Tuesday, July 27, 2010

update time

The last thing that I sent out was a plea for folks to do some web voting to help a friend’s grandson. He didn’t get the $5,000 prize we were looking for, but a relative came through with the money to help ensure that Joshua got the care that he needed. In spite of that, and the constant and consistent love, attention, and care of his parents, Joshua recently slipped away. Thanks to those of you who voted, and those who followed Joshua’s journey (documented at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joshuatruini/journal).

For an update on me, I continue to enjoy the job I moved to in November at the end of 2009. After almost doubling the size of the team, the hardware that the majority of the team was working on went through some project redefinitions, and, as a result, added some angst about the future. However, much of my team is working on the software for the new direction of the hardware, and the rest of my team gets to work on some new projects. It puts the team in turmoil and stress, but I’m hoping that as part of the management team, I can help to reduce the amount of turmoil that they see, and get them happily situated in projects suited to them!

My parents and I went on a cruise around New Zealand in the beginning of April, which will be the subject of the next “leoralore,” if I can get it completed! And I’ve continued to do some teaching of mountaineering skills as friends ask for help. This year, the avalanche danger was quite high during most of the weekends in which I was able to climb, so while I may have gone out a few of those times, if I did, I turned around. So other than a climb in mid-April, I was “summitless” until the beginning of July, when a couple of friends and I spent Independence Day weekend in Mt. Rainier National Park, far from any fireworks, enjoying the spectacular stars at night, and the fierce wind the last 1000 feet or so of the Mountain. I finally worked out that the left side of my face and lips suffered windburn, from which I’ve now recovered. After that, I climbed Mt. Hood several times, once on a south side route, and a couple of times on the fantastic north side. This photo is of me by one of my wonderful climbing partners, as I was front pointing the last bit of where the Sunshine route meets the Queen’s Chair:

And here’s one the previous week, of me, just a little higher up than the previous picture, looking down onto our camp, circled in yellow:

That’s most of the happy stuff. . .

One of the biggest blows to my emotional stability has been the loss of one of my close friends, whom I’ve mentioned a couple of times over the years in these stories: Monty. When his wife left a message on my answering machine, I knew that something was wrong. I was sure that he was either critically or fatally injured. I wasn’t prepared for the truth – he joined the growing number of middle-aged men who have committed suicide. Since Monty was hugely popular, and a prominent member of various volunteer and other organizations, I was sure that there would be a write up on the web, somewhere, to which I could refer, but nothing showed up, anywhere, for a couple of days, and since I’d spared his wife from giving me any details since I knew she’d been calling folks all day long, I was able to completely deny reality. Intellectually, I knew that it had to be true, but I couldn’t bring my emotional self in line with the intellectual. When, finally, someone called me to discuss it, the emotional self caught up and severe grief set in. I was pretty useless at work for almost 2 weeks, although the work gave me something other than my grief to focus on, so I continued to try my best at it.

Many of my friends want to make something worthwhile come out of this. I know that I should do so, too, but I’ve not found a way for me to do so in any way that is meaningful to me, and in any way that mitigates the tragedy for me. I sure hope that he’s in a better place. . .

So, on the tails of this, and now, functioning pretty normally, emotionally, I took my pre-planned vacation in North Carolina, visiting my high school and college buddy, Jeannie, and her family, as well as meeting a high school friend whom I’ve not seen since within a few years of high school graduation (thanks go to Facebook, where we hooked up), and attended another friend’s family reunion as a guest. Sort of weird, when one considers that I’ve missed at least one of my own family reunions, but I used it as an opportunity to put a date on actually visiting Jeannie, since it had been over 6 years since my last visit (as with many things, when one can do something “any time,” one never does them, at all. . . ).

A note to those who do family reunions: this friend’s (Tracey’s) family does reunions in a pretty impressive way – where people representing different branches of the family stand up and give significant updates on their branch of the family to the whole gathering, and there is even a note-taker!!! Does anyone else do this? I liked the concept and might try to get our family to do at least the update thing at one of our family reunions. . .

May this find you all well.


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