Year 2

Two years ago today we lost my brother in law James. Even though it has been two years, and in many ways time has taken the sharp edges off my feelings, I’m still keenly aware of the hole in our lives and of my ongoing sadness and anger.

As we did last year, we just finished spending several days with his children. His daughter Ashley continues to take after her fearless father. She’s smart and sarcastic, courageous and she has his wicked sense of humor. His son Evyn is warm and sweet, and mischievous all at the same time.

They both talk about their father quite a bit, and I can’t even begin to imagine the gaping rift that their father’s departure has left in their life. It is heartwarming and comforting to me that they can have just a fraction of that relationship with Wes and I hope that they can find some solace in spending time with him.

A little shameless family promotion.

Although I think I mentioned it briefly in a few entries a while ago my father published a book. He emailed me this morning to let me know that it’s now available in Kindle format and soon will be available for the Nook as well!

Spacebraid and Other Tales of a Dystopian Universe is a collection of stories that includes one science fiction novella and seven tales of fantasy and horror written by my father and features cover art by my talented sister.

From Amazon:

The novella, “Spacebraid”, is the story of a dedicated and brilliant group of individuals who attempt to time travel beyond the death throes of a ravaged planet to make a fresh start in a cleansed world. Issues of environmentalism, politics, and human relations all come together to create a compelling tale of hope for a better future. In the realm of fantasy, “The Thing that Came Out” is a whimsical take on the theme of alien encounter. When it comes to horror, “Final Discretion” is a chilling tale with an ending to stimulate the reader’s imagination. These and the other stories in the collection, beyond simply being engaging yarns, deal in varying ways with the common themes of human interdependence, love, and the need to belong and survive in hostile worlds.

I’m probably biased but I think it’s a wonderful read, so if you’re into science fiction, check it out!

Surreal.

Yesterday night I rocked a 6 week old baby to sleep. She was tiny and perfect and smelled like a new baby.

This morning I sat in a tiny chapel in Tulsa, Oklahoma next to real live cowboys.

Then we drove home under a gorgeous blue sky, broken up by microbursts of rain and hail.

It’s a strange, strange life that I never imagined and am so lucky to have.

525,600 minutes

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

- Rent, “Seasons of Love”

One year ago today my brother in law left us forever. There are so many moments from this past year that I wish I could capture for him. I’m still so sad and angry that he has missed this year of life, and all the ones to come.

We just spent a week with his children.  His beautiful fearless daughter who is already a young woman with his daring spirit.  His charming rambunctious son who would melt your heart even as he’s putting one over on you. They are surviving and thriving, but I know they have missed him every minute of this year.

My mother in law is hands down the strongest woman I know, and has weathered this year with grace. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for her.  And Wes, I know he has felt this loss keenly, and I feel so badly that there is nothing I can do to make it better for him.

We will always miss him, but I can only hope that the next 525,600 minutes will give us more moments to cherish and fewer of pain.

California Dreamin’

This weekend Wes and I hopped a plane and headed for California to celebrate my cousin’s bar mitzvah. It was a really fabulous weekend complete with good food, good company and lots of laughs.

We flew in to John Wayne airport on Friday morning and headed down to San Diego to meet the family. Along the way we ate lunch in San Juan Capistrano, narrowly missing the Return of the Swallows. After living in the Midwest for several years I forgot what it was like to walk around an urban area and see fruit trees everywhere.

We had lunch at Sarducci’s Capistrano Depot and watched the trains go by (we were told they get 88 trains a day!)

Then it was down to Encinitas for Friday night Shabbat services and dinner with the extended family.

Saturday was the big day. We got up early and headed over to temple for the Bar Mitzvah. The day was mild and my cousin did a great job. This photo was taken the next day, but here he is meeting one of his new cousins.

The rest of the weekend was spent wandering Encinitas, eating good food and catching up with family we only get to see every once in a while.

There was a bit of goofing off:

Lots of time for the cousins to catch up:

And a cutie pie to snorgle:

There was even a bit of yarn tourism at The Black Sheep – a cousin and I went off in search of fibery goodness and were not disappointed. The store is beautiful and stocked floor to ceiling!

Unfortunately, after a weekend of fun we had to head back home. We got in late last night and returned to work today, and laundry and sundry chores this evening.

Let’s talk turkey.

We are now less than a week from my FAVORITE family holiday. Growing up Jewish meant that the big family holiday was Thanksgiving, a tradition we continue today. Now my sister and I both celebrate Christmas with our husbands’ families, but Thanksgiving is still the big WOLF holiday.

This is the time of year that visions of pumpkin casserole and Grandma Ruthie’s homemade stuffing and of course that chocolate cherry Bonnie Maziotta cake dance in my head.  Where we make the stuffing on Wednesday night and then on Thursday I put the mashed potatoes through the Foley food mill, and the little sis stirs the gravy. And we eat too much and talk and laugh.

It’s also the time of year I’m thankful: thankful for my family and most especially my wonderful husband, thankful that we all have good jobs and roofs over heads and plenty to eat, thankful that we’re healthy and happy and have survived another year.

The only problem is that this year I may have to go naked at Thanksgiving because I’ve been concentrating on what knitting projects I’m going to take. The yarn and patterns and implements are all packed, but nary a stitch of clothing. This is normal right?

In memoriam.

James Allen Cameron
May 16, 1974 – April 17, 2011

We will love you and miss you forever.

I will always remember your wicked sense of humor,

your smile, and your toast to your big brother at our wedding.

The world just won’t be the same without you.

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