Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Things Are Looking Up

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Just a quick base touch to express my appreciation for all the kind words and advice that’s come in.

Good news: I’m feeling 100% better physically. And even better: I’ve been bolstered emotionally by my daughter agreeing to get together Sunday with me for a chat.

Mentally & Physically Taxing

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

As you probably know if you’ve been reading my writingz with any regularity across the eight — count-em: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 — years that I’ve been a-bloggin’, I’m pretty much an open book. For gooder or badder I have little issue with sharing the highs, the lows and I’m pretty frank about my joys and my pains.

Before the post came down, I don’t know how many of you (beyond my friends Ted and Annika whose supportive comments I greatly appreciated) found what I wrote Tuesday morning relating the mindblowingly bombshell news passed on to me by my 19-year-old daughter Monday afternoon via email that I am now a grandfather to a five-week-old baby boy.

While I spent some three hours that night crafting a careful response to her email, the next morning with aggravation and frustration set in I blogged my lack of enthusiasm at the revelation on several levels. Upon my daughter subsequently reading it, not surprisingly she found my feelings and opinions unallowable and intolerable and expressed as such in the comments.

Following an even more defensive follow-up email from her I volunteered to remove the post that same day, not because I felt it was in any way wrong to write, but in the interest of placating her. The attempt was to no avail. She’s ignored my last two emails and has made it clear that I am once again unworthy a place in her life or of anything but her disdain and disrespect.

Her rejections are heartbreaking and defeating, but I’ll never accept them and will always be ready to work together with her to put the past behind us and get to a future where we can be the dynamic duo we could be and should be. But until she wants that too and finds that strength to put down the old and take that journey forward with me to the new, I will always be an easy target and a person conveniently disposable and irrelevant to her. That’s something I can never accept.

So until that wonderful day I always hope for where we agree to move forward together, we can only disagree to stay apart.

But that ain’t all folks! In addition, manifesting itself suddenly on the bike ride home from work after being runover by that news Monday night was the bonus onset of a weird illness — thankfully not swine flu, more stomach-centered. In the two days since I’ve had lingering low body temps down in the 95s and flash fevers beyond 101 (one broke last night jolting me completely out of bed at 11:30 in a literal pool of sweat that reminded me of the scene in the Genesis “Land of Confusion” video when the Ronnie doll drowns in his own sea of perspiration.

ronnie-copy

Pretty much anything I’ve eaten this last couple days give me head and back aches and I won’t even go into the troubles down below. And I’m so fatigued that even standing up for short periods wears me down. I should go to the doc’s but I’m too weak, and at least the symptoms aren’t getting any worse (or pig-flu related).

Susan sees it as partially daughter-related.

Disappointmentland

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Forty years ago this summer my Aunt Frieda, Uncle Jack and cousins Margaret, Laura and Allan came out to visit my mom and me from Chattanooga, Tennessee. We were living in a two-bedroom apartment in a building on the corner of Hamilton Drive and Gregory Way in Beverly Hills, and being 5 years old I could not tell you how we housed everybody — but that’s not important.

What’s important is that the high point of their visit included my very first trip to Disneyland. Being that there was no internet and my social network was a couple neighborhood kids, plus I couldn’t do that whole reading thing with any consistency yet, I can only guess that I learned of the park’s newest attraction — The Haunted Mansion — via TV commercials, but however it branded itself on my brain it quickly became my entire reason for being on this planet as a human being.

On the big day I could barely contain myself, and we drove down to Anaheim in style with mom renting a 1969 black Impala convertible to tranport all seven of us.

I won’t beat around the bush with all the other rides we went on first and all the wonder and happiness I experienced, because honestly I don’t remember anything accept maybe a bit of Autopia and the submarine ride. Anything else fun that happened got cloaked because when we arrived at the awesome house to finally fulfill my dream of going on the ride I’d been dying to do there was a sign on the entrance: CLOSED. For what? I don’t know. Probably to work some kinks out as it had only been open a short while.

I can’t quantify the devastation I felt there at what’s purported to be the Happiest Place On Earth. I literally thought this had been my One Shot and I was never ever ever going to get another chance to go to Disneyland or ride The Haunted Mansion. Ever again.

When you’re 5 there’s no tomorrow, only Tomorrowland. And  it would be three more years of tomorrows before I returned and finally got a chance to fulfill my long-denied amusement park destiny.

Fast forward to this morning and I’m up at this insane hour because Susan and I are going to do our second-annual Super Bowl-Day Disneyland run. Last year was my first time back in 22 years and I fell in love with the place all over again. The only bummer for me was the Jungle Cruise was closed for long-term refurbishment (It’s A Small World was also shuttered, but that was more Susan’s disappointment than mine). Wondering what might be down for this visit, Susan and I looked online but we couldn’t find any info. Then this morning after I Twittered prior to bedtime about today’s excursion my friend David Markland tweeted back about the status of The Haunted Mansion, and it wasn’t good.

Indeed, I found the right webpage and confirmed that on the 40th anniversary year of its arrival and the 40th anniversary year of me learning about disappointment because of it, The Haunted Mansion won’t be looking for its 1000th resident today. Kinda bummed, but it’s kinda appropriate.

A Treasured Chest

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

chest

It’s pretty much taken most of my life for my mother to gain position possession of the trunk pictured above that’s been in her family she thinks since perhaps as far back as when they came to this country from Wales, whenever the heck that may have been.

Seriously, my mom wanting this thing and my aunt Frieda for whatever reason not getting it to her has been a contentious and ongoing issue between the two going back to when I first learned about it when I was something like 7 years old.

I may have the story all wrong, but I believe it passed from my mother’s grandparents to her aunt Nell who wanted my mother to have it when she passed. But that never happened in part because my mother had come to California after college and so my Aunt Frieda accepted it on her wayward sister’s behalf.

At various points in my life, my mom would grouse and fume about Frieda never sending it to her, and however it came about, my aunt finally shipped the trunk out to her a year or so ago, where it’s since sat taking up space in the spare bedroom of my mother’s apartment, and while happy to finally have it she’s been grousing about it’s poor condition and threatening to spend waaaaay too much money restoring it.

Seeing as it may be somewhere around 150 years old (or more), I think it looks great.

And the reason Susan and I suddenly now have it is because mom’s looking to do something with the tiny spare room and she very well can’t with this monster gobbling up most of its space. No kidding: the thing’s almost as tall as it is close to four feet wide! So on New Year’s Day yesterday after getting our fill of her traditional meal of “hoppin’ john” while watching the Rose Bowl, I wrestled this thing out of her apartment and into the truck and home, where it now resides in the basement for the time being — at least until my mom wants it returned or we find a place for it in the house once our renovations are completed later this year.

You can bet should mom say bring it back, I’ll get it over there without delay!

Trains

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Lingering thoughts of last week’s Metrolink disaster remind me of a story my mother told me about my grandfather, William Douglas Dill, who for most of his life was an engineer with the Southern Railway company.

There’d been an accident in the Sheffield railyard where he worked — the closest of the railway’s yards to where he lived outside of Carbon Hill in Walker County. An ALCo Ps-4 steam locomotive coming off the line to the roundhouse for fueling and servicing derailed, rupturing its boiler and pinning a repairman name of Elam in such away that the scalding water was pouring directly on him and there was no way to stop the stream or divert it. Being burned by the steady flow of boiling water Elam was obviously in a ridiculous amount of pain, and in the frantic and failed attempts to raise the locomotive and free him, it quickly became clear to everyone present — including Elam — that he was doomed and there were two options: let the water kill him slowly or let a bullet.

Of course no one volunteered for the duty. But Elam who lived in Jasper near to Carbon Hill was a friend of my grandfather William Douglas Dill who for most of his life was an engineer with the Southern Railway company and who wouldn’t stand to see his friend Elam’s suffering prolonged. Even if it meant anguish for being the one to end it.

Stepping through the solemn crowd of railway workers and withdrawing the long-barreled revolver he always carried holstered on his hip, he got beside the overturned steam locomotive and knelt down to where he could look his friend Elam in the eye and get a clear shot. My grandfather William Douglas Dill who for most of his life was an engineer with the Southern Railway company told his friend Elam he was sorry it had come to this, and Elam told his friend William it was all right. Then Elam asked for him to waste no more time relieving him of his suffering and my grandfather did not.

I never met my grandfather William Douglas Dill, who for most of his life was an engineer with the Southern Railway company, and who died at the age of 74, the year before I was born.

On December 2, 1912, My Great Grandfather William Douglas Sims Bought A Gordon Pipe for $2 From A.S. Scott

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

I know this because I am keeper of both the receipt and the pipecase (and a really crappy scanner):

Catching Up Is Hard To Do

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Been a bit dormant here the last couple days. Sorry ’bout that. I’m happy to report that my “Ride of a Lifetime” ended up being a 70-mile affair and when I got home pretty much the only thing I did was play catch with the dog, drink a couple tall Pabstsesses and watch the clock drawing to the time when I had to get cleaned up, suited and over to Granada Hills High School for my daughter’s graduation yesterday evening.

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Both the outrageous birthday bike trek and my Katie’s awesome achievement have left me in a bit of a proud and contemplative state of solitude, but yesterday in between beers I did manage to upload a buncha photos of the pedaling portion of the day here on Flickr, with links to photos of the specific places on the list:

  1. Good Samaritan Hospital, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles (May 29, 1964)
  2. S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills ( – 1966?)
  3. Westminster Avenue, Los Angeles (1966? – 1970?)
  4. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1970? – 1972)
  5. S. Tower Drive, Beverly Hills (1972 – 1974)
  6. Holly Drive, Hollywood (1974 – 1977)
  7. S. Wilton Place, Hollywood (1977 – 1979)
  8. S. Hamilton Drive, Beverly Hills (1979 – 1983)
  9. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1983 – 1984)
  10. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1984 – 1986)
  11. Fulton Avenue, Van Nuys (1986 – 1988)
  12. W. Tujunga Avenue, Burbank (1988 – 1990)
  13. Verdugo Avenue, Glassell Park (1990 – 1990)
  14. E. Palmer Avenue, Glendale (1990 – 1991)
  15. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys (1991 – 1991)
  16. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (1991 – 1994)
  17. Murietta Avenue, Van Nuys, (1994 – 1994)
  18. Seabury Lane, Beverly Glen (1994 – 1995)
  19. Burbank Boulevard, Encino (1995 – 2001)
  20. Beverly Glen Boulevard, Sherman Oaks (2001 – 2003)
  21. Del Mar Avenue, Silver Lake (2003 – 2004)
  22. N. Occidental Boulevard, Silver Lake (2004 – )

And this morning I got around to building a rough-n-ready composite of the narrative video clips I captured at various points along the bike route the way and foisted it onto YouTube: