Tag Archives: Jeremy

emotions

The cycles of emotion are strange. I know I’m more likely to get weepy when I’m tired but it still comes on me at times when I do not expect it.

Friday morning I came into Davies Hall to go to work. Past the guard station and down the hallway by the orchestra managers’ offices are the bulletin boards with the lists of who is playing what in the weeks to come. I almost always stop and look to see if Sarah’s name is on the lists. I knew she was playing this week.

Her name was on for the next two sets and as I walked alone down the backstage hallway I found I was tearing up. Why now? She’s been working pretty regularly so it’s not really a huge surprise. It just happened.

Sometimes when I’m talking with Jeremy and he tells me about how busy he is trying to establish himself in a new home and still be a good husband and father I get choked up. Not all the time, just sometimes. Strange are the cycles of emotion.

The SoundBox set last week included a group of short compositions that were pretty unstructured. For the dress rehearsal Friday, the last piece had the 20 or so orchestra members scattered around the SoundBox space. There were a few moments of silence and then they started to play slowly, each musician listening to the space around them and contributing their feelings in sound. For no reason I could identify, I began crying. Although I was sitting off to the side I wondered if people were looking at me. I didn’t move but I tried not to make a sound. I kept saying to myself, ‘Oh, Zach. Oh, my Z.’ over and over. I wanted to let the emotions flow but I was also a professional on the clock. The ethereal music went on for three or four minutes then morphed into a louder, more rhythmic pattern. By the time it ended, I was still teary but under control and I went back to work. No one said anything to me about it.

Jeremy

Jeremy posted on FaceBook yesterday. I didn’t see it until this morning but I thought it was worthy of sharing here as well.

For those who don’t know, Jeremy has been working as a basketball referee for a few years now. He’s been working his way up and has been doing some college games this year. These games from yesterday are high school games, though. I particularly like how this post shows, in clear and concise writing, Jeremy’s calm, professional attitude and work ethic without losing sight of the best that team sports can offer.

Just completed a span of a little more than 24 hours where I officiated:
-A competitive girls JV game where both teams played full-court pressure.
– A girls varsity game for the ages that went to overtime. On the short list of greatest basketball games I’ve ever been a part of.
– A relatively humdrum boys varsity game
– A competitive boys C-team game that came down to a last-second shot
– Competitive girls varsity game
– And in the finale, a tough boys varsity game whose final 30 seconds featured an intentional foul, three made free throws, a made three at the other end, an unforced turnover by the leading team giving the visitors the ball with a shot for the tie, said shot missed, home team rebounds and gets fouled, makes the first FT then misses the second (they’re up by 3 now), shooter crashes in and fouls on a rebound just before time expires, team that’s trailing gets two FT (after we put .5 back on the clock), makes the first FT and purposely misses the second, shooter commits a lane violation and the clock is inadvertently started so we have to put time back again, and finally we’re able to inbound and dribble out that last half-second and go home. I am one tired puppy and ready for date day tomorrow.

tea

I had to look it up. It was Christmas 2011. Zach had moved from Oregon to Louisiana the summer before. Sarah had started her doctorate program in Colorado. Jeremy and Ashley had moved into their own home. I was starting to get back on my feet after the economic disaster of 2008 and 2009.

I don’t remember if I helped to finance, or if I suggested it, but with all five of us in one place at the same time, I wanted to get a nice picture of all of us. Ashley’s brother Ryan had a nice camera and generously agreed to take some pictures. there are a bunch of good ones, but this is the one I picked today:

But back to tea. For a Christmas present, my children got together and gave me a teapot and some tea. I don’t know why exactly. I had not been a tea drinker. I didn’t (still don’t) drink coffee. I had become a fan of caffeine over the years when I discovered it helped with my headaches but I had never thought about getting it via liquids.

OK, I have a teapot now. When I got home, I started trying out the teas that had come with the teapot. Eventually, I developed some knowledge of what I liked. The next year for Christmas, Zach sent me a huge assortment of teas. Here’s my kitchen cabinet after they arrived:

I’ve got some nice glass containers now but otherwise the cabinet looks much the same. I keep lots of different teas and drink whatever feels right at the moment. I have some loose leaf teas but use tea bags most of the time.

I thought of all of this last night when I was at the grocery store getting milk. I always go down the tea aisle, even when I have plenty of tea. I guess I look for stuff on sale. At this point I know what stores have what teas so there aren’t many surprises.

What struck me last night was that the Stash tea was about the cheapest tea there. Stash was the brand of the assortment that Zach had sent me and I thought it was pretty good. It’s an Oregon company so I thought there was some angle for him there. They have lots of teas so I was able to try lots of different flavors.

Today was Oolong. Thinking of you, Zach.

Rosalie and me

Jeremy and Ashley left this morning for a little over 24 hours together on Bainbridge Island to celebrate their 10th anniversary. I’m staying home with Rosalie. This morning after some warm up exercises in coloring and puzzle making, I got her out to the Reptile Zoo in Monroe, about a half hour from here.

It was very nice. Unpretentious, but with a wide variety of reptiles including an albino alligator and a two-headed turtle that they feature in their advertising. They brought out a boa and let all the kids hold it and feel it move.

We came home for lunch and not long after that, the neighbor girl, Emma, came over. Grandpa faded from the picture at light speed. Except for fixing the Ply-Doh extruder, I was invisible. Well, they did enjoy serving me delicacies cooked up with the Play-Doh. Then they went over to Emma’s and I’ve been sitting here in the empty house for an hour reading TalkBass.

The sun came out while we were at the Reptile Zoo and the afternoon was bright but cool. We might have hit 50 degrees, but the sun went down at 4:30 and now it’s getting dark. I’ll go get Rosalie in a minute . . .

outside and inside

Yesterday was outside. After dropping Jeremy off in Preston, I decided to try a different way back home. I was also trying to find some large-ish stores on the way. After my success fixing Mom’s Town and Country last month, I wanted to fix Ashley’s Nissan SUV that had the same problem. The other issue was some blinds in the window next to Jeremy’s computer. He told me that they wouldn’t release and when the sun was out, as it was Monday morning, the computer screen was very hard to see. I took measurements but didn’t write them down.

Going through Issaquah, I spotted a Home Depot so I went in and looked at blinds. As soon as I was confronted with the enormous selection there, I forgot the dimensions that I had measured. What a yutz!

Next I stopped at a car parts store in Redmond. They tried to tell me the struts for that car were different on each side and $70 apiece. Umm, I had looked at them the night before and I was pretty sure they were essentially the same as the T&C. Pass.

OK, just go home. I measured the blinds again and this time wrote the numbers down. Duvall had a car parts store so I went there. They had the pair – each side the same – for around $60. They wouldn’t be in until the next day but that was ok since I didn’t have Ashley’s car anyway. The nearest Home Depot or other large hardware store was at least a half hour away so I decided to wait and went back home for lunch.

After lunch, I took down the blinds to see if I could figure out what was wrong with them. After a little bit of fiddling while watching the mechanism, I discovered that these blinds are very sensitive to their horizontal positioning. Once set flat, they go up and down as pretty as you please. That evening, I found out that the blinds in Ashley and Jeremy’s bedroom had the same problem and the same fix. No more worries about the neighbors bright light shining into their bedroom at night!

On the way back to pick up Jeremy in the evening, I left a little early and went to a music store – not Guitar Center! – in downtown Issaquah. It was nothing special, but the downtown was nice: newer but not mass-produced shops along a Main street. Too bad it was jammed with cars at this hour (6 pm).

Today was more inside, although Rosalie and I started outside after dropping Ashley off at work. We went down to Snoqualmie Falls. The big news there was not the amount of water going over the falls, but the wind blowing over the ridge. 40 or 50 mph gusts were pushing us down the path. We were well bundled up so not cold but not comfortable either. The temperature was in the high 40s.

Here’s Rosalie putting a brave face on it:

We came home via the car parts store and enjoyed the mild, non windy air at home. I put the new struts on Ahley’s car and Rosalie and I played around the house. We even raked some leaves!

For all that, it seemed like an inside day as we spent the afternoon in the house. Puzzles, dolls and drawing were the bulk of the activities. After Mommy and Daddy came home we all went out for pizza and a skillet cookie in Carnation.

Mt Rainier

Driving with Jeremy to his work yesterday – I did it so I could have a car during the day – he pointed out Mt Rainier ahead of us, looming on the horizon in the gray skies. He said it looks different every time he sees it. He told me of a place not far away where on a clear day, one can see Rainier to the south and Mt Baker to the north. He wanted mountains and he got them!

To the east are the Cascades. They’re not as dramatic as Rainier but they’re closer and at around 8 or 9,000 feet elevation, they’re pretty dramatic in their own way. We got a good look at them Monday afternoon.

Washington

<Edited Nov 7 to add pictures.> The end of day two of my trip to Washington. It’s been pretty eventful so far. Yesterday when I got to the luggage carrel at Sea-Tac and looked out the window, I saw fat flakes of snow gently falling down. Going through the door to the outside was a shock to this Bay Area boy. Cold, cold, cold!

But Ashley was right there within a couple of minutes and the car was nice and warm. I was in such a hurry to get in the car that I didn’t think of sitting in my usual spot next to Rosalie in the back. That meant I couldn’t really see her unless I twisted myself completely around. That’s not practical at my advanced age but we talked and had fun grabbing shoes. I commented that she can really reach the seat in front much more easily than before. She’s very tall for an almost 5 year old. Ashley said there were two things on Rosalie’s agenda for Grandpa: puzzles, and tickling. We can do that!

After lunch, we did puzzles for a while at first but tickling did ensue eventually.

About 5, we headed out for Jeremy’s Fire Academy graduation. It was held in a hotel in Issaquah. There were all the usual graduation accoutrements: bagpipers, a color guard, a chaplain and lengthy speeches. Various awards were given to high achievers. Each graduate had a family member come up to pin the badge on him or her. (There were two woman graduates out of 21 total.)

When Jeremy’s name was called, Ashley went up with Rosalie. Jeremy, who had been stern all evening, picked up Rosalie with a huge smile on his face and held her while Ashley pinned him. Then they all turned to the audience and got their picture taken. Rosalie was somewhat distracted in Daddy’s arms but the instant she realized her picture was being taken, she turned on a huge smile. That generated a laugh from the audience.

After the pinning was complete, three of the graduates made presentations. One was Jeremy, who spoke of his time in the Atlanta Fire Department and the illness of Atlanta firefighter Frank Martinez. Frank reached out to Jeremy in November 2015 when Jeremy needed people to cover shifts while he was with us all in Louisiana. Frank was very sick at that time and couldn’t do the work, but did it in a gesture of solidarity. Jeremy drew the comparison with that solidarity and the group he was graduating into. He also commented that Frank almost certainly got cancer from poisonous substance exposure on the job and his goal was to reduce those exposures among firefighters.

Rosalie was sitting in my lap at that point and tears rolled down my face during his talk. I wanted to just hug Rosalie instead of wiping my face.

Afterwards, many more pictures were taken and we met some of Jeremy’s academy colleagues before heading out for a late dinner.

Today was very quiet. It was chilly and foggy early in the morning but by around 10 it was lifting and by lunchtime the sun was shining.These are out the back door window:

Jeremy slept in and Rosalie and I played with dolls, did puzzles, colored in her coloring book, read books . . . and tickled. After lunch, we went for a bike ride around the neighborhood. The temperature was around 45 but no wind. It was very pleasant in the sunshine. Several houses had the remains of snowmen still extant.

Rosalie experimented with the icy remains of the snow in the puddle in front of the house. Later we went to a local park where we walked across the Tolt River on a footbridge, admired the Cascades lit up by the setting sun, and played in the play area. Rosalie made ice cream from the bits of grass and wood chips there.

Tonight we all had dinner together and made our plans for the next three days. Ashley had a new living room light delivered today and it had a fantastic box for imaginative girls. Who could that be?

voice mail

My nephew Danny is planning a family get together this weekend at his house in Lincoln. Us Bay Area folks are planning on going but there are questions about who is staying overnight, how we can car pool, etc. Mom sent me an email yesterday with a bunch of things on it so rather than responding in kind, I called her. They didn’t answer, so I left a message.

I got no response until I checked my email this morning. She said she tried to call but my email was full. Full? What have I got stored . . .? Oh.

So, here’s my story. I save certain voice mails from my kids. The ones that seem indicative of milestones. I usually transfer them to my hard drive and take them off my phone to avoid just the problem that I now have but the last one I got from Zach and the anguished calls from Jeremy and Mom that awful night are still there. I just checked and I did transfer them but I didn’t erase them from my phone. There are a few other, more recent ones, saved.

It’s funny, I only had to hear the first couple of seconds of each one of those to bring it all back this morning. I didn’t get much work done for a while after that. Luckily, the theatre was dark and hardly anyone was around.

For months I was sure I had a early November voice mail message from Zach talking about his upcoming trip to California with Emily. When I finally went through them carefully, it wasn’t there. I guess I erased it by mistake somewhere along the line. Here’s the last one I have, from the summer before.

more on goals

My follow up session with Linda was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon so I’ve been trying to focus on the idea of ‘goals’ again. All in all I feel pretty good about how the summer went: Jeremy’s move and the Germany trip. The last two weeks I’ve worked a standard 8-5 M-F schedule which is draining in a way but I felt I handled it pretty well.

Now that I’m back, it’s the turn of the other two principals at Davies to get holidays. Arno is leaving Tuesday for his usual driving trip to the Midwest. He’ll be gone five weeks. Jim, after shocking us all last year by cutting his schedule down to a ‘normal’ 40 hour week, announced he’ll be taking the month of October off completely. There are others who can and will step up to help with the shift coverage, but at the moment, it looks like the bulk of it will fall to me.

So I decided my ‘price’ will be a couple of weeks off in November. I will always want to visit Jeremy and Ashley and Rosalie but I also have an unfulfilled promise to visit Peter and Nanci in Spokane. And I like to stop in on my cousins Dan and Nettie also in Spokane.

Is this a goal worthy of discussion? Honestly, I don’t know how Linda would respond to this. I emailed her the other day that I was cancelling the session since I had been scheduled for work at that time. She hasn’t responded. The bereavement group that seemed so promising a few months ago doesn’t hold appeal.

Since I’ve been back I’ve had one day where I had a lot of time to do things and I didn’t and I felt bad about it. All the old thoughts about how I should use my time better and what those uses should be came and went. Then the next day I went to work.

I feel good that I’ve been posting pretty regularly since I got back. I feel good about being in the Skyline band again. (At the request of Zack I’m playing bass this semester.) I feel good that I have a handle on how much work I have in the weeks ahead. It’s more than I would like but if the payoff is two weeks off in November I’ll take it. Jeremy tried unsuccessfully to call me this week two times when I said I was available so I felt bad about that. Then we had a nice Skype session Friday night so I felt better. He’s having a tough time getting a decent job. Ashley is very happy with her new teaching setup but that cuts both ways with Jeremy. I don’t have a magic wand to make it all great. That would cut both ways too, I guess.

quotidian

It’s a real word. I’m sure of it. But I’m not going to look it up. I want to riff on it based on what I think it means.

It’s what my life has been the last nearly two weeks. In a way, though, it’s been longer. My trip with Jeremy was fraught with meaning but it was really just quotidian for me. I mean, I planned it, and I did it. No muss no fuss.

Visiting with Rosalie shouldn’t have been quotidian but it kind of was. Jeremy was away and we did some stuff. It was nice but it never seemed unordinary.

When I got back, I took  the CueStation class for three days, then spent an afternoon and evening in Santa Clara (after going to the dentist to have a broken crown fixed), then I had a long day (15 hours) at work, then I drove Rose and her sister Leigh and Gavino’s other grandmother to Pollock Pines for his birthday party. Then the next day I did laundry, then went back down to Santa Clara where I hung with Tim and his family. Then it was Monday and Tony Bennett at Davies. That was another long day. Tuesday I met Tim’s family along with Julian at Davies where I showed them around the whole building. Then I did another Tony Bennett show followed by a load out. Wednesday I went to Alameda for a haircut, followed by lunch with Leti and Hal, followed by dinner out with Rose for her birthday. Today I was back to work at 8 and just got home at 10:45. Tomorrow I get my permanent crown at the dentist and go back to work in the evening.

So there hasn’t been much time for reflection. Tonight the featured artist was a woman named Rhiannon Giddens. A classically trained singer from North Carolina, she became interested in the folk music of the area she grew up in after graduating from Oberlin. She has a band and some Grammy’s so I suppose I should have heard of her but I hadn’t. She sang Summertime and a Kurt Weill song that were sort of ordinary. there was a gospel number before intermission that was cool but in the second half she sang a song she wrote about a slave woman who was sold but her child was not, so they were separated.

I found myself weeping in the darkness of the light booth. Then she sang a song about the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church and I wept some more. Where did that come from? My life was moving along more or less under control and suddenly these couple of songs unhinged me completely. Loss of a child, of course. I’m quite sensitive to that for obvious reasons, but the sight of this young woman standing up there delivering this message almost defiantly was moving in and of itself. Seeing Sarah in the orchestra behind her made it even more intense.

I suppose, compared to a year and a half ago, I’m ‘better’ at handling this. I was able to remember that I could be heard through the glass if I got too loud. I was able to get it together enough to bring up the bow light at the end of each number. By the end of the show I was back to my quotidian life.

After tomorrow I have some days off. I will try to write more here and work on my new jigsaw puzzle. I did get one started the other day. It’s a scene from Yosemite Valley.