Christmas Gifts

The big and emotional gift we received today was a frame of photos of our family. Our children went through printed photo albums and our digital collection, to find photos, starting with one of Elizabeth and me in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, through with them growing up. It brought a tear to my eye.

One of the humor gifts is that I had an IOU to give my oldest daughter. I created a certificate using a MS Word template. I considered putting it in an envelope, the envelope in a box, and wrapping it. Middle daughter suggested rolling and tying with a ribbon. Next was rolling and putting it in a tube. We had a tube from a paper towel roll. It fit perfectly, but was plain. I put it in a half-used roll, but that seemed odd. I took an unopened roll, slit the bottom, placed the paper inside the tube, and middle daughter, who is an excellent, highly skilled wrapper, wrapped that.

Oldest daughter was excited to see the package, but disappointed upon opening it, since it was just a roll of paper towels, and these rolls are stored outside her door. It seemed an odd gift, and she thought she could put it in her hope chest to start her new home with one roll. It was about an hour before I had her flip the roll over and look in the bottom.

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Birthday Girl

My daughter Kassidy enters the double digits today, born ten years ago. It is so nice to see her, healthy, active, and physically able to do what she wants. That is not how it started out, with a complicated pregnancy, her mother on bed rest for months just trying to keep her alive, and then after her birth, Kassidy spent three months in hospital, on oxygen for 89 days. You can read her story of the complicated pregnancy and birth on her website, Kassidy’s Story.

I did not finish the story after the birth. It was therapeutic to write at the time. We were busy with so much, spending so much time at the hospital, and looking after the rest of the family, though her sister became an excellent cook when she tired of the monotony of my famous dish of chicken thighs, potatoes and carrots.

The prognosis for most of Kassidy’s early life was bleak. We were warned that if she lived, she could be sickly, require oxygen at home, would have asthma or other lung conditions, or could be severely physically disabled.

She made it through all that, and her five bouts of pneumonia. She has no lingering lung or physical health issues, and is very bright, an excellent speller and grammarian, and loves nature and being in her garden.

Kassidy is a testament to perseverance in the face of adversity, and to keep up hope, to keep trying, to be optimistic, and to recall the Stockdale Paradox.

Richard Matheson

I heard Richard Matheson died two days ago, June 23, 2013, at the age of 87. He was quite the author. My first exposure to his work was when I read his short story Born of Man and Woman when I was around 10. It was in a collection, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. What a story! So short, so many questions left unanswered. That was his first short story.

He went on to write so many stories, and screenplays, with some excellent ones being:

He was such a prolific writer and monumentally influential that his stories will probably be retold for centuries.

Noreen Louise O’Hara

My cousin Noreen died on November 22, 2008 at 3:45 am at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, exactly three years ago today. It was two weeks after her 42nd birthday. At her funeral, a small funeral at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Chilliwack, after her brothers spoke, I said these words. They are based on notes I read from my BlackBerry. Her brothers thought that was appropriate, because when Noreen was in the hospital, I would visit her and afterwards, write and email a report for them. (more…)

Aunt Marie

I received sad news today, on the passing of my Aunt Marie, Mary Segatore. (more…)