It’s Been Quite a Year

As we walked into services tonight, my daughter reminded me of how much has happened this past year:

  • My father died after a month in intensive care after an auto accident.
  • We moved into a new house from our home of 17 years.
  • ellipticcurve moved from her apartment a house in the San Fernando Valley.
  • Our daughter graduated 5th grade and started 6th grade at a new school walking distance from home.
  • We left our congregation of 8 years and joined a new larger congregation.
  • I served my last year as conference chair, and went back to being a plain old tutorial chair.
  • We’ve met loads of new friends via this little thing called LiveJournal. We’ve even met some of them in person.
  • Our dear friend, Rabbi Nosan-Blank, moved to Sacramento and had her baby.
  • My stepmother (who I’ve grown closer to) is now planning to move as well.

It’s been a year of changes (and I’m not someone who likes change). Who knows what 5766 will bring.

May you all out there have the happiest of new years.


What Did You Wear Today? Did You Wear Your Orange?

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, my father’s favorite holiday:

The Policeman walked out, oh, so proud on his beat,
When a vision came to him of stripes on his sleeve
“Promotion,” he whispered, “I’ll try for today;
So come with me, Mister Ri-Tooral-i-ay.”

Come tell me your name, says the limb of the law.
To the little fat man selling wares on the straw.
“What’s that sir, me name sir? Why ’tis there on display,
And it’s Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ay.”

Now the trial came on and lasted a week.
One Judge said ’twas German; another ’twas Greek.
“Prove you’re Irish,” said the policeman and beyond it say “nay”;
And we’ll sit on it, Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ay.

    Now, the prisoner stepped up there as stiff as a crutch.
Are you Irish or English or German or Dutch?
“I’m a Jew sir; I’m a Jew sir, that came over to stay,
And my name it is Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ay.”

“We’re two of a kind,” said the judge to the Jew;
“You’re a cousin of Briscoe and I am one too.
This numskull has blundered and for it will pay.”
“Wisha that’s right,” says Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ay.

There’s a garbage collector who works down our street
He once was a policeman, the pride of his beat.
And he moans all the night and he groans all the day,
Singing, Moses Ri-Tooral-i-ooral-i-ay.

Of course, this raises the question I always have on days like this: We know what it was like for the Catholics (Green). We know what it was like for the Proddys (Orange). What was it like for the Jews in Ireland? Is this a day we should be celebrating? This is why, if I had my druthers, I’d wear both green and orange, because I’m conflicted. And by the way, this problem doesn’t exist just for Jews: deedeebythebay has an interesting post regarding the propriety of pagans wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, given that St. Pat forcibly converted Pagans (the snakes) to Christianity.


The Morning Update

This morning, I present to you a few musings on yesterday, and some observations on the news. After that: Back to the Requirements Matrix!

Yesterday, I spent some more time down at my dad’s place. ’twas an interesting morning. While my stepmother was figuring out Quicken, I was looking at some old photo albums. Boy, I looked young then, and what was up with my hair! It was interesting seeing photos of some of the girls I had dated and forgotten about, and looking at family and friends through the eyes of an adult, not a kid. I am still amazed how much my brother, in the one picture of him I have with a full beard, looks like me (or I like him).

After a dim-sum lunch in Irvine, it was back to the house to go through more of my dad’s stuff. I came home with loads of regular and bolo ties. I think I’m going to have to start dressing even more for work, just so I can get some wear out of the ties! I’ve also got loads of Shrine and Masonic stuff: My dad became a shriner, but later demitted. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with it all, as I’ve never had any interest in it. I may make a display case with some of it; as for the rest, well, I’m still investigating.

After a quick drive home, I went through the mail and unpacked. I loaded my new pen case from Pendemonium up. After that I called my “twin” Keith, and caught up partially on 20 years. It was really nice reconnecting… my next mission is to get him on LJ (heh, heh, heh). We’ll be getting together soon; hopefully, he’ll come up to the games day we’re doing at our house on Feb. 20th (if you’re interesting in joining us, let me know).

As for the news. I do find it vaguely ironic that SBC is purchasing AT&T. Seems there ought to be antitrust concerns there, but my how times have changed. Do people today even remember “AT&T is a amalgam of Unix trademarks”?


Mem’ries light the corners of my mind / Misty water-colored mem’ries of the way we were

Today has been a day of memories, for I’ve been down in Mission Viejo helping my stepmother sort through stuff.

The drive down was interesting. Both the 5 and the 405 were bolluxed up, so I took the 110 and got off at Del Amo. I then drove the length of Del Amo, through the industrial parks of Long Beach, the white-bread city of Lakewood, some ethnic enclaves in Orange County (as the road turns into La Palma), through Buena Park, next to Knotts Berry Farm, back to the 5. Quite an interesting drive.

After getting down here, I’ve been doing more memory sorting. I’ve looked at photo albums from when my folks got married, seen material from 1950’s Las Vegas, seen pictures of me in high school, seen pictures of me in college, seen past dates (not all were quite girlfriends), and seen pictures of my wife and I before I got married. When I spoke to her later in the day, I thanked her for teaching me to dress decently! Looking at how I dressed back then (and even taking into account it was the late 1970s)…. well, if Stacey and Clinton had been around back then, I would have had a VISA in my hand really fast.

I’ve also spent a lot of time talking to my stepmother, hearing her stories of my dad and their relationship. I’m really glad that his last relationship was a good one. It really does appear that after my brother died, my father’s relationship with my mother was strictly a business arrangement. I’ve also come to realize over the last few weeks that I was really close with my dad (this is good), and never really close with my mom. Interesting insights.

Hence, the title of this post, and the following closing words:

Mem’ries may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were.


We’re done here, for now

I think we’re done organizing, for this trip. I think I’ve left the office in good shape: I’ve gotten garbage out of the files (and left five empty drawers in the process), organized the desk, labelled appropriately, and left my stepmother a functional office with up-to-date financial records in Quicken. Hopefully, she’ll use it.

We found the original insurance policies last night… of course, after we had put the stuff in the mail to the companies indicating we couldn’t find them. They were buried in the garage in a file cabinet. I was surprised at the age of the polices—one of them was issued in 1953 (whole life). None of them were that big. I’m bringing the notebook of them home with me, and I’ll write to all of them in there just in case they were paid up and still in effect.

My dad has loads and loads of photo albums. I can’t even start to bring them home. I think this is bringing home the fact that sometime in the next year or two we’re going to have to move. It’s not the moving (i.e., finding a new house) that bothers me, but the whole process of packing and getting the current house ready to show. That’s something to think about in a month or two as things settle down, and we start seeing what is really here. Somehow, I sense we’re going to have loads of trips down here to Orange County.

My daughter tuckered out my stepmother yesterday. S&F’s Chanukah gift was a day of shopping with her grandmother. It turned out the amount wasn’t the critical thing for her (she didn’t even spend what was budgeted), but the day shopping. They walked back and forth all over South Coast Plaza and Crystal Court, looking at clothes and all sorts of stuff (but buying little). I do think that the events of the last two months have brought them together, and that’s a real good thing. Everyone came home, and enjoyed the delightful soup that I made.

I’ve got a business teleconference this morning, and then we’ll be packing up the car. I’m not looking forward to that, as it is raining down here (and in the Valley), and we’ve got lots of loading to do. We’ll back up the cars to the garage to load; we’ve left the garage in reasonable shape, with distinct piles of donate and shred. My stepmother will call National Council of Jewish Women for the donations, and my dad’s accountant will help coordinate the shredding.

I’ve been looking at the binders in my dad’s office this morning. I’ve found a really neat list (see here) of Playbills from shows. I’ve found photo albums from all sorts of years that must have had special significance: navy years, early years with my mom, recent trips, pictures of family. I’ve found his letters where he courted my stepmother, which showed me some depths to the relationship there that I never realized. There are the binders from Plan Hold, where he was the original secretary/treasurer. Loads of books where he was trying to learn the computer. I’ve really gotten a better sense of the man; something I never got the opportunity to do with my mother—for various reasons, including the fact that we really we’re speaking as people at the time she died (we were speaking as mother and “son-who-is-obliged-to-call” at the time). I’m really glad I had the extra time to get to restore and rebuild the relationship with my father, and to get to know the man. He was a pretty neat guy. I think that even if we weren’t related, we would have been friends.

Tonight we go home. I’m looking forward to it, especially our own bed! I’ll then get to unpack, and perhaps do some work on the house. Curses for the current rain, however, as I had planned to straighten out the garage, which is a royal mess, but I can’t really do that in the rain as it involved unloading and reloading it. However, I think I’ll have my hands full integrating what I’m bringing up here into the stuff at home.

We still don’t have a lot of folks for the gaming party on New Years Eve. As I’ve said before: If you’re reading this list, and might be interested in board gaming on New Years Eve, please drop me a comment.