(no subject)

It's been a long time since I posted anything here and it seems like the only time I do, it's bad news.  I just learned today that Karesia (Kim Waldstreicher) passed away in late January.  I know many of you knew her well from the Hercules/Xena fandom, and from the many lists that those fandoms spawned.  She was a co-founder with me of the Altar of Ares list and a priestess in the original Temple of Ares on the Sci-Fi boards.

I "met" Kim way back in about 1997, in the earliest days of the Hercules/Xena fandom, on the Ares list.  From there, we ventured onto a new list called KSmithAres, founded by Thamiris, and eventually started our own list devoted to Kevin Smith called Altar of Ares.  Those were the great days of that fandom, when we'd all wait anxiously for each new ep of those show and discuss the most minute detail of every nuance of every scene.  Kim and I talked, either by phone or by email almost every night,and we couldn't wait until we could met in person at a "con" and spend a weekend squeeing together in fangirl bliss. 

We met and did just that for the first time at the 1999 Creation Con held in Cherry Hill, NJ.  We got to see Karl Urban, Alexandra Tydings, and several others of the Herc/Xena regulars and formed "Ares' Army" - screaming and cheering every time Ares' or Kevin Smith's name was mentioned, to the delight of Gary and Adam from Creation.  That whole weekend in Cherry Hill was a complete hoot, but the best thing was getting to spend time with Kim and her roomie, Liz.

We attended several other cons together, including the infamous Orlando Con, where Kev sang kareoke in the hotel bar for us on a whim, long before the days of the organized Creation musical events like the caberets.  Adam said that session in the hotel bar with Kev and all of us who adored him became the inspiration for the caberets at the cons.  We had such a great time with Kev that weekend and it was so nice to be around him as a person, not just as an actor.  I think among all the cons I've been to over the years, that one stands out as the best because it was not just an actor from a TV show doing an appearance for his fans - it was someone who became a friend to us who just happened to be an actor on a TV show.

When Kev died, many of us spent that awlful weekend in the chatrooms and on the phone to each other.  None of us could believe that he was gone, but those bonds of friendship that were forged by our love for Kev were a great comfort to us all during those days.  I still remember making that initial call to Kim to tell her that Kev was gone.  We talked for hours that night, just remembering what a wonderful person he was and laughing over the silly things he had said and done over the years we had known him.  Talking about him eased the hurt for all of us.

The last con Kim and I attended together was again in Cherry Hill, NJ, several years later.{John reminded me last night that this was actually the Valley Forge, PA con, not Cherry Hill.  We went to several cons together in Cherry Hill, but the last one was in Valley Forge - same gneral area outside Philly.}  I was there to see Michael Hurst and she was there to see Keith Hamilton Cobb from Andromeda.  It was late in the winter of that year and a huge storm was blowing in and threatening to dump massive amounts of snow on NJ.  Kim and Liz left early to get home before the worst of it and John and I went to Atlantic City after the con, where there was barely a soul in any of the hotels or in the casinos.  That was the last time I saw her in person, although we continued to "talk" through email and occasional phone calls for many years.

When I think of Kim, I think of her passion for the things she loved and her ability to stand up for what she believed in.  She suffered with many physical ailments over the years, but she never gave up loving life, even when life was cruel to her.  She was strong, determined, loyal to a fault to her friends, and loved to give of herself.  She did the most beautiful crossstitch work, and when I admired some of her work once, she made one for me for Christmas one year.  She embroidered a picture of a Harley with a poem called "When I Am An Old Woman".  The jist of the poem is a declaration that when I am old, I will not give into age and being stuffy,  I will still delight in doing things that I did in my youth without thought to being seen as ridiculous.  I still have that canvas hanging in my home office.  Kim never got to be an old woman; she died before she turned 41, but if I am lucky enough to get to be an old woman, I will do still proudly do and love the things that brought us together as friends.  And I will thank God that he left Kim here on this earth long enough to enrich my life and those of all who knew and loved her.  There is an emptiness on this earth now that she is gone, but the memories that we have of her help the pain of her passing ease as we remember the joy and laughter she brought us.

Today, I have no doubt that she is sitting on a cloud with Kev, with Shugar on her lap getting a good scratch behind the ears, as they talk about those days in the fandom and those cons.  I can hear his booming Kiwi voice and her laughter from here if I listen really closely.  Sleep well and rest in peace, my friend.
  • Current Mood
    sad sad

I went to mass this morning for Ro

I don't usually drive downtown to the Cathedral down there for mass, but it just felt right this morning. It's a beautiful, imposing place and I needed all the grandeur of those massive stone pillars and towering stained glass windows today.  John and I were married there in a huge spectacle of a wedding, but I rarely go to mass there more than a couple of times a yr.  It just easier to bop in and out of a suburban church.

There's something about the solid permanence of a great stone cathedral that gives comfort in times of grief.  You sit there, on pews made of oak sawn a hundred years before, in the same seats where thousands of other long gone have prayed, and you feel a part of soemthing bigger than yourself.  I've never liked modern churches - modernistic angles of glass and whatever architectural style is currently in fashion.  They look like those padded shoulder suits the women wore on "Dynasty" and fall out of fashion just as quickly.  

So I thought about how Ro, with her love of the SCA and costuming, would have loved the setting.  Early morning masses on Saturday are usually quick services, but I stayed afterward and said a rosary for her, because I know she put so much value on the Rosary while she was fighting her fight.  It gave her much comfort through those times, as it gave me great comfort today - knowing she's here with us always and she's free.

Good journey, Ro.  Give Kev a hug when you meet up with him.  If I were a betting woman ( and I am!), I'd bet that he was the one sent to hold open those Pearly Gates for you, just because God wanted to give you something pleasant to look at and a strong arm to lean on when you pass through the clouds and into the light.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful

No! Not Ro too!

Oh will it never end?  I've been away, my friends.  Dealing with the losses of several of my family members, just too filled with sadness and unable to post or participate in your lives.  For many months, it was all I could do to drag myself to work and home again, so I stayed away from you all.  I'm sorry for that.  I missed you all dreadfully.  I've lost a mother, an aunt, and a godson, but tonight, I've lost a sister friend.

So today, out of the clear blue sky, something made me come here again.  And the very first thing I saw was Drake's post in Ro's journal.  And then I read back through her last few posts with tears running down my face.  I was so convinced that she'd be well and would have beaten this awful thing by now, by sheer force of will alone, that it never dawned that she might not.  I fully expected to see a post about her recent tumors not growing and how the chemo was working to shrink them.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think she wouldn't make it.  Never.

Right now, I'm too emotional to post much more tonight.  But Ro, you were always my hero.  You always will be.  Tonight, YOU are immortal in our hearts and you live in our memories.

Hugs to you all - Ro's extended family and friends here in Cyberland.  Tonight, we grieve together; tomorrow, and every day after, until we see her again, we celebrate Ro for everything she was and for all the light she brought into this world.
  • Current Mood
    sad sad
happy birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SEI!!!! ('s the 25th)

I wish for you everything you want in this life, love, laughter, and financial prosperity.  But mostly, I wish for you the kind of friend you have been to me - caring, loyal and always there for me when I need a sympathetic ear or a hug.  

With much love from John and I on your special day.( I know it's really the 25th, but I won't be online between now and then and I didn't want to miss it!)  


thank you for being friend

Thank you, my dear friends!

You'll never know how much all of your words of love and support here brought me much comfort in the past few weeks.  I've tried several times to come here and post my thanks to you all, but the emotion of it all just buried me like a wave.  For a while, I tried to avoid triggering the emotions again, but just like in the old saying, the initial pain really does lessen with time.  I think I've now moved on in the healing process.  

Collapse ) Much love and thanks to you, my other family,


My mom

My mom's going on her final journey very soon and I'm preparing to carry out her final wishes.  For the last several years, she's suffered from dementia, brought on by a series of small strokes which robbed her of her memory, but not her spirit.  She's lived in a nursing home in my home town, the place where she lived her entire life, surrounded by the family and friends she loved.  Two of her nurses were my cousins and their daughters.  There has not been a day when an old friend or a family member has not stopped by to visit her.  She has been surrounded with love and those who care about her, and that has made it all far easier for me and John.  When it became clear she needed a facility where she could get medical care on a round-the-clock basis, we agonized about moving her to Columbus, which would have been easier for us.  But I knew she would never be happy unless she was "home" and that proved to be the best possible place for her - in her own little town with familiar faces lovingly taking care of her.  She's about a 2 1/2 hour drive away from us and we can't be with her every day, but that's a small price to pay in exchange for doing what's right for her.  She thrived there for several years and was loved by everyone for her constant cheer and for her inclination to "mother" other patients with worse disabilities than her own.

The last two years have been very difficult - watching her slide away, bit by bit, visit by visit, until she no longer knows us or herself any longer.  The woman who loved to dance and walked everywhere has been a prisoner of her bed for too long.   She sleeps most of the time now, resting up for the passing and for her new life in the next world.  We've know for weeks that the end was approaching, but it's always a shock, no matter how long the final journey is.

Her doctor called me this afternoon and told me she has now suffered a major stroke which means she can no longer take any nourishment or water by mouth and her body is shutting down.  He says she has one to three days left.  I prepared myself years ago for this time, but its always hard to let go, no matter how much I know that she wants to go.  Her faith in God and her church made her strong in her belief that this was not an end, but a new beginning.  She was right that God is merciful, because I see His mercy to those who loved her in letting her go peacefully on her terms.

Many years ago, when she was still able to understand what was happening ot her, she and I had a conversation about what she wanted and how I was to carry out her wishes to not be kept in this world through artifical means.
She wanted to be allowed to slip these surly bonds of earth and be reunited with my father and those that she had loved who left her behind.  Thank God she made it clear and easy for me to follow her wishes by making all that very clear and for removing the decision from me completely.  We put all this in writing - down to the smallest detail of her passing - and filed it away for this time, when we need the strength and guidance from her to do what she wanted.  What she wanted at the end was a peaceful dignified passing to the other side, with no pain, and to be remembered as she was in her prime, with joy and love. She's been a widow for more than 30 yrs now, and all she really wants is to be reunited with the great love of her life, my father, whom she missed desperately every day since then.

And so the waiting begins.  I take great comfort knowing that the decisions were not mine to make, but hers and God's alone, and that she had the courage and foresight to make this as easy for me as it is possible to be when a loved one leaves us behind.  And I take comfort in knowing that soon she will be free and with my father in her Heaven. If I live my life as well as she lived hers, that I will see them again, and she will thank me for letting her go as she wished.  And we will DANCE as God claps his hand in time to the music and smiles.

My friends, have this conversation with your loved ones and give them the same gift that my mother gave to me.  Give them a hug while you still can.  Then dance a little -  just for the pure joy of it.  My mom has requested no funeral service of any kind, but John and I will play her favorite music and dance in her honor, because I know she'll be hearing that music in Heaven and she and my father will be dancing along with us.

Much love to you all!
  • Current Music
    In The Mood - her favorite

Hmmm....a little Freudian?

Had a dream last night that I was a plummer.  Was trying to fix a leaky pipe in some dark, dingy basement.  Just as I got one plugged up, another pipe sprung a leak, then another, and another, until the basement was under water and I was swimming for my life, but all I could do was furiously tread water just fast enough to keep from going under.

If that's not some sort of Freudian symbolism for how many things I'm juggling at the moment - the new house chaos, living through a major campus-wide software conversion at work, trying to hire a new assistant and a cashier at the same time -  I don't know what is!

  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Tell me...

1. Your Middle Name:
2. Age:
3. Single or Taken:
4. Favourite Movie:
5. Favourite Song or Album:
6. Favourite Band/Artist:
7. Dirty or Clean:
8. Tattoos and/or Piercings:
9. Do we know each other outside of LJ?
10. What's your philosophy on life?
11. Is the bottle half-full or half-empty?
12. Would you keep a secret from me if you thought it was in my best interest?
13. What is your favourite memory of us?
14. What is your favourite guilty pleasure?
15. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you:
16. You can have three wishes (for yourself, so forget all the 'world peace etc' malarky) - what are they?
17. Can we get together and make a cake?
18. Which country is your spiritual home?
19. What is your big weakness?
20. Do you think I'm a good person?
21. What was your best/favourite subject at school?
22. Describe your accent
23. If you could change anything about me, would you?
24. What do you wear to sleep?
25. Trousers or skirts?
26. Cigarettes or alcohol?
27. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?
28. Will you repost this so i can fill it out for you?

Where the hell I've been!

Someone emailed me the other day and said...."Where the HELL have you been?  You've been MIA for the last month or so on-line."

Yep....I confess....GUILTY!   But I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth, guys, I've just been busy with work and the house thingy.  Lame excuse.....I can see you all shaking your heads at me.

Went to two work-related conferences for a week each.  One was in Orlando and it was fun.  It was just your normal gathering of college administrator type people.  Pretty boring stuff, but necessary.

The other one was better.  It was in Hawaii and totally a freeby because I was invited to be a presenter.  Didn't cost my college and my travel budget a dime.  Nada.  So how could I refuse a freeby trip to Hawaii for 5 days for about a day's work?  It's a presentation that I've done several other times and can do in my sleep.  So I said "hell yeah...send me a ticket and I went to Hawaii....again!  And my colleagues voted my presentation the best one of the conference, so I won an Ipod. Is that cool or what?

The other thing that's been keeping me buried is the house thing.  Well.....the "Architect Wars" are finally over and the finalized blueprints are in my hands.  Yay!  The house is exactly what I wanted and we didn't have to compromise in very many things.  It ended up being about 4000 sq feet - a classic two story American farmhouse with a walk-out finished basement that overlooks the ravine in the woods above the creek and a wrap around front porch.    Ther master bedroom/bathroom suite is in a separate little wing off the 1st floor and the bedroom/sitting room will be about 25 ft long by 16 wide, with a 12 foot vaulted ceiling.  The master bath will be about 18 X 20 , with a corner Jacuzzi surrounded by leaded glass windows and a huge glass shower.  The ceiling in there will also be 12 feet and vaulted.

The front foyer is what I love best about this house.  It has a center gable with a huge circle top window and the foyer will be open all the way to the 2nd story roof - about 20 feet high.  The staircase will open into that foyer and there will be an "overlook" from the second floor down into the foyer.  You'll be able to stand on the second floor overlook and look out the front wondow out onto the pastures in front of the house.  The house itself will be set back about 1000 ft from the road, so we'll have a long driveway and then, will fence in the front for horses....and probably llamas!

There will be a large great room, office space, and a formal dining room, with a sunroom that opens into the great room, a big country kitchen with a breakfast bar and island, laundry room and a second bathroom on the 1st floor.  Upstairs, there are 2 guest bedroomd that share a bathroom, and a loft area that overlooks the foyer.  I may turn that into my library with bookshelves on the walls.

The basement will be finished as a home theater and game room, and a screened in porch, with an additional bedroom and bath suite most likely to become a sewing room.  John will have a workshop down there too, until his detached motorcycle garage and "He-Men Club" is finished in the barn is finished after the house is built.  The house will have an attached 2 1/2 car garage and then we'll build a second garage/barn on the other side of the pasture so he'll have somewhere to store his tractor and "toys".

The builder has been selected (we interviewed 19 different ones!) and tonight, we meet with him to go over the blueprints and start selecting the building materials and colors.  Once that's done, we'll get a detailed building contract from him for our attorney to approve, he gets the building permit and ok from the county, and we go close on our construction loan.  The permits have been approved for the septic system, well and pond, so as soon as the Knox County building inspector ok's the plans, we can break ground.  I guarantee that when this project is done, there will be a hell of a party and y'all are invited! YAY!

So that's what I've been up to...and the fun's just begining!  I have lots of your journals and emails to catch up on. and I see there's been some new STORIES posted!    YAY!

Love ya lots!