a place where I expect quiet, peaceful enjoyment. My home.

I can't control his cutting down his own trees, no matter how much it irks me. Why move into a forest environment just to clear the land? If you want clearings, move to Sandy or Boring. It really irritates me because trees are wonderful for your energy bottom line. In summer; their leafy shade saves you in cooling dollars, and in winter, their bare branches allow the sun to beam through and save you on heating dollars. In summer, our back yard is (was) always at least 10 degrees cooler than it is in town. It's always refreshing to drive onto our shaded street after baking in the valley, to find it fresh at home. Our extremely shady backyard is always a respite to work in during the summer, but now it is almost fully exposed on the west side. We planted a curly willow, which grows fast and has a shallow root system; I'm hoping it will make it to compensate for the huge void of trees now… I think that's what really set me off… when he started chopping down trees. Before that, I could deal with him.

In true pot-head style, my neighbor is slow about what he does. He's been felling trees and chopping them up in spurts; spreading his chicken-litter fertilizer at his leisure with his village-idiot friend whose brain-cells have been decimated by booze and other substances I'm sure (the man opens his mouth and stupid just comes pouring out). Now a backhoe straddles our property line, it's been there for days. I wish I could drive it into his house with the bucket sticking out like a huge fist.

What concerns me is… if we decide we want to sell my house; how adversely will having Lazy-P Pot Ranch next door affect the sale? How many thousands will be knocked off the sales price in order to lure in a buyer willing to overlook the pong of cannabis radiating from the neighbouring property, or the rumble of engines and shine of car lights at all hours of the night? What buyer wouldn't visualize a spate of crimes or people breaking into their home or garage, drawn to their property by the crop next door?

How does one quantify that? And who does one go to? I called the Oregon pot-board today and the lady on the phone passed the buck very aptly, obviously versed in responding to my sort of call. "Oh, we have no measures that require us to answer these sorts of questions or can we offer you any solutions or answers. You might want to speak to the state’s property rights department or an attorney."

Seeing how some areas of California are being ruined by the growing industry (read a few of the posts in this blog: to see what I mean), I'm worried. Worried that my neighbourhood is going to be ruined by what is beginning as a flagrant pot-growing jerk.

I feel powerless. How do I insure that the quiet enjoyment of my own property is secured? It's why I bought it. I'm so irritated.

ANYWAY... I'll stop grumping. :::sigh::: Here are pics of my little tiles. They're a bit messy in the lines, but I'll get the hang of it sooner or later. I have a plate waiting for me too with a gentleman crow (I like gentlemen crows).. I'll post a pic when I pick it up. :) have a lovely long weekend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mondays seem less evil with the promise of a 3-day weekend.

Yes, I survived Friday; and even more miraculously; so did my mother. I’m so happy I’ve got her drama to keep me distracted from my grief for daddy ::sardonic snort::

I spent all weekend at home in pajamas. I spent some time with horsikins on Friday evening after running errands with Satan Mom; I picked up some little tiles I made a couple of weeks ago at a glazing shop. I was driving over to meet my sisters at my mom’s house the Friday before last, and called to discover the sibs had taken off for a second IKEA trip and they’d dispatched hubbo to get a barbecue for her. I was like… “should I go to mom’s and wait for everyone?” No effing way! I decided to check out the glazing place I’d been looking at, and thought… heck, why not paint a little something for half an hour? And I did. I made three tiles (slightly messily; but hey, it’s my first glazing experience, and glazing does not act like your standard acrylic). It was really fun though, and seeing how nice they look after the kiln, I confess I’m addicted. I wants me some more! I stopped by last week half-hour before they closed and churned out a crowy plate as well. The tiles turned out fairly cute; except for an inadvertent swipe of delft blue that got mixed into another colour, so my mouse has a blue face… I will add pics on here when I can find my camera…

Anyway… I digress… I got home Friday evening, unsure as to whether the soreness on my body was from riding my overly-energetic-highly-neglected horse, or it was from the stress of restraining the powerful urge to drop-kick my own mama. It was *probably* riding my frisky-ass horse, but the jury is still out on that. Yes, Tag was a SPAZZ. I guess when he isn’t getting exercise, and the weather is crisp (which it has been unusually so lately), he just gets all full of beans. He was dancy-spooky-let-me-run-please-let-me-run boy. So I just squeezed him into a trot and kept him there for a good half-hour, slow, fast, extended, very slow and collected, and then canter off the left leg, attempts off the right… until he had a little bit of sweat on his now shining fur, and all his beans had been depleted.

Tonight he was SIGNFICANTLY better, although nothing slows down his carrot-demandiness; that’s just there all the time (except when he gets a bug). Dan has replenished the treat supply, and Tag knows it.

On the teasy side… there’s this place called “Frog Pond Draft Rescue” in Ohio, which I friended on Facebook because they rescue drafts of course. Anyway, they keep posting all these pictures of adoptable Belgians (Fluke in particular --horrid name cute baby!); OMG!!! It’s so tempting every time… What I would do for a girly-Tag; or a Tag brother… a matching set; his & hers. Of course with hubbo’s employment situation, we can’t afford a second board and it’s hideously impractical, hell we really cant’ afford the first board… but God, seeing those homeless Belgians is TORTURE. Torture I tell you!!!

I got home after riding, pulled on some jammies, ate leftovers, and just vegged out all weekend. We did go out to have breakfast on Saturday morning, but we came home and Hubbo (who has caught my cold) and I just puttered around lazily ALL weekend. It was the first time in almost a month that I had a day to recuperate. I STILL have this cold that started as a sinus infection just before my daddy passed away… I still have a cough and I still feel a bit icky; but this weekend’s complete sack-out was invaluable. I watched movies… TV, browsed the web, and did just about nothing. Oh, I did make some little casserole pots of my cauliflower au gratin on Sunday… but that’s it.

I’m trying now to muster up the energy to make the fruit tart for my husband that I promised him yesterday (it didn’t materialize… I was under a pile of dogs on the sofa).

Nightie night. ;) Monday is almost over.

Oh, here is a quasi-Office special. I sketched her in pencil while I ate my lunch today… inked her at home and coloured her on Arcsoft on my itty bitty computer. Her name is Winter and she’s a lonely little thing. Mother and father often ignore her, and she spends most of her time alone in the nursery, where she invents tragic stories for her toys to play.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy Friday? NOT.

A picture of a baby Belgian is in order to calm my
"poor nerves". Nobody has any Compassion for my poor nerves... ::snicker::

Today is Friday for me, sort of. It doesn’t mean I get a nice peaceful time of no stress; that’s not the case… I have an appointment tomorrow with a social worker in regards to my developmentally disabled brother. I’m hoping we can set something up for him that is a permanent full-time residency. Judging by my mother’s state and health (I will elaborate later), I don’t think she’ll last very long taking care of him when she isn’t even taking care of herself. After that she will be seeing a cardiologist. Yay.

Yesterday, I got into work and was barely there a half-hour when my sister texted me; “Mom called, she’s not feeling well, she needs to see a doctor.” I call my mother, and she sounds frail and weak and complains about chest pains. What am I supposed to do? I drop everything and go.

It was heartburn. After the battery of tests, EKGs and X-Rays, the original complaint ended up being reflux. Of course, my mother’s other already-diagnosed problems came up, since she’s doing nothing to remediate them; not taking the prescribed medications, not attending or setting up monitoring appointments. After being berated by a doctor and being told she’s a “walking stroke”, she still just says: “Oh, how I feel can easily be corrected by a good night’s sleep…” If it was so damned simple, why drag me out of work to take her to an all-day emergency medical jamboree? Seriously, that rocket into the sun seems like a better idea every day.

I have to call her each day now and nag her to take her medication, still wondering if she’s just plain lying to me about taking it. I watched her bald-face lie to the doctor about fifty million times while I was sitting there… “Oh, I gave up drinking years ago…” she declared gazing straight into his eyes, “I drink lots of water every day…”; “The other doctor was wrong…”; “I can feel it when I have high-blood pressure, I had high-blood pressure yesterday...”; “The other doctor told me not to take that medication anymore”… I sat there, tightlipped, leafing through a falling-apart copy of People, wishing I was evil enough to be able to smack some sense into her. But I figure, at 72, she’s not going to change. She will still like, and cut corners, and manipulate as much as she always has, if not more.

We can’t pick our family. If I could, I’d have a few people I’d gladly connect myself to—the rest would be on their own. However I cannot choose the people who believe me obligated to them. It’s easy to think you can write them off and let them be responsible for themselves, but there’s always that horrid little thing called guilty obligation that keeps you tied to damaging people. Now it’s up to me to solve all the problems she created; and she is just along for the ride. Tomorrow will not be fun. I will waste my time and energy driving her to consult with doctors she will ultimately ignore, and to pick up medications she won’t take… for what? If she doesn’t value herself enough to take care of herself, why are we making an effort at all? I thought I lacked self-discipline… Wow. She makes me look like an overachiever.

I vow I shall never, ever be this much trouble to my child(ren) if I am ever blessed with one.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mondays are only good for mumbles of grumpiness.

What a weekend. All those plans to honour my father fell through in favour of shopping excursions to supply my mother with stuff. It was disappointing and annoying. I am a bit miffed with my sisters—they never do what they say they are going to do. I should be used to this after nearly 40 years, but it still never fails to disappoint. I love them regardless, but I get tired of the same patterns sometimes.

Onto more Monday-like things. Today, I am thinking about relationships. I was reading this list of things Erin Meanley of Glamour Magazine wished she knew at 21 as she now turns 31. She made an observation for each year of her life. These are very insightful and true observations… however there are some I’d like to add to this list as well. Since I am 39, I will add eight more observations to her list. Mine are more verbose because I’m older and crankier.

32. Erin speaks of having hobbies; I think I need to elaborate on this, because a lot of women mistake the notion that if you adopt the same interests as your man, you’ll be more interesting to him. You should have your OWN hobbies. You’re going to hear this theme a few times in my missive, but it’s very important: Who actually wants to date themselves? Seriously? If you were dating someone with the same interests, and you have everything in common, how long would it be before you found little new and interesting in your partner? Let’s be real. Being different people with different interests is really crucial for being in a lasting relationship; things are always exciting when your significant other offers new and interesting ideas to your relationship. And you don’t have to do *everything* together. It’s okay to be your own person in a duo.

33. Reading the above, naturally, having everything in common isn’t really all that important. It's okay to have common philosophies perhaps… but sometimes, the idea of opposites attracting is appealing because someone who is wholly different than you offers you so much more. Having so much in common can get boring, fast.

34. Be yourself. I know it’s cliché, but here’s the thing… morphing yourself into what you *think* a man wants in a woman implies that you have no identity of your own; that you are insecure, and desperate. He isn’t going to want to stay with you or make a commitment to someone he can’t respect—there’s nothing to respect in someone with no identity of their own. If you think who you are alone isn’t enough to keep a man, then you’re likely not meant to be together. A man should see you for face value and appreciate your person. If you don’t know what your face value is, you need to figure that out before you even think of entering a relationship. A man cannot love you if there's no real you.

35. Sit back and think about your succession of failed relationships. What did they have in common? Well, they likely all fall into the same category; and that is, these guys were all what you think you want in a man and what you think is attractive. The question you need to ask yourself is, if you are picking guys based on your idea of what you want in a man, and the relationships keep failing, maybe you don’t really know what you want at all; maybe your ideal is deluded. Maybe you need to step out of your comfort zone, and start looking at guys you wouldn’t normally even date. Challenge yourself to find attractive qualities in guys who’d never even get picked up by your radar. As someone once told me… If you keep crashing cars, at some point you have to stop blaming the car and start analyzing the driver's decision-making.

36. Do not live for your relationship. A relationship should be part of your life, but it does not define you. Do not let your identity just blend into a ‘we’. In a true, loving, equal relationship, you should never give up any fraction of who you are as an individual—and that works both ways. If you sacrifice your individuality to become part of a we, then you’re essentially sending the signal that you’re a doormat. You don’t value yourself enough to hold onto yourself. Nobody can love or respect someone with no self-value. If you find a guy who is like that; who wants to share all your dreams and all your interests and seemingly has none of his own, you know you're going to have a hard time respecting him because you will always be the dominant force in that relationship. That means the whole burden of the relationship and the decisions will be on you. There is nothing attractive about someone who gives their whole being over to another. It's lazy.

37. If your first instinct is; ‘okay, this guy is great, but I need to encourage him to make a few fundamental changes to make him better’, then you’re with the wrong guy. It’s as simple as that. You can’t change people. You can’t. You can affect habits, maybe, but essentials are not yours to mold. If you go in thinking you can terraform your partner into someone more suited to your preferences, you are deluded and your relationship is doomed. If you are looking at a man, and he needs changes in your eyes, then you’re looking at the wrong man, it’s as simple as that.

38. There is a place for romance, yes, but no relationship is perpetually cast in the soft, slightly blurred pastel-coloured filter of a romance movie. People still get acne, men fart, you get your period, you have tiffs and you get comfortable enough to pee with the door open. You just need to remember to 1) not internalize your resentments and issues, SPEAK, 2) listen to each other and make gestures to show you are still listening, 3) agree that you will occasionally disagree, and 4) work to always acknowledge your feelings for each other. Taking each other for granted is not good, and it is the worst thing you can do to your partner. Tell him how you feel, they need to hear it. Tell him you need him, they need to be strong and present and need to feel wanted just like we do. Just communicate—and not in long analytical rambles that will make their minds wander away. Just be forthright.

39. Finally, I'd like to share some very simple advice my aunt gave me which turned out to be so very, very true, that I cannot ignore it... You see, a woman’s instinct is everything, however our nature as women is to over-analyze as well, and often, we will over-think things and ignore our instincts… What it all boils down to is this; listen to your very core instinct the moment you meet someone. If there is a doubt… even a shade of doubt, then your instincts are telling you something. Don’t dismiss what your unconscious being is trying to tell you. If it’s a no, then go with the no. If you feel good, then you might be looking at Mr. Right, even if he’s NOTHING like your over-analytical, often unrealistic expectations.

Erin has one thing completely right… men do not think like women. Sometimes we overthinking females attribute all sorts of schemes and depth to a man’s motivations… the truth is, guys aren’t like that. You could imagine he’s tearing himself apart in an angst-filled emotional turmoil, when likely, what he’s really thinking is: ‘oh look… boobies. I’m hungry. She’s mad again…’. We’re analyzers, they’re problem solvers. They mistake our need to have someone listen to our woes as our seeking their advice on how to fix the problem… remember that next time you get mad at him for being insensitive. He’s not a woman.

And remember… nobody’s perfect. Not even you. We all make mistakes and misunderstand one another. Don’t ever enter a relationship with the idea that you will never be disappointed… you *will* be disappointed. That’s life. The test is how strong your bond is that will help you accept, forgive or overcome the little disappointments and keep your connection strong. That's what love is.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Obituary for Istvan P. Peteranecz

My father never got a newspaper obituary, so I figured I’d place one on here so at least there’s something for those who might be looking for it.
Portland, OR — Istvan Paul Peteranecz, 80, died Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at “A Mother’s Loving Touch” Hospice Care Facility in Damascus, Oregon.

He leaves his wife of 48 years, Myrta (Maldonado) Peteranecz (72); his sons, Istvan and John, three daughters, Helen, Anna and Stephanie, as well as four grandchildren.

Born and raised in Hungary, he immigrated to the US in 1956.

Mr. Peteranecz’s professional life brought him and his family to a variety of places throughout his lifetime, from Ohio to Colorado, to Massachusetts, to Belgium. He retired from MITRE Corporation in the early nineties, and settled down in New Hampshire. He passed away just after completing his move from New Hampshire to Oregon.

He worked as an electrical engineer, and his passions ranged from technical hobbies, such as building electronics and operating his HAM radio (call sign N1MPZ) to playing brass instruments and flying gliders. He also enjoyed golf and skiing.

No funeral service was held, as per his wishes. Instead, his daughters held a private memorial for him on May 15, 2010.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Happy Friday. Really.

It’s a happy Friday. Two office specials for you today… for some reason I was prolific with the sketching. They’re both odd… yes. But I have odd moments a lot. The first, I just wanted to draw a little girl holding a grizzly bear’s claw… it’s probably badly scaled… and I'm also aware that her legs and torso are disproportionately long... but what the hell… I drew it in ten minutes; cut me some slack.

The second is something that actually happened in the car when I was pretty little. I was always full of strange questions when I was petite, and often drove daddy and mom crazy with my seemingly random queries. Satan My mom had a few good moments here and there… an occasional sense of humour, I suppose. I remember trying for some time to get a close look at birds after that so I could see those little wellies; and was greatly dismayed when Daddy gave me a telescope for Christmas one year, and I used it to spy on some birds to discover them sans wellies. Lies! Injustice!

Man, the sun is beautiful today. This weekend is the weekend we are going to have a memorial for my father. We are having a little dinner/barbecue at my mother’s little rental home today as a sort of pre-memorial, and then tomorrow, we sisters will go up to Mount Hood and have our own special remembrance where Daddy loved to ski. Here’s a picture of him in 2002 at Timberline… He was 72.

That was the last time he skied. He took a couple of hard falls goofing around on the skis—attempting to mimic my sister’s telemark skiing on alpine skis. He didn’t want to ski after that, and it is when I am confident that my father sort of gave up. He became an old man from that point forward. The night before last, we were all in my living room, and we reflected on those ski-trips. They were the best times we ever had with Daddy. Every winter through our youth, we went to Switzerland, Austria, Germany... France… wherever there was an alp to ski on… it was something we did without mom, and daddy, without mom, was a completely different person. We always had major fun. Our best memories of daddy were from the ski-trips. He had such a graceful style on the slopes—he was an amazing skier.

I am looking forward to the weekend. It’s going to be hectic, and I don’t foresee us having a lot of time to ourselves… but I love spending time with my sisters, and I won’t be seeing them again very soon… so I’d like to take advantage of tomorrow. I wish wish wish for once, that we got together just for the sake of getting together. Why does it take this sort of thing for us to stand on the same ground?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sisterly healing

My sisters are here… Helen has been consigned to the little fold-out sofa-bed… and Anita is queen bee and got the guest/craft room. They showed up yesterday, spent most of the day cajoling Satan, and then came home to catch some Zs before their extensive shopping excursion today. My husband has been hubby-napped as I work; he’s been stolen to be used for furniture assembly and shopping bag portage; they will be hitting IKEA to get the rest of my mother’s furniture. You see, my mother hardly brought anything. One bed (?), two wing-back chairs, a coffee table with a broken marble top, a sideboard buffet, a small table, a smaller table, two cart thingies, four chairs and that’s it. $4,000 to ship that crap. We could have replaced all of that and then some… But hey… it’s Satan, what can we expect… Evil. Impractical evil.

Oh well… to IKEA they go. I’m curious to see what comes of it.

Daddy is resting in ashes on my sideboard in a cheap laminate box. I had a meltdown yesterday seeing him there. It’s just wrong to imagine that the whole of the person you once loved is reduced to ashes and put into a box. Incredibly wrong. I seem to be taking it the worst of all of us. My sisters are quite mellow and unemotional at the moment. In fact, it's been good that they are because I need some evenness around me. We had a chuckle or two since they got here… yes, it’s a subdued situation, but it is also important to laugh--and in our family, laughter has always been the primary survival tactic.

About eight years ago, my mother sent both my sister Anita and I a little resin dollar store Easter bunny figurine. It’s the cheesiest, tackiest piece of junk in the world. It’s along these lines in tackyness:

The one time my mother actually extended herself to send gifts, this is what she came up with. It had a little glitter ball on it, a white rabbit and inside the glitter ball a bee sat on resin flowers. Anita and I graciously thanked her for her treasures… and then the pranking began. We both tried to get rid of the bunny by giving them to each other at weird times. I was living with Nee then, so whenever she traveled (which she did a lot while I lived in her home), I would sneak the resin bunnies into her suitcases. I’d then get the inevitable phone-call about it from wherever she was, and she’d be giggling. Then she’d sneak it under my pillow, and when I moved, she snuck them into my packing boxes. When she moved to New York, we packed them into her stuff. She mailed them back with a care package; I mailed them to her with Christmas gifts… and so on. The bunnies (one disappeared) have seen more miles than your average person and has crossed this country so many times in eight years, I can't even keep track. The last time the bunny traveled, it came back to Oregon from Pensacola in a package with some shoes my sister sent me. The glitter-ball had shattered, and one ear was broken off. So over these past weeks, I’ve been carefully cleaning it of broken glass, and Tuesday night, I tucked it under my sister’s pillow.

Last night at bed-time, my smug face made her suspicious, and she found it, and called me names. We laughed about it heartily while Helen shouted for us to quiet down from the living room. Poor Dan is exposed to this abject silliness… but it is so therapeutic.

Now I need to get ‘hold of it before she does so I can cram it somewhere in her suitcase. The bunneh needs to go back to its rightful home.

In the meantime, I'm resolved to get back to normal blogging and to stop being such a Debbie Downer. Tonight I'm going to make my mother's infamous fried chicken. It's a fried chicken I have yet to see anyone else make.. no batter. I will try to blog it if I remember, along with some shots of my crazy sisters. :) I do wish sometimes we could all get together for something that *isn't* sad or obligatory... I wish I could just hang out with them for once without some crisis keeping us distracted. ::sigh:: I'm jealous that my hubby is with them at IKEA while I'm sitting here at a video store and coffee shop blogging while scarfing a burger. :( Boooo.

I made an office special today. It's rough, but I did it very quickly, sketched and inked in about fifteen minutes while I waited for our IT dept to call me. I coloured it w/photoshop on my little baby computer with simple select and opacity-layering... very fast. Anyway... it's a picture of sisters. And a dog. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Struggling for normality

I have vowed to myself that my next post was going to be one less dreary and sorrowful. So here I am, trying to be less dreary and sorrowful, and making a grand mess of it, to say the least. Today was my first normal day; so to speak. I came back to work to discover much to my shame and embarrassment that my coworker has been carrying me despite the disorganized shambles I’d left things in. My productivity and follow-through these past months has been shabby to say the least, thanks to all the family distractions, and I found my coworker still able to smile at me and not claw my face off. I feel about five inches tall, and it took everything for me not to fall onto myself blubbering out of utter humiliation.

But I confess; it was good to be back. I guess, if you spend eight hours a day with the same people, every day, that you sort of get used to being around them. I hadn’t been good about keeping them in the loop while I was away dealing with all this craziness… and I realized that oddly, I feel more at peace today. The sound of them puttering about their offices or of Sherry warming up her stroganoff… it was really unexpectedly comforting. I wanted to run into their offices and tell them I missed and loved them, but I didn’t because it’s weird.

My other co-worker Kris made the mistake of coming wordlessly into my office, and putting her arm around my neck. Any show of sympathy just makes me lose it. I am in this persistent state of fugue where I am at the precipice of tears—and the mere drop of a hat could set me off. I ended up blubbering on her; and it felt very nice, honestly. I’m not used to doing that… just being free with tears with people—but with these ladies, after five years in close quarters, I’m more comfortable doing it. Most of the time, I have this mindset that emotional outbursts are an imposition; and that it’s best to retrench and retreat when you feel it coming rather than soak someone’s shoulder. But in the past years, I’ve been learning otherwise. It felt good just to cry a bit. I’ve had some moments of weakness; but all mostly with my husband at the wee hours of the morning. Seeing how they and my boss were so understanding makes me want to cry all over again. I’m so lucky, and I don’t even know how to begin to thank them. I’ll think of some way. Especially to Sherry, who deserves cake and puppies for what she’s done.

I have the shakes today. Anxiety I’m guessing… I saw Tag on Saturday, but I am going to see him today. I felt myself sort of just forgetting on Saturday, and it was nice to just feel normal even for a little bit.

I’ve been sorting through family photos lately. My family was never one for documenting every moment of the family’s development and putting them on walls… in fact, I would be jealous of my friends whose homes had walls crammed full of photographed moments hanging in frames all over their house. We never did. But my family did have some albums of snapshots taken here and there. My youngest brother however, ever the Doctor Destructo of the family, got hold of them, and many photos were torn or destroyed with little to no intervention from the parental units. So back in the early nineties, when I was still living with them, I started taking pictures and trying to rescue them. My mother pitched a crazy-fit when she came to my house for the wedding and found out that I had all these pictures; but frankly, if I hadn’t taken them, they probably wouldn’t exist today.

This scrap was among some of the salvaged pictures… that’s Daddy in his signature orange boots and that’s me clinging to him in tears in sorrow that he might ski away. I loved my daddy. I still do.

Monday, when we were at the funeral home looking at urns, they had a casket showroom. They had this casket displayed, the top door open, with a military uniform draped over the silken padding, and the uniform’s hat propped on the closed bottom half. I felt faint and nauseous the moment I saw it. My knees went weak and I had to go sit down. I felt as if there was something horrible about displaying the whole thing like a Sears retail display… Your loved one could be here! I nearly barfed.

Luckily, Hubby was there. He's always been here, through all of this. I am glad to finally be doing things that feel normal... my sisters arrive this afternoon, so it won't be normal for quite a while... but there's comfort in the familiarity of work. Hopefully I'll be able to focus a bit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Letting go is, simply put, not anything close to moving on...

My dad, crawling with dogs.

My father passed away less than two hours ago. Seeing how horrible he looked these past few days, I have a strange sense of relief for him--even through the painful ache of tears pressing on my eyes as I try to keep it together long enough to tell family and help make arrangements.

Last week, when I was sitting in his hospital room, I decided to write down the things I loved most about him. Here they are... it's not even close to summarizing who my father was... but it is a start. I have to go now.
  • Whenever he got excited about something, his bushy brows would arch up, his eyes would glisten and he’d wring his hands in delight.
  • His laughter was ebullient and raucous.
  • When he talked about flying, he could barely contain his passion. It would simmer just below the surface as he described the experience. On commercial flights, an unconscious grin would spread across his face on takeoff, and he always leaned into it with bright eyes.
  • His hands, knuckly and dexterous, always moved with a mechanical precision when he was working on something.
  • Methodical and precise, he did nothing without thorough process and analysis. I often wonder how I came from that, because I am as fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants as they come.
  • He built HeathKits and other tech. I would sit with him on ‘doodad-duty’ separating all the little tiny resistors by colour and handing him each appropriate one as needed. The smell of solder always brings thoughts of Daddy to me.
  • His affection was awkward and harumphy, but it was there nonetheless.
  • He loved chess and technology; he liked to watch boring things like C-Span and Snooker—and he hated Fox News with a passion—saying it was drivel for the ignorant. He loved to fly; and missed it a lot. He would play the Microsoft Flight Simulator, and also played a simulated air tower control game. He spent hours on the HAM radio every weekend rattling away in Hungarian to his circle of friends all over the country—the transmissions interfering with phone and TV; infuriating everyone. He also loved Links LS golf.
  • He played a number of brass instruments very badly—accompanied by howling dogs. His passion for music frustrated him; because he never could play as beautifully as he wished he could.
  • His whistle was amazing; a powerful trill, always perfectly on key, with vibrato.
  • He ate apples as if they were ambrosia of the gods. He devoured every bit of it, except the stem. The seeds, he would set aside as he ate, and when the apple was gone, he’d carefully strip the seeds of their papery shell, and nibble each seed with relish.
  • He always protested about being served too much food—but his plate was always spotless in the end.
  • He loved crunchy things—and he passed this onto us; making crunchy-nabbing a competitive sport in our household.
  • A gift of pistachios would last forever… he’d winnow the ferreted stash down 5-6 nuts at a time.
  • He was a notorious book thief. You could never leave a book anywhere, even if you were in the middle of reading it, because it would vanish, and you’d discover him three chapters in and unwilling to relinquish it until he was done.
  • He loved British humour. Fawlty Towers, Monty Python, Not The Nine-O’Clock’News; he also loved James Herriot books, and I, Claudius and other BBC dramas. We spent a lot of time watching BBC 1 and Open University on BBC2.
  • He ate bread with just about everything, even fruit.
  • His sweet tooth was one to be rivaled. He loved cake.
  • He would eat in snippets, all day, roving and munching, crinkling plastic and eating off of dessert plates.
  • He loved classical music, and hence we all do now.
  • Loved BBC World Radio and NPR.
  • Could hold a conversation in Morse code.
  • Was an excellent driver.
  • He shuffled in his slippers.
  • He could beat the computer at chess.
  • His eyes would well up when he heard the Hungarian Anthem.
  • Was a tremendous skier. He was skiing on Mount Hood when he was 72. He had these super-long skis and his trademark orange boots… whenever he came to visit Oregon, they were duly packaged up and hauled along, because he could never come to Oregon without hitting the Mile.
  • Wrote computer programs and applications well into his seventies. Was an avid computer geek, something he and I shared for years.
  • Looked at the world through the eyes of an engineer. Meticulous problem solver.
  • Extremely intelligent; almost to a fault.
  • Always homesick for Hungary.

Istvan P. Peteranecz
March 8, 1930 – May 5, 2010
Goodbye Daddy. I miss you.


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