I don't feel as if I'm exaggerating to say my father was an extraordinary man, a real superhero, who worked hard and truly lived the American dream. He grew up without a father and a stern single mother. He and his siblings began working in their early teens at various manual labor jobs and contributed much of their wages to the household income. At 16 Dad started working for Acme as a clerk and continued to receive promotions within the company as he finished high school and college. He met a woman who also worked at Acme and they began a life together in a rural community.
He was an accomplished engineer and manager who worked long hours and his dedication to his job was only surpassed by his dedication to his family, friends, and church.He and my mother created a supportive environment that was an absolute childhood paradise. We were told and shown that we were loved and encouraged to do our best. During the week we would wait eagerly for him to arrive home from work and spend the evenings together eating dinner and watching tv as a family until he tucked us in at night. At the time, my mother was able to stay home and take care of us all day and he needed a special moment with us before we fell asleep.
On the weekends he recruited us as his helpers around the home and yard to do a different kind of work than he did in his office... raking leaves, digging post holes, weeding gardens, moving cinder blocks, replacing windows and walls and countless other tasks. We didn't always want to do the work, but we enjoyed being like Dad and spending time with him.He showed us the value of physical labor and taking pride in maintaining what we owned. He gave me my first Lego toys, my first mechanical pencil, and my first tool box; all items he had collected before I was born and entrusted to me when he felt I had a use for them.
My father always stressed the importance of spending quality time with family and friends and I have seen the loyalty and love he received from this community all of my life. He welcomed his friends and family of all ages to share his appreciation of the bucolic setting we live on at the Pig Roast each year. He loved his life here so much and he wanted other people to experience the simple joys of seeing the frogs, going for a hayride, listening to music, and eating and drinking in the sun. I was 11 months old at the first Pig Roast and hope to see you all at the 37th in the spring of 2013.
Dad showed us that Life is our opportunity to push our limits;to test ourselves, work hard, play hard, help each other and experience the world. He knew God had put him here for a finite time and struggled mightily to complete his tasks and make the most of everyday.He took great pride in caring for his yard and woods and had ongoing remodeling projects around the house, including 2 additions that doubled it's size and a treehouse and barn that would later provide extra living space for his sons and first grandchild. He lived a good,long life and rarely sat down. He just recently retired at age 67 but he wasn't waiting for that to do the things he loved. As we grew older his family demands lessened and for the past 20 years a typical weekday for him consisted of working from 7-5, arriving home at 6 for a quick dinner before heading out again to play volleyball or go to church meetings. He'd then come home at 10 oclock to relax before bed with a beer, tv, and crossword puzzle. On the weekends he'd be outside using the bucket on his john deere to do everything from move dirt to lift other tractors.He was as comfortable getting his hands dirty as he was wearing a suit and tie and he respected good carpenters and contractors at acme as much as he respected the good executives. His character and concern for other people constantly attracted new friends and strengthened the bonds of our family.
. He volunteered for various church, political, and enviromental organizations. He and my mother went to hundreds of concerts to hear the country music that reflected their love of America.
My father was a religious man, an educated man, and a conservative man and all these things contributed to his success. His convictions were strong and at times he had to struggle to accept some of the choices his sons made and the directions their lives had taken. He allowed us to make mistakes, think for ourselves, and pursue our own happiness even when he disagreed with us. He never pushed us away and I hope he noticed the times when we came back around to his way of thinking. He gave us the incredible gift of letting us know just how much he loved us and how proud of us he was even during the times we didn't follow his example.
This is what a good father does. He will always be the better man, the stronger man, the smarter man, the man who will forgive you before you even offer an apology. He will teach you right and wrong, he will lecture and punish you,You will often think he is demanding and crazy but you will always know he is special and unique. He we will be hard on you and criticize you because he believes in your talent, creativity and potential. He will celebrate your smallest accomplishments and he will give you praise you feel you don't deserve.
He will provide the foundation, lead the way, and give you a childhood free from worry. He is tough and brave and he is gentle and generous.You will love everything about him and see his actions and morals reflected in your own.
His opinion of you will always be more important to you than that of anyone else. You will think you can do it without him and he will be there for you with no recriminations when you realize you can't.
His only goal will be to selflessly give you any support and opportunity that you need. he will motivate you and inspire you for your entire life. He is the strongest man you know when he is lifting rocks and chopping firewood and he is the strongest man you know when he is fighting for his life in a hospital bed, while the strongest woman you know never falters at his side. As a child you wish to be him, as an adult you know if you can be half the man he is you will be a great man.
One confusing entry full of pics, text, and no cuts and then things will be a bit more normal. This is a short update and some previous entries I had typed up but never posted... additionally the site I used for pictures changed owners and the loss of those links gutted my journal of most of it's visual content. I can't type up everything I do or I'd have less time to do those things. When I use the computer I end up spending way too much time fixing my drawings or cropping photos I took. I've also finished Demalion Dash 9-13 since the last time I posted. I've finally gotten around to listing a bunch of stuff on ebay. I cleaned my room, got rid of more books, moved junk so that I could have the space to be organized and orderly so that I could sell and pack the items. I've been sacrificing sleep and reading to make more time for neglected interests in my life. I also had more time due to hurting my left achilles tendon in december which brought me from 50 miles a week down to 0/week rather quickly. I hiked and biked to stay sane and now I'm working my way back to where I was...slowly, slowly. I think I'm type a about most things in my life except for making money. What I make will never be made if I don't make it, and the awesome days I have won't be treasured memories unless I spend them right. I already know what I'm doing days ahead of time, all I have to do is wake up and start rolling downhill like a snowball, fueling on coffee and music and excitement. Most of the time that is great, but it makes it hard to change course for unexpected obstacles or to communicate with all the people living willy nilly. No patience, no peace! Fuck yeah cold oatmeal and cooking in one pot, Fuck Yeah sleeping on the floor, fuck yeah being happy. Fuck yeah that there are only ten or twelve days of truly shitty weather in maryland all year. Fuck yeah already lived twice the life I thought i would and every other minute is a bonus. Wake up early, extra life. Think clearly, extra life. Fuck yeah running, Fuck yeah parkour, Fuck yeah skateboarding, Fuck yeah drawing, fuck yeah sewing... I don't have to be good at these things to enjoy them. I don;t even have to try parkour, I just like to watch the videos for inspiration. I don't have to be eloquent, either. I've been writing a lot of song lyrics lately, too. Not sure why, I like the idea of playing awesome, fast, crunchy, easy music, but the reality of forming a band, practicing, getting along with people...how? Probably I can use the lyrics by drawing group shots of Fung & Us and having them sing it.
This is pretty busy and not as funny as i would have liked but screw it, I just like the feeling of putting ink on paper and everything I do accomplishes that. I was kind of going for a picture in a storybook or Polaroid photo composition.
Once the weather gets a little warmer I guess I won't draw very much either, even though I'm writing down new ideas constantly and have a pile of unfinished drawings from just this year and have recently been inking stuff from high school art class (90's) and sketches from 2007. Somebody please take this shit when I'm dead, don't just recycle it all or let it end up in a few boxes in the attic. I think I'm going to tell Jane where it all is so she can distribute it. Puke could maybe do it but he'll be planning my funeral. Not that I plan to die anytime soon, but might as well be ready.
I've been drawing, cleaning, running, grieving, reading, hiking, biking, skateboarding, living. These following entries I haven't posted until now concern things that were happening last summer and very early fall. Since then my grandmother has also died. These confrontations with mortality and loss have really brought the family closer together as well as further enforcing my desire to live what days I can like they will be my last. I still think about my father everyday but I try to do it in a way that makes me appreciate the kind of person he was and the good fortune I had to have him in my life and the time I had to begin to tell him how important he was to me and the impact he has had on my life. I enjoy who I am and so much of that is because of his genes or his guidance. Seeing how he handled his illness is something I will be able to draw strength from for the rest of my life. He was the perfect man, the only man, for the job of being my father.
We recently lost my father to his battle with cancer. Through the past few months there were so many tests and checks on his health status that I think only he and my mother could keep straight what was going on and of course doctors don't know everything, either. I focused on the fact he was alive and relatively comfortable and worried when he had fevers and other issues that would cause him to have to spend extra time in the hospital; things that because of his weakened state could become life threatening quickly. He made it through 2 rounds of chemotherapy over the past 3 months before a PET scan showed that it wasn't helping. Further chemotherapy or radiation was deemed too dangerous and coincidentally ongoing problems with his liver and kidney function were increasing.
My mother made hours of phone calls and daily visits to the hospital to get him out of there so he could come home for hospice care. His cognizance and strength were fading very quickly but the reality was hard to grasp. I understood he was coming home to die but it really hit me when we were moving his bed so he had a better view out of the window. I was trying to position a light so that he could read and mom told me he wouldn't be reading when he got back. His quality of life took a drastic change in May after his emergency surgery that resulted in him wearing an ileostomy bag and dropping as low as 122 lbs because of lack of appetite and difficulty absorbing nutrition from what he did eat. He couldn't do any of the yard work he loved so much, couldn't drive, couldn't walk upstairs to take a proper shower, and had to put all his plans for after he retired on hold. He accepted this totally and accepted help from us when he needed it, did whatever exercises he could, spent time with family and friends, read books and worked crosswords whenever he was fortunate enough to have the energy. He died with his family at his side on September 23, 2012.
Sunday 9/2/2012 6:32 PM
This is the way we want it to be, this is the way of the warrior!
What a great week and a day, I'll try to keep this brief because I don't like typing. I'll upload the entry sooner or later when I feel like sitting in the backyard so I can get a signal to do so.
In the past 8 days I have run @ 54 miles. From aug 25- aug 31 I ran @47, my highest previous total was @35, with my longest run in the 16 mile range.
-AUG 25 SAT @ 13-15 miles to Eden Mill and Falling Branch, then hiked a few miles home through Big Branch
-AUG 27 MON @ 7-8 miles to Eden Mill trails and back home
-AUG 29 WEDS 5+ miles to Deer Creek, no walk breaks, lots of hills, hiked deer Creek back to Telegraph Rd and ran 1.5 miles back home encountering the worst hill of all. I didn't think I could run that 5 mile portion straight, but I felt fine doing it and didn't need to worry about saving anything in the tank because that was all I planned on doing
-AUG 31 FRI Legs still feeling great, so fuck it, let's try for 20 miles (my longest run ever) and I did it (ran quite well but last mile and a half I was fading fast and getting some cramps)
-SEPT 2 to Eden Mill and the trails again, feeling fine after 5 miles, hiked another 5 through Big Branch and ran 1.5 miles back from Neal Rd
This week I'll be careful not to overdo it and keep my runs around 8 miles. It's nice to have shorter distances in mind sometimes because then I feel more confident to run fast and not save anything for a prolonged run or long hike home. Hiking the streams is fun and relaxing but the terrain is very challenging and going upstream doesn't help (but the drought makes it a lot easier). I also like to explore the woods along the stream and usually this means climbing some steep slopes. It's a lot of fun and so much easier in FiveFingers than hiking boots. The second pair I bought now has 6-7 hundred miles on them and still plenty of traction and sole protection. I'm really impressed they hold up so well off trail and getting wet. Even running stretches of paved road hasn't seemed to wear them down fast.
I have been feeling like I was running better/faster/longer the past month or so but this last week and a day I put it to the test and I'm seeing real results. I need to check out google maps because I even think some of my estimates are on the low side. I can add the road portions easily but the trails aren't visible. Once I get a smart phone I'll track this shit gps style. I'll probably try to get one for christmas, and then I'll know how to use it in time to track every 2013 step.
Yay, it's fun to be my niece! Really, guys. she gets custom bibs and her own Boulder Dash Game. I finished this game just hours after she was born and still haven't made it available to the public yet. All those hours of creating and testing and uploading it seems the most tedious thing. It will be available in the Game Base Section at http://www.boulder-dash.nl/
once I get around to emaling it to the site administrator.
Also finished Demalion Dash 10 - Fun & Games. That game is dedicated to my buddy, BIG C Charles Berman, a true hardcore gamer and great guy. There are tons of video game themed caves in this one. Sorry, Big C, this one only plays on Commodore 64, not Nintendo Entertainment System.
I kept running on the mornings I didn't have to feed the horses instead of drawing but I've got these ready. Pencilled months ago, inked weeks ago, then spent way too much time fixing all my mistakes in photoshop.
Yes, life is imitating art.
This is the kind of beautiful nature I see on my hikes...
I keed, I keed, all the other deer I saw today were alive and well. Be glad my camera has such crap resolution if you have a weak stomach. There are roughly 19321234813294 maggots doing backflips in that melted flesh rib area.
My dad got to come home from the hospital today. He had a chemo treatment 3 weeks ago and various issues kept him there so long. He is really tired but happy to be home and if all goes well he should be here for 2 weeks or so until his next treatment. He's really inspiring.